In every country in the world, there are certain infrastructure projects that need government’s infusions of cash and resources to serve and meet the needs of the population. The government is best equipped to build bridges, roads, schools and hospitals with taxpayer dollars that all citizens benefit from and could not be accomplished by individuals or private speculators. Indeed, America’s military is the best in the world because the government funds development of weapons systems and specialized training that private contractors do not have the assets to develop or maintain. However, in order to guarantee an orderly society where the Constitution’s freedoms are assured for every citizen, certain rules and regulations must be in place to encourage equitable treatment of every American.
There is one particular political philosophy that rejects the need for federal government oversight except in the case of national defense and their viewpoint is that government restricts individual liberty; especially in matters of commerce. Libertarianism is beginning to gain moral support among tea party members and financial backing of conservatives like Koch Industries in the corporate world. The long-time face of libertarians has been Ron Paul and this week he announced his plan to seek the Republican nomination for president in 2012.
This is the Texas Republican’s third run for president and he is enjoying new-found support for his libertarian philosophy of small government and individual freedoms. Paul told an interviewer on Fox News that, “Twenty years ago, there weren’t very many people around that would endorse these views. So … I’m very pleased with what’s happening. There are more now, but the problems are so much greater.“ America is facing greater problems than in recent years, but if libertarians set the agenda for the government, the country and every citizen will face unimaginable problems that may be insurmountable in the near term and tragically devastating for decades if allowed to prosper.
There are diverse beliefs within the libertarian community, but the common theme is either the minimization or elimination of the state, and a goal of maximizing individual liberty and freedom. However, the libertarian philosophy of individual liberty and freedom for some means subjugation and discrimination of all others. Congressman Ron Paul’s style of libertarianism is the far-right brand that incites him to call for the elimination of government programs such as FEMA and Social Security. On Friday, Paul repeated his call for eliminating FEMA and when reminded that much of the country is suffering from natural disasters, he said that people who are in the path of a wildfire or tornado are dumb for being there. According to Paul’s brand of libertarianism, government has no place being involved in anything except national defense, and he does not see the need for government to take care of its citizens.
In an interview with Chris Matthews, Paul said he would not have voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 because it infringed on personal rights of property owners. Libertarians believe that if a property owner or business wants to deny service to anyone based on race, it is their right because it is their business. Regardless of the issues or government programs Matthews brought up to Paul, his answers always reverted to, “I think we would be better off if we had freedom, and not government control of our lives, our personal lives.” The basic premise of libertarians is closely aligned with the selfishness of Ayn Rand and a belief that the individual is responsible for their lot in life. In effect, they do not believe in freedoms for all Americans, and that if a person is Black and has to face discrimination, it is their problem. On the 40th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, Paul gave a speech calling it “an unconstitutional attack on individual liberty because it gave the government unprecedented power over customer service practices on every business in the country.” Paul went on to say that, “The result was a massive violation of the rights of private property and contract, which are the bedrocks of free society. The federal government has no legitimate authority to infringe on the rights of private property owners to use their property as they please and to form (or not form) contracts with terms mutually agreeable to all parties.” The congressman seems to forget that the Constitution gives every citizen the right to equal protection under the law, but selfish libertarians give precedent to an individual’s right to deny freedoms to other Americans.
It is not just individual liberty that defines libertarians. They believe that taxes to fund schools, roads, and other infrastructure are unconstitutional and that individuals are responsible for building roads, schools and hospitals for personal use. America with libertarians in control would be the Koch Brothers’ vision of America where there is no central government and in its place is a conglomeration of industrialists who use taxpayer money to support a business-model government where roads, schools, hospitals, bridges, and the military is privatized for the purpose of generating profit for the owners. If Ron Paul were president, the federal government would be eliminated and individual rights and freedoms would be reserved for those wealthy enough to own the government.
Americans do not always realize the benefits and protections they receive from the government. Ron Paul said the Civil Rights Act did not stop racism and he is absolutely correct, but it did guarantee that overt racial prejudice and discrimination would not be tolerated in a free society. FEMA may not be the ideal entity that all citizens benefit from all the time, but when natural disaster strikes, every person who suffers property loss benefits. Under libertarian rule, a wildfire, hurricane, or tornado victim would be left on their own and called “dumb” by a leader like Ron Paul.
Governments exist for more than creating armies to defend the homeland and it is what separates civilized society from tribal cultures like those in Afghanistan. Every American is a beneficiary of the government regardless of socio-economic status or geographical location whether it is for disaster relief or freedom from discrimination, but the trend among Republicans jeopardizes the protective nature of the government that Americans depend on. The shared sacrifice that made America the great country it once was is quickly giving way to selfishness and personal freedom at all costs. Ron Paul typifies that selfishness and although he will never be president, the conservatives who control Republicans will not rest until they achieve Paul’s goal of eliminating the government and replacing it with corporate rule. Republicans may not refer to themselves as libertarians, but under direction and funding from elite industrialists like the Koch Brothers, the right-wing libertarianism of Ron Paul is now the underlying goal of the Republican Party and it spells disaster for every citizen in America.