I have been asked to update my blog, and in particular to discuss the presidential candidates. I didn’t have much to write about and I had other things to do, but now it’s the weekend and I’ll comply.
First I’ll have to explain where I’m coming from. One of my favorite posts from Catallarchy is Policy Isomorphism, which states that we are more affected by domestic policy than foreign and more by fiscal policy than civil rights. This helps to explain why libertarians are more likely to support Republicans than Democrats.
My own specific ideology seems to fall best under “paleolibertarianism”. Like many of that sort, I am an anti-federalist and I like Ron Paul (even though his reverence for the Constitution rather than the Articles precludes him from anti-federalism, he’s definitely preferable to the others). On the Democratic side I’ve liked what I’ve heard from Mike Gravel, but that hasn’t been a lot. I do not believe Paul has any chance of winning and I do not intend to vote…ever (it’s more sensible to play the lotto).
If Paul did win, here is what I expect would happen: he would veto every bill that he believed was unconstitutional, just as he votes against them now. That would be just about every bill Congress passes. Congress would in many cases overturn his vetoes, but it would minimize the flow of legislation. As an anti-federalist, I would prefer if the national government did not exist at all. In general my assumption is that any action taken by that government is idiotic and harmful. I do not see the political arena as one through which the good is advanced, but rather as something like the human sacrifices performed by the Aztecs because they believed it was necessary to cause the sun to rise (Mike Huemer has a good explanation of why politics and religion are so irrational here, but I dispute his contention that morality is objective and can be known). I disagree with the main message in this from Roderick Long (that libertarians ought to be concerned with “oppression” other than coercion), but I agree with his characterization of libertarians as largely wanting politics not to exist. A possibly useful sort of legislation is that which overturns previous legislation and ends those idiotic and harmful activities undertaken, but there is far less of that than the other kind. Congress is unlikely to do much of that under Paul, but he himself could undo a great many executive orders and possibly put some restraints on the permanent bureaucracy that could be thought of as a fourth branch of government if it were not technically under the executive.
One of the candidates mentioned by the aforementioned commenter as somewhat acceptable is Michael Bloomberg, and this brings me to an area where I disagree with my commenter’s goals. His concern is with long life. Michael Bloomberg is known for banning smoking, trans-fats and the like in New York. I say a life without unhealthy crap is a life I do not wish to lead. Bloomberg can pry my french-fries from my cold, dead hands along with my guns (which is he is also not a fan of).
M. Traven has responded at his blog because of the lousy comment-spam filter here. This is my response:
Robin Hanson as “Ramone” did a broader defense of voting-as-ritual here. Libertarians don’t object to man-as-a-social creature. We advocate forming social organizations as competitors to the state (which does not permit people to decline membership in it, as Herbert Spencer discusses here). I am a fan of the individualist anarchist Max Stirner (even though I am not an anarchist or lefty like him) who discussed a Union of Egoists, in which people join together for their mutual benefit.
The point of voting is not (as Landsberg stupidly holds) that it is only worth doing if you stand a chance of casting the single vote that tips the balance past 50/50.
If you knew that the vote was rigged and your ballot would be thrown out, would you still vote? If your vote makes no difference why don’t you pull an imaginary lever in your house and cheer “Go [my candidate]!”? Do you like the atmosphere of the polling place?
The point is that you are joining in with other members of your community to make a collective decision.
If I stay at home and blog about how all the candidates suck, how am I playing less of a part than you? Can’t I just declare myself as taking a part? Why let the state define your relation to the community?