Libertarians, I sense that some of you are disgusted to find yourselves suddenly en vogue this year; having probably grown accustomed to being the loners at the corner lunch table. James Dean, after all, was not cool because he was mainstream; he was cool because the kids at the other lunch tables were intimidated by his air of mystery and hint of danger. It’s a difficult aura to achieve and it could disappear immediately if middle-of-the-road Republicans like myself suddenly flock to hang out with you. But I’m asking you to please reach out, hug us, and share your wisdom.
We are having a spectacularly bad year, and I think some serious libertarian influence is what we are lacking. I feel like I’m cheating on my party; but, you have what I need, and I have compiled a few reasons why a side relationship could really work for us.
First – and I really cannot emphasize this enough – many of us have learned our lesson. The U.S. recently saw an uptick in people registering as Republicans, but it also saw a jump in those identifying as “unaffiliated”.
The New York Times notes that North Carolina, for example, now has almost as many voters who refuse to label themselves as it does registered Republicans; and you know that many of us “wandering” people are wandering ourselves right over into “Libertarianville”. We are, shall we say, disenchanted with the current state of the Republican Party. It is really less of a party at this point and more of a cat-bathing convention (full of wildly groping sharp claws and loud screeching); and many of us are just trying to get out without permanent scarring.
I had never voted outside of the Republican Party until this year. In fact, this was also the first time I had ever voted in a primary.
There, I admitted it. I have been guilty of the sin of voter laziness; which, as it turns out, is far more serious than I used to think.
Much to my surprise, Washington was not in fact policing itself responsibly, spending my money wisely or choosing people of impeccable character and credentials to run things. I was understandably shocked to discover this (although, in retrospect, I should have known something was amiss when Ronald Reagan appointed Melvyn R. Paisley. You can never trust a party that puts people with the names of notoriously bad fashion trends into high offices).
Naturally, many of us who had been complacent Republicans awakened this year, but we are newer to this rebel-with-a-cause thing than you are, and we need some guidance.
Next, let’s discuss guns.
Independent Journal Review estimates that the United States has 1.12 guns per citizen (not sure who was stupid enough to buy 0.12 of a gun, but it wasn’t this author – I promise) and you know Republicans are some of the most enthusiastic gun buyers. When Obama was elected in in 2008, gun purchases predictably spiked (to 1.1 million) – and you know those customers were not all Libertarians.
The argument that “if you criminalize guns, only criminals will have guns” is one that people either accept or they don’t… and we do.
It is a notoriously difficult barrier to cross in politics, and we are already on your side of it. Furthermore, even those of us who have long believed in “common sense” measures are realizing that the same people who come up with these measures also build our freeway systems; so it is dawning on us that we may not want our safety in their hands.
Which leads us to… roads.
What is the most common concern you Libertarians hear? Probably that without the massively efficient tax-collection system we have in place, we would have no roads; because we all know that we pay taxes directly to the President, who then goes out and builds our roads… or something. After years of believing this, some of us are catching on.
I live in a town with some roads, which all seem to currently be under construction. This coincidentally seems to be the case in every place I have resided.
In my current city, we were assured that one of our main roads would be finished by June of this year, and it is now November, yet the road is not done. Why? Because the city naturally went with the lowest bidder, who added the small caveat that in the “extremely unlikely” event that they were a “teeny bit behind schedule”, they would not be charged late fees. We are all really surprised by the fact that they are a teeny bit behind schedule; but we are also just glad that our tax dollars are being efficiently spent. We’ve learned our lesson about roads.
Next: Some of us are coming around to your dislike of everything initial, or acronym-based.
I was, for a long time, a reluctant supporter of groups like the FDA because it was like free babysitting; only it isn’t really free.
I recently remembered that I am an adult, and remembered that government agencies seem to do much of what they do very badly. I already do everything badly, on my own, for free. After taking a train ride along the Animas River the day after the EPA helpfully dumped 1 million gallons of yellow sludge into it, I had an epiphany: It occurred to me that these agencies were run by humans who are prone to mistakes.
Continually making the agencies bigger – understandably in a valiant attempt to increase oversight – sometimes just results in more people on the payroll, who will just do more things badly. This may have seemed obvious to you, but we are upbeat folks who like to think that people around us know what they are doing. We promise to drop the sunny optimism if you will work with us.
Finally: We promise to appreciate Kurt Russell as much as you do.
While Republicans have Stephen Baldwin, and Democrats have Alec (and I think maybe some other Baldwins?), you guys have Kurt Russell. Suddenly, we feel stupid for not realizing all along that the party that attracted the man who played Dexter Riley could impart more wisdom to us than all the Baldwin s combined.
Please help us.
* Aubrey Wilkins Wursten is a wife and mother, a public health student, and a freelance writer. She has too few hobbies and too much free time, which she spend wringing her hands over the news.
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