Author: Mike Mazzarone
Co-author: Alon Ganon
My name is Mike Mazzarone and I am the head of public relations for Being Libertarian. Firstly I would like to say that while I am (not?) a regular fixture in the writing department like our fellow staff members, I felt this particular topic was well needed and worth writing about – Why Liberals Should Consider Not Only Rand Paul but Libertarianism. It has always appeared to me that liberals as well as Republicans felt the need to put everyone in boxes. Politics, for me, is not always a black and white thing, and I have personally supported candidates on both aisles for the presidency. For example, Mike Gravel and Jim Webb in 2008 and ‘16 were examples of Democrats that I thought had truly significant messages. If I felt the Democratic Party had a candidate, mainstream or not, worth consideration, I would give them my support. Why? Because, for me it’s not about the party, but rather the candidate running.
It is a real shame that this is, in general, not true for supporters of the Democratic Party.
I’ll give you a quick synopsis of my life experience. I live in New Jersey, which for the most part is a very liberal state. Yes, you have a pocket of red counties, and yes, we made Chris Christie a “thing” here for some reason, but let’s be honest; New Jersey is never going to be in play for the presidency for quite some time. Living here I can tell you that most voters consider all Republicans, including the liberty-minded ones, as this big lump of backwards, draconian sameness. My mother, father, sister and a lot of my close friends would never consider a Republican candidate because of the (R) that is next to their name.
However, do not fret, my left leaning pals! I can assure all of you that there is significant difference between the likes of Rick Santorum and Ben Carson, on the one hand, and more of my kind of a Republican candidate, Rand Paul, on the other. That’s because Rand is running (for the most part) on libertarian principles. To me, that is a really good thing. I think there is a lot of common ground between liberals and libertarians – well, the sane ones anyway; as I don’t see any hope for progressives or people who suddenly think that socialism is now “cool”.
What I want to do is seemingly impossible: I want to not only sell libertarian principles to liberals, progressives, moderates and everyone in between, but also explain why Rand Paul is a good choice for ordinarily-Democratic voters. So with the help of fellow staffer, Alon Ganon, we would like to present the top five reasons liberals should consider Rand Paul and libertarianism.
- Social Issues
I personally believe that this is where liberals and libertarians have the most common ground. Believe me when I say that there is a lot within the libertarian philosophy on social issues that could be attractive to someone who is left-leaning. Libertarians believe that the government should play a very small, if any, role in social issues. For the extreme leftists that want government to be the solution for everything, that might be a problem. However I believe the idea that the government should not have a say in who marries who, who can and cannot get an abortion, and what can we and cannot put into our bodies, should be appealing to many on the left.
Rand Paul is not above going across party lines to get good laws passed either, as evidenced by his support of a bill wherein he teamed up with two Democrats to protect marijuana users (whether medical or recreational) from federal prosecution. He has also supported lessening the sentence for nonviolent marijuana offenders, as well as pushed for the legalization of commercial hemp farming. Personal liberty and allowing human beings to make their own life choices (as long as they are aware of the consequences) should be embraced by left-leaning folks. We would legalize, or at least decriminalize. This position is very different from the social conservatives on the right.
- War As A Final Resort
How is this not a (given?)?! Well, for the most part, whenever liberals and progressives hear “libertarian” they believe that we are just like any other Republican, and that couldn’t be any more false. One of the biggest selling points of libertarianism is that we believe war should be the absolute final option when it comes to foreign policy. This was made clear during the FOX Business/WSJ Republican Debate. You have Rand Paul, for instance, who believes that while we need a strong national defense, we also need to be smart about it. Rand is someone who takes war seriously and would seek congressional approval before sending our loved ones onto a battlefield.
It is important to note, however, that there is a vast difference between isolationists and non-interventionists, and, depending on which libertarian you talk to, you’ll hear one of those two points. I personally believe that most libertarians are in line with non-interventionism, meaning the only reason one would go to war is for self-defense. It also means that military alliances with other nations should be purposely avoided, without sacrificing friendly diplomacy relations.
Our third point follows directly on the fact that we oppose spending trillions of taxpayer dollars on war.
- Fiscal Responsibility
I don’t know anyone (unless you are drinking the pro-big government spending, Bernie Sanders Kool-Aid, or the far-right Kool-Aid that creates the impression that constant spending is a good thing) who opposes the principle that the government should spend our money responsibly. Whether that is for our military or welfare and social programs makes no difference. The United States’ national debt is almost at 20 trillion dollars and we spend a million dollars every minute. I think that left-minded people would find it ideal that libertarians and the center-right/center-left (who embrace fiscal responsibility) want to get us back in the black again. Ron Paul had a sound plan in 2012 to cut a trillion dollars, the first year in regards to our national debt. Rand Paul wants to end corporate welfare, blow up our tax code, and has a five-year budget that balances our federal budget. You also have Libertarian candidates, such as Austin Petersen, who similarly have sound plans for the economy. Petersen wants to help put in place the Penny Plan, which would cut one penny out of every dollar that the government spends, every year for every five years.
With libertarians, the goal is to put an end to our national debt – something which isn’t much of a concern to many mainstream politicians on both the right and the left.
- Washington Outsider: The Doctor is in
Unlike Bernie Sanders, or even Hillary Clinton, Rand Paul is not a career politician. Rand Paul is an ophthalmologist by trade, having earned his degree at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, N.C., in 1988. He practiced optometry for 18 years prior to becoming a senator of Kentucky in 2010. Since Sen. Dr. Rand Paul is, well, a doctor, he knows why the Affordable Care Act is actually bad. So when Dr. Paul is telling you his prescription for healthcare, perhaps it’s time to start listening to the professional rather than some random person who isn’t necessarily an expert telling you how to treat your illness. Dr. Ben Carson may be a neurosurgeon, but Dr. Paul believes he needs his eyes checked.
- Standing Firm on His Principles
It’s no secret that Rand Paul has made quite amusing use of filibusters as of late. He is not one to shy away from opposition to let the voice of liberty heard. Some examples include his filibuster on the excessive use of drone strikes by the Obama Administration for 13 hours long in Congress; a 10½ hour filibuster on the Patriot Act; and a very short filibuster about the crony bipartisan budget deal which actually wouldn’t save any money before being voted to an end. The first two filibusters mentioned are both issues the left is heavily concerned with: the Patriot Act which they say they hated Bush for, and the loss of innocent life via collateral damage from drone strikes. Rand Paul has been very consistent with his stances on the wars in the Middle East, unlike Bernie Sanders who did vote to go to war with Afghanistan according to Meet The Press on September 13, 2015. According to AlterNet, Sanders also supported the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999, which Hillary Clinton similarly supported. This actually caused one of Sanders’ advisers to resign. Sanders even supports giving $1 billion in aid to the coup in Ukraine.
These are just a few of the reasons why Democrats should reconsider their party affiliation – not just for the 2016 election cycle but perhaps for good. With the Democratic Party moving so far to the left (and more left than in my opinion, any rational human being could advocate for), this opens the door for most voters to discover libertarianism and the rationality it is founded upon. While Bernie Sanders is the darling of the progressive left and those who don’t really understand the ramifications of his policies, there is another candidate who is not only someone who is not a career politician, but speaks logically, with a sound economic plan that won’t put us trillions of dollars in debt. A candidate that truly deserves consideration from liberals and independents, and who can hopefully secure their vote.
That man is Rand Paul.
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