Monday, May 18, 2009

"Throw me in that briar patch, I'm guilty. I love liberty."

Governer Mark Sanford (R - South Carolina) responds in this short video to criticisms that he might be "too libertarian" in a way that more politicians ought to.

Cross posted to The Shotgun.


Konrad said...

One thing that can be said about libertarianism, when contrasted with the ideological hodgepodge that tends to populate the Republican Party (as well as, to some extent, the CPC) is that atleast it's fairly lucid. Obviously, this problem exists in Canada: that the CPC represents easy advocacy of many, varying "conservative" positions, without really standing for anything - "Freedom, Family, and Faith" notwithstanding, or vagaries of fiscal policy and moralistic governance.

So I spent some time looking for a solution; some ideology singular enough to be workable whilst accomodating political reality as well as the conservative factions that exist - just for laughs, of course - here as well as in other nations. The best solution, I came up with, was "civil libertarianism", a term related in a book I read to John Robarts, the former PC Premier of Ontario, which essentially entails a belief in maximal individual freedom within the context of taxation and certain regulations. I understand its basic components to be:

- decentralization of government-owned industries to spur competition and diversity, while maintaining funding: education vouchers, for example, ensure guaranteed education while theoretically increasing competition and reducing government avenues for instilling preset values

- a relatively neutral bureaucracy that does not favour either secular or theistic approaches, and seeks only to mirror the views of the populace

- the repealing of laws deemed arbitrary reductions of freedom (so in Ontario, for example, the pit bull ban, draconian alcohol blood-level legislation, etc).

- the aggressive expansion of civil liberties, where these don't contradict the right of individuals and businesses to operate freely (so, for example, the furtherance of transgender rights)

- a preference for directly redistributing money to the impoverished rather than doing so via state resources, to ensure money re-enters the economy without being spent inefficiently and that greater freedom exists, even in state sponsorship

- a relatively flattened tax rate to limit disincentives (the "relatively" is here since small progressive taxation disparities are hard to describe as "disincentives")

- a non-interventionist foreign policy, which could coincide federally with the withdrawal from NATO or the UN

- the abolishment of National Arts Councils in order to allocate money to artists more directly (less ideologically) via individual (i.e., a musician) and small business (i.e, an indie record label) tax credits

Charles Martin Cosgriff said...

Interesting commentary. I have to agree with what the governor says, of course, but as a student of American History I am fascinated that the words come from a South Carolina politician.

You see, South Carolina has been arguably the most libertarian of our states. Her protest against the Tariff of Abominations in the 1820's and 1830's was driven by free market impulses and threatened an early civil war over protectionist trade policies. Some believe that it was only the threat of war which kept SC in the Union then.

Further, South Carolina was the first State to leave the Union before the actual Civil War, having done so in December 1860 before Lincoln even took office after winning the November election. Sadly, her reasons for leaving were less defensible than her efforts against the tariff.