I just saw America’s favorite libertarian, Ron Swanson, live last weekend. He came to my area to do a healthy mixture of a comedy sketch and inspirational speech, which I thought was executed perfectly. Yes, I’m aware that Ron Swanson isn’t a real person, but I still have immense respect for him. I don’t agree with all of his ideologies—there are some that make the feminist in me cringe—but he is one of the few people I know who has properly represented the libertarian platform.
First of all, let me just say that Ron Paul is not a libertarian. Some of his views definitely coincide with libertarianism, but after making such ridiculous claims denying the existence of separation of church and state and boldly supporting America as a “Christian Nation,” clearly he’s been mislabeled. I think he’s back with the Republicans now (which is where he belongs), but he still seems to be the first person people think of when they hear the word libertarian. I’m just going to say this once for the record: associating government with religion infringes on freedom, and that is a bad, bad thing.
Apparently Gary Johnson is the new forerunner of the Libertarian Party, and he appears to be okay in my opinion. I didn’t do extensive research on him, though. I panicked last election, thinking Romney was going to win, so I voted for Obama. He may not have been the best choice, but he kept the worst choice from winning (and in America, only the two worst choices can win—more on this later). Still, Ron Swanson is my man, and if fictional characters could run for president, I’d vote for him, hands down. Although, if fictional characters started running for office, it’d open a whole new can of worms that I just don’t think the world is ready for. The world is ready for cats as elected officials, apparently, but I only see that as an improvement.
Anyway, this post is mostly just a shout-out to libertarianism, which just seems to get swept under the rug most of the time. So, what is libertarianism? There are different schools of thought on what it implies, but at its core, liberty is held as the highest political end, where the government has limited control over both the social and economic lives of its citizens. Some go as far to advocate anarchy (I may or may not be one of those people) while others just want government to be limited in scope. Moreover, some like to see everything privatized and capitalized, while others take a more communistic approach.
It is important to note that libertarianism is not liberalism. That’s the mistake most people make when I tell them my party affiliations. I know our names sound alike, but no. I like to think of us as a lovely hybrid between liberal and conservative ideologies, taking the best from each.
The image below illustrates it the best. Libertarianism doesn’t exactly fit on the political spectrum because it would be in the middle, which is also where fascism would be. Clearly, that is a problem because Fascism favors authoritarians, whereas libertarianism favors anarchy. Therefore, they’re opposites and should be expressed as such. With the political compass, we make ideologies two-dimensional, with the poles being “left” (libralism), “right” (conservatism), authoritarianism, and libertarianism.
This image comes from the political compass website. The site is dedicated to using this more modern view to describe ideologies. If you go to politicalcompass.org/test, you can take a 6-step test that shows you exactly where you fall on the political compass.
I actually just took this test now as I was writing this. This was my result:
Apparently I’m not so much a pure libertarian as a left-wing loony… I probably should have taken the test before I started writing all this praise and self-importance regarding libertarianism, but oh well. I’m still far enough south to justify holding onto the label. And it should be noted that these tests are rarely perfectly accurate. You can’t really thoroughly assess someone based on a 10-minute test (and I really find it difficult to believe that I’m more liberal than Gandhi…). Anyway, it’s still a nice assessment to give you a ballpark of where you belong.
Anyway, I don’t want to give Ron Swanson all the credit. Guess who else identifies as libertarian: Vince Vaughn, the handsome free-liberties devil, is considered one of the most outspoken celebrity libertarians. Remember Kane, the WWE wrestler? He’s taken to writing articles for prominent libertarian websites when he’s not cage-wrestling and trash-talking the Undertaker. (Yeah, I’ve been out of touch with wrestling for a few years…) Even the co-founder of the greatest online source of information, Jimmy Wales—you may recognize him from those puppy-eyed please-give-us-money banners—is a self-proclaimed libertarian. And the list goes on. (I actually snagged this list from policymic.com.)
So, that was my homage to libertarianism. It wasn’t so much ideological as fangirl-esque, but I’m in too easy-going of a mood to go off on another political crusade this morning. I’ll save that for part two.