What is Libertarian Philosophy?

By Ronald W Reagan, posted by DJ Rippert

The more things change the more they stay the same. Just over 55 years ago Ronald Reagan gave his “A Time for Choosing” speech. To me, it exemplifies practical libertarian thinking. More than half a century later we live in a country led by an unhinged president. The opposition is led, in large part, by socialists who consider the truth to be a commodity to be used only when it benefits their personal goals or election chances. Closer to home Virginia faces a changing of the guard  Two black-faced racists and an accused rapist will marshal their new majority in Richmond this January to decide the direction of The Old Dominion. The only check on their ambition will come in the form of an opposition party whose pockets are stretched to near ripping with the money of special interests.

During trying times like these I think everybody needs to reexamine and reaffirm their personal political philosophy. The con artists from both sides of the twin cesspools in Washington and Richmond will continue to peddle their snake oil. Only an overall political philosophy will allow citizen-voter-taxpayers to sort the wheat from the chaff through the inevitable spew of intentional deception. In my opinion, Reagan’s 1964 speech embodies the essential, practical libertarian philosophy to which I adhere  I will use that philosophy in two ways. First, I will do my best to demand that our elected officials and candidates for office honestly and plainly describe their agreement or opposition to that philosophy. Secondly, I will cast my support to those elected politicians and candidates who most closely match that philosophy.

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22 responses to “What is Libertarian Philosophy?

  1. I miss Reagan so badly I want to cry.

    • I wasn’t going to share this, but since you brought up crying…when Reagan was elected, I was first-year student at UVA. I had absorbed so much of the fear-mongering propaganda that seemed everywhere on Grounds that I actually cried when he won. I thought that the world was doomed. I never really warmed up to the man, but by his second term I could see his operating system was clearly working.

  2. You may want to seriously look at the Libertarian philosophy to see if it is fit for purpose to meet the needs of our challenges today.

    As another oldie but goodie, I prefer the JFK speech given 13 months prior to Reagan’s (his successor ending up winning in a landslide anyway, despite Ronnie’s best efforts for Goldwater). https://www.jfklibrary.org/archives/other-resources/john-f-kennedy-speeches/united-nations-19630920 Most of these ideas died when he did, although they are still very relevant today, especially considering how these ideas died with him and policies dramatically changed as well (despite LBJ winning and being from his party).
    Our systems – economic (Capitalism vs socialism), political – Democracy vs other forms of non-Democracy (dictatorship, authoritarianism, etc.), and energy to fuel the economy, with its effect on the environment, are all in play now and that means there is a major requirement for new thinking regarding forms of governance, economic activity, and energy and environment.

    Libertarianism is the last thing we need to address all of the above. We need updated, innovative, new thinking. The system(s) we have today are inherently corrupt – by design. Unless and until we attempt to reform them, trouble ahead.

    Former MD governor and Presidential candidate Martin O’Malley said in 2015 – “reform or pitchforks.” We can fight the need for reform, or we can wait for the pitchforks.

    https://www.fastcompany.com/40454254/dont-be-scared-about-the-end-of-capitalism-be-excited-to-build-what-comes-next?fbclid=IwAR3PkuHj-BGTvzlm5vqMgEck0IMjc-gST2QKMX5be3d6T9uQ7s7RRzqBCf8

    https://ourfiniteworld.com/2019/11/14/do-the-worlds-energy-policies-make-sense/#more-44356

    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/05/talking-with-martin-omalley-reform-or-pitchforks/392633/

    • Kennedy’s speeches and political philosophy deserve study too.

      “We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to be won, and they must be won and used for the progress of all people. For space science, like nuclear science and all technology, has no conscience of its own. Whether it will become a force for good or ill depends on man, and only if the United States occupies a position of pre-eminence can we help decide whether this new ocean will be a sea of peace or a new terrifying theater of war. I do not say the we should or will go unprotected against the hostile misuse of space any more than we go unprotected against the hostile use of land or sea, but I do say that space can be explored and mastered without feeding the fires of war, without repeating the mistakes that man has made in extending his writ around this globe of ours.

      There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind, and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation many never come again. But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?

      We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.”

      If you watch a video of the speech Kennedy almost couldn’t get to …

      “We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard … ”

      He almost didn’t get there because the crowd in attendance couldn’t stop laughing at his quip, “Why does Rice play Texas?” The speech was given at Rice University.

  3. I’m glad you said “most closely match” and will assume you meant either the Democrat or the Republican. while I subscribe to the libertarian philosophy for the most part, a vote for a libertarian candidate is simply a failure to make a real choice and a waste of a vote.

    • The Republicans either move toward the Libertarian philosophy or they go extinct. I hope they move. One party rule is never a good system. I guess there is still some hope that a more reasonable person will challenge Trump in 2020 but time is running out for non-billionaires (reference to Michael Bloomberg).

      The Libertarian Party is not viable at this point. Maybe that will change but they can’t seem to win a single House of Delegates seat so they have a long way to go.

  4. Wow. Much is different, yet so little has changed.

    • It hurts a little to watch those old speeches by Reagan, Kennedy, etc. Fact based, inspirational, politely humorous, adhering to an understandable political philosophy. Where has that all gone? Clinton could pull that off once in a while but that’s been about it.

  5. A Libertarian Ronald Reagan would not have made toppling the Evil Empire his overarching goal. And I’m sure Bacon also recalls that at the Roanoke Times we had a colleague who had served with Reagan in the big WW2, making training and propaganda films at Fort Roach. I was living in CA when Reagan was elected governor in 1966. Not my first choice in 1980 but he grew on me rapidly.

    • I never said Reagan was a libertarian. I said his “A Time for Choosing” speech espoused libertarian values and views. There is no definition of libertarian and there should never be one. The incessant internal debate over the definition of conservative is perhaps biggest problem with today’s Republican party. If political philosophy were the spectrum libertarianism would cover something like yellow, green and a bit of blue. It is not, and never should become, a single wavelength.

  6. What a golden oldie! Funny how we don’t care about trump’s deficit spending. And jim, Reagan brought us almost as close to nuclear war than Cuba. Changed later. I covered him in Moscow

    • We don’t seem to care about deficits at all anymore. Big mistake. Trump is escalating the national debt and the Dem candidates have nothing to say in the debates. Time for Jim to write Boomergeddon II?

  7. I don’t know what Libertarian means, but I like it.

  8. Where do we find statesmen and women to provide the leadership? The current crop of elected officials at both the state and federal level are more focussed on promoting and enriching themselves than governing. I miss Reagan and Tip O’Neil.

    • Great question. There are some politicians, on both sides, that have potential. Tulsi Gabbard may need more experience but she’s on the right track, ditto Pete Buttigieg, Michael Bloomberg, Larry Hogan, Marco Rubio, maybe Mitt Romney.

      But if the Dems nominate Warren we’ll have another “who is less horrible” election.

      Reagan and Tip O’Neil had what I’d call a 6 O’Clock friendship. They may have fought like cats and dogs on most days but they could sit down together at 6:00 and drink a beer. And when a problem faced the country like keeping social security afloat they could temporarily put aside their partisan differences and get a deal done.

      • I can buy Pete Buttigieg, Larry Hogan, Marco Rubio, maybe Mitt Romney. But Michael Bloomberg. He wants to regulate everything.

        There is a place for regulation in the areas of health, safety, antitrust, consumer protection and anti-discrimination (the opposite of affirmative discrimination). But much regulation is designed to control prices and market entry by otherwise qualified businesses to protect incumbent suppliers.

  9. Ripper. Jim says we aren’t supposed to write about Trump. He doesn’t exist

    • Ha ha. Maybe if you and I both simultaneously close our eyes and think good thoughts both Trump and Elizabeth Warren will disappear.

      • Ya Know………. one of the TWO we are comparing here – is the current POTUS who is actually exhibiting his behaviors for all the world to see including our allies and enemies and the other is but one of several candidates who is making policy proposals but whose behaviors are really quite “normal” and who does not make personal attacks against our existing govt institutions like the FBI, CIA, Diplomatic Corp… civilian folks , entertainers, sports personalities, blue Star families, and whoever else ends up in the sights of his twitter gun… cozying up to strongmen and dictators – enemies of our country – you’re comparing the two…. as if they are equal but just opposite political types…

        The POTUS intimidates witnesses in front of the whole country and claims it is his “free speech” – “right” – and we have no shortage of defenders of this behavior.

        sorry – we seem to have an inability to judge these days.. we have graduated to a “both sides, they both do it” mentality … but I see NONE of this kind of behavior on the “other side”… it’s NOT normal… and both sides do NOT do it!

        Trump represents the right – make no mistake – they defend him to the hilt – and we have among those who say it’s just “his way” of doing politics and it’s no worse than the Elizabeth Warren types.

        Good Gawd O’Mighty… no wonder we have “issues” figuring out how we want to proceed on major things we need to resolve – we just agree to NOT proceed .. and instead argue like a 6-yr old does.

        Forget Global Warming – we don’t agree on basic things like immigration and health care – and the current POTUS is the MODEL for how we process things now.

        • The problem is that we had a God awful choice in 2016. Criminillary vs The Donald. Ugh! If 2020 becomes The Orange Man vs Lieawatha we’re right back to where we started. Sanders is no better than Fauxchahontas. Biden’s as much of a buffoon as Trump (and more crooked). Tulsi Gabbard, Mayor Pete, Michael Bloomberg? Maybe.

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