Has the United States reached the point of no return? Is political polarization the cause of all our problems? Are we stuck in a continuous downward spiral? Americans have pondered these questions practically since the end of the Second World War. Currently, despite factions continuing to emerge in the Republican and Democratic Parties, third parties effectively accomplish little to nothing. The Libertarian Party has been somewhat of a disappointment, especially to Libertarians such as myself, but instead of giving up on the prospect of a viable alternative to our current political climate, why not push forward to show people the hope that it brings? The Libertarian Party promotes the social freedom that liberals desire and the economic freedom that conservatives want. Believing in the Libertarian Party for these principles is believing in freedom, and freedom is innate to Americans.
The Libertarian Party’s approach to social freedom is evident in liberal philosophy. The belief that you should be able to do as you please without harming another’s right to do as they please was an important belief from French, Scottish, and early American Enlightenment societies. These principles of freedom were originally embraced by Americans after the Revolutionary War and still persist in Americans today. Despite the Founders’ flaws, they laid down the principles that were adopted by later philosophers to include everyone. These principles can be used by Libertarians interchangeably to apply to almost anything. Beliefs in the right to privacy, freedom of speech, marriage, expression, movement, and other aspects of life all pertain to the liberal mindset which the Libertarian Party possesses. Liberal Democrats believe that Libertarians are just “unique” Democrats. This belief is wrong. Libertarians are classical liberals in wanting freedom and do not believe in the harsh restrictions left-leaning people want to put on the economy and private businesses. What makes Libertarians so unique and how they are a solution to the problems America faces is their ability to incorporate all of the different elements of freedom into the party with their philosophy.
The Libertarian Party’s approach to economic freedom is evident in conservative philosophy. The first question that would arise in the minds of liberals is how is it possible to believe in social freedom but somehow believe in big business at the same time? The answer is simple. Libertarians aspire to not be hypocritical. A fault of politicians is how they claim to fight for freedom but are so eager to strip Americans of their social rights. It’s what conservatives want to do because they want to protect the past. Liberals are so eager to strip Americans of their economic rights because they apparently want to try and prevent the past; it is hypocritical of them to say they want freedom but also want to take it away. Libertarians see this hypocrisy and decide to truly fight for freedom. Therefore, they are described as socially tolerant and fiscally conservative— we believe in the rights of everyone; even the smallest minority is the individual. This is how the Libertarian Party promotes itself in conservative philosophy through economic freedom; people have the right to start a business, to keep most of one’s earnings, to purchase goods that one desires, to invest where one pleases, and other desires as well. These are freedoms that the Constitution was meant to protect, but have been subdued based on the actions of authoritarian politicians as to promote their own personal ideologies. Conservatives, in this case, are guilty of suppressing freedoms that they don’t want the other side of the political spectrum to have. The downward spiral and political polarization the United States has been in is expressed by what happens when the two sides maintain their hypocritical and selfish outlook.
The Libertarian Party is not perfect. It certainly will not suddenly win an election in a landslide. It will not unify the United States instantaneously. It will not fix everything. But it will spark a change. It will promote fresh, intellectual thought and conversations about freedom and its limit in the United States, allowing Americans to realize they have been Libertarians all along. The Libertarian Party may have only been founded in the 1970s, but the philosophy of the party has existed in America’s political environment for hundreds of years. Once people start believing in the prospect of the Libertarian Party and the positive chain of events that it can incite, it will slowly take a hold in the American political landscape. Whether or not the party will be represented in the electorate or not, perhaps principle is actually the real solution.
~Jacob Tabb, Morton West High School