With any political movement or party, there are different strains of thought withing the Libertarian Party and the philosophy known as libertarianism. This video helps break it down:
Why Libertarian? Archive
I’m a partisan Libertarian, as you know. Although I frequently state my ‘glass half empty’ case, fact is, whenever a major change takes place affecting an executive or legislative branches of government, there are things I can be hopeful of, depending on the offices affected, and the party of those taking power.
When Obama was sworn in, there were many things I was hopeful for, especially because he was campaigning about them. These included:
- Withdrawl from Iraq
- End to borrow-and-spend
- Closing of Gitmo
- End to policy of ‘indefinite detention’
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I grew up in a household with 2 parents who are strong Democrats. I registered as a Democrat when I reached voting age as a result. I never gave this too much thought until college. As I sat in my economics classes, I realized that the Democratic view of economics does not match up with how the world actually works.
I drifted away from the party as this realization crystallized in my mind. Out on my own after college, I tried to gravitate to the Republicans, based on what I thought their economic policies were. I never really felt comfortable there either, although at the time I don’t know that I would have been able to tell anyone exactly why. I considered myself an independent voter, mainly because I did not know there was anywhere else to go. One man would change my viewpoint forever.
On a Friday night in 1999, I was in my Speedway apartment watching television when the debate for Mayoral candidates of Indianapolis came on. There were actually four candidates at the debate, one of whom was Andrew Horning (Libertarian). In my mind, he clearly won the debate, simply because he was giving actual answers to the questions asked instead of a pre-written party line that the Democrat and Republican would repeat over and over, no matter the question. He earned my vote that fall, but I didn’t really think about politics much after the elections.
Then tragedy struck the United States on September 11, 2001. This event caused me to think a lot about my life, this country, our place in the world, and eventually the policies that led to this disaster. Several friends and myself started discussing politics over email, and one of those friends, who is a Libertarian, pointed out that many of my viewpoints agreed with the party’s platform. At this point I recalled that debate in 1999, and my interest was piqued.
After doing some research online and realizing that the LP stood for what I believed in, limited government and personal responsibility, I joined the party in May of 2002. I have become more active in the party over time, and consider myself fortunate to have met the good people that are also involved. The United States was founded upon and prospered because of personal liberty. The Libertarian Party is the only party in this country that is promoting an agenda of a return to personal liberty (and responsibility), and I am proud to be a part of it.
(Todd Singer is currently the co-chairman of the Libertarian Party of Hendricks County, and the former state Chair of the Libertarian Party of Indiana.)
I was born in Henry County, and raised on a small farm near Millville. I was the second of eight children. At an early age it was expected and accepted that the children would help with the farm chores. We drank milk from our own cows, ate eggs from our own chickens and bacon from our own pigs.
Outside of an occasional visit to Saffer’s General Store in Mooreland or Kelly’s Ranch Market in Millville, or sometimes when the Jewel Tea man stopped in, we were pretty much self-sufficient. I remember my Grandpa used to say that we were the type of people that liked to “pick up our own sticks and kill our own snakes.”
That self-sufficiency that my parents and grandparents taught me stayed with me into my young adult years, and in 1974, I started my own construction business, which I still operate today. I’ve spent 32 years driving nails. I said I was self-sufficient, I didn’t say I was smart.
This concept of looking out for yourself runs in the family. My wife Susan owns an upholstery shop and a furniture store. When she was elected Judge of the Hagerstown Court in 2003, she drew the first paycheck that either of us had seen in over 25 years. My two oldest children worked and saved and paid their own way through college, and my youngest son, who works with me now and has since he was eight years old, started a home remodeling business when he was junior in high school.
By now you are probably wondering “Where in the world is he going with this. To tell you the truth, I’ve been wondering that myself. I think the point I would try to make is how my upbringing eventually led me to the Libertarian Party. The libertarians are strong supporters of personal freedom and personal responsibility.
I was raised by Republicans, so I naturally thought that I was a Republican, and I had always believed they were the friends of small business and limited government. As long as I could run my business without much interference I was fairly happy, and besides, I could always blame any undue regulation or excessive tax on some Democrat somewhere.
That frame of mind started unraveling in the mid 1990’s. The building department in Wayne county, where I have resided since 1971, for years was operated by one little man. He would drive around the county visiting with contractors, and as long as nobody made any grievous errors in judgment, and as long the customer was happy with the builder’s work, he was not inclined to get involved in the private affairs of the public. I didn’t like the fact that our county commissioners were wasting our tax dollars paying this man a salary and buying his gas so he could drive around all day, but as long as he mostly left us alone, I had resigned myself to put up with him.
But, as I mentioned, sometime around 1996, my Republican county council and commissioners decided that they were going to “upgrade” the Wayne County Building Department. They increased the budget tenfold, hired a woman from Cincinnati with a codebook and a tape measure, but no knowledge of construction, to run the department, and generally made life a living hell for homeowners and builders in the county. I helped to lead a group of those homeowners and builders in a quest to return some sanity to the department. The new inspector was gone within a year, but not without a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth by a lot of citizens in the county. I’ve always felt that this was the series of events that started to cause me to question if the Republican Party as it existed now was going to be able to satisfy my needs.
It was quite by coincidence that during this time I happened across the coverage of a Libertarian Party convention on CNN. I had never heard of the LP before, but it only took a few minutes of listening to a speech by Presidential candidate Harry Browne for me to decide that “hey, these guys actually get it”. Mr. Browne’s views on a constitutionally limited government, and what that government’s role in our lives should be, mirrored what my thoughts had been for years. I had thought that I was crazy to have these thoughts. Now, maybe I was crazy. But at least I found out that there were other people out there that were just as crazy as I was.
That exposure to the Libertarian Party started me to studying the libertarian philosophy. It is a philosophy of freedom and the responsibility that must accompany that freedom. It is based on the principles of freedom and responsibility that this country was founded on 230 years ago. And it is based on the principles that I was raised on 50 years ago.
It’s about freedom. That’s why I’m proud to be an American, and that’s why I’m proud to be a Libertarian.
I believe in personal freedom, responsibility and accountability. People should be able to say, write, worship, eat, drink and smoke whatever they want as long as they do not harm others and are prepared to accept the full consequences. The government should have no role in dictating personal lives or in compensating persons who willingly make bad decisions.
I believe in small limited government. The size and power of the government has been increasing for far too long and it now intrudes on almost every aspect of our lives. We need and deserve to be served by a small limited government.
I believe in free enterprise and core principles of capitalism. The government is needed to provide a level playing field; NOT to bail out companies or individuals. There are very few reasons why the government should ever own a business competing in the private sector.
I believe in fiscal responsibility. Living beyond our means is reckless and damaging to our families and ourselves. We are expected to live within our means and the government should set the example not be the exception.
I believe in the American people. It is the people within America that make this country great. Corporations and special interest groups are not people and should never be extended the same rights afforded to the people. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for the people should be valued above all other things.
Joshua Sefcheck is a Columbus, IN resident. He is currently seeking the nomination to run for the Columbus City Council.
Why I am A Libertarian is a series by Hoosiers Libertarians explaining why they joined the party, and what attracts them to the libertarian philosophy. If you’d like to be featured, please send 200 to 300 to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The economy, foreign policy, and social issues…
Mike Kole isn’t the only Libertarian in this series of podcast ‘conversion stories’ to go from the Democrats to the LP, but he was the first to mention Ayn Rand her influential novel ‘Atlas Shrugged’.
That book wasn’t the only influence- betrayal by Democrats on free speech issues was huge, and the book brought Kole to libertarian philosophy. 1996 Presidential candidate Harry Browne closed the deal. Kole was sold on the Libertarian Party
It’s amazing how a person who can be a reliable source of argument could become a long-time teammate. Many years ago, Joe Hauptmann used to argue with Steve Dasbach, Hauptmann coming from the right, Dasbach from the left, until they discovered they agreed on libertarian principles. From there Hauptmann became Indiana’s state chair, while Dasbach was the LNC’s director.
Now Hauptmann is running in a competitive two-way race for Indiana House in District 87. This is Joe’s story of his discovery of, and early involvement with, the Libertarian Party.
Listen Here: Joe Hauptmann’s Discovery of the LP
By Dennis Beatty
I hear it a lot, being a Libertarian running for office, those Libertarians and their ‘crazy’ ideas. Letting people choose to live their lives as they see fit, not as the government forces you to? How would we all survive? How would that work? Isn’t that something that only works in small widespread farm communities?
When debating people, I make no bones about being a Libertarian. “Oh,” I hear, “you are an anarchist”. Not sure where that one comes from, mostly made up by people who just can’t grasp the thought of people being able to decide on things for themselves. “You just want the old and poor to be left alone”. Apparently, without government assistance, which means taking money from one group of people, by force, and giving that money to another, we as humane individuals would never help out people in need. “Libertarianism was a nice idea when we were an agriculture society but it doesn’t work in large urban areas”. No, that is when it is needed most, if there is no one around you telling you want to do, you don’t need a form of government that protects you from no one. And my favorite “you’re just selfish!” Yeah, that’s me, the selfish one who wants to give people more power over their own lives.
For those that read those quotes and don’t see immediately what is wrong with them, let’s start by enlightening you about what Libertarianism is and what it isn’t.
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Mark Rutherford is the Vice Chair of the Libertarian National Committee, and like many other Libertarians, he credits two-time presidential candidate Harry Browne with helping to make it so.
Prior to being elected to the LNC, and to a seven-year stint as LPIN State Chair, Rutherford once thought of himself as a Republican. In this edition of the podcast, Mark Rutherford describes his shift from the Republicans to the Libertarian Party.
Conversations with US Senate candidate Rebecca Sink-Burris: Why I am a Libertarian and on her family life.
Find more Conversations with Rebecca at her YouTube Channel.
Conventional wisdom holds that Libertarians are former Republicans. In reality, disaffected Democrats are every bit as likely to become Libertarians.
Ed Angleton is a good case in point. He comes from a family of Democrats, and even shook Bobby Kennedy’s hand as a youngster. But with civil liberties as an absolute, an aversion to political correctness, and faced with an 800% property tax increase, it can become uncomfortable to remain a Democrat.
This installment features outgoing LP of Marion County Vice Chair Ed Angleton’s conversions story.
Andy Horning is well known to Hoosiers across the state. Although he ran several times as a Libertarian for went to the Republicans, and came back to the Libertarian Party, his original conversion to libertarian thinking may surprise you.
Dav Wilson is the Libertarian candidate for US House in District 7. His shift from his conservative Republican background to the Libertarian Party roughly mirrors that of his friend- Indianapolis City-County Councilman Ed Coleman.
Wilson is quick to point out that he switched before Coleman did, and on the grounds of individual rights and discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Find out more at his campaign website: www.wilsonforindy.com.
Listen here: 076 Dav Wilson’s Conversion Parallels A Friend’s