I find it fascinating that so many people devote so much of their time and energy to getting McCain or Obama elected to office. If there were differences in philosophy between McCain or Obama, it might make some sense. But given that there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between them, I just can’t see why people waste so much of their lives and resources in this endeavor.
All too many people honestly believe that because they are two separate political parties, there must be differences between the parties. What they fail to consider is that it’s possible to have one political party that is divided into two wings, much as the NFL is one league that is divided into two conferences.
Look at the government programs that McCain and Obama agree are important to American society: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, public schooling, income taxation, a central bank, paper money, occupational licensure, economic regulations, trade restrictions, immigration controls, gun control, the occupation of Afghanistan, the drug war, foreign aid, FDIC, infringements on privacy and civil liberties, and financial bailouts. They both believe in such departments and agencies as the IRS, the Departments of Labor, Agriculture, Energy, Commerce, Homeland Security, SEC, DEA, and all the rest.
Why do they share a common commitment to such programs? Because they both share the same philosophical worldview as to the proper role of government in society. They both believe that the primary purposes of government are to (1) to take money from some people and distribute it to others; (2) to take care of people in a paternalistic way with welfare and drug laws; (3) to intervene in people’s economic affairs; (4) to run the economy; (5) to interfere with the internal affairs of other countries; and (6) to attack countries that haven’t attacked the United States.
In other words, both McCain and Obama share a common commitment to socialism, interventionism, and imperialism. That’s the philosophical framework under which they operate. The same applies to most Republicans and Democrats.
So, what difference does it make whether McCain or Obama is elected president? None. The federal government will continue to confiscate wealth and redistribute it, interfere with economic activity, meddle overseas, and attack and bomb countries that lack the military means to defend themselves.
Of course, neither McCain nor Obama would ever describe himself as socialist, interventionist, or imperialist. Instead, they would describe themselves as believers in freedom and free enterprise. Ever since the New Deal, both liberals and conservatives have simply redefined those terms to mean the socialist, interventionist, and imperial polices that the United States has adopted.
Libertarians operate with a complete different worldview. We oppose all those government programs, departments, and agencies and, thus, we favor a society in which they are absent. We believe that the proper role of government is simply to punish people who initiate force against others (e.g., murderers, robbers, etc.), to provide a judicial system, and to defend against the unlikely event of a foreign invasion of America.
Thus, while we believe in freedom and free enterprise, as McCain and Obama purport to do, our definition of those term is the original one employed by the Founding Fathers and the Framers — activity and economic enterprise that is free of government control, regulation, or interference. Thus, we necessarily view a genuinely free society as one in which there is an absence (not a reform) of the drug war, trade restrictions, economic regulations, income taxation, foreign wars, infringements on privacy and civil liberties, immigration controls, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, and gun control.
We believe that people should be free to live their own lives without government control, regulation, or interference, so long as they don’t violate the rights of others with acts of violence, such as murder, theft, rape, and burglary. We believe that people to have the right to accumulate unlimited amounts of wealth and decide for themselves what to do with it. We believe that the federal government should be prohibited from policing the world. That’s what individual freedom, free enterprise, and limited government mean to us.
People can spend all their time and energy getting McCain or Obama elected, but all they are accomplishing is electing their favorite candidate to be their despot — a different face to plunder, loot, control, interdict, bomb, and kill other people. People just need to recognize that nothing fundamental will change with the election of their favorite candidate. The socialism, interventionism, and imperialism will continue, along with all their bitter fruits — impoverishment, death, destruction, and loss of liberty.
In order to achieve meaningful and positive change, it is necessary for the American people to raise their visions to a higher level — toward a change from the current system of socialism, interventionism, and imperialism to a system of genuine individual liberty, free markets, private property, and a constitutionally limited government. In a word, toward a system of libertarianism, one in which it wouldn’t matter who was elected president because the federal government would be wielding such little power over the lives, activities, and fortunes of the people.