Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Wait. I think I'm turning Libertarian!
By Don Keith
(With your kind indulgence, I am going to stray a bit from the usual rapid-technological-change thing for this post. And I warn you: I'm venturing into politics on this one.)
I have always had something of a jaded view of Libertarians. Yes, I agree with much of what they have to offer, but they seemed to be out there on some kind of wild-eyed island, bent on legalizing everything, removing all regulation, and just short of being anarchists. And the epitome of libertarianism has recently been Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky.
Sorry, but to me, he had that slightly askew look and a tendency to give speeches in which he seemed to say he had all the answers and the rest of us were too dumb (or liberal) to realize just how wrong we were.
Oh, and out there with them on the lunatic fringe were the Tea Party members, a group that I assumed wanted to take us all the way back to the 1700s in more ways than one. Sure, some of what I heard from them made pretty good sense, but still, I was leery. They just seemed too clear-eyed and evangelical for them to be up to any good at all.
And as a human rights radical, an individual freedom liberal, and an economic conservative, I just could not see how many of their ideas were anywhere compatible with mine, though I admit that I took little time to really hear what they were saying. That was simply because I was put off by the labels they wore.
Well, lately, I have become more and more willing to listen to what Paul and the Tea Partiers have to say. Amazingly, I find very little with which I disagree any more.
Last night, President Barack Obama gave his fifth State of the Union address. I truly hoped he would propose sensible actions to change what I believe is a stagnating economy and what Jimmy Carter would term a general malaise in our country. What I heard was a rousing stump speech that was powerfully and expertly delivered...but one that had not an ounce of practical content and absolutely no new ideas. Anyone who heard some are welcome to point them out to me. The "My RA?" C'mon! Don't we have the IRA and a confusing melange of 401 savings programs already?
Okay, so maybe the Republican response would be a chance for the GOP to show what their solutions were, what they would propose instead. Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rogers delivered a powerful, emotional speech that told a wonderful personal story...but one that had not an ounce of practical content and absolutely no new ideas.
Then, today, I watched a video response to the president's state of the union by Senator Paul and another by Senator Mike Lee, representing the Tea Party point of view. Frankly, I was astonished by what I heard. Both these men were singing a welcome song!
Are they sincere? Is it more "tell 'em what they want to hear" rhetoric that politicians use to get elected? Can't say. But the ideas they expressed made about as much sense to me as anything I have heard articulated in a long, long time.
TAKE THE DK CHALLENGE
Here is what I'd like to issue to you as a challenge. Watch the two responses mentioned above by clicking on the links below. It will take you a total of about 20 minutes.
Then comment here or drop me an email and tell me anything they say with which you disagree and why. Tell me anything at all you think they have wrong. What do they say that is incendiary, destructive, or a bad idea? Which of their proposals simply will not work?
Senator Paul's 9-minute response is HERE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0E6YMdgGUY4
Senator Lee's 12-minute response is HERE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCbxIRjOGe4
Maybe I am turning Libertarian!