GOP needs to be replaced with watered down Libertarian party

Kevin JensenThe Grand Old Party needs to go away and never return. Republicans need to be replaced with a watered down libertarian party as one of the major contenders for political office.

The GOP’s views on social policy are backward, never change and run completely counter to their avowed small-government stances.

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As an effect, more and more voters — especially youth voters — align themselves with Democrats based primarily on social policy.

This is great for social progress, but it really muddles the political conversation with regards to a large number of important topics that are largely ignored in favor of sensational wedge issues.

A perfect example is President Obama’s abandonment of civil liberty and peace activists during his time in office, where he extended the USA PATRIOT ACT, reauthorized the FISA Amendments Act, signed the NDAA and has been mowing down innocents with drone strikes with hardly a word from Democrats.

The problem is that Obama was supposed to be the antithesis of Bush, not a continuation of those same policies.

Most Democrats are loathe to call Obama out on this, and Republicans are quick to trade liberty for security, leaving our constitutional protections in the lurch.

I think a prudent, watered down form of libertarianism, rather than republicanism, is the logical counter argument needed to balance out modern liberalism.

Republicans are becoming nothing but obstructionists. Prudent libertarians may have a better chance of collaborating with Democrats.

Simplifying onerous bureaucratic immigration processes to enable people to move, live and work freely is very much a libertarian concept.

Yes, most libertarians would rather get the government out of marriage completely, but I think they’d be content with codifying same sex marriage at the federal level.

While some of the most prominent libertarian-esque politicians today are pro-life, the majority of libertarians would say that such a decision is one that should be made by individuals, not the government.

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Moreover, a stronger libertarian voice is needed in order to say what the establishment refuses to admit: the war on drugs has failed and needs to end. We need rational drug policy — an issue that extends much further than marijuana alone.

A greater libertarian presence is especially needed in an age of increasing technology. Our privacy protections need to be extended to our information and internet activity, which neither Democrats nor Republicans have reliable records of protecting.

In essence, libertarianism is an exercise in intellectual creativity.

It’s not enough to simply legislate all of our problems away at the federal level. First, libertarians must ask themselves is this something that should be done by the government, or is best left free of government intervention — which hinges on the harm principle.

Second, they ask themselves should this be something that is the responsibility of the federal government or is best left to states and local governments? Libertarians go out of their way to try to empower states, as long as it doesn’t come at the cost of personal liberty.

Finally, if it is something that has to be done by the government, and particularly the federal government, that action should be done with utmost deference to our constitutional protections and privileges — even when facing the threat of terrorism.

In addition, libertarians are stringent with your tax dollars and can be some of the most annoying budget hawks, but with a massive deficit and an ever increasing national debt, I’d say our government could use a few more libertarians in their midst.

One of the biggest problems with the libertarian party, however, is that it is so small — only the most hardcore and strict, radical adherents to libertarianism will label their beliefs as such today, making the entire movement seem more radical than it should.

Libertarianism needs to become more diluted — more mainstream. It needs to expand its tent and become the standard bearer of civil liberties, state’s rights, antiwar and Internet privacy activists, while also abandoning this absurd notion that libertarians should be striving for no government — we should be pushing for smarter, more efficient government.

Libertarians are fiscally responsible and socially accepting. This isn’t radical, I’d say the same can be said about the majority of Americans.

We don’t want the government involved in our lives any more than absolutely necessary, and whatever decisions that are made we believe should be done as democratically as possible — which is generally more easily accomplished at the state or local level.

Libertarians are needed to balance out modern liberalism, and the obstructionist GOP needs to disappear. Liberty and our constitutional protections have been missing from the conversation for too long, it’s time we brought them back into the political dialogue with a strong libertarian party.

But this can only be accomplished when you and many others realize that you’ve been a watered down libertarian all along.

Content Managing Editor Kevin R. Jensen is a graduating senior English major. This is his final opinion column contribution to the Collegian. Live free, and thank you for reading.