In our continuing series on the political parties, let Caryn Ann Harcos, communications director for the Libertarian Party of Colorado, tell you about freedom, non-aggression and flaming pink hair.
How did you become involved with the Libertarian Party?I was apolitical when I was younger. I used to throw my ballots out. I guess I’d vote every once in a while but I wasn’t particularly politically interested. I happened to go the Libertarian Party website, intrigued by the word Libertarian on Facebook discussions. I read their platform and, within five minutes, changed my voter affiliation.
What about the platform so excited you?The central tenet of Libertarianism is the principle of self-ownership. Everything else comes from that. The non-aggression principle, which means that you have no right to initiate physical force or fraud against another person, whether their body or the fruit of their labor. As I read the platform, I saw immediately how it preserved the dignity of each person’s right of self-determination. That it keeps each person from being forced by another to conform to another’s values or way of thinking and behavior. That you have no right to prohibit or stop the behavior of other people unless they are aggressing upon you. So, if someone were to come at you, to harm you, you certainly can defend yourself, but if they just happen to be doing something you don’t like or living a lifestyle you don’t approve of, you have no right to interfere with them.
How do Libertarians differ from Republicans and Democrats?I think both parties have a vision of the ideal society that involves ownership claims upon other people. The Republican version would be conservative, married and evangelical, and would center around the nuclear, heterosexual family where perhaps the mother stays at home, they all go to church, they don’t drink or do drugs. Libertarians don’t believe in any drug laws. What a person puts into their own body is their own business. We would differ significantly from Republicans in that regard. There is not an “ideal” vision of Libertarian society other than there’s no force, fraud or involuntary interaction. On the progressive side, their vision might be much more open acceptance – maybe acceptance isn’t even the right word – they’d like to see forced acceptance of LGBTQ persons, or whatever group you might want to look at, to the extent that a Libertarian would say it’d gone overboard. For instance, do you need a law to say that private businesses have to have bathrooms that both genders can go into? Look, I have flaming pink hair; I’m a spectacle. But I think that any business should be able to say that persons with pink hair are not welcome. I don’t think the government needs to step in and say whether that’s OK or not. I believe market forces would take care of that.
How does one become an informed voter?Becoming an informed voter is to be aware of [your] principles and to apply them to the issues. I would suggest not viewing policies in an ad hoc manner, such as, “Oh, this particular law might benefit me, so I’m going to vote for it.” I think you need to step back and look at the implications of a policy, the morality of it. I’m an evangelical Christian and have been for 20 years. I’ve often said to my community when they’re complaining about laws or policies that might seem to discriminate against them, “You’re getting as good as you gave.” Former victims are not gracious in victory. Whenever you vote for a law, consider how you’re going to feel if and when people on the “bad side” of the government force become the “good side” and what they might do to you in return. [Also] realize the ramifications of what you’re asking for. For instance, free college is wonderful, but the ramifications are that you’re stealing from other people in order to provide it.
What would you tell young voters?Become educated on what you believe you have the right to do against other people. Get down to a foundation of political ethics. Consider the history of our country when it comes to freedom, and also the history of the human spirit in regards to freedom. The minute you start voting for more government power, you are letting the beast out. Expanding governmental power has never worked out well. Governments oppress, and have been the worst murderers of people. We have drone bombed so many people, and a lot of what is happening now in the world is, as Ron Paul said, blowback. So I would say, never pass a law that you wouldn’t kill to enforce. Every law is ultimately enforced at the end of a gun.
Why do we need more than two parties?There are more than two points of view on an issue. Why we think politics would be adequately covered by two parties that are, on so many issues, virtually indistinguishable is asinine. There may have been a time in which there was a larger difference between the two, but anymore, both are just trying to control you and looking to grow government.
What’s so compelling to you about politics?Left wing radicals like Saul Lewinsky might say, “The personal is the political,” and while I’m not of that mindset, I agree with him. There is nothing in our lives that isn’t affected by politics. I hate politics with a passion! But [my involvement] is defensive, because there’s not a thing in your life or mine that isn’t affected by them.
Cyle Talley plans to spend the next three weeks drowning in playoff baseball. Go, Cubs, go! If there’s something you’d like to Get Smart about, email him at: [email protected]