A good friend of mine posts comments here occasionally (the anon that calls me Jackie). He and I have known each other for about 12-ish years now, and we've had plenty of conversations about politics over the years. For as long as I've known him, he's always been a staunch Libertarian. When I was younger, I didn't understand it.
Admittedly, I thought that Libertarians were kooks bent on anarchy and apathy towards societies unfortunate and disenfranchised. After reading a lot of what Ted over at Country Thinker has written, I've come to the realization that I'm probably a Libertarian, too.
He wrote a piece about Gary Johnson, governor of New Mexico who may run for president as the Libertarian candidate. He listed his official platforms, and I agreed with all of them save one. In a nutshell, I'm a fiscal conservative and a social liberal.
I think the government needs to let free market principles take their course rather than try to steer the economy (as the steering has been about as bad as an 80 year old blind alzhiemer's patient behind the wheel of a mack truck). We've created a huge welfare state which I believe seeks to perpetuate itself for the purpose of keeping the poor on the dole forever.
I also think the government needs to keep its nose out of our personal lives. That means the government shouldn't tell women whether or not they should have abortions, the government shouldn't concern itself with what kind of food we eat or how much salt we ingest, and it sure as shit shouldn't be the judge of what groups of consenting adults are allowed to get married.
Although I am a strong advocate of a powerful military and impenetrable national defense, I don't think that we should be involving ourselves in so many world affairs. I'm not advocating isolationism, but rather a smaller geopolitical footprint.
And if people want to come to this country to have a better life, let them. As long as they go through the proper legal channels and either get a visa or some sort of work permit, or if they work to obtain citizenship, then no one should stop them from pursuing a better life (afterall, many of us owe our very existence to immigrants).
I can't really consider myself to be a Republican anymore, because I think the party is completely broken. It's broken because there's no sense of ideological or theoretical consistency. You seriously cannot believe in freedom of religion and at the same moment call this a "Christian Nation," and say that we need to get back to our "Christian Roots." You can't believe in freedom of choice and the right to privacy while simultaneously trying to bar women from getting abortions, using birth control, and banning gay marriage.
Also, you can't tell me that there's such things as natural rights and human rights, but think that such concepts only apply to American citizens. You can't say that we were right to stop the human rights violations in Iraq, but we're also somehow justified in violating the rights of people that we deem to be "combatants." You can't honestly tell me that every human is created equal, and say that it's okay to protect the right to a speedy and fair trial for some but not others.
I just can't do it anymore. The mainstream parties are no longer concerned with anything that even closely resembles an intellectual approach to politics, and all they do is play on the fears and passions of the people to get votes. I can't be a part of a movement in which its adherents are totally okay with contradicting themselves, and worse convinced that there is no contradiction in their beliefs.
So, if Ron Paul doesn't get the GOP nomination, I likely won't be voting for a Republican this November. I'll probably "throw my vote away," to Gary Johnson should he be the Libertarian nominee.