Being a member of the Libertarian Party puts one in an interesting situation.
We share a few values and beliefs with the stated goals and values of many Republicans - smaller government, 2nd amendment rights, property rights, a desire for lower taxes, and a distrust of the Obama administration. I've helped staff the Libertarian booth at many a Fort Worth Gun Show, and a couple of the Tea Party protests.
We also have some overlap with the stated goals and values of many Democrats - the right to privacy, a general suspicion of military adventures overseas, a desire for separation of church and state. We also see a need to reform drug laws. Like many Democrats, we distrust the Obama administration, but are free to be more vocal about it. I wasn't able to participate last year, but the Libertarians always sponsor a float in the Dallas Gay/Lesbian rights parade.
Then there's the 9-12 Project. This group was started by talk show host Glenn Beck, in an effort to get America back to the values we supposedly shared on the day after 9-11.
The Tarrant County Libertarians have been asked to participate in a 9-12 parade (to be held on, you guessed it, 9-12) in downtown Fort Worth. Since our enemy's enemy is our friend, we've agreed to participate. Here's how I see our points of agreement and disagreement on their 9 Principles and 12 Values, and I'm sure that other local Libertarians will give us their opinions soon:
The Nine Principles
1. America Is Good. I'm reminded of Mark Twain's quip about the phrase "My Country, right or wrong". Twain said "My Country, right or wrong" was like saying "My Mother, drunk or sober". If institutions or committees or countries can be good or bad, yeah, America is pretty good. But no country is always good. Not ours. Not yours. Not even neutral Switzerland. Not even the Vatican. This is, at best, a meaningless statement thrown in to dare the other side to deny it.
2. I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life. Which God, or Gods? The 9-12'ers like to talk about the Judeo-Christian God, a being who went through some severe personality changes over the last 6,000 years, and whose Jewish and Christian devotees have some mutually exclusive claims about the afterlife. Do they mean Yahweh? Jesus? Allah? Zeus? The Flying Spaghetti Monster? And what does believing in God(s) have to do with opposition to The Teleprompter Jesus?
There's one other difficulty....I've never known anyone who had God as the center of their life. Not one.
3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday. Ok. A worthy goal.
4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government. One small problem here, and that's Glen Beck's divorce. But I like the idea of the family unit being the ultimate authority.
5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.
I disagree with this one. People could once make the claim that "Ignorance of the law is no excuse". But when laws are passed that have nothing to do with fairness, rights, or morality, but to provide benefits to contributors and cronies, then one can longer have an instintive knowledge of the law. (See section IIA of this link.) For instance, I should have the right to import whatever I want into this country, as long as it doesn't do physical harm to others. I should be able to break the regulations that prevent me from doing so. I'm above those laws because they were written by whores.
6. I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results. Yep. Well said.
7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable. Agreed. I'm still waiting on somebody, anybody, to tell me what giving part of my income to a gang of Chicago Machine Politicians has to do with Christian Charity.
8. It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion. Agreed. Hence the existence of this site.
9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me. Yep. If it really matters to you who is elected President? Then the government has gotten too big. It should be no more important than choosing a lawn care service.
The 12 Values
* Honesty - No problem there.
* Reverence - Why should we automatically be reverent toward anything or anybody? It's like when Bush Jr. kept saying he had respect for Islam. If you have respect for Islam, you bow toward Mecca a few times every day, you abstain from eating pork, and you believe that The Prophet flew to Medina on a winged horse that had the face of a man. That's what it means to "respect" Islam. I don't respect it. You probably don't either. It's a belief system that isn't worthy of reverence.
* Hope - I wish they would replace Hope with Effort. Anyone can sit on the couch and hope.
* Thrift - Ok.
* Humility - Have you ever met a blogger with an excess of humility? I haven't either. Humble people usually don't ride in parades. Nix this one.
* Charity - Ok.
* Sincerity - Ties in with honesty, and is therefore redundant.
* Moderation - This one is ok, as long as I don't have to be excessive about it.
* Hard Work - Ok. Although some of the best work isn't that hard.
* Courage - Ok.
* Personal Responsibility - Ok.
* Gratitude - Ok.
I dunno how all the other Libertarians feel about it, but that's enough overlap for me to help with the 9-12 parade.
I still prefer the Libertarian 5 to the Beck 9-12. It's much more elegant and easy to remember.