Anyone who thinks this part is too long is more than welcome to skip to the questions below the first part.
I ran across Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement at a second hand store and couldn't help but grab it. It'll be interesting to see what the book written by a libertarian will encompass. The only other book I've read by someone considered by my father to be a libertarian was FA Hayek's Road to Serfdom. I come from a fiscally conservative and socially moderate family, and as a twenty-year old, the views I hold are similar to that of my father (I have a great deal of respect for him and can't really find much sense in Leftist philosophy and ideology.) That said, after reading Hayek I became obsessed with getting my hands on other books the economist has written. I could not help but marvel at the similarities between conservative and libertarian thought in fiscal matters.
What's more, Hayek's incredible analysis of the Free Market and his complex yet insightful critique of socialism has me to conclude he was one of the brilliant men of the twentieth century. His contrast of Collectivism and it's limitations with Individualism and it's elastic nature and numerous market possibilities has driven me to try to understand socialism, American conservatism, and American libertarianism. He also stands on great stage occupied by other men whom I deeply respect, such as Thomas Sowell. As a young, conservative student who admittedly knows little economics or politics, I see some key differences between the conservative and libertarian movements, and I hope that we can to deal with our differences once we have collaberated and formed an alliance to overcome the Left.
When I was a teenager my dad would tell me about politics, and give me his opinions. He encouraged me to read nothing but conservative literature, and to avoid both Leftist and libertarian books "for now." Libertarianism was always the elephant in the room. He quieted my questions about libertarians by telling me that you were anarchists, who, unlike us conservatives, wanted as little government as possible as opposed to our vision of a limited, yet central government. He said that you want to "decrease the size government for the sake of decreasing government" whereas the conservative wants to" decrease the size of government in some areas in order to uphold checks and balances which safeguard a Republic." He said that the conservative believes that government should a great deal of influence in our lives in some areas, a moderate amount in some areas, very little influence in some areas, and no influence in a select few areas. As opposed to the libertarian, who wants little government influence, period. I think that he didn't want to confuse me at the time because I couldn't really understand the fine differences between our ideologies. I knew that the Left was well-meaning but dangerous, and that they were our opponents and yours, and that you libertarians were our allies. But I could not understand and appreciate the subtle differences and similarities. Now, I hope to do exactly this by reading this book and others like it.
A few months ago, I emailed my dad about my renewed interest in libertarianism and he told me he thought me mature enough to start investigating libertarian beliefs, and even told me that what he had previously said about you wanting had been an oversimplification which had been stated as such so as not to confuse me at that young age. When I expressed a little irritation at this, he explained that he had never tried to deceive me, but only to guide my development and build a firm foundation for my own political convictions. I understand his methods now, and have no resentment toward him.
QUESTIONS BEGIN HERE
But now I'm beginning my own quest to understand libertarianism. If I may...I'd like to ask a series of questions.
1. Who between the Left and the Conservatives, are libertarians most likely to oppose? My understanding has always been that you prefer us to the Left, but I don't want to just assume this anymore. I know some of our aims are similiar in fiscal policies, but that's all I know.
2. Is there any hope for a Conservative/Libertarian alliance, even if it's only temporary?
3. Do libertarians favor enforcing border security or not?
4. Do libertarians want legalize all drugs, even those that are very harmful to people, such as meth? I'm not opposed to legalizing some drugs and introducing them into the Free Market, but I'm opposed to the legalization of all drugs.
5. Do libertarians tend to vote Democrat, Republican, Independent, or do you have your own unofficial party affiliations?
6. Do libertarians believe that there should be any environmental regulations?
Just a note, I think there ought to be a minimal level of regulation to avoid such things as the burning lakes in the Mid West. But that said, I'm vehemently opposed to the US Government, state, and local governments using tax-payer money to do research about "man-made global warming." Such research should be the work of private individuals and groups, not governments. And association in these groups should be voluntary.
7. Do libertarians support or oppose capital punishment?
I support it in instances in which there are serial rapists and serial murders who have been convicted of said crimes.
Anyway, that's all I can think of for now. I'd really appreciate any feedback.
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