Last week, after roughly six years of inner struggling and debate, I made the decision to philosophically categorize myself as a libertarian.
As most Americans do after they have chosen a preferred political stance, I began to wonder where I needed to sign up and to whom I should start sending checks.
Then I remembered Iâ€™m a college student with minimal funds and an aversion to spending them. I also find it difficult to subjugate myself to any sort of group that would willingly sacrifice my individuality in the name of the greater good â€” or the propagation of the party.
Many of my readers label me a Republican; others consider me merely a Right Wing nut job. Both are equally fair assumptions, considering I spent my first few years as a registered voter confined to the chains of the Republican Party.
Since 2004, however, when I began attending college, I have gradually refined my views and opinions into a more libertarian perspective. I still hold strong convictions in personal issues such as abortion and gay marriage, but I firmly believe that people should be free to behave as they see fit. They should be allowed to govern themselves and set laws however they choose.
In other words, I believe that the stateâ€™s laws, decided by the people, hold precedence over my own convictions.
Who do I have to thank for this mindset? Strangely enough, the liberal community at CSU, as well as a few well-balanced economics professors Iâ€™ve had the pleasure of learning from in the past few years.
There is no doubt in my mind that liberals, for the most part, are well-meaning people who place compassion above economic stability or certain freedoms. I believe it to be somewhat misguided, but I also admit that there is inherent value in this line of thought. Without it, the numerous welfare programs helping Americans get back on their feet every day would be absent.
Now, what does any of this have to do with my submitting to a libertarian philosophy? After carefully studying the Constitution in Business Law, I realized that I am a strict Constitutionalist. I fully believe that its words are written plainly and that the authorsâ€™ intentions are clear.
And I fully believe that the Founding Fathers closely followed that of a libertarian philosophy in the Constitution.
Many will argue that the Constitution is â€œa living, breathing document.â€ I thoroughly despise this argument because its intention is clear â€” the user of such an argument wishes to bend the Constitution to his will, rather than bending to the will of the Constitution. Itâ€™s a selfish, conceited viewpoint that seeks to pervert the very foundations of this country.
After accepting my libertarian values, I did what any rational American would do. I immediately searched the Internet for arguments against the libertarian philosophy. Most suggest that extreme libertarianism leads to the dissolution of the state and outright anarchy. I agree, just as I agree extreme conservatism can lead to neo-fascism and extreme liberalism can lead to communism.
Others argue that aligning oneself with a political philosophy held by a third party will eventually result in the waste of votes come election time. This is untrue on several fronts.
First, it is never a waste to exercise oneâ€™s democratic freedoms; second, third party candidates have managed to affect the outcomes of national elections in the past (see the presidential elections of 1912 and 1924); and third, a vote for a third party can serve as a protest vote. Enough protest votes can instill anxiety in the major parties, sending a clear message that they are failing to accurately represent their constituents.
So the next time youâ€™re complaining in class about that Right Wing nut job jerkwad Josh Phillips, Iâ€™d prefer if you would instead complain about that right-leaning strict-Constitutionalist liberal-compromising libertarian jerkwad Josh Phillips.
Josh Phillips is a senior business administration major. His column appears Tuesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.