The fundamental issue has always been the balance of liberty with protection, or better, safety. The protection need not always be in the form of military protection, it can at times be in the form of social welfare protection, which allows one the safety of income when they do not have work or the funds to deal with difficult disease, but how the balance is struck is always the issue. For the Republican, the balance is thus: enforce conservative values so that social welfare costs are minimal and strengthen our military to prevent outside disruptions. For the Democrats the balance is thus: strengthen our social welfare so that folks can live their civil liberties to the fullest and make friends with our world, so that they like us enough not to attack.
If you take either of these positions on their own, you will notice that they are frankly implausible. On the one hand, you can’t force people to live risk free lives and this is by-n-large what you would need for no welfare. On the other side, you cannot simply be friends with your neighbors, for you cannot simply allow yourself to be trampled on – as occasionally and unfortunately happens in this world. Of course, no one would ever take only positions on the right or the left, since they would get killed in a political forum by someone more towards the middle. Who is this person in the middle? They go by “Democrat” or “Republican” or “Independent”, but they are sometimes at heart the Libertarian.
The Libertarian does not play only on the let or only on the right. The Libertarian sees that the compromises of liberty can be addressed head on and not through the polar political dynamic. They do this by realizing that effectively the political space is not appropriately filled. What is missing is one who attaches foremost importance to liberty, but realizes that protection of all sorts are necessary and compromises need to be made in the sphere or taxation as well as civil liberty, and that they can be made and addressed directly, and at the same time.
What goes by “Libertarian” these days is something of a head scratcher. It is true that a rollback to the days of the constitution is appealing, but the issue is that you cannot have your cake and eat it too. If you want security, you must tax. This is true whether you are Republican or Democrat. Whether those taxes go to a social variety or whether they go to a military variety, you still need money to fund the projects. The Republican façade has always been that taxes should be minimized. But these tax breaks amount to kickbacks to the rich for favors of various sorts which amount to a means to a perceived social safety ends. The democrats deal with social matters more direct way, without as much deception, but they fail to appreciate the social costs involved in not enforcing conservative lifestyles.
***This is the final part to Just Liberty, written in early 2010. I was inclined to remove the phrase “without as much deception” in writing it here, but I have felt compelled to leave it. The deception is in the minimization of taxes as the best support for liberty.***