Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Democratic Libertarianism, Part 1

The Democratic Party is the oldest active political party in the world. It traces it's inception from the first party battles of the 1790's between the Federalists and the Jeffersonian Republicans. Up to the American Civil War the Democratic Party, with the exception of slavery, was known as the "liberal" party of America. It was the party of the common people. It stood for opposition to corporatism, artificial privilege, and aristorcracy and for free trade, liberty and self government.
After the Civil War the Democratic Party became co-opted by big government socialists and statists giving us the current state it is in today. Opposing the Democrats were the Federalists, who later became the Whigs. who stood for aristocracy, big money and big business, corporate dominance and big government. The Whigs later morphed into the Republican Party of today, a bastion of conservatism and corporatism. The Democrats and Republicans, for the most part are the same forces that have existed throughout history. As Jefferson pointed out " Serviles and Liberals", "Aristocrats and Jacobins", "Democrats and Monocrats" have existed as opposites throughout history. One the supporters of the people and the other of privilege and power.

The Democratic Party is no longer the party of Jefferson or Andrew Jackson, but is there hope for Libertarians to return it to it's roots? I am not sure, but there is no hope for the Republican Party. The Republican Party has proven to be a fascistic party not responsible to the people nor concerned with the cause of liberty. The Bush Administration has assaulted the liberties of the American people for seven years and evicerated the Bill of Rights. Forget the Republican Party my libertrarian friends.

Although I am a devoted Libertarian, I must ask again,can we return the Democratic Party to it's libertarian roots? I think so. Here's what we need to see as a start:

Unwavering support for the Bill of Rights
Ending the War on Drugs
Ending the War in Iraq
Ending all corporate welfare and subsidies
Repeal of the income tax
Abolition of the IRS
Ending all taxes on Social Security income
Ending all taxes on unemployment benefits
Repeal of the 2005 Bankruptcy Protection Act
Abolition of the Federal Reserve System
Ending all federal deficit spending
Passing a Balanced Budget Amerndment

These items would be the beginning of returning the Democratic Party to it's libertarian and Jeffersonian roots.

I am not a Randian libertarian worshiping property and the market. I believe the ability to own property to be a basic human liberty, but not the most important. I agree with James Madison that a man has "property in his rights" meaning speech, religion, movement, and his pursuit of happiness. It is these ideals that the Democratic Party once stood for. The Randian worship of the market economy has become a cult like religious belief. Nothing is perfect, not the market, society or government.

Supporting the Common Man

The middle class of America make up the bulk of our society. They determine it's morals, economics, and culture. They pay the majority of the bills, taxes and sacrifice their sons in wars for their country. Jefferson and his Democratic-Republican party were the true friends of the middle classes or "yeomanry" as Jefferson called them. Opposing the Jeffersonians were the Federalists who represented big business, the aristocracy of the cities, and as arch Federalist Fisher Ames called them the "rich, wise and well born". The Federalist policies did not benefit the masses. High taxes, a new standing army, subsidies for big business, were part of the class warfare program of the Hamiltonian program. The Federalists exist today as the Republican Party.

For too long Libertarians have allowed the corporate Randian mindset to dominate it's views on economics and liberty. Although I agree with Rand on some issues, I believe the Jeffersonian ideal of liberty to be the best articulation of freedom for a society. Modern libertarian ideals are in many ways at variance with Jeffersonian Democracy. Many libertarians espouse hatred of democracy. They prattle on that we are a "republic not a democracy" and that Benjamin Franklin once said "Democracy is two wolves sitting down to discuss how to eat the sheep" something that is not listed in any of his writings. Let's address the "republic not a democracy". Partly correct. The United States is a republic. In Latin republic means " the public thing" or res publica. It is also true that the Founders did not create a gigantic national democracy in the Greek city state ideal which would be impossible. They DID create a federal democratic republic consisting of state republics. They rejected a monarchy, aristocratic republic, or oligarchy. America is what Jefferson called a "representative democracy" where representatives are democratically elected to represent their interests. Many libertarians and conservatives rail against democracy and claim it is the source of all our problems. Not true. What would they prefer? Anarcho-Capitalists would prefer a monarchy or feudal government. Talk about the Dark Ages. Conservatives love the current corporate despotism, and many libertarians love the market and nothing else.

America is run not by a democracy but by a corrupt aristocracy consisting of corporations, wealthy politicians, and special interests DESPITE our democratic ideals. The two party oligarchy in Washington, DC is the true culprit.

It is my belief that we must ressurect the Democratic ideals of Jeffersonianism: free trade ( not NAFTA, CAFTA, WTO, which are statist globalist schemes), decentralized government, support for the common man through lower taxes, ending corporate welfare, opposition to special interests in government, curtailment of the military industrial complex, support for the Bill of Rights, and encouragement of democracy at the local level.

In Part 2, we will lay out more fully a Democratic-Jeffersonian program.