I am a registered Independent, but if I had to join a party, it would be the Libertarian Party. In my opinion, both Republicans and Democrats are inconsistent when it comes to the concept of liberty. (Note: when I refer to Republicans and Democrats, I am referring to the majority in each party — obviously, there are exceptions to the rule.) Republicans want you to keep your money and make your own economic decisions for the most part, but want to tell you what you can and cannot do in your own bedroom. Democrats have no problem with anything you may do in your bedroom, but want to to intervene in your economic decisions and limit what you can do with the money you earn. And as I jokingly said to a class this semester, “I want to be able to do whatever I want with my money in my bedroom.”
It all comes down to the word “choice.” In economics, it is a basic assumption that when consumers have more choices, it can never make them worse off and can often make them better off. From an efficiency perspective, there is such a thing as “too much choice” — at the Coborn’s on Pinecone Road in Sartell, there are 232 different types of cereal. In answer to the question forming in your head right now, yes, I actually counted. Is all that variety really necessary? Are all the fixed costs and advertising budgets that go into each different type justified by the increase in consumer benefits? That’s a question for economists to determine, and in some industries they have found that there is too much choice. But I digress.
In my opinion, neither party truly supports liberty and the freedom of choice. Democrats hold as a fundamental right the woman’s right to choose when it comes to abortion. But when it comes to which school that child goes to, Democrats and the teacher’s unions that support them have a stranglehold on choice and oppose vouchers at every turn. Democrats are in favor of the “Fairness” Doctrine which will limit the choices available on radio. Democrats want Catholic pharmacists that do not favor birth control to be forced to supply Plan-B, so that women who made the choice to have unprotected sex (and the irresponsible men who had no problem with them doing so) have even more choices to remedy the bad choice of the night before — despite the fact that it enfringes on the freedom of the doctor to practice a medical profession in a way that is consistent with her religious beliefs. Republicans favor consititution amendments against same-sex marriage, oppose medicinal marijuana use, and are behind some of the most antiquated anti-sodomy laws in the country. Yes, these are complicated issues — but I always seem to come down on the side of free choice.
There is one caveat though. Freedom of choice means that you have to bear the responsibilities of those choices. I actually have no problem with someone choosing to have 8 children because that person did not want to selectively remove them, as that would be “playing God” (nevermind that IVF is already “playing God” in a sense). I feel sorry for all of her children, as their lives will be difficult. But that’s her choice and she is free to make it…as long as the taxpayers of California and the United States do not have to pay for that decision! Freedom of choice becomes harder for me to support as a concept in a welfare state, when we all pay for the irresponsible choices people make. But my answer is not to restrict choice; it is to decrease the government payments that result from those choices.
I find it ironic that many of the same people who support a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion, even up to the moment of conception, are the same people who want the government to be even more involved in your medical decisions. Do they not foresee that when the government pays for your health care, it will limit the choices you have? Do they not foresee that when the government, in this new stimulus bill, establishes a council to determine the “best practices” and sets up a system by which it will make your doctor pay a fine if she diverts from those “best practices” (read: cheapest practices), the government will have a major financial interest in limiting your choices? Again, my answer is not to limit a woman’s right to choose; it is to limit the government’s role in health care.
In my opinion, you have the fundamental right as an individual to do whatever you want in your life. Just don’t make me pay for it. Deal?