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Tuesday

This post is both a warning to libertarians and a promise to everyone else. If my experience is any indication, most of you, the "everyone else", are vaguely aware that there's a bunch of people out there who call themselves libertarians. Your experience with them has most likely been around election time, when they seem to come out of the woodwork with their wacky plans to change everything, and their implied belief that the only reason that you find them wacky is that you aren't moral enough, or smart enough, or consistent enough, or give enough of a damn about what that ragtag bunch who fought off the most powerful nation on earth 200 years ago sacrificed for.


All of that may be true - it is certainly true for some people. But here's the promise, and the warning:


People can't live with change if there's not a changless core inside them. The key to the ability to live with change is a sense of knowing who you are, what you are about, and what you value.
-- Steven Covey

This blog is all about change - profound, drastic change in many areas of life. But the one thing I won't talk about changing is your core.


The libertarians know their core, they pride themselves on it. They call themselves the "Party of Principle". That's to be applauded, but they make one key mistake because of it. They want you to change your core.


Libertarians want you to vote how they vote, to believe what they believe. But they spend zero time appealing to your values, and all their time telling you that their values are superior. They tell you that you don't know who you are, what you are about, what you value. Or worse, they tell you that you may know them, but they aren't good enough.


Whether they are right or wrong doesn't matter. You think your core is right, that it is consistent, it is moral, and it is intelligent. That's good enough for me - it has to be because even if I disagree, I'll never change your mind on that.


My guess is that most people want a few basic things: security for their family and friends; enough money to be comfortable, healthy and safe; enough freedom to pursue their own happiness; and enough order in society that they can keep reasonable expectations and plan for the future. In my experience, that's the core of the average American.


And that's good enough for me.


Most of you aren't going to read long political or philosophical tracts, and you aren't going to spend the time it takes to learn enough background to evaluate them thoroughly even if you did. You've got enough to do feeding your family and keeping a roof over their heads, or, if you don't have a family, then building your career or pursuing your dreams. In many cases, all of the above.


That's fine by me.


Most of you value reason, and honesty, and fair play. Most of you value hard work, self-sufficiency, and minding your own business, so long as other people mind theirs.


Works for me.


Most of you don't want to see others suffering, but don't want to have your family taxed into poverty to prevent it. Most of you value the benefits technology brings, but don't worship it. Most of you want a better environment, but don't want to go back to living in mud huts to get it. Most of you want less war and strife in the world, but don't want to see any more 9/11's. Most of you want to see criminals caught and punished, but don't want to be treated like a criminal yourself to make it happen.


Me too.


Most of you think that libertarians have a few good ideas, but doubt they will work in the real world, or think they conflict with your core values.


You might be mistaken on that one.


Maybe you just don't trust them to do what they say they will do, or think they will never be able to. You might have something there.


I don't want you to change your values. I hope to show you that the things I will be talking about here serve your values. I'm not going to ask you to vote a certain way. I believe that we need to move beyond politics, that politics undermines your values, that politics sets your values in opposition to what you want out of life, that politics creates more problems than it solves - even if libertarians are the ones in charge.


I think there's a better way, a way that you can pursue your values without having to sacrifice them in order to get the things you need and want. A way to acheive all of your values, and not have to choose which ones you'll give up for the sake of the others. I don't know completely what that way is yet, but I think I have some solid leads. You can watch me figure it out as this blog evolves. But I won't ever tell you that "here's the way it is, now go do it." This blog is for me. For me to figure it out for myself. If you like what you see, then go do it for yourself as well. If you don't, then don't. Pick and choose, or ignore it altogether, it's up to you.


Make it fit your core, if you can, if you want to. Don't change your core to fit it. Either way, I'll accept it. I promise.

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