In a sequel to my admonition to Democrats, today I take on libertarians. Here’s the text of an e-mail that my very libertarian Dad sent me last week.
Sent: Monday, October 18, 2004 5:45 PM
To: Puddle Pirate
Subject: FW: Patrick Buchanan Endorses Bush
This is truly depressing reading, almost as depressing as watching the debates. I have sent over $2,000 to various libertarian type republican candidates but can’t bring myself to send George $1.
The scary part is that I disliked dad enough that I decided “How bad can a Clinton presidency be?” and voted my libertarian convictions. I now teeter on the same decision point.
So what is the correct ethical choice — the candidate without a moral compass or the one without a brain?
Here’s my reply.
From: Puddle Pirate
Sent: Monday, October 18, 2004 10:42 PM
Cc: ‘Brother #2’; ‘Cousin #1’; ‘Brother #3’
Subject: Dad, you should vote for Bush. Period. Importance: High
If you vote for anyone but Bush, you are cutting off your nose to spite your face. Worse still, you’re endangering yourself and your fellow Americans. George W. Bush is not your guy when it comes to social libertarianism & fiscal conservatism, but Kerry’s worse by several orders of magnitude … and only Bush can win the war against radical islam. Those fascist scumbags are today’s barbarian horde pounding on the city gates. The wartime stakes are far too high (see here and here and here) to indulge in the luxury of hosing this election because of a well-meaning but misguided stand on secondary principles. The wrong vote can get us both killed.
It’s straightforward to my way of thinking. I’m a single-issue voter in 2004, and that issue is national security. Nothing else matters more than defense. It’s government’s quintessential function, upon which any ordered society rests. If Candidate A is wrong on everything but national defense, and Candidate B is right on everything but national defense, I’ll vote for Candidate A in a heartbeat … even if there’s a (D) after his name.
By voting for anyone but Bush, you are helping Kerry. You despise Bush’s spending habits. So do I. But we’ll never get a chance to rein in the government if we’re dead. Besides, which party is more genetically predisposed to respond to the concerns of small-government conservatives like us? It sure ain’t the Dems, so voting Democrat or Libertarian or whatnot is manifestly counter to your interests. Don’t waste your vote.
Though Pat Buchanan’s reasoning, his priorities, and his irrational fear of nefarious neocon boogeymen are thoroughly screwed up (as is Pat himself), he did reach the right conclusion in his article:
Bruce Bartlett (a libertarian) was dead-on when he wrote:As for relative intelligence, I’m not convinced that Kerry is smart and Bush is dumb. Even if that old saw is true, it doesn’t worry me. I’m voting for a Commander In Chief and a Head of State who runs the Executive Branch. I am not seeking a Debater In Chief who knows nothing of being an executive, a man who’s only familiar with committees and hasn’t got a clue about delegation or decisiveness. You’re a CEO, Dad, and you’ve got wartime military experience. Ask yourself which of the two possible winners is the man to lead us in a war for our very survival. He’s got to be a clear-eyed visionary with a common sense victory strategy and the judgment to put the right subordinates in place to run things. He can’t be a vacillator or a micro-manager. He’s got to have a spine.
For a more in-depth take on why Bush deserves your vote, read an essay called Deterrence (Part 1 and Part 2), and follow it up with Pillar of Salt. Keep in mind that the battles for Iraq (this article is Part 12 in an ongoing series) and Afghanistan (Part 4 of another series) are not quagmires. We are winning. The enemy is desperate, just like Japan was desperate on Okinawa … right before they capitulated. The initiative belongs to us and we’re fighting the islamists when and where we choose. We’re approaching the tipping point. Now is not the time to go wobbly.
Don’t be depressed. You and I have the responsibility and the wonderful opportunity to again exercise our liberties in the service of our country on November 2nd. Neither of us can put on a uniform and carry a weapon into battle, but we can make it possible for our troops to press on to victory. All we have to do is vote wisely, and support the candidate who’s serious about winning a war that we can’t afford to lose.
That man is George W. Bush.
— Puddle Pirate
P.S.: Can you tell I’m sure about this? 🙂
Libertarians (and I’m speaking to both the “large L” and “small l” varieties), don’t waste your vote on anybody but Bush this time.