This Unholy Mess


Alternative Universes: Libertarian and Green

Unhappy about the upcoming presidential election? Wish you had more choices, beyond Tweedle-Hill and Tweedle-Dump? Well, apparently you’re not alone. Pollsters tell us that significant numbers of voters are scouting the alternative parties, Libertarian and Green. If you are one of the dissatisfied, here is a piece of consumer advice: just as you don’t want to buy a box of cereal solely because it has a nice five-color picture of a sports hero on it, you don’t want to choose an alternative candidate based on a laid-back, affable persona or a resemblance to the mom on The Brady Bunch.
You need to read the fine print of ingredients, which in the case of a political party is the party platform. I happen to have read both the Green and the Libertarian versions, and–candidly? I wish I hadn’t. At least not before some significant self-medication. To save you time and a lot of repeated face-palming, allow me to give you a run-down.
The Libertarians want you to be free. For example, they insist that we all be free to buy whatever drugs we want, anytime, presumably anywhere. OxyContin? Heroin? Sure. We alone are responsible for what we do to ourselves. And guns? You got ‘em. No annoying background checks, registration, or gun safety training—just an unabridged right to own lots of your favorite weapons. And there are no constraints as to the type of gun you can own, either. So when Gary Johnson is elected, you can celebrate by buying that grenade launcher you’ve always wanted. Or a fully automatic assault rifle that can spray 900 rounds a minute at that annoying neighbor. What an opportunity! Though the Libertarians do not say so, presumably you don’t want to use the heroin and the assault weapon at the same time. But that would be up to you. Personal responsibility is paramount.
On the chopping block in the Libertarian view are irritating institutions like Social Security, Medicare, and public schools. You see, we don’t really need them; and people should be responsible for their own health care, retirement, and the education of their children. If you can’t afford some of these? Don’t worry, Libertarians assure you that “private groups and individuals” will make charitable contributions to cover you. Possibly. Maybe.
So now to the Green Party, a much more imaginative crowd than the Libertarians. Judging from their platform, they’ve got a huge worker exchange program with the land of Oz.
To be fair, they are much more in the camp of less-advantaged Americans, and recognize—as Libertarians do not—that many, many studies have concluded that the totality of charitable organizations in America cannot come even close to coping with the needs of the poor.
But Greens are advocating some items that seem to be channeling Karl Marx on some of that over-the-counter OxyContin. For instance, and I quote, they offer everyone a “guaranteed right to a job. Full employment through community-based public works and community service jobs programs, federally-financed and community-controlled.” Even better, we get a 30-hour work week, “with no cut in pay for the bottom 80% of pay scale.” I just hope Barcalounger and Coors can handle the demand.
Since we’re cutting our work week, according to the Greens we can use our free time to solve the problems of the entire planet, too. While admirable in theory, implementation of this one would require upwards of sixty Mother Teresas in the U.S. Senate. I am again quoting: “the U.S. should finance universal access to primary education, adequate food, clean water and sanitation, preventive health care, and family planning services to every human being on earth.” We are going to be very firm, however, in not giving them first-run movies and Round Table pizzas with four toppings.
It goes without saying that the most privileged Americans will not be on the Green train, considering the Greens’ insistence on mandatory breakup of the 500 largest U.S. industrial and commercial corporations, and their conversion to worker, consumer and/or public ownership. The 200 largest banks will become publicly-owned community banks, too. Lenin should be alive to get a free toaster when he opens an account at his neighborhood branch!
Militarily? The Greens will reduce military spending to 1% of its current level. They will abolish all bothersome obstacles to world harmony, like NATO, the CIA, and the NSA. Best of all, they will—and I quote again—“Require a National Referendum to Declare War.” So when Chinese submarines appear off the West Coast, we’ll swing into action and get everyone in the country to the polls within a month or so. It should work out really well.
In conclusion: Though I’m frankly less interested in the heroin, I could definitely go for a good, stiff drink.

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