This is the most depressing presidential election for a libertarian since 1972. Maybe it’s worse than 1972, because that year one could, with good conscience, vote for Libertarian candidate John Hospers. This year, the Libertarian candidate is embarassing. And Ralph Nader has become a parody of the man who once supported some forms of deregulation because it benefitted consumers. I find virtually nothing to admire about John Kerry. W. deserves credit for a certain steadfastness in the War on Terror, but his administration is suffused with the sort of hubris, sense of entitlement to power, and belief in the ameliorative powers of government action (in both the foreign and domestic realms) that one normally associates with the worst types of statists. And let’s not forget the Administration’s blatant lies about the cost of the Medicare law, and Karl Rove’s apparent plan to drive all well-educated, secular folks out of the party in exchange for the votes of the most ignorant elements of the fundamentalist community, a traditional Democratic stronghold. I am concerned about the future of the Supreme Court, but I expect that Bush would most likely appoint a “moderate” and easily confirmable Latino who could help woo voters to the GOP side than appoint a principled believer in the American constitution.
The Republican Congress, meanwhile, has proven worse than a disappointment; it’s a disaster of monumental proportions. Congressional Republicans, as a group, have but one goal, and that’s to wield power. The current Congress makes the corrupt Democrats of the O’Neil-Wright era look like great statesmen. Unfortunately, I don’t see any evidence that the Democrats would be better (whatever happened to the “reform” wing of the Democratic Party? Did it die its final death when Robert Reich was expelled from the Clinton Administration for talking too much about corporate tax breaks and other special interest giveaways? Can you believe that every single House Democrat voted for the obscene farm bill, which redistributes income upwards?), and can easily imagine them being worse, by, for example, turning the entire health care industry into a nationalized playground for Democratic interest groups. Congress has become a wholly owned subsidiary of special interests, and that suits its Members just fine.
So forgive me if I haven’t been able to drum up enthusiasm for blogging about this election. As has been the case for years, I’m much more concerned with the general intellectual climate than the results of this election, as this climate dictates the range of politically feasible government action. And with neither party even giving lip service to limited government in any given sphere (with the exception of Democrats and abortion), the climate is bad indeed.