Cobb chair explains the 'Big L' ; Libertarianism
by Brett C. Bittner
Columnist
April 05, 2013 12:00 AM | 2966 views | 9 9 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I appreciate all of the attention that Cobb GOP Chairman Joe Dendy, state Rep. Charles Gregory (R-Marietta) and now MDJ columnist Roger Hines have given libertarian political philosophy, but especially the Libertarian Party. I applaud their efforts, and I, as chairman of the Libertarian Party of Cobb County, would like to join this conversation to help my Republican friends better understand a few things.

I, and my “big L” Libertarian friends, have no interest in controlling the Cobb Republican Party. While freedom is increasingly popular, and my phone is ringing off the hook with interested individuals seeking a party that represents them, there are a few Republicans who have yet to realize the Republican Party is not the vehicle for advancing the liberty and freedom envisioned by our Founders. They continue to work within the two-party system to change the rhetoric of their adopted platforms and speeches into the reality of their actions in office. I cannot blame them, because I know how trying it can be to be on the outside of the two-party stranglehold on American politics.

I can say with authority that Gregory and Oleg Ivutin (who ran unsuccessfully for Cobb GOP chair) are not members of the Libertarian Party, as others have claimed, but what I know about each gentleman tells me that they are friends in the liberty movement and chose a different path. I can respect that. There are many independents, Republicans and Democrats that hold “libertarian” beliefs, but are not “Libertarians,” in that they are not members of the Libertarian Party. In fact, many Republicans are libertarian in their support of economic freedom, and many Democrats are libertarian in their support of personal liberty. Neither of the old parties “gets” the whole package, while Libertarians believe that liberty is indivisible.

Our Founders severed colonial ties with Great Britain to be free of the monarchy that President Thomas Jefferson noted as limiting the inalienable rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” He did not segregate “types” of liberty, nor did President James Madison as he penned the Bill of Rights as a single document amending the Constitution. To me, it appears that only the Libertarian Party supports all 10 of those amendments, for all of the people, all of the time.

Oddly, Hines focused a great deal on Ayn Rand in his column and I object to his desire to brand Rand, an objectivist, as a Libertarian Party leader. Her ideology was a philosophical one, not a political one. While there are many Libertarians who read “Atlas Shrugged,” when I went to see the second film adaptation of that novel, the majority of my fellow moviegoers departed the parking lot in “Romney/Ryan” stickered vehicles.

I appreciate Hines’ question about party viability, echoing the sentiments of what I read from Mr. Dendy as he “spiked the football” after his victory at the county convention. As a former state legislator, Hines should know about his party’s conservation of a 70-year-old law passed by Democrats concerning who can and who cannot run for office in this state. He should know that despite rhetoric that calls for “competition” and “free markets,” the heavily Republican legislature has stifled any legislation that would engender competition and free markets on the ballot. By keeping the choices to only two, Republicans can scare their base into voting against the “socialists” that Mr. Hines himself tied to the Democratic Party.

As I noted, freedom is popular. It is especially popular among the “the young guys” and “this generation.” It will take some time, but I welcome anyone willing to join the Freedom Train. The ride is more interesting, and when we reach the level of freedom with which you are comfortable, no one will force you to stay onboard.

The Libertarian Party welcomes all who wish to see less government intrusion into our lives, fewer and lower taxes eating into our personal budgets, and more individual freedom leading our society to join us in those endeavors. For those who remain steadfast in their belief that another vehicle is the way to do it, we will leave the light of liberty on for you.

Brett C. Bittner chairs the Libertarian Party of Cobb County. He also serves on the Marietta School Board.

Comments
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East Cobb Senior
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April 05, 2013
Wow Mr. Bittner, “less government intrusion into our lives, fewer and lower taxes eating into our personal budgets, and more individual freedom leading our society” sounds a lot like a number of the principles of the Republican Party. All you need to do is add a Strong National Defense and Personal Responsibility and you’re almost there. Agreed there are more similarities between the Libertarian and Republican Party, however, it’s your intractable positions on many issues and policy, legalized drugs, isolationism and monetary policy to site a few that marginalize your party. No one would be foolish enough not to recognize there are disagreements within our Party, but simply throwing the baby out with the bath water and adopting at totally “laissez-faire” libertarian orthodoxy is not the answer.

Although it is not always instructive to assign “guilt” through association, you cannot deny that Ron Paul was the nominee for President of the Libertarian Party on a number of occasions, and seeing the futility of that effort ran on the Republican ticket. During that campaign, Mr. Paul did not in any way renounce his Libertarian ideology. Both Messer Gregory and Ivutin, along with their supporters, were and continue to be strong supporters of Ron Paul and his views. No one questions their commitment to this nations freedom, liberty or patriotic fervor, however, whether they are formal members of your Libertarian Party or not does not alter their strong bind to Libertarian views.

Mr. Bittner, there have been others who attempted to capture the Republican Party mechanism to further their ideology and agenda and they, as those that made the attempt at the recent Cobb Republican Convention, failed. The Republican Party will continue to stand by its Principles and it welcomes all those who believe and support them. I recognize the “idealism” of the “young guys” and “this generation” and welcome their youth, vitality and enthusiasm. But be cautious not to discard the “wisdom and experience” of the elderly which brings perspective to the realities of life.

Jeff Sexton
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April 06, 2013
On Drugs: Your right to own property includes first and foremost your own body and your own mind. If you choose to ingest a substance -no matter if it is McDonald's, a Big Gulp, raw milk, or marijuana, that is part and parcel with your same property rights that allow you to own your house and your gun.

On non-interventionism: Non interventionism is not isolationism. Non interventionism says that we will peacefully interact with (ie, trade with) any who are willing - but we will NOT intervene in their affairs, including a prohibition on fighting their wars. Isolationism says we will not interact with anyone at all.

On Strong National Defense: Due to the Bush Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention the various bases we have in such iminent danger zones as Japan and Germany (and even South Korea, where all we do is present our troops as easy targets for Kim Jong Un), our military is stretched to the breaking point and very nearly beyond. This isn't a strong national defense, it is being the world's policeman/ bully *and leaving America wide open to an attack*. As it currently stands, if Russia or China decided to launch at attack over the pole right now, there is *nothing* short of a nuclear strike we could throw at them - because all of our forces are dedicated to the aforementioned wars and decades old now-cold zones.

No, the Libertarian position of bringing our troops and equipment back to the US *is* the Strong National Defense you claim to crave.

As Brett said, the Libertarian positions are the only ones that actually bring us back to what the Founders envisioned. And while they weren't perfect, I trust men like Washington, Madison, and Jefferson FAR more than I trust men like Obama, Boehner, Reid, and Deal.
June Genis
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April 06, 2013
You are missing Br Bittner's most important point. Liberty is liberty. You can not grant liberty in some things but not others without sliding down the slippery slope of allowing one person's value judgement to curtail another person's liberty.

Thank you Mr Bittner for this excellent explanation of what drives both Libertarians and libertarians.
Chris Long
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April 07, 2013
East Cobb Senior, you are set in your ways, & that's fine, but do us all a favor & refrain from waxing intellectual on what it means to be a Libertarian when it is painfully obvious that you have no clue. Or you can admit that you believe a few deliberately misleading talking points constitutes knowledge.

Also, if Libertarians were nothing but a idealistic, self-marginalizing quacks, futilely grasping at relevance, why would the GOP feel the need to lead concerted efforts to keep Libertarians off local, state & national ballots? Methinks it's the "wisdom & experience" of the GOP leadership that realizes how much of a threat the Libertarian Party poses to the "stale & moss-covered" democrat-lite, er, GOP platform.

--PS, you state here that the GOP "will continue to stand by its Principles and it welcomes all those who believe and support them," but you say in another post that "Contrary to their perception of non-inclusiveness, a label both the Democrats and the Ron Paul factions have tried to ascribe to Republicans, the Party does welcome new members and ideas." Which is it? Hint...that was a rhetorical question. We all know the answer.
off balance
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April 05, 2013
Open borders allowing anyone who wants to come here to do so is, I believe one tenet of the LP that will keep me from joining the group.

"Economic freedom demands the unrestricted movement of human as well as financial capital across national borders."

It is hard to believe that so many fail to understand the harm that causes. It is the same as NAU and NWO.

No thanks, It cannot work, unless you believe that the 1.3 billion from India and the 1.4 billion from China will all fit here.

Eric Dondero
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April 05, 2013
Sorry, there are NO DEMOCRATS who support Liberty. They are precisely the ANTI-LIBERTY party.

They support smoking bans, seat belt laws, the 21-year old drinking age, a massive nanny-state, and are soft of Islamic Sharia Law.

Republicans on the other hand oppose the Nanny-State and oppose Sharia.

Libertarian Party and the Republican Party are now virtually one in the same. The Libertarian Party holds a vibrant and growing anti-Islamist/Pro-military wing, and the GOP now holds a pro-drug legalization/pro-civil liberties wing.

It's now just the Libertarian/Republican Party.
Independent voter
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April 05, 2013
If that were true, Romney would have won the race .Libertarians do not support the Republican platform. And please note, Charles Gregory was an embarassment to the Republican Party during the legislative session.

Para.bellum1776
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April 06, 2013
Eric,

Are you smoking crack? I know you follow the Republican Party and you know their recent history all too well. Remember Medicare Part D, just as an example? Also, the Libertarian Party does not support the NDAA, PATRIOT Act, or a number of other laws that the Republican Party has at least given partial support to...and YOU have supported as well.

The Libertarian Party and the Republican Party are NOT even close to "virtually one in the same",and to say otherwise is extremely disingenuous.

Though many REAL libertarians are used to that from you.
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