I believe in personal responsibility. The democrat/republican based government believes in bailing out homeowners who bought homes they couldn’t afford; financial institutions who’s decision making process involved only what would look good on the books this quarter, not what would look good on the books 20 years from now; automobile manufacturers who figured that the way to boost profits was to concentrate on SUVs… at a time that gas was reaching new highs every month; and who knows who else.
I believe in living within my means. The democrat/republican based government believes that a 10 TRILLION dollar debt is acceptable. For the democrats who remember that there was a surplus with the last democratic president (Clinton)… just remember… the national debt went up EVERY SINGLE YEAR HE WAS IN OFFICE!!! The highly touted surplus was ficticious. He ran a deficit for 8 straight years. And Bush (who supposedly represents the “more fiscally conservative” Republican party) has been an utter catastrophe. Many means have been used to make the debt appear less significant (reporting it as % of GDP, adjusting for inflation, etc.), but the fact is that there hasn’t been a president in my lifetime who has had a balanced budget. The principle is simple: if I earn $1000, I cannot spend $1001!
I believe that securing personal liberty is the ultimate purpose of a government. I’m not alone in that either. Read the first few paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence. The democrat/republican party voted in the patriot act (357 to 66 in the house, 98 to 1 in the senate, so it was CLEARLY both parties) that, in essence, allows the government to ignore most basic civil rights. All they have to do is say “terrorism” and all rights can be ignored. People have forgotten that rights MUST NOT be traded for safety.
I believe in separation of church and state. Both parties appeal to people one way for what amounts to a religious stance. I will illustrate this using one example: the discussion about same-sex marriage. All parties are talking about it. Ultimately, marriage consists of 2 things: a union of two people in a setting which definitely has a religious base historically (but is not bound to any one religion or social organization), and a legal union involving things like property and financial obligations. The government should not be involved AT ALL in the first aspect. Yes, from a personal standpoint, based on my religious beliefs, I agree that marriage is the union of a man and a woman. I also believe that the government should NOT be involved in this at all. I do not believe there should be such a thing as a marriage license. Marriages should not be conducted by government officals. The government (specifically the courts) SHOULD be involved in enforcing legal contracts between two people, just as it is now. If two people want to live together and call it a marriage… it should not be against the law (even if it does not fit my definition of marriage). If those same two people want to sign a contract, then it is enforceable in court. The sex of the two people is irrelevant. On a side note, although I do not regard “marriage” as a government issue, parent/child definitely IS. Having laws which define parental rights and obligations is absolutely necessary. Religious arguments are also made (quite innapropriately) for issues such as abortion, death penalty, welfare, etc. Even where these issues are appropriate topics for government involvement, the religious arguments are not.
I believe in the 10th amendment. In the constitution, it clearly lists the functions of the federal government and states (in the 10th amendment) that all other powers are reserved to the States or the people. What this means is that 90% of the functions of the current federal government are unconstitutional. Some of them are legitimate government functions, but should be performed at the state level, instead of the federal level. Others should be performed by people instead of the government. Welfare, education, agriculture, social security, and many others fall into these categories. The federal government has no right to be involved in them!
I briefly considered voting for the Constitution party (since it appears that Ron Paul has endorsed that candidate), but they violate the separation of Church and State too much. Also, their primary platform is a return to the original constitution. Although an admirable goal, I prefer the philosophical purpose of the Libertarian party: to protect rights. Returning to the original constitution certainly helps fulfill that, but that is not the end goal. It is simply a means to an end.