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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Forget Weiner - Congress Will Still Screw Us!

Yeah, that got you to look, didn't it?

Well, now the news has broken - New York Representative Anthony Weiner has admitted to sending several sexually explicit photos to young females, yet he will not resign. But the best part is - his wife is Hillary Clinton's aide. Well, at least they'll be able to start a White House support group for women with unfaithful husbands.

But seriously, what point am I trying to make here - after all, there are crooked politicians from all ideologies who lie and cheat (the latter in more ways than one). So am I saying that I feel a libertarian politician would be more honest than a liberal or conservative one? No. I'd hope that a libertarian politician would keep his integrity, but I'd hope the same for any other politician as well. But inevitably, some of us will give in to our moral weaknesses and do things we regret. As Wes Benedict, Executive Director of the Libertarian National Committee said in his weekly email message this past Monday,
That's one of the reasons why government should have as little power as possible. When human beings have the power to control others' lives, our natural fallibility makes us very dangerous.

What's worse, power tends to corrupt us and make us even more dishonest, conniving, and cruel.

We Libertarians understand that humans are fundamentally imperfect, and we will always be imperfect.

Libertarians aren't simply looking for honest politicians. We are looking for politicians who understand this problem, and who will stand on principle to take power away from government, and return it to the individual.

For those who are unfamiliar with libertarianism, Benedict uses "Libertarian" with a capital "L" because he is referring to the party. I use "libertarian" with a lower-case "l" in most cases because I am referring to followers of the philosophy, who may or may not be LP members.

But back on topic, of course there is a chance a libertarian leader in a libertarian government would do something wrong. I won't deny that. But as Benedict says, that leader would have less power and authority. So, that leader would not be as capable of having his actions spill over and effect the American well-being. If Rep. Weiner had no discretion in his personal life, why should we expect him to have discretion in his political affairs?

In fact, as Wayne Allyn Root noted on his blog, Congressman Weiner introduced a bill to loosen immigration requirements for foreign models. Don't get me wrong, I support the loosening of immigration requirements, so in theory, this would be a good law (although it shouldn't just be for models). However, you'd be kidding yourself if you thought Weiner was doing this merely because he supported open borders. He wasn't thinking out of the goodness of his heart, but out of the goodness of his ... err, let's go with "the goodness of his last name".

First of all, Anthony Weiner should definitely resign from Congress immediately. As I said, if he can't control his personal life, why should we expect him to be able to control his politics? In fact, as we saw through the model bill, he has already exhibited signs of indiscretion in that area. Second, we need to create a country with less government so that leaders like Weiner and like Governor Schwarzenegger from California who, like all humans, are prone to exhibiting indiscretion, do not have the power to exhibit that behavior in political affairs.

In fact, I said "like all humans". That is key. No human is perfect. So it would be crazy to expect our leaders to be perfect. I recognize this. That is exactly why we need to place more responsibility on the individual for their own affairs and less responsibility on the government. The logic behind this is twofold. First, the obvious - politicians are prone to indiscretion. So we need to do damage control before they cause damage.

Second, citizens are prone to indiscretions. And the government should not be policing our minor indiscretions and charging 18-year-olds with felonies, thus giving them a criminal record and ruining their entire life, merely because they had seventeen grams of marijuana in their possession which they may or may not have been smoking. The War on Drugs is beyond the scope of this post, but suffice it to say that many young adults are seeing their whole future ruined by a far-too-powerful government merely because of one indiscretion.

And for those who still feel strongly about drug prohibition, there are plenty of other examples. A CNN story from 2009 reported that eighteen-year-old Phillip Alpert was mad at his sixteen-year old girlfriend after a fight. So, in a momentary indiscretion, he sent a nude photo of her to dozens of her friends and family. He had just turned eighteen when this happened, and was charged with distribution of child pornography and placed on a sex-offender list for the rest of his life. The sex-offender list should be for rapists and pedophiles, not an eighteen-year-old boy who made one bad decision. Not to mention the fact that I must question whether someone deserves to essentially be blacklisted for life for one bad decision even if that decision was rape (that, once again, is beyond the scope of this article). Don't get me wrong, many people on the sex offender list deserve to be there, but those like Mr. Alpert certainly do not.

In fact, what Rep. Weiner did was far worse than what Mr. Alpert did, but Weiner is going to remain in Congress while Alpert essentially ruined his whole life. That doesn't seem fair. If someone in any regular profession had done what Weiner did, sending hundreds of explicit photos and messages to multiple young women over three years, then (perhaps inadvertently) posted one of those photos to my twitter feed, I would be fired from my job and you could safely bet that no employer would want to hire me. That's the kind of thing for which you somewhat deserve to be blacklisted. But Weiner, being a politician and using the authority that that position brings him, will remain in power, and will keep making our laws and running our country. That doesn't seem fair. But as I said, even without Weiner, the federal government is ruining this country. And that will continue until the role of government is substantially downsized.

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