Most Important Issue
A brief note (8/20/97) written to the National LP News, in response to an editorial query concerning the most important political issue which the Libertarian Party should pursue.
The single most important political issue that the Libertarian Party should focus on is included within its name: Liberty. We are born free; our rights are inalienable and are not granted by government. Jefferson, writing on the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of religion, noted that the Constitution did not "establish" this right but "discovered" it. The accounts of political debate on any specific issue, when read in the light of inalienable rights ("And among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness..."), always favor the Libertarian position.
While I was editing Breaking60, I was drawn back again to the question of why so few UUs are Libertarians. It seems to me that the libertarian mainstream, emphasizing fiscal conservatism and social liberalism, is a natural secular counterpart to the objectives and ideals of liberal religion. However, far too many UUs are statists: looking to the power of the State (as libertarians would say, "Force and the threat of force.") to make things right, to do good hearted and obviously right things in the wrong way. Notwithstanding that we are strong supporters of Habitat for Humanity, many of us also support Section 8 which has had a devastating effect on many neighborhoods. It seems to me that this willingness to resort to governmental power is in conflict with many of our covenantal principles and represents a possibly fatal weakness in the loose coalition we call the UUA. The political bias of many of our congregations is so obvious that I remember a visitor to TPUUF several summers ago getting up during expression of joys and concerns and asking, "Are Republicans welcome here?" The obvious answer is YES!; however we need to be more small "l" libertarian and politically tolerant if it is to be so.