IPFS Becky Fenger

More About: Philosophy: Libertarianism

Why I would make a lousy Libertarian

I have often been asked why I don't join the Libertarian Party, since (1) my criticism of fellow Republicans is as fierce as that directed at Democrats and (2) I possess strong libertarian instincts. That's a fair question. Here's why I would make a lousy Libertarian:

Libertarian Party members believe that a government that governs least, governs best. They value personal liberty highly and want government – especially the federal government – to stay out of their lives unless they are harming another individual. This is both on the social and economic level.

One of my favorite descriptions of libertarian thinking is as follows: "A libertarian is more liberal than a Liberal on matters of personal liberty, and he is more conservative than a Conservative on matters of economic autonomy."

Let's say I was in the Arizona state legislature. Representative Fenger would vote to make the "sport" of dog fighting illegal. Despite my core beliefs of limited government, I want to throw everyone who even attends a dog fight into the pit with hungry lions. You should hear what I have in mind for the monsters who breed the hapless dogs for this activity.

Long ago I read a book that contained a chapter on bull baiting and dog fighting. The breeder was so proud of his prize female dog that he beat her to death while she was in battle, just so he could get more for her puppies when she died with her teeth still buried in the other dog. The ugly vision haunts me to this day.

Then there is the case of red-light cameras to catch offenders who run red lights. Libertarians see this as a form of Big Brotherism. I see red light-runners as potential murderers. I would vote for even stiffer penalties for these criminals who view themselves as freedom fighters. (If the length of the yellow light has been shortened to catch more violators, however, that's another story altogether and they've lost my support.)

There's an interesting news story related to a manufacturer of these cameras, while we're on the subject. Everett, Washington, utilizes these cameras, to the chagrin of many of her residents. Postings on the local paper's Website air readers' views. Among the most frequent of posters was a person signing letters and comments as "W. Howard."

The paper became suspicious of W. Howard, and traced his posts. It turns out the source was American Traffic Solutions, Inc., located in Scottsdale, Arizona! No wonder the company that makes and sells these cameras is a staunch supporter of their use. Why did they have to go to such lengths to sell the public on support of cameras that can stand on their own merits?

Next case in point: raw milk. When I was a child, I lost six months out of a school year home sick with brucellosis. My country doctor called it Malta Fever. Either way, it came from drinking our neighbor's unpasteurized milk, given to us as a "sweet treat" before he sent it on for processing.

Libertarians would pull my credentials if they heard I want raw (unpasteurized) milk banned as some states have done. To me, it's a public health issue, not a protected personal choice.

Drinking raw milk can cause outbreaks of E. coli (O157:H7), salmonella, and listeria infections in children which can result in permanent kidney damage or death. And we all know how hard it is to get a kidney these days.

Currently there is another dust up over the freedom to sell raw milk to customers. I agree with the expert who wrote: "In my opinion, any government that chooses to allow distribution of raw milk should also abdicate all of its other food safety regulations. No other food-safety measure is as well established and reliable."

If you want to allow the free flow of raw milk across the country, you'd better go back and issue an apology to Typhoid Mary. Poor Mary Mallon was forcibly quarantined for a total of three decades for harboring a pathogen not unlike that present in raw milk. The perfect food isn't so perfect in the raw.

In case I haven't outraged Libertarian Party members quite enough by now, I can share my thoughts on succumbing to the argument for the necessity of a national ID card or my support for pediatricians who are refusing to see children whose parents decide not to vaccinate them. But … you get the idea.

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13 Comments in Response to

Comment by Rocky Frisco
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Why do you keep republishing this article? This fool woman is a non-entity, with an opinion out of her butt.

Comment by Anonymous
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Larken, this refers to your "P.S." to me [see below]. 

 I really feel sorry for you. Let’s expose to the public your "angry" mental distortions one more time from what you just said below: It angers me that so many people who should know better continue to condone the initiation of violence against innocent people, calling the thuggery "law," and calling disobedience and resistance to such thuggery "crime… you did go to "law school," where they teach such lunacy as unquestionable doctrine."

First of all Larken, going to school to get educated IS NOT LUNACY. Okay, buddy? Get it straight. Only lunatics would indulge in such perversion or lunatic thinking.

I said I am really sorry for you because the word "thuggery" might have a traumatic imprint in your childhood to this day [no offense intended], and here’s why: When you were "told" to do the right thing in life while you were still growing up -- like you "must" [you "must" that sounds like an "order"] use the toilet bowl when you discharge – you feel it was an imposition, a dictation on you, robbing you of freedom to excrete or throw your rectal dirt on the floor the way you wished as a spoiled brat. That "dictation" was against your free will to do whatever you like. And when such dictation or "order" of good grooming prevented you from doing it on the floor, you really believed that was an act of "thuggery" on the part of your parents.

Similarly, when authorities suppress lawlessness and maintain law and order, you really believe that it is "thuggery" because of that perverse belief you grew up with that it violates your personal freedom – the same rebellious feeling that you have had since childhood when you resisted your parents [or guardians] who prevented you from doing your bowel movement on the floor. What your Mom or Dad or Nanny did to you when you "disobeyed" them [perhaps beat the crap out of you with a stick], could have left a mental imprint on your mind that anything or anyone who acts like your parents or Nanny – the first symbol of authority you came in contact with as a mutinous and defiant child – is a "thug". Now you are telling Americans that what your parents did to you to make you think straight and grow up normal, is an act of "violence" that shouldn’t be condoned.

See where you are coming from in this exchange between you and me? This is just a reading of your own gospel of violence that you are passionately spreading out, from the dark side. What I am doing is for the likes of you to come out, into the light!

Comment by Larken Rose
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Lawrence, the wording you chose is very interesting. You compare Ms. Fenger's comments to the statements of someone's personal beliefs, after which you could then decide for yourself whether you "want anything further to do with" them. That would be just fine, except that those who wield the club of "government," and those like Ms. Fenger who ASK that club to be wielded, DON'T CARE if you want to have anything to do with them, because they are determined to have something to do with you, coercively attempting to interfere with and control your choices, your behaviors, and your life. If Ms. Fenger said she likes eating spiders, or likes to wear gigantic purple hats, or worships a neon orange wombat, or likes to play her electric accordion until all hours of the night, I wouldn't complain about that in the least. But she's not just talking about her preferences and behaviors; she's talking about the choices and behaviors she wants FORCIBLY IMPOSED on me (and everyone else). So yes, it is my business, and yes, she does deserve criticism. 

(P.S. Yes, Bakadude, I suppose you could call me "angry." It angers me that so many people who should know better continue to condone the initiation of violence against innocent people, calling the thuggery "law," and calling disobedience and resistance to such thuggery "crime." Apparently it doesn't anger you when people are harassed, robbed, assaulted, or even murdered, so long as the politicians first enact "legislation" declaring such aggression to be "law." But then, you did go to "law school," where they teach such lunacy as unquestionable doctrine.)

Comment by Laird Minor
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 Of course you'd make a "lousy" libertarian, because you aren't one. You may have some libertarian leanings on certain issues, but at heart you're a populist. That's code for having no coherent, consistent basis for your beliefs; you take each issue as it comes, on a stand-alone basis, without any sort of philosophical framework to tie them all together. Unfortunately, emotion is a poor substitute for reason, and the "arguments" you make aren't logical but are merely facile rationalizations for your feelings.

Since you favor the prohibition of raw milk, my guess is that you're apoplectic over the idea of re-legalizing recreational drugs. (Note the word "re-legalizing"; no drugs were illegal before the early 20th century, and civilization managed to struggle along and even advance despite the occasional opium den.) The fact that you wouldn't do something, and fear that it might be harmful, is sufficient in your mind to give you the moral authority to prohibit others from doing it. At heart you're an authoritarian, even if you would allow others some latitude on issues which don't matter to you (or as to which you haven't yet given sufficient attention to develop an opinion).

"May your chains sit lightly upon you."

Comment by Anonymous
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Becky, I don’t think you would make yourself a lousy libertarian. The way you view what a real Libertarian is, would make you a good Libertarian of Reason. I belong to this group which is totally different from and in fact in contrast with and opposed to those angry Libertarians like Larken Rose who lambaste more than two hundred million Americans who go to school to get an education as spineless "slaves" of the State! You probably can imagine how angry they are. When this bunch of American and state-bashers is caught up with such anti-statist rage that gnaws their heart piece by piece 24-hours a day, expect them to run out of reason.

You must know why you get so much flak [see those vile comments below] from angry Libertarians – those crappy – and some are vicious, despicable and depraved – comments [lampoons] are in fact coming from those lousy Libertarians themselves who actually embarrassed me … a breed of Libertarians which you could not become [as one of them], even though how much you would try to be. Note that emotional lousy Libertarians couldn’t think straight while angry, thus their concept of liberty and freedom becomes so distorted it turns them into abominable-looking figures very much uglier than the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

For example, look at how they picture liberty and freedom to drink unpasturized milk which is prohibited by the FDA because it is proven as a dangerous health hazard. To them the concept of individual freedom and liberty which they would die for when challenged at a drop of a hat, includes the liberty and freedom to contract Salmonella, E. coli and Listeria and similar diseases! That freedom and liberty also includes the right of the sick individual downed by infectious diseases by drinking unpasturized milk, to spread an epidemic! Ay, Mama mia!

Larken Rose personifies the image of those angry Libertarians, this you must know. When law enforcers conduct an arrest or forcible entry to a dwelling while crime is being committed or about to be committed, he urges Americans to shoot it out with the police. The right to resist in the name of liberty and freedom is so bent and distorted that he thinks what our law enforcers are doing is "thuggery" … to him security officers are agents of a "fascist" state that are only good when they are shot dead! How crime suppression and prevention be "fascism" can only dwell in a very disturbed mind that obviously needs a medical help.

Go back to my comments in Freedom Forum on the Indiana court ruling where I explained to people like Larken why to resist with the use of force while police officers are in the process of conducting an arrest or forcible entry to stop a crime or a crime about to be committed, is against public policy. Those were meant to save lives that the likes of Larken threw under the bus, in their angry and perverted interpretation of what individual liberty and freedom means!

So Becky, I think you will make such a lousy angry libertarian. You couldn’t beat Larken if you dream that someday you will become a Libertarian in rage worse than he is.

Comment by H. Skip Robinson
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I drank raw milk as a child from cattle my grandfather raised and I never got sick. MaMa had to put chocolate sirup in it because I did not like the favor over pasteurized milk, that I was used to drinking. I don't think that my MaMA and PaPa would have given me milk, that people have be drinking for 1000's of years, if it were unsafe. No, I will not ease up.  I have watched our society decline for 35 years to a position near monetary collapse, as the U.S. and other governments and their supporters coninued to agress against the Citizens of the World, usurping their indivudal rights. Government burecracy and the reditribution of wealth has harmed our world much more than it has helped it and this my friends is well documented and arbitrated.  All one must due is care and read. Supporting socialism is wrong and I do not sit back and allow those who support it to note their illusional opinions.

Comment by Lawrence Oshanek
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My good Lord! Lighten Up! The woman wrote an article entitled "WHY I WOULD MAKE A LOUSY LIBERTARIAN" .... She did not write an article entitled; "WHY I AM A LIBERTARIAN" or "WHY I WANT TO BE A LIBERTARIAN" or "HOW I AM BECOMING A LIBERTARIAN"! Ms. Fenger simply tells me why she does not share my values and I appreciate that as much as I would any woman who tells me she has had several abortions but wants to marry me or any other person who tells me the truth about themselves so I can decide if that is the kind of person I want anything further to do with. Why that would upset some of you astounds me!

Comment by Bill Koehler
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Most people who can't handle the Libertarian philosophy simply hate freedom because they have a pet issue just as you do.  Sorry honey you can not pick and choose.  Either you are for liberty or you are not.

Comment by Joe Tittiger
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Thank God this crazy bitch is not in government. We sure as hell do not need any more people in government that do not support Liberty. She sounds just like the criminals that are already holding office.

Comment by H. Skip Robinson
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An illusional assessment of the need for government regulation usually occurs when one does not contemplate the underlying problem and negative ramifications. Regulation occurs when redress or restitution to the victim is denied by lousy judicial systems, so we in our infinite wisdom create more government in an attempt, seldom with success, to correct the malfeasants of the judiciary, until one day we wake up with no industry and in debt up to our eyeballs. You could have sued your neighbor for selling you tainted milk and people still can get sick from pasteurized milk. People do not run red lights on purpose and once again there should be legal recourse if they do harm somebody. Trying to protect people through Malum Prohibitum legislation has historically failed and provides government a profit center for continued abuses and usurpations of individual rights. The benefits of regulation are negated by the negative ramifications of government and this is where most people fail to evaluate as they consider the various issues facing mankind. There is no utopia so you have two basic determinations; Communism/fascism or libertarian? Take your choice and believing that two opposing "the mixed economic" system that many embrace, takes us down the road to communism for a variety of reasons. Our system is a perfect example. The U.S. government now has more ownership of property than ever before in our history, we have lost many of our primary industries and we are the greatest debtor nation in history. If you have any more thoughts on libertarianism perhaps you should wait and ask some more questions before writing them for the world to see.                 

Comment by Larken Rose
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Not to sound nasty, Becky, but it's clear that you don't want to be a libertarian because you still hope to use the violent club of "government" to force YOUR preferences and beliefs on others. Once you accept the premise that that's okay (and the raw milk thing is a fine example), you have NO rational basis for complaining when someone else--left or right--tries to force THEIR preferences and beliefs on you.

Let's be clear about what you're advocating--stating the literal reality, instead of just the statist euphemisms. When you say you want raw milk "banned," that means you want MEN WITH GUNS forcibly kidnapping and caging anyone caught selling raw milk to willing customers. By advocating that, you have just embraced the foundation of fascism. The fact that you would "let" people do lots of other things without the interference of the jackboots doesn't mean you support actual freedom at all, because you just completely dumped any principle having to do with liberty and self-ownership. If you think it's up to YOU to decide which choices you and your nanny state are going to LET me make, then the best you can be is a relatively kind, permissive fascist.

And if someone decides not to let YOU eat meat anymore, or sugar, or beer, or whatever, on what PRINCIPLED grounds can you possibly complain, having ENDORSED the notion that it's the job of the nanny state to violently regulate what people can eat, "for their own good"? You are falling for the temptation of the "authority" myth: "If only I could use that power to impose MY ideas on everyone else, then everything would be great!" In short, if offered the Ring of Power, you'd still put it on. (For anyone who doesn't know, that was a reference to "The Lord of the Rings," by J.R.R. Tolkien.) And then you'd commit evil, from the best of intentions, like thousands of tyrants who have gone before. 

If you'd read it, I'd be happy to send you a free copy of "The Most Dangerous Superstition," because I think your GOOD intentions and perfectly decent values are being warped and distorted--and turned into something destructive--by one big huge lie we were all taught.

Larken Rose

(P.S. For the record, being a Libertarian and being a libertarian are not the same thing. Playing the game of "politics," and participating in the pseudo-religious ritual of voting, directly contradicts the foundation of libertarianism: the non-aggression principle. So I'm not defending the Libertarian PARTY at all.)

Comment by Powell Gammill
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"I would never belong to any organization that would have me as a member" -- Groucho Marx

Comment by Sean King
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No, you'd make a lousy Libertarian because you're too illogical for the position to make sense.

For instance: Installing red light cameras isn't anything more than a revenue generation source.  If there's an accident b/c someone ran a red light....we already have a system in place to prosecute them for manslaughter in criminal court if someone is killed and the civil court system offers remedy for the victims.  Libertarians believe in punishing people when someone elses rights are infringed.  Tell me, how are anyone's rights infringed by running a red light when no accident results from the action?  Regardless of what the SCOTUS has ruled about your privacy rights in public spaces, government cameras monitoring your every move are a violation of the founders vision of the 4th Amendment.

As for raw milk....were you forced to drink that milk, or did you CHOOSE to?   Who's fault is that?  Take some responsibility.  And....if you'd like to claim you were too young to know what you were doing....where were your parents?  Or do you believe the government would do a better job of raising children than their parents too? Libertarianism is about taking responsibility for your own actions and not looking to the government to protect you from everything.....it obviously cannot. 

Clearly you're also in favor of national ID cards....apparently, you would be one of the 'useful idiots' clamoring to be first in line when the government demands your "papers please" in direct violation of the 4th Amendment.    

I support your contention that a pediatrician has the right to refuse service to children whose parents refuse to vaccinate.....not b/c of anything the parents did....but b/c the doctor should have a right to choose who he treats just as other business owners should have the right to choose what markets and persons they will serve. 

In short, you simply don't "get" Libertarians b/c you're a statist at heart and don't understand the concepts of freedom of choice, of association, or that our government was instituted to protect individual rights....not collective desires.

Sean King
Mesa, AZ