The editor’s opinion from Marketplace, Northeast Wisconsin’s business magazine. (Obligatory disclaimer: Most hyperlinks go to outside sites, and we’re not responsible for their content. And like fresh watermelon, peaches, pineapple, grapefruit, tomatoes and sweet corn, hyperlinks can go bad after a while.)

April 21, 2008

Another leave-me-alone vote

The writer of this column (more pretentious than saying “I,” isn’t it?) was accused of being a “libertarian nut case!!” in a recent email. (Although I think she was kidding.)

If true, I have a lot of company among the celebrity set (to which I do not belong): Actors Clint Eastwood, Drew Carey, John Larroquette, Russell Means, Michael Moriarty (who doubles as a 2008 presidential candidate), Kurt Russell, Tom Selleck; columnists Dave Barry and P.J. O’Rourke; ABC-TV reporter John Stossel; magician Penn Jillette (of “Penn and Teller” fame, along with this Showtime show); musicians Rush, Ted Nugent and Dwight Yoakam; “South Park” creator Trey Parker; Cypress Semiconductor CEO (and Oshkosh native) T.J. Rodgers; Charlie Sykes of fellow Journal Communications media outlet WTMJ radio; and, of course, Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman, among others.

(By the way: What do Eastwood, Larroquette, Selleck and I have in common? We're all 6 feet 4.)

Add, perhaps, to the small-L libertarian list Rick McNeal of WAPL (105.7 FM), whose discussions about TV Turnoff Week today through Sunday, brought to you by the Center for Screen-Time Awareness, included this poem:

While I’m sure their efforts are well intended
I can’t help feeling that it would be so nice
if we had a day or week or month just dedicated
to encouraging people to stop telling us how to live our lives!!!

We live in a country that’s supposedly built on freedom,
that promises life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Yet, it seems many people can’t be happy
unless they’re telling everyone else what’s best. ...

“Get the hell out of my face day”
Is an event that I suggest.
A day when minding your own business
and letting others live their own lives is stressed. ...

Which makes sense, of course, for someone in the media. How anyone whose livelihood is thanks to our Founding Fathers’ good sense to add the First Amendment can favor any restrictions on the First Amendment is beyond me. McNeal and his partner in broadcasting crime Len Nelson (and for that matter Bob and Tom, where comedian Tim Wilson appears) lost a listener for part of their show when I started taking my children to school in the morning, but that’s my problem, not theirs.

As I am not a card-carrying member of the Republican Party, I am also not a card-carrying member of the Libertarian Party, and I have never voted for a Libertarian Party candidate. I didn’t (and won’t) vote for Ron Paul for president because, for one thing, his positions on “border security” and immigration are not libertarian at all, and for another, in a post-9/11 world isolationism is as coherent a foreign policy as it was before World War II — that is, not at all. The basic philosophy, however — personal freedom while maintaining personal responsibility is vastly preferable to the domestic authoritarianism of our two (as of today) Democratic presidential candidates.

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