Step Away From the Birdfeeder!

In case you haven't noticed, (but really, how have you not noticed?) my mother is a serious Libertarian. She's hard-core, man. She goes to Libertarian rallies in New Hampshire (which is, apparently, the Libertarian holy land). She pickets and campaigns for Libertarian candidates. And she periodically sends out emails like this:

I bought a bird feeder. I hung it on my back porch and filled it with seed. What a beauty of a bird feeder it is, as I filled it lovingly with seed. Within a week we had hundreds of birds were taking advantage of the continuous flow of free and easily accessible food.

But then the birds started building nests in the boards of the patio, above the table, and next to the barbecue. Then came the poop. It was everywhere: on the patio tile, the chairs, the table,in the pool.


Then some of the birds turned mean. They would dive bomb me and try to peck me even though I had fed them out of my own pocket.

And others birds were boisterous and loud. They sat on the feeder and squawked and screamed at all hours of the day and night and demanded that I fill it when it got low on food.

After a while, I couldn't even sit on my own back porch anymore. So I took down the
bird feeder and in three days the birds were gone. I cleaned up their mess and took down the many nests they had built all over the patio.

Soon, the back yard was like it used to be.... quiet, serene and no one demanding their rights to a free meal.

Now let's see.

Our government gives out free food, subsidized housing, free medical care, and free
education and allows anyone born here to be an automatic citizen.

Then the illegals came by the tens of thousands. Suddenly our taxes went up to pay for free services; small apartments are housing 5 families; you have to wait 6 hours to be seen by an emergency room doctor; your child's 2nd grade class is behind other schools because over half the class doesn't speak English.

Corn Flakes now come in a bilingual box; I have to 'press one' to hear my bank talk to me in English, and people waving flags other than 'Old Glory' are squawking and screaming in the streets, demanding more rights and free liberties.

Just my opinion, but maybe it's time for the government to take down the bird feeder.

If you agree, pass it on; if not, continue cleaning up the poop!

So there ya go - a little Libertarian allegory for you. Even though I have a Libertarian mother, I honestly don't know a whole lot of details about the Libertarian political theories and philosophies (my mother is not the pushy sort - although I AM counting on her to comment on this post from a Libertarian perspective).

Here's what Wikipedia says (god I love the wiki!):

Libertarianism is a term used by a broad spectrum of political philosophies which prioritize individual liberty and seek to minimize or even abolish the state. The definition of libertarian in a political context is a contentious issue and libertarians agree on no single principle or set of principles. The extent to which government is necessary, if at all, is evaluated from a variety of distinct metaphysical, epistemological, and moral grounds. The word libertarian is an antonym of authoritarian.

While I can understand where Libertarian ideals are coming from, I just don't have faith in humanity to provide the necessary social support systems without government funding and organization. My mother says that without government intervention, people would be free to donate their hard-earned money to whatever causes or organizations they deemed appropriate. So, if you felt passionate about after-school programs or subsidized housing or free medical care or supporting the arts or caring for the environment, you could donate to those causes of your own free will instead of the government taking your money and deciding for you.

In theory, this sounds zip-a-dee-doo-dah rosy. Yay! No more government! We are intelligent, altruistic people who look out for one another and take care of each other.

This would be great except for the fact that, historically, human beings are selfish, barbaric creatures who can't see past the ends of our noses. I don't believe people would step up and be the benevolent, philanthropic individuals that would be required for Libertarianism to be successful. I predict it would be a much harsher, colder world for many people. I don't think "survival of the fittest" is a viable option.

Maybe that's not fair. Maybe I have no idea what I'm taling about (it's happened before!) Maybe I am dead wrong. Maybe it would be an interesting experiment to go totally Libertarian, abolish the government, and just see how it works. See if it CAN work. See who suffers and who prospers.


I don't know.


mom said...

ok, i'll try the nutshell approach. libertarians are not anarchists. just like republicans and democrats there are libertarians on the right, left, and middle of the road. their basic premise is The Less Government, The Better. it's about personal responsibility and accountability as well. most of the libertarians i know, myself included, truly believe in the constitution and that all of us have "god" given rights. these are not rights given to us by a small elite group of people,(government). they don't have the authority to give or take away these rights...they are "god" given. there is no free ride. you and i should not be made to support any adult who is mentally and physically able to work but who chooses not to, they have the right to make that choice for themselves, but they or the government do not have the right to force the rest of us to support them. there should be some safety nets in place for those who are not physically or mentally able to work and of course for children. much, much more of our hard earned money should be in our pockets to save or spend the way we see fit. there should be much more local government authority and much less federal power. our government's basic duty is to protect our individual rights, & protect our country from foreign and domestic invasion, the government has absolutely no right to invade other countries and send our young citizens off to be killed or worse. AGAIN they are to protect our country from invasion not go invading other countries. i could go on and on but if you want some very very good insights visit a ron paul site. although he is republican he has mostly libertarian beliefs. he is a congressman from texas and has been for the past 20 some years, he has fought and continues to fight for our personal liberties.

mom said...

ok? Cathryn thank you for letting me "spew" a few words! you're such a good daughter! I'm sure you tell your friends I'm really a pretty nice person as well as a Libertarian. I think you must get a lot of your niceness from me.

Jennifer said...

I have to say, I LOVE the birdfeeder story! How completely true!!!! I've never thought about it, but maybe I'm more of a libertarian than a republican!!

As for people helping one another, I honestly believe that less government intervention would make us a more generous society. Look at people like Bill & Melinda Gates - they take the "to whom much is given, much is expected" theory to heart! I believe that people are so fed-up with being forced to help others through government taxes, etc. that they have actually cut-back on charitable giving. If we had more of our own money to do with it what we wish, I believe we would do much greater things!! Hell, isn't it worth a try??

Besides, is there really anything that government has gotten involved in that has actually been managed effectively and saved money? We have clowns in Washington who decided in a weekend to "fix" a problem that took over 10 years to create - AND they threw $700 billion of OUR tax dollars at it (oh wait, that was the first plan - they're on #5 or 6 now and the figure is more like $3 trillion dollars now). I am going to check out the Ron Paul site!

boty said...

Hey any of you good hearted generous folks wanna buy this hungry girl some din-din tonight? Apparently your taxes aren't going to my taco-bell addiction fund...if you don't help me who will?!

boty said...

Don't make me poop on your lawn furniture and dive bomb your asses!

mom said...

I agree 100% with Jennifer. Good point, people have become less giving due to the government.

Boty, you just don't qualify. First of all you actually work for a living, and secondly you don't have a bunch of kids you can't afford to support, not counting the critters, of course. Don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting you quit your job or go out and have some kids. But just think how much better off you'd be if the government wasn't in your back pocket helping itself to almost a third of the money YOU earn ! You'd have enough to support me in my old age.

Daniel said...

Libertarians are just adorable. I honestly just want to pinch their cheeks and republicans...wow. I know the libertarian ideas sound good on paper but they pretty much stop there. Does anyone really think we would have a better educated population without public education (such as public school grads are....ewwww) and social security , which is probably not underfunded inspite of what everyone keeps telling you, has a lot fewer people dying in the streets.

Do not get me wrong. I think the government is run by a bunch of clowns. It should be smaller by being more efficient and we should all be outraged but we do need it because people inherently suck.

I hear what you are saying about immigrants though. If I were an indian, I would be pissed because unlike current American, who have always relied on immigration and still do to be great, they let people in who just came in and screwed them.

Firas said...

All are very valid points, but I don't really understand how birth leading to citizenship is anti-libertarian. I'm not arguing for or against, I just want to know how it follows from Libertarian ideology to reject citizenship to someone born here. It would seem to me that the ethos of a free land would give children of people who immigrate here the citizenship rather than it subject to arbitrary rules and the whims of "elite government" agents who have to quiz you and determine whether you are worthy or not. Again, I am not pro- or against the idea, I just don't see it logically tied to Libertarian ideology. Why was it okay when the English/Dutch/Irish children of settlers were born here, but not so okay now that people from other parts of the world are immigrating. It SEEMS to me that this is an issue about the ethnic background of immigrants that is masked as a Libertarian issue. I definitely do appreciate a lot of Libertarian ideals, but I would really like to hear an explanation of this one.

mom said...

oh my gosh, so much to do and so little space.
wouldn't it be nice if parents had a choice of where to educate their children? With less and smaller government that would be possible. Let the schools compete for our business just like every other business does. With the government out of our pockets, parents could decide where to get the biggest bang for the buck. The argument that some parents would choose not to educate their children holds no weight because that's where the safety nets for children come into play. The argument that only the rich would get a good education...well look at the mess we have now. It's an absolute fact that children in poor, inner city neighborhoods get an inferior education than children in middle and upper class neighborhoods. With our school taxes in our pockets, the parents decide where to educate their children and with the schools competing for your business we'd have a better educated population.

Do you think the government is better able to manage your money than you are? If so, stay with Social Security. I'm not stupid and I KNOW I can manage my $ better than some idiots in Washington. I don't want them forcing me to pay out money for them to squander when I could invest that money myself. Too many Americans have been brainwashed to believe the government knows what is best for them and will do what is best for them, when it's so clear the government doesn't give a rats ass about us. Have we become so insecure and apathetic we would rather have some greedy, self motivated, people making decisions for us than taking responsibility for our own decisions and our own lives?

Yes, we are a country built on immigration. Our grandparents and great grandparents came to this country, legally, and did not ask or expect handouts and a free ride. They came and worked hard, and taught their children to speak the language and to be proud to be an American. There are several Libertarian thoughts about immigration.
1. open borders, let anyone who wants to come, come. but no handouts, no welfare, no free ride for anyone.
2. legal immigration. come here, but follow the rules and do it by the book. Again, no free ride.

Jennifer said...

I'm almost ready to come to a rally with you, Cathryn's mom!!! I cannot agree with you more!! I think YOU should run for office :-)

boty said...

I'd vote MUM! If you're president can you give me a cool title...like "goddess divine"? It suits me don't you think?

mom said...

boty, you betcha, you maverick, you!

Ekios said...

Just a word here, my first comment never pass I don't know why :(

I will take my time to read all of this, it's a bit long and the black background + white text isn't my cup of tea for read so much :)

Anyway, I'm in love with "Mom" ... what a women ! ;)

Oh and by the way, for the most "liberal" of you here, a "special" -koff koff- movie have been made on Missy Maverick ... but it's for adult only ... I almost die laughing when I fall on this news ! (it was everywhere in french press)

See you soon :)

cathryn said...

Okay, at the risk of dragging this thing out...

Yes, it's true that kids from poor families often get inferior education as opposed to those from wealthy or middle-class families. Yes, our current education system needs serious help.

But, with a Libertarian plan of letting schools "compete for our business", poor families would STILL get the shaft. Children from poor families would STILL be relegated to an under-par education.

I'm not so stupid as to believe the government knows what is best for me, but I do believe the government is in a unique position to help make our lives better. Obviously, when we elect criminals like Dubya into our government, we're just shooting ourself in the foot.

I don't understand why we are so arrogant as to automatically dismiss the successes that other countryies enjoy - things like childcare, education, healthcare, sustainability, and elderly care. Sure, the countries who enjoy these benefits pay significantly higher taxes, but the rewards have an enormous impact on the quality of life.

(Yes, yes...you can find all kinds of sources for socialism gone wrong and how horrible it is, but there are also sources out there that demonstrate just the opposite. Are we really not able to take what we can from the successes and make it our own?...make it better?)

Imagine quality education for everyone from kindergarten through college. Imagine having the option of affordable, quality childcare. Imagine being able to go to the doctor when you are hurt or sick instead of first calculating whether or not you can afford it. Crazy, I know!

Our country was built on the exploitation of the poor and continues to prosper on that exploitation. Hard work doesn't mean you'll get a fair shake. Hard work doesn't mean you'll be rewarded with being able to give your child a quality education. There is SO much wealth in this country of ours, that it seems absurd and disgusting that so many people suffer.

While many of the ideals of Libertarianism sound fair, I have to believe there is a better, more humane option than "dog eat dog".

mom said...

Libertarianism is certainly NOT dog eat dog. Libertarianism is adhering to the U.S. Constitution as was expected when it was drawn up. We have become so far removed from the Constitution that most politicians have never read it and don't understand it. As long as a small group of elite believe they know what is best for you and your family, and believe they have the authority to tax you and spend your tax dollar any way they see fit, and believe the laws apply to everyone but them, we will never have the freedoms, promised to us in the Constitution. We are losing more and more of our liberties everyday. Are you aware that Bush now has Infantry's
1st Brigade Combat Team serving here at home "as an on-call federal response force? This is expressly forbidden, yet Bush has said he did not feel bound by this law. In other words Bush has his own military force who answers to him. This is scary! It doesn't matter whether your Democrat, republican, Libertarian, Green Party, Constitution Party, or whatever, we all need to be much more informed about what is going on with our government and be outraged with their lack of concern for our freedoms. OK enough from me. Good points from everyone!

schroederjt said...

So, just last night, I read an article in Newsweek about how the recent financial crisis heralded the death of the libertarian movement, because (according to Newsweek) it is now clear that the market needed more government oversight - not less.

Clearly, Newsweek does not read your blog, because around here libertarianism seems to be flourishing. Also, I think your mom needs to get on their ticket somewhere, because she is seriously the most articulate and intelligent member of their party that I've ever come across.

Sometimes I think the libertarians have the right idea, in terms of keeping the government out of personal freedoms. Like abortion and gay marriage - should that really even be any of their business? But then again, I also like having a city government that provides things like public parks and trash collection.