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The Conscience of a Libertarian

Ron Paul was booed when he discussed the reasons why we were attacked on 9/11. The truth is not always popular.

I was not always a Libertarian. Since I was in High School, I was involved with the New York State Conservative Party. I liked the anti-crime theme and pro-Americanism that they conveyed. I could see the problems of crime and decay in New York City during the 1970's and could see conservatives had some good get tough answers. Like many people, I was frightened by the Soviet Union and the specter of Communism in the 1980's and I supported the attempts of Presidents from JFK to Ronald Reagan to defeat them. I was afraid of the influence of drugs and scandalous women so all of this was addressed by the Conservative Party. The Republican Party did not adhere to basic principles so they were not an option. To be a liberal or a Democrat would be absurd.

But over time, I began to see the problems with the Conservative Party. I always felt it wrong to discriminate against gays and immigrants; two areas that the Conservative Party and I disagreed with. Then I began to notice anti-free trade people speaking out against NAFTA and free trade, contrary to Capitalist theory. I noticed that they were more knee jerk reactions to problems than serious thinking about them. I became very concerned when year after year; the Bush's were getting us into one war after another without making much sense. I came to agree with Ron Paul that our actions, support of terrorists and dictators, were coming back to us.

Mostly, it was the lack of faith in the free market, capitalism and individual liberties by the Conservative Party that made me a libertarian. I realize that all these wars are senseless; the war against poverty, the war against drugs, the war against communism, the war against terrorism were all backfiring. The CIA uses the concept of blowback to describe the unintended consequences of our misguided adventures.

In the war against drugs, we created the Mexican drug cartel which poses a far greater risk to us than someone smoking pot. In the war against poverty, we created a perpetual underclass of poor people. In the war against communism, we created America's worst enemy. In the war against terrorism, we created more terrorists.

Whenever I walk down a street in Russia or Ukraine, I see a large number of homeless men in their 40's and 50's; my age. They are missing limbs; arms and legs. And I think, oh my God, we did this to these people. These are veteran of the war in Afghanistan and the United States provided the bombs to Osama Bin Laden that did this to young boys who were forced to fight what would later become the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Last week, I saw 2 very young American soldiers in the San Jose airport, a boy and a girl. They were children; they looked like they were 15. They wanted to sleep in the airport terminal to wait for their flight the next day but were told they were not allowed. They seemed to be lovers but I was not sure. These children are what we are sending now to Afghanistan just like the Russians sent their children 30 years ago to fight the same people that we helped. And they paid us back with 9/11.

When I hear that libertarians are naive or simplistic in our understanding of foreign affairs, I laugh. It is the Neo-cons and liberals who have perpetuated endless wars and created the monsters that we fear today.

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