Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Welcome to One Man's Opinions...

My name is Kris Overstreet, and I'm a Libertarian Party politician.

Technically I'm a retired politician, in that I don't intend to ever run for public elective office again. In 2000 I ran a write-in campaign for my local school board and got ten votes out of eighty-four cast. In 2006 I ran for Texas state representative and got over 7,000 votes, winning 24% of the vote against a Republican incumbent. After that run, and after the media's focus on my personal life (which includes writing and publishing sexually explicit material), I decided that, although I did better than any other Libertarian candidate for state legislature in Texas, there has to be other candidates with more money, more time, and fewer distractions.

However, I still intend to remain active in the Libertarian Party, or in whatever political party I feel best represents what I believe in. I joined the Libertarian Party reluctantly in 1999 because it is the only political party in the United States which consistently calls for less government and greater freedom. Every other party- the Republicans, the Democrats, the Greens, the Constitution Party, the Reform Party, etc.- calls for larger, more intrusive government for its own purposes. I served as a county chairman from 2000 to the end of 2005, when I ran for office. I've also served as Texas state platform committee chair twice, and in 2004 I sought the state vice-chairmanship, losing by a vote of 27 to 20.

The reason my loyalty to the Libertarian Party remains conditional is that there are too many Libertarians who believe that nothing less than total anarchy- the absence of government- is morally acceptable. There are two groups of this kind of person currently in the party. First there are the anarchists- those who believe that no law is good law. Second there are the purists- those who believe that no one who does not believe in every point of anarchic principle should be allowed into the Libertarian Party. There is a large overlap between the two groups, but they're not identical. Both groups, though, are not merely annoying but actively destructive to the one hope Libertarians have of reversing the trend against freedom: elect people to office.

I am not an anarchist. I am not an Objectivist. I am firmly opposed to both philosophies. Objectivism is based on the concepts of rationality and enlightened self-interest, which are used to justify the concept that selfishness is good and self-sacrifice evil. I believe that enlightened self-interest, if it exists at all, only leads to the thought, "How can I do this and not suffer any consequences?" Anarchy holds that freedom lies in an absence of government. I reply that anarchy leads directly to tyranny- in any anarchic system there will be at least one person willing to do anything to seize power, and a large number of people who will support anyone who will end anarchy.

We must accept these two points of human nature to live in the real world: that the concentration of power in any one place, be it government, the individual, a corporation, religion, or whatever, is a bad thing; and that there will always be people who will seek short-term advantage without any regard for the rights of others. These are the reasons why laws and government are tolerated, even approved of, by the vast majority of people. These are the proper role of government; to protect the rights of the weak against the encroachments of the strong, and to take out of circulation those who would violate the rights of others.

Having said that, I must stress that government power, like any power, must be restricted. Today we have a government which takes nearly a quarter of all wealth produced in this nation for its own ends, and still spends vastly more than it takes in. We have a government that spies on its own people and harrasses those who oppose those in power. We have a government which endorses torture. We have a government which censors, which favors one religion over others, which takes property without due process of law. We are swiftly losing those things which make America a "free nation"- the ability to do as one wishes, so long as no one else is harmed, without restriction.

There are very good cases to be made for reducing government's size at all levels... but the anarchists in the Libertarian Party cripple us by calling for all-or-nothing, smash-the-state changes. The purists cripple us by attacking those who propose small, incremental changes or who disagree on which government functions are valid and which aren't. As time has passed, I've gone from being a loyal party-line supporter to an active reformer and opponent of purism, because I've seen that the tactics of the anarchists and purists in this party drive voters actively away from us and into the arms of those in power.

This blog will be my commentary on three points. First and foremost, it will comment on the government as we have it- its constant expansion, its bungling, and what should be done to change it. Second, it will point out the Corn Flakes in the Libertarian Party. (A Corn Flake is a party member or spokesperson who, through his or her words or deeds, makes our whole party look not merely misguided but insane.) Third, it will point out those in the Libertarian Party who are either working for reform or who are actually making their part of the world a more free place to live in.

I'll try to have one post per day, but no promises; I have a life away from the computer, including family issues, personal issues, and business issues. For those things I have a LiveJournal. Whenever I have something political to say, though, it'll go here.

No comments: