Why I would make a lousy Libertarian

Becky Fenger Fenger PointingI 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 that 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.