TOS Blog: Daily Commentary from an Objectivist Perspective

The Question that Matters in this Presidential Election

A recent article from the Denver Post reveals the central problem with the modern clash between Democrats and Republicans: While both parties seek to protect individual rights in some ways, both seek to violate rights in other ways.

The Post interviews a college student, Tyler Antikainen, about one main issue, gay marriage:

To bolster an anemic U.S. economy, he believes Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s business background is an asset. On social issues—particularly support of same-sex marriage—he’s in lock step with President Barack Obama.

“So my feeling is: Do I vote for who might be best for the country economically, or for who I agree with and is open-minded socially? I don’t know,” Antikainen said.

Many voters feel the same angst regarding a variety of issues. Republicans tend to support, if only in rhetoric, freer markets (in some areas), lower taxes, restrained government spending, and less regulation. Democrats tend to support abortion rights, the rights of gay couples to marry, people’s rights to buy and use drugs of their choice, rights of peaceable immigrants to move where they want, and rights of businessmen to hire immigrants.

Craig Biddle offers a powerful case that, this time, voting for the Republican in the presidential race is the best way to slow the progression toward statism, yet it is understandable that many liberty-minded voters struggle with the decision. The best we can hope for is to slow the slide to statism enough that we’re able to spread the moral case for capitalism, change the cultural attitude toward genuine freedom, and thus set the stage for a consistently rights-respecting candidate in the future.

The question that matters in this presidential election is: Which candidate will do less damage and thus buy us more time?

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Image: iStockPhoto

Posted in: Individual Rights and Law, Politicians and Candidates

Comments are welcome so long as they are civil.
  • Cigar Bulldog

    This article seems to make a great case for Gary Johnson whose policies promote economic growth (ie the gov’t getting out of the way), individual liberty and social acceptance. Why no mention of him? Undecided voters should be looking to Gary Johnson.

  • Anonymous

    I did mention Gary Johnson, and quite intentionally, in the “Related” articles. I refer you to that article for my reasons against supporting Johnson.

  • Anonymous

    I respectfully disagree that Democrats tend to support ‘civil rights’ on ’social issues’; even more so than the Republicans’ rhetorical support for the free market, so-called liberals will betray ‘civil rights’ like free speech, drug choice, and others when push comes to shove. Any appearance to the contrary is merely pandering to gain advantage.

    It’s simply not true that, bad as they often are, Republicans are anywhere near as bad as Democrats in practice. Not any more. Can you envision anything like the Tea Party arising within or supporting (or being supported by) the Democratic Party?

  • Martin Lundqvist

    Except Gary Johsnson, like all libertarians with him, has a foreign policy, that any man of sound mind would deem disatrous.

  • Martin Lundqvist

    Well said!
    The ideological wing of the Republicans is the Tea Party movement.
    The ideological wing of the Democrats is the Occupy Wall Street movement.
    Any comparison between the movements is moot, because the difference in merits are too glaring.