Politically speaking, that is.
I fit into no known political party. I cannot name a single national politician who shares most of my political views. I took the test at Political Compass:
slithytoveataim: I'm getting 5.62, -3.28. A
cyborgmermaid: EEK! EVIL! ::points::
slithytoveataim: I'm proud to note that according to their graph of current British politics, there is NO ONE in my political quadrant!
slithytoveataim: I'm an ideological orphan!
cyborgmermaid: You're a freak! :o
Yes, I sure am.
I'm basically a lapsed Randite. It is my considered opinion that human beings have the greatest chance at being happy and productive and working out their own destiny in the world if the society they live in leaves them as free as possible to do so. That includes both personal freedom (freedom of thought, speech, religion, the press, sexual preference, etc.) and economic freedom (the government doesn't try to redistribute wealth, micro-manage the economy, or imagine it can protect individuals from their own economic choices). At the same time, any reasonable reading of history shows that a strong national defense is necessary if a nation is to remain free, which is a concept that many 'big L' Libertarians just don't seem to get.
The Libertarian Party in particular often seems stuck in a dream world. Many Libertarians don't believe in immigration law, for example: all nations should open their borders and let people travel freely, as they wish. Huh? Instant chaos would result. Half of Central and South America would wind up in the US and Canada, most of Turkey in Germany and Italy, the greater part of China in Japan, Singapore and Taiwan... Are these people nuts? Yes, probably they are. Which is why the LP, which dates from the1970's, hasn't made any real progress in attracting more members or electing more individuals to public office since about 1980. And there are some who style themselves libertarians who are doing some very queasy things, like cozying up to the clearly anti-Semitic and racist Jean-Marie le Pen. Ick. I don't know what went wrong with the LP, but I don't think there's any home there for me.
Right now, I can't name any candidate with national stature that I'd really like to see in the White House. I voted for Bush rather than Gore, but that's like voting for William Jennings Bryan rather than Juan Peron. Hold your nose, and pull the lever, because the alternative is worse. For a while William Weld, governor of Massachusetts looked good, but he inexplicably self-destructed in trying to get Jesse Helms to accede to his nomination to be... ambassador to Mexico?!? WTF? Dick Armey, House Majority Leader often seems to be saying the right things, like about school choice and tort reform, but he's a homophobe, and there's just something slimy about him I don't like. He reminds me of Leisure Suit Larry for some reason. Maybe it's the tan. Jesse Ventura has frequent libertarian instincts, but after that Playboy interview in which he said that religion is the opiate of the masses, I can't imagine he has any national political future. And he's a bit a loose cannon, as well.
There are a few people out there whose opinions I generally find reasonable, most notably Virginia Postrel, former editor of Reason, and author of The Future and Its Enemies, who calls herself a 'dynamist', and posits that the major ideological struggle in the world today is not between 'left' and 'right', but between 'dynamists' and 'stasists'; more on this in a later post. I don't think Postrel has any political ambitions. Andrew Sullivan is a gay conservative Roman Catholic (matter, meet anti-matter, please don't shake hands), writes well and often has interesting ideas, but also just seems... unstable sometimes, going off on crusades against this or that person. Yes, liberal economic columist Paul Krugman is probably a hypocrite about the money he received from Enron, but was it really worth Sullivan banging on him for two weeks? Glen Reynolds and Matt Welsh (another Reason columnist) are bloggers whose opinions I often agree with, and there are other libertarian-oid bloggers out there, but few of any prominence, and none with a national presence.
I turn on the TV, or read the papers, and with rare exceptions, all I see is Republicans vs. Democrats, or Left vs Right. The Republicans and the Democrats both want to get their guys into office so there will be political jobs for their friends, and so they can pass laws doling out pork to their favored constituencies. No ideas or political philosophy, just a bunch of photogenic puppies yipping and jumping, trying to get at that bag of Purina Puppy Chow that is your taxes. The Left and Right do have ideas, but both get it half right and half wrong. The Left wants you to have personal freedom, but wants to stifle your economic freedom; the Right will allow you economic freedom, but wants to stifle your individual freedoms. I want to throw cream pies at them both. And there's rarely any alternative to Dems vs Reps, Left vs Right, presented by the media. There are other ideas out there. Where's the Cato Institute, the Manhattan Institute, (libertarian think-tanks) or the Institute for Justice, (libertarian litigators)?
I'm sure that even most Republicans and Democrats who buy most of their party's ideas, disagree with some, and certainly don't endorse every other Republican or Democrat politician. But I don't have any party at all that even comes close to representing my views. And there are no politicians very close either.
I have nowhere to lay my head.