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The Problem With Libertarians June 20, 2008

Posted by Paige of Quarrel in we're only gonna die.
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I think it’s funny that I’ve never known a Libertarian who wasn’t a white, cisgender male. Ron Paul, Bob Barr, my brother. Yep, that’s right. My brother.

I’d always thought that coming from the East Coast and generally trying to surround myself with people who were smarter than me, that I’d never known a Libertarian. You know. Those people lived outside of cities, in red states, on militia compounds, in fairy tale lands where Welfare Moms and Queers secretly ran The Government and were conspiring to take away their privilege, make them marry other dudes and use voodoo to take away their sexual prowess. I didn’t know anyone like that. At least that’s what I thought. And then the letter came.

It was from my brother, who’d never written me a letter before. In it he said how, even as a little boy, he never liked the idea of Big Government the way other boys did. He found himself fantasizing about times of old when white men had real power, not like today where all they have is the money, the entire corporate sector and running the government, a time when men could beat their wives and kids without fear of divorce or “The Law,” run fags and blacks out of town, and colleges and country clubs were “exclusive,” if ya know what I mean.

My brother, who I’d known almost my whole life, was telling me he was attracted to — oh jeez, I promised myself I wouldn’t cry, strong Paige, strong Paige! — to the Libertarian Party. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I knew it took a lot for him to open up like this, to come out as Libertarian, and I wanted to be supportive, I really did. It’s just this isn’t the life that his parents and I pictured for him. Everyone looking down on him, judging him for his fucked up politics of privilege and irrational fears. Just you know, thinking that anytime he drives down the street with a Libertarian bumper sticker, people will be looking at him, thinking, “What a douche.” That just breaks my heart. It really does.

I just don’t understand how something like this happened in our family. My mom was in the ACLU. My parents both worked. My mom has a professional degree and my dad doesn’t. They both marched on D.C. — while my dad was on leave from the Army no less! We just weren’t one of those families, you know? What would I tell my friends and neighbors when he started talking about how it was all immigrants’ fault? Or flaunting his conspiracy-theory-driven beliefs? Or talking about the oppressive forces of a minimum wage on the “free market” to people we know who make the minimum wage? What was I going to tell my children someday when their uncle started making analogies about government that talked about drowning things in bathtubs?! Drowning what? Kittens? Minorities? Babies?!

No. Just no. Not in this family. I decided in the end that political ideology just didn’t mesh with the way we were raised. I could not in good conscience condone his philosophy or his lifestyle of self-centered arrogance. So, I haven’t spoken to him since. Disowned him. Now, I know some of you may think that’s harsh, but where I’m from folks just don’t grow up to be Libertarians, dammit! No, all I can do know is keep him in my thoughts every Sunday when I go to my queer, radical-leftist bacchanal and hope that the the Socialist spirit of our union-organizing grandfather touches his heart and makes him see his evil ways.

And I ask that you also keep my brother and those similarly afflicted in your thoughts as well, gentle reader, the next time you’re at a gay wedding or having an orgy or decrying capitalism or just not being a white, cisgender male.

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