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Libertarians Explained: A Coalition for Freedom

Dear Atlanta Press,

I enjoyed Pete Sweeney's humorous and insightful look at the Libertarian Party. ("Libertarians Explained," Nov. 5 1998. ) Sweeney is right. Libertarians are America's most organized and active "third" party. (Actually, I think of Libertarians as a "second" party, since as Sweeney notes, there isn't any discernible difference between the Democrats and Republicans.)

This year nationwide, Libertarians ran nearly a thousand candidates -- the most any alternative party has run since World War II. A couple hundred Libertarians hold office nationwide, ranging from state legislature to city council.

In discussing difficulties faced by Libertarians in Georgia, Sweeney could have added that Georgia Democrats and Republicans have passed incredibly severe ballot restrictions that make it almost impossible for Libertarians to run for Congress, state legislature, or local offices. Still, the party perseveres, and one day soon will be big enough to overcome even these unfair and anti-democratic ballot laws.

Libertarians have a unique message that is so sensible, so reasonable, so tolerant, and so common-sense that it sounds downright radical. Libertarians say each of us should be free to live our lives as we choose, as long as we simply respect the right of others to do the same. Live and let live. Libertarians call for personal freedom, free markets, and a peaceful foreign policy of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other nations.

I hope to see in the near future a broad coalition of Georgians who are willing to work together for freedom across the board, in order to insure liberty on the issues they personally value most. Imagine a coalition of people who want to legalize medical (and non-medical) marijuana; end censorship; end Georgia's repulsive sodomy law; protect Internet freedom; end drivers license fingerprinting; abolish the income tax and other taxes; uphold free enterprise; end welfare to rich corporations; end draft registration and senseless foreign wars; end the War on Drugs; have the freedom to educate their children as they wish; tolerate alternative lifestyles; protect the right to keep and bear arms; and so on.

The Libertarian Party is the only party where such rights and freedoms are respected and ferociously defended. If these different special interest groups would realize that, the Libertarian Party would become a truly powerful political force, and each group mentioned above would win freedom on their issue.

As the Republicans and Democrats continue pushing us towards a police state under the smokescreen of various "Wars" against drugs, terrorism, gays, chewing gum on Sunday, and whatever other scapegoats are handy, I predict concerned citizens will stampede to the Libertarian Party to defend their freedoms.

They'll find waiting for them a party that truly and uncompromisingly believes in liberty for all.


James W. Harris

(Published in Atlanta Press, November 1998

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