This is an archive of a past election.
See for current information.
State of Pennsylvania November 2, 2010 Election
Smart Voter

Progressive Libertarian - A New Idea

By Vernon L. Etzel

Candidate for US Representative; District 5

This information is provided by the candidate
Article from my website outlining the need for a new direction in the both the US and the LP.
The primary motivation that leads many individuals, like me, to join the Libertarian Party is that "we care". We have each witnessed injustice in our lives and the lives of others. We wish we could change things. And we are growing as a political force in spite of the unfairness of our electoral system.

There is a public view of the Libertarian Party as being a far-right organization. And in all fairness, there are many in the LP that give merit to that view. However, there are also many within the Libertarian Party who champion "common sense". There should be no conflict between our principles and the fact that we care about people.

There is an example of this internal debate that has persisted for decades: tuition vouchers. The right-wing view of education is to eliminate public funding altogether. The left-wing view is to increase funding for state schools. A common sense policy of tuition vouchers would provide free market education to all kids, benefiting teachers and parents alike.

This issue, like many others, has failed to reach a majority opinion within the Libertarian Party, bashing against the headwaters of the "anarcho-conservative" diatribe. The use of the term "socialism", in most cases incorrectly, to describe anything except Anarchy is a convenient term to well up hatred and conformity.

Hence the oft-used phrase in the media: "conservative libertarian".

Let's get real here. There are powerful, political forces that run our government. These can be viewed as pro-Corporation and pro-Bureaucracy. The final result of right-wing discourse is to support state capitalism. The final result of left-wing discourse is to support state bureaucracy. We need a third option, and it's not going to come from "conservatism".

To the common television viewer, the word "progressive" implies policies that would help average, everyday people... that a good government is one that "cares" about you. The final result, however, is to garner public support and acceptance of more bureaucracy.

But there's a downside to bureaucracy, in both form and function. How many regulators go off to private jobs in the industries they were supposed to regulate? MMS? Dept. of Interior? We've all heard the stories. We call it "corruption". And this corruption is implicit. State bureaucracy and state capitalism are two sides of the same coin. They both claim to care about you, but in the end they only care about themselves.

This is why I've identified myself as a "progressive libertarian". I believe in free markets, free and open government, and free society. Social welfare should be provided through a free market, and government should secure access to that market through direct subsidy. Programs like food stamps, tuition vouchers, Medicare and even Section 8 housing aren't "socialism", they're simply good ideas (in principle).

A Progressive Libertarian believes that, in order to preserve and secure individual rights, government has an obligation to assist people directly--to respond to disasters, to minimize pollution, to prevent starvation and homelessness, to guarantee our health, education and general welfare.

Obviously, there are other issues, such as government finance (taxation and currency), national defense, and infrastructure. But the core issue that separates a progressive libertarian from the conservative vein is that: "we care".

Next Page: Position Paper 3

Candidate Page || Feedback to Candidate || This Contest
November 2010 Home (Ballot Lookup) || About Smart Voter

pa/state Created from information supplied by the candidate: August 23, 2010 19:32
Smart Voter <>
Copyright © League of Women Voters of California Education Fund.
The League of Women Voters neither supports nor opposes candidates for public office or political parties.