This is Silicon Valley where libertarians are — brace yourself — liberals.
How the heck did that happen? Was it something in the water? Too many drugs? Software eating their brains, along with everything else?
Let me attempt to unravel this conundrum.
Libertarians believe that government should be limited to protecting the unalienable rights of its citizens: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. You know, live and let live, small government, free market economy, don’t tread on me and my business plan, that sort of thing.
Here’s the problem: Politics. To be specific, the two-party system and the pendulum that swings back and forth between them has created a self-perpetuating bureaucratic behemoth that more or less smothers libertarianism between its enormous ass cheeks.
So what’s the libertarian dilemma? Which cheek to kiss, the right or the left?
It used to be a no-brainer that corporate executives supported the pro-business party, aka the Republican Party. The GOP is supposed to be the party of fiscal conservatives, small government, fewer entitlements and deregulation. Sounds pretty darn libertarian to me.
But somewhere along the line Silicon Valley started sliding north toward San Francisco. Maybe it’s a fault line thing, who knows? Suddenly a region defined by entrepreneurialism and free market capitalism has swung all the way to the left.
Since that makes no sense at all it begs the question: Why?
Some say tech elites feel guilty about their embarrassment of riches, thus their support for the social welfare state. Some point to the GOP’s social conservative, religious right as a turnoff. Meanwhile both parties spend like drunken sailors so neither can claim to be fiscal conservatives.
The truth is probably all of the above. Then there’s the uncouth Donald J. Trump, which pushed Silly Valley right over the edge.
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The solution to the dilemma is simple: a third political party, a Libertarian Party. When I bring that up people always say there’s no money there. Au contraire, I say. What about Big Tech, the richest, most powerful companies on Earth? What’s stopping that from happening?
Guilt. That’s the sticking point. If the tech elite can just get over their guilt, they could easily back a libertarian party. Don’t hold your breath. Guilt is a powerful emotion. And the irony is, the social media monster they created will never let them live it down.
Image credit ThomasThomas via Flickr