The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday December 9th

Column: Making liberty the top priority

alexthomas

Columnist Alex Thomas

If you look at my voter information, you can see I am a registered Republican. While it would be simple to call me a member of the Grand Old Party, it would also be an incorrect label.

Though I once was a proud member of the party, I began to realize the flaws of the American right. While members advocate for economic freedom, they also spend too much time idling in other people’s business.

While conservatism is based in limited government, they have acted hypocritically in various areas of policy, resulting in more harm than good. Internationally, while most Republicans argue it is important to have a strong foreign presence, it has also been tied to chaos and increased radicalization in the Middle East in recent years. Richard Nixon’s War on Drugs, which was propelled in the 1980s, has spent billions of dollars to incarcerate nonviolent drug users, mainly minorities, but has produced little positive results.

But it is not just Republicans I find problematic; Democrats have worked alongside Republicans to increase government power and — more disturbingly — undermine our rights as citizens.

Two prominent examples are the PATRIOT Act and the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, which was slipped into last month’s budgetary bill. Both acts were enacted for the sake of security in the post-9/11 world we live in. However, both have resulted in diminishing the privacy of millions of innocent Americans through monitoring their phone and online activities.

Yet despite these concerns, I still was attracted to laissez-faire economics and giving businesses the chance to control their own destiny. Thinkers like Friedrich Hayek argued that economic freedom forces all people to be accountable for their actions, resulting in various, though increased, financial prosperity.

In that same mindset, individual freedom can also allow people to be prosperous. Governments have a tendency to overact with certain initiatives, which tends to limit people’s choices. Instead of solving problems with bureaucracy and throwing money away, it is instead solved by individual freedom and agreements on the smallest level.

It is for these reasons why I am a libertarian. This does not mean the government is completely powerless. People should be kept safe, and laws should be designed to do such without harming people’s rights.

Though I may be alone on this matter, governments should also provide functions like roads and schools, but decisions are best made on local levels rather than national or state laws that may leave needs unfulfilled.

In the middle of another election cycle, we know there are many issues that need to be addressed in the near future. But governments often create more problems than they solve. Allowing people to have more control over their lives not only creates a marketplace of ideas, but simultaneously better solutions to our nation’s biggest problems.



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