Conservatives Should Consider The Libertarian PartyWritten by Jean Fritz
The late Ronald Reagan embodied soul of classic liberalism – that’s right, Reagan was a liberal. His unbridled optimism and faith in power of individual to live his or her life independently, solve problems, and function as a contributing member of society, and his determination to expand cause of freedom restrained only by morality are hallmarks of what term “liberal” actually means. However, just as socialists usurped term “liberal” and transformed its meaning to designate a person or party which supports larger, more intrusive government as a mechanism for peace and “prosperity”, Reagan utilized philosophical underpinnings of classic liberalism to form today’s conservative movement.
Since Reagan, many Republican politicians have donned “conservative” mantle without an understanding of what wearing that title entails. As a result, both federal and state governments have grown larger, require more of your tax money to exist, and created more cavernous deficits. Even our current president struggles to maintain interest of a conservative base while creating his newest entitlement program which expands fiscal black hole known as Medicare. Just as Democratic Party abandoned Ronald Reagan, Republican Party appears to have abandoned conservatives.
Social and fiscal conservatives do have a viable alternative, and that is Libertarian Party. Libertarianism was initially a reaction against Soviet rule in Russia and eastern Europe, but as our own government grows increasingly more intrusive, more expensive and less effective in its originally defined jobs (defense and law enforcement), Libertarians have discovered a rising popularity in our own country.
Libertarians believe that all power begins with individual and flows up, rather than flowing from top down. They understand that defense and law enforcement are best done on a collective basis, and support a strong, well-trained and well-funded military, as well as checks and balances we have today in our criminal justice system. However, they do not believe that FEDERAL government should be responsible for allocating state funds for education, funding for roads based upon state’s “drunk driving” standards, or feeding, housing, clothing and medicating every man, woman and child comprising loudest voting block during an election year.
Recycling The Mentally IllWritten by Virginia Bola, PsyD
30 years ago, California, later followed by other states, decided to virtually close down State Mental Hospitals.
There had been multiple exposures of abuse throughout Nation's systems such as over-medicated individuals kept on back wards for years without clinical justification. However, primary force leading to widespread closures was economic. Providing free room, board, medication and psychiatric care to chronic and seriously impaired mental health population was expensive and failed to result in any positive financial or political benefits.
Theoretically, these marginally functional individuals would now be cared for by a network of community service agencies that would spring up on a local basis. Unfortunately, such a network never existed and failed to develop for same economic challenges State Institutions had faced. Counties continued to provide outpatient services, with occasional brief local hospitalizations for those who became unstable, and nonprofit organizations were founded, and often financially foundered, to provide services.
With few resources and cognitive and emotional inability to connect with few programs available, mentally ill started to drift into streets where they often self- medicated with illegal drugs. Within 10 years, police and social service agencies estimated that possibly one third of growing homeless population had mental disabilities.
An increase in street crime, resentment of business owners who lost customers who would not cross crowds of homeless on sidewalks, and disgust of working citizens who resented litter and potential dangers of large numbers of people living on streets, led to a political decision to crackdown on homeless. Sweeps of targeted areas moved homeless away - to other areas where resentment was just as great. Petty street crimes to enable penniless to live, and drug use, provided excuse for more draconian measures. The homeless started moving again, this time into prisons.