Note: I’ve provided The Who’s We Won’t Get Fooled Again for your listening pleasure while you read this article.
I have been inspired to write this article by watching a little of today's Glenn Beck show. He was talking to Penn Jillette (of Penn & Teller fame) about how speaking against the government these days can get you labeled as a radical, or worse, a militant. This stuck with me because I sometimes fear the same thing when it comes to the things I write about here. I know that Mr. Jillette has claimed his alliance with The Libertarian Party, and I think that Mr. Beck has at least declared his sympathies for their beliefs. Regardless of that, I absolutely agree with their statement that if someone today wrote something similar to Thomas Paine's Common Sense, they would be labeled a radical.
As for political parties, someone once said something to the effect of "I wouldn't join any group that would have me as a member." I think it was either Will Rogers or Mark Twain, but I haven't been able to find the quote when searching through theirs. Regardless of who said it, as an independent thinker not wanting to swear allegiance to any group or party, this thought has been with me from the moment I heard it. As I've said before, I consider myself to be an Objectivist from a philosophical perspective. This means that I work hard not to allow subjective thoughts and feelings to influence my opinions and actions on specific issues.
By definition, claiming membership in a group or political party means that you have adopted the statements and platforms of that group or party as your own. While I realize that this is not literally true for those who join groups and political parties, they do expose themselves to having to defend or deny statements and opinions that they had nothing to do with. I refuse to put myself in that position, regardless of how "out in the cold" that leaves me.
If you were to ask me, however, which political party comes closest to the way I see things, I would have to say The Libertarian Party. But again, I have no intention of giving blanket approval to their party platform by joining. And in case anyone thinks it hasn't occurred to me, I'm fully aware of how my frequent references to Ayn Rand and her philosophy of Objectivism invites being tagged as a "Randian." I am also aware that the late Ayn Rand, and those who stand in her stead, has rejected the Libertarians even though so many Libertarians point to her as the influence that led them to that party. I can only guess that other Objectivists feel as I do about joining political parties.
At any rate, I will continue to write what I think until those with the torches and pitchforks drag my cold, dead hands from the keyboard.
I want ice water.