Sunday, November 4, 2012

Why I think Obama and Romney are essentially the same

There are many reasons why libertarians disapprove equally of Romney and Obama. One could note policies on the war on terror, drone strikes, the NDAA and related national security policies, Guantanamo Bay, etc. Or one could even point to the fundamental similarities in their economic philosophy, which always requires the government to "steer the ship," and which always focuses on the middle class in an obvious attempt to strike a populist chord with America's voting population.

But I wanted to provide a very pithy evaluation of these two candidates, in anticipation of the upcoming Election Day in the US, in order to explain why a Romney presidency will most likely have a very similar effect on American society as an Obama presidency.

Both candidates share this fundamental trait on common: they really want to be good politicians. Each promises to bring but one ingredient to the White House: competence. This "competence" is expressed in all sorts of ways: the ability to run a business, pass laws, or finally "put aside politics" and do "what's best for the country." This latter phrase is never actually explained: it is a way of merely summarizing current prejudices among political elites, whose position in society renders them incapable of philosophical self-criticism.

This desire to appear above all competent to "run the country" is, sadly, a manifestation of how most Americans view politics. Modern people seem to view the government, not as a source of justice, but rather as a source of progress. Thus elections have become about which candidate has the best "vision" for the country, rather than about which candidate would be most true to the principles of our Constitution. We want our president to not simply govern, but rather "run the country."

I am hardly optimistic about the potential results of this trend.

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