As I was perusing my Facebook feed recently, I notice some of my more left-leaning friends sharing an article from Politico about the failed “libertarian paradise” of Colorado Springs.
Not seeing very many libertarian centered articles from Politico, I was naturally curious about this libertarian paradise I had never heard of and the more I read the article, the more angry I became.
Politico describes how Colorado Springs had massive budget shortfalls during the recession of which the government responded with slashing the budget.
“Gone were weekend bus service and nine buses. Out went some police officers along with three of the department’s helicopters, […]. Trash cans vanished from city parks, […] the suddenly sparse watering of the city’s grassy lawns was a profound and dire statement of retreat,” states Politico.
The citizens were also vehemently opposed to any proposed tax increases and elected a successful businessman as mayor who promised “if you just run government like the best businesses, the pain will go away.”
The story ends with the Attorney General of Colorado coming to fix the “strangling” of the city through tax and budget cuts, and saving the city from the severe drop in the quality of government services.
There many issues I had with this article, so allow me address some just general things I would like to rant about.
The title of this article, The Short, Unhappy Life of a Libertarian Paradise, uses the word libertarian but the word is never used within the article. Instead, the article mainly consists of the city’s conservatism and Republican government.
I find it odd that article claiming a city as a libertarian paradise would not use the words libertarians or describe the are libertarian, but instead resorts to the moniker conservative.
It’s almost as if political wants to link libertarians to a more radical conservative party, but this is not necessarily the case. Libertarians are more liberal on some issues and more conservative on other issues. Gary Johnson described the philosophy as fiscally conservative and socially liberal.
The author then proceeded to describe the mayor of the city as a businessman who’s going to change the face of politics much like President Trump promised going so far to say to Politico “The only difference I can see between me and Donald Trump is that I don’t tweet.”
So, my first criticism of this article is that Politico flatly tried to link failing conservative and Republican party policies and Donald Trump to libertarians even though there’s not a single Libertarian Party member on Colorado Springs city council and the President is definitely not a libertarian minded politician.
The preference for a conservative descriptor as opposed to a libertarian one shows me that this author does not understand libertarian philosophy and desires, but merely assumes that we fall under the general conservative tent.
Secondly, the budget slashing policies of Colorado Springs government were not libertarian for the simple reason of the government maintained control over the services that began to falter whenever the items were cut from the budget.
Every third streetlight was turned off, and weekend bus routes were cancelled due to lack of funds, but the government was still in charge of maintaining these services, which brings up a big issue in libertarian philosophy.
Libertarians want government services to be replaced with PRIVATE ALTERNATIVES. Of course, if a government cuts something from the budget, but has no alternative for replacing it, then the product is going to be awful.
Most libertarians wouldn’t want to eliminate government programs without having an alternative solution established or planned because they don’t want to pull rug out from under the people. What Politico is mistaking for libertarian philosophy sounds more like, to me, Tea Party conservative budget cuts for the sake of keeping spending low.
Unfortunately, this attempt at displaying the failings of libertarian policy fell flat due to a preconceived notion of libertarians being Republican-lite, or synonymous with Tea Party conservatives.