What's a libertarian? Watch Ellen.

Since I've been writing about the recently-ended Chicago Teachers Union strike, many new Chicagoans (and others) have read this blog for the first time.

To everyone, I say, welcome! I hope you find this blog useful and return to it often for a libertarian perspective on events, particularly those in the Windy City.

In the meantime, I'd like to share a great video from the Ellen show featuring actor Clint Eastwood. As you know, Eastwood, made a speech at the Republican National Convention last month in which he spoke to an empty chair as if it were the president. This was funny, weird, surprising, and expected all in one.

Eastwood may be a Republican by party affiliation, but, on a philosophy of government, he calls himself a libertarian.

The word libertarian is misunderstood and mischaracterized often, especially these days as libertarianism is becoming more known and more popular. I usually describe libertarianism as the belief that government's chief responsibility is to protect people's liberties. Whether social, economic, or political freedoms, libertarianism seeks to form a government that protects everyone's rights equally.

Others describe libertarianism as "socially liberal and fiscally conservative." That's useful shorthand and mostly right. And it's the way Eastwood described it to Ellen earlier this week (starts at 1:01).

Ellen: Explain "libertarian" to people.

Eastwood: A libertarian means you're socially liberal--leave everyone alone. But you believe in fiscal responsibility and government staying out of your life.

*APPLAUSE*

I added the note that there was applause because I believe most people agree with libertarianism fundamentally. People want their government to govern, not to do all the superfluous things that benefit or otherwise enrich those in power or close to power. People want to be free, not dependent on the whims of politicians. People want to keep what they earn, not have it slosh through the pipes of bureaucracy and have a substantial amount of their earnings skimmed off the top before it ever reaches people in need.

A couple of days ago, someone who posted a link to my blog wrote, "Libertarian [sic] is quite an extreme viewpoint and I don't trust it." Libertarianism may be extreme, but it's extremely in favor of liberty for everyone. And the cool thing about libertarianism is, because it demands a disciplined, unbiased government, there's little to trust or not trust. It leaves the vast majority of social and economic questions to people, acting together, in ways that create value for themselves and others. It sets the rules of the game and steps aside.

I am a libertarian because I believe in people. I hope you'll join me.

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