Last weekend, our local newspaper, the Monterey County Herald, ran this Associated Press story by Nicholas Riccardi. The article is more interesting than the headline would suggest because its author found libertarian elements in the political shift in the west. It had elements of what I blogged about after the November elections. I responded to the AP article with a letter that was published today. I reprint the whole thing because the link will likely be no good after some time:

It is heartening that Democratic Party strategist Bill Carrick recognizes the somewhat libertarian shift in the Western U.S. electorate (“West Taking Sharp Left Turn,” Jan. 27.) But one quote from Carrick shows a basic misunderstanding of libertarian views and principles.

Carrick states, “The libertarian thing is no longer about property rights or gun rights. It’s now about letting people live their lives as they choose.”

On the contrary, the libertarian “thing” has always been about letting people live their lives as they choose. And their right to use their property as they choose and to defend themselves with guns is still part of that.

Consider property rights. Governments in California and elsewhere in the West often prevent people from adding a bathroom, adding an extra room or cutting down a tree without government permission. These are all violations of property rights, just as restrictions on gay marriage or using marijuana violate their other rights.

Libertarianism is still the only philosophy that consistently advocates freedom across the board.