By Daniel Melool, President of the YU Libertarians Club
Since the Civil War, American politics has been dominated by a two-party system. Every election, voters vacillate between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. In recent years, the American people have grown quite frustrated with the status quo. When Gallup started measuring public approval of the political system in 2003, 40% of Americans thought there was a need for a third party and 56% said the two-party system was doing an adequate job. Today, the numbers are almost the reverse — 57% of Americans say that a third party is needed and 38% say that the two-party system is doing an adequate job. Indeed, a majority of Americans have said that a third party is needed in the United States for five consecutive years.
Enter, the Libertarian Party. The party has been growing rapidly over the last several years. In 2016, the Libertarian Party became the only party aside from the Republicans and Democrats to reach 500,000 registered voters. In contrast, the Green Party’s registered voter count peaked at 312,963 back in October of 2004 and has decreased since. The Libertarian Party received the third largest share of the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election, with 4,489,341 votes. This is the fifth consecutive election that the party has increased its popular vote count and the second consecutive election in which it has finished in third place. The data indicates that the party is growing rapidly.
The Libertarian Party’s influence has now come to Yeshiva University. Part of the party’s rapid expansion includes creating new branches of the party within all levels of the American educational system. It is of utmost importance to spread the message of fiscal conservatism, balanced with a healthy dose of social liberalism, to young Americans. For too long, young Americans have felt the need to choose between smart fiscal policy and a social liberalism — both at the core of American identity. Students have had to choose between aligning with a party that strikes down social liberties, or a party with fiscal policies that are beginning to leave the capitalist sphere. In other words, students have been left with the following quandary — do you want to regulate the boardroom or the bedroom?
The presence of the new Libertarian Club on campus means that YU students will no longer have to deal with the aforementioned dilemma. Instead, students can have the best of both worlds.
Libertarians are best known for their support of the legalization of marijauna. While this is an important issue for Libertarians, we stand for more than just that policy. The YU Libertarians support laissez-faire, free market capitalism. This includes property rights and free trade.We believe the market should be able to operate free from government interference. We also support the right of every individual to live his or her life how he or she sees fit, so long as it does not interfere with the lives of other people. This includes individuals being able to marry whomever they want to. Marriage is a private contract that the government has no role in. Our view on civil liberties is best encapsulated by a quote from John Stuart Mill: “The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others”.
That is why the YU Libertarians matter. We are the prime choice for people who do not align themselves completely with the usual two parties. We believe strongly in fiscal responsibility, yet at the same time, cherish our civil liberties. For too long, people have been forced to decide between the Republican Party and Democratic Party. The former, supposedly, stands for fiscal responsibility, but wants to regulate the way people live their lives. The latter, while allowing people to live the way they see fit, wants to regulate the economy. With the Libertarians, people can choose a party that believes in both of these ideas. We demonstrated in the beginning of this article, a majority of Americans have longed for a third political party to enter the American political sphere. The wait is now over, the Libertarians are here.
Throughout the school year we plan to host many speakers and town halls to educate and engage students in Libertarian policies. We plan to promote fiscal responsibility and economic freedom, combined with a strong emphasis on a liberal, live-and-let-live view on culture. We also plan to explore the ideas of various thinkers that have influenced Libertarian politics — Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman, and Robert Nozick, among many others. To any student who no longer wishes to compromise on fiscal or civil liberties, the YU Libertarians welcome you with open arms. Join us, and help us proclaim liberty throughout the campus.