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Mark Zinan: Confessions of a liberal libertarian

After 11 years of being labeled and pigeonholed for being a Great Satan of the Pioneer Valley, a tea party fanatic, a Koch brothers tool and “Faux News” robot, I hereby accept all political parties.

How did such an epiphany come about?

For one thing, it comes from voting for Independent/Libertarian/Third Party/Green Party presidential candidates since 1980. And from periodic political aptitude testing on the Internet, where I kept popping up as a Green, Libertarian, Democrat.

For many a year, I hoped that the Green Party and the Libertarian Party could form a political alliance and increase their political power with unified strength. Forget about your differences and find the common beliefs. Provide a true counterweight to our two firmly entrenched, money and power mad, political parties.

If you visit the Libertarian Party website, you might be surprised at how much you agree with its philosophy, especially on social issues and personal freedom. The bottom line approach seems to be live and let live.

Specific platform policies of the Libertarian Party might not sound too realistic. For example: “All persons are entitled to keep the fruits of their labor. We call for the repeal of the income tax, the abolishment of the Internal Revenue Service and all federal programs and services not required under the U.S. Constitution. We support the passage of a ‘Balanced Budget Amendment’ to the U.S. Constitution, provided that the budget is balanced exclusively by cutting expenditures, and not by raising taxes.”

And the party’s views on Social Security aren’t going to fly either.

But what I think they are saying is this: The federal government, for all the good it does, is a behemoth. Consider the NSA’s privacy invasion, the unilateral Syrian conflict, huge deficits, multiple duplicative agencies and missions and the fact that someday, somebody’s going to have to pay for this stuff.

Yes, I can hear the Greek chorus now calling out, “Tax the rich!” That isn’t going to solve a $16 trillion, or $18 trillion, deficit.

If you are one of those folks that toes the party line, my reasoning will fall on deaf ears. Just continue to put us in the ideological box of the tea party, Koch brothers and Fox News. It does make life simpler.

Still, I am asking any of you who feel dissatisfaction with our two-party system to take a look at the Libertarian platform. Think about what it says. Consider what makes sense — as well as, of course, the parts that are not realistic. Maybe you are somebody like me who is part Green, part GOP, part Democrat and part Libertarian. Be open-minded and consider the alternatives.

It may be scary — but take a chance.

Mark Zinan lives in Sunderland.


Viewpoints: Norma Sims Roche describes how Broad Brook Coalition’s mission has evolved over 25 years

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

NORTHAMPTON — Twenty-five years ago, a large-lot, high-end housing development was pitched for a 161-acre plot known to neighbors as Cooke’s Pasture. Many neighbors had walked there, and they knew the land was bisected by Broad Brook. They knew that much of it was wet and that most of it was excellent wildlife habitat. Eight of those neighbors got together …

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