One truth that many Libertarians know is that the mainstream media continuously dissuades people from taking the Libertarian Party seriously. Fortunately, the Seguin Gazette allows us a forum to present our ideals in a way that allows the reader to draw their own conclusions about us.
I recently was made aware of an article in Politico Magazine that reminded me of how poorly Libertarians are presented in mainstream media. The article was from the 2017 July/August edition. The title “The Short, Unhappy Life of a Libertarian Paradise,” by Caleb Hannan immediately sets the reader up for a negative viewpoint of the Libertarian Party.
In the article, Hannan details the story of Steve Bach when he was mayor of Colorado Springs and how he represents Libertarian ideals. They use this as an example of how Libertarian policies enacted during his tenure, “... nearly drowned the city like a concrete block tied around its balance sheet.”
In particular, it mentions how the city “...proposed tripling property taxes. Nearly two-thirds of voters said no. In response, city officials turned off one out of every three street lights.” The article claims this act “...emboldened copper thieves by giving them the opportunity to work without fear of electrocution, and worked overtime scavenging wire.”
The article then speaks of a political Messiah that saved the city by taxes. He did it so well that, “...the same voters who refused to keep the lights on have overwhelmingly approved ballot measures allowing the city to not only keep some of its extra tax money, but impose new taxes as well.”
As I read through the article, I wondered, “Why does the author think Steve Bach is a Libertarian? Why does this article present a bias favoring tax increases?” Also, “why is he selecting only bits of information about what was going on at the time in Colorado Springs.”
I already knew the answer. It was another blatant example of someone presenting a false example of Libertarian ideals to keep people from learning about the party. Sadly, most people reading the article will take it at face value and believe everything that was written. Unfortunately for Hannan, I was living in Colorado Springs at the time he writes about and know the whole story.
First of all, Steve Bach is a Republican businessman and NOT a Libertarian.
Secondly, the article fails to mention that Colorado Springs chose NOT to allow the sale of recreational marijuana. The nearest place people could get recreational marijuana is in the adjacent city of Manitou Springs. The revenue generated in Colorado from legal marijuana sales was enough for every person to receive a refund (complete or partial) on all the state income tax paid. Manitou Springs was swimming in excess tax revenue because they garnered all the money the city of Colorado Springs could have netted from recreational marijuana sales.
Finally, copper thievery is an ongoing problem that has nothing to do with the city shutting off electricity to one out of every three street lights. The author supports this when they wrote: “... the City Council learned, copper thieves had even dressed up as utility workers and pried open the boxes at the base of streetlights in broad daylight.” If someone is committing a crime in “broad daylight,” that pretty much tells you that they’re going to commit the crime whether the lights are on or off.
One thing you must always do is apply critical thinking to everything you read. Don’t believe everything you read. Research everything you read.