Red or Blue? – See Both Sides

Red or Blue? – See Both Sides 150 150 Chris Rabalais

July 24, 2019 – Hollywood

FreedomFest 2019 was held last week in Las Vegas and it was eye-opening on many levels. For those who don’t know, this is billed as the largest Libertarian gathering in the world with more than 1,000 attendees and speakers ranging from former U.S. Supreme Court Justices to Fox News anchors. I attended on the recommendation of The Hero Club, for networking and financing, with an eye to learning more about ‘the other side’. Living in Los Angeles, I am not exactly surrounded by people who see this end of the political spectrum and that is exactly the point. Growing up in Louisiana, however, I was raised with values that more squarely align with the right. This seemed like a good opportunity to try and reconcile all these differences… if that is possible.

What is Liberty?

    This is no easy question and libraries full of books have been written on the topic. It seems the simplest definition used by Libertarians is the freedom to pursue life, liberty, and happiness. The rub comes with how much outside interference takes place from the government in all forms. On the surface, there isn’t anything wrong with these goals and what I saw being promoted at the conference was reasonable. While most won’t say this directly, my impression was that most Libertarians would rather the government not be around at all. Having a bit of personal experience with self-government (a story from Costa Rica for a later time) and Libertarianism without any controls, it doesn’t exactly play out like you would hope in your philosophy books. Basically… in word picture form… grandma ends up beaten up, robbed and left in a dark alley. This is not alright with me; however, some would say it is.

Government Power

    I just bought a handgun in California. Yes, you can buy guns in California. Not having purchased any firearms from anywhere in more than 15 years, I had no idea what to expect. Having heard the endless stories about how difficult it was here and desiring to give it a try, I went to a local Burbank gun store and started the process. Without realizing that the laws had just changed (even stricter), I completed all the forms and paperwork including the test. The entire process took about 2 hours. I was told to come back in 10 days to pick up the weapon. When I returned it was July 1, the actual DAY the new laws took effect and the new computer systems were running. They successfully delivered the pistol and then… oops… I forgot the ammunition. When running the background check the second time for the ammunition, it failed, and nobody knew why. I was asked to come back in a few days and try again and I did. The second time the ammunition purchase went through without an issue. At this point, California will not sell ammunition of a particular caliber unless they show a gun registered in California with the same caliber size. When my handgun purchase was registered, it takes another update cycle (1 day) before it appears, and the ammunition can be purchased. The other option was an ammunition checkbox on the delivery form that was missed by the clerk. That is the only reason I could not purchase at delivery. This is what government gun control looks like.

Bridge the Gap

    So, from the jungles of Costa Rica to the largest state government in the United States and fifth-largest economy in the world, there is quite a range of political theory and I’ve experienced it firsthand including building businesses in these environments. Can I see the lure of The Old West? Sure. Can I see the dangers of the Old West? Sure. What about the lengthy process of obtaining a weapon in California? Personally, I don’t have any issue with it. Some folks will. These matters don’t have easy black and white answers. They are complex and they are eternal. One of the most encouraging things I took away from this event was the exhaustion everyone seems to feel with the way everything is playing out right now. I heard it live from Glenn Beck feet in front of me and I heard it in personal conversations. Our current political discourse is toxic and pointless. You don’t have to agree with me or anyone else. I would like to offer this one idea: … just consider… maybe… just maybe… you have some blind spots. I know I do.