Larry Elder

Nobel laureate economist Milton Friedman, in a Reason magazine interview, called himself both a Republican and a libertarian, "I am a Republican with a capital 'R,' " he said, "and a libertarian with a small 'l.' I have a party membership as a Republican, not because they have any principles. But because that's the way I am the most useful and have the most influence. My philosophy is clearly libertarian."

Despite the influence of my Democratic mother, I voted for Ronald Reagan in 1980, and again in 1984, because he campaigned against high taxes, supported limited government, while advancing a tough-minded defense in calling the Soviet Union an "evil empire." His successor, George Bush-41, for whom I also voted, raised taxes, passed the Clean Air Act, passed the Americans With Disabilities Act, re-regulated cable, and railed against falling oil prices.

I felt double-crossed.

My disillusionment with the GOP caused me to register as "Decline to State," which, in California, means independent. Fiscally conservative, but socially liberal on many issues, I support a government that stays out of my wallet and out of my bedroom. The Founding Fathers envisioned a federal government that trusts its people with their money and freedom, outlining this limited, non-intrusive federal government in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, leaving the other powers to people themselves or to the states.

The Republican Party, even under George W. Bush's confidence, character and vision, expanded failed programs like the Department of Education's Title I, expanded Clinton's "volunteer" AmeriCorps, passed protectionist legislation for steel and lumber, passed our nation's largest farm subsidy bill, used taxpayer money for faith-based initiatives, and increased the budget beyond that which is necessary for the war on terror and the wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq. On the other hand, most Libertarians opposed the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, a position I find increasingly naive and simplistic in a world of mobile biological labs and radiological bombs capable of being carried in suitcases by our nation's enemies.

Sept. 11, 2001, reminds us that self-defense remains job No. 1, and that enemies who hate America cannot simply be sat down and persuaded that non-imperialistic Americans seek only to live in harmony and peace. President George W. Bush deserves applause for the tremendous job in moving public opinion to support not only the war against terrorism, but the military strike against Iraq.

Larry Elder

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit