Ok so here is the thing that I have noticed with some left leaning posters:
1. They object to high pensions for politicians, failed bankers, and senior civil servants at the taxpayers’ expense.
2. They object to subsidies for farming and other types of business.
3. They favour the legalisation of drugs which would of course lead to the collapse of the black market which supports much criminality.
4. Many of them favour direct democracy which helps to limit the power of government.
5. They object to the socialisation of bank losses at taxpayers’ expense.
6. Many object to high taxes on middle income earners.
7. On social issues such as gay marriage, freedom of religious belief or not to believe at all, and on real penalties for serious crimes there is little to divide many of them from libertarians either.
8. Many do not believe in ceding too much power to the EU ahead of our local national government.
9. Many want value for money to be delivered for their taxes – i.e. frontline services that work.
Now the above nine points are a starting point for debate, and they are common ground for consideration where many on the left and those who are libertarians could find consensus agreement. Of course the approaches to how they are achieved may vary between the two groups but I think many who describe themselves as left on these issues are in fact libertarians who with a bit more study of libertarian philosophy could in fact realise that the state is the cause of many problems and not the solution.
My reasoning for this is as follows:
On point 1 the state has not even moved to future proof with legislation or constitutional amendment the absurdly high pensions that are awarded to those who have failed in their duties. These pensions are paid at taxpayers’ expense and while I do not agree with retrospective legislation, at a minimum future proofing legislation (for pensions paid with taxpayers money) to ensure this does not happen again should be a minimum.
On point 2 so do I, you are either productive at what you do or you aren’t, state supports in these areas reward those who are not productive. They cost taxpayers money and they drain resources that could be spent elsewhere in the economy to better effect. While some will argue that subsidies such as CAP come largely from the EU they also come at the massive cost of implementing EU directives; this had led to a situation where farmers are either not farming intensively in order to draw the payments at low cost or are spending the money on infrastructure that is not financially rewarding to their farming enterprise.
On point 5 the blame for the socialisation of bank losses can be placed firmly at the door of government. Give out all you like about developers etc. but they borrowed the money from private institutions who took the risk. It is government who is now rewarding their lack of judgement in this. Also when people refer to corrupt developers it was government’s ability to interfere that is the root cause of the corruption.
On point 6 the reality is that it is only by taxing middle income earners that government can raise enough money to continue it profligate spending. Those who wish to see those in middle earning enough to maintain a decent lifestyle should be campaigning for government efficiency as opposed to picking arbitrary figures defining who is “rich”.
On point 7 I think there is much common ground as the majority of libertarians do not endorse the state having the power to dictate to people how they live their private lives. Especially where this only affects the individual concerned and has little to no impact on other individuals.
On point 8 I think both sides would recognise that there is a lot of common consensus that ceding too much power to centralised institutions erodes the liberty of those who do so.
On point 9 I think anyone who pays taxes wants value for those taxes. People pay taxes for services such as healthcare, policing, fire services, the military etc. They do not pay taxes to ensure soft jobs for faceless bureaucratic mandarins who now represent a high proportion of those employed within these services. I think a lot of common ground could be found here in that front line services should not be cut while the salaries of those in back office administration remain untouched. The real con here of people who oppose cuts to the health budget is where those cuts are made. We are looking at hospitals closing, lack of beds, and shortages of medical professionals while back office administrators are left untouched thanks to the Croke Park agreement. I think on this issue you could still be a deficit cutting libertarian and retain your social conscience where front line services are concerned, especially given the levels of government wastage in Ireland.
While I am sure that there are many who will provide criticism of the above, I think that there is plenty of common ground for opposition to big government between many of those who consider themselves on the left and many of those who are libertarians.