Libertarianism may seem like a good option in this election, especially to frustrated Bernie Sanders supporters like me. But there is a darker side to libertarianism that needs to be understood. 

 Check out the Libertarian platform (lp.org/platform) and you will see that it does not support the progressive ideals championed by Bernie Sanders.

The Libertarians are very much about small government. To that end, they want to get rid of the income tax (section 2.4) and Social Security (section 2.11) and many government regulations and federal programs. 

How are we supposed to take care of all our citizens — not just the rich and well-connected — if we dismantle government programs that help those who have the least personal resources? Libertarianism just sounds too much like survival of the fittest. 

The Libertarians promote education “provided by the free market” (section 2.9), which isn’t the same as free public education, one of the foundations of our democracy. They also want “free-market health care systems,” which sounds like what we had before Obamacare. That system didn’t work.

In general, the Libertarian platform puts too much trust in the free market. The free market is not a benign natural phenomenon like gravity. It is not a benevolent, omniscient power. 

It is a human-created, greed-manipulated, flawed system. Just remember that the free market and insufficient regulations led to the housing bubble; the job market is still feeling the effects of that economic free-fall. The free market also gave us pharmaceutical CEOs who make millions, while overcharging us for EpiPens and other essential medicines that keep us and our children alive.

Libertarianism might liberate us from government regulations and taxes, but we won’t be free. We will be under the thumbs of giant, multinational corporations with no conscience. And we can’t vote corporations out of office. (Maybe I’m a pessimist, but it brings to mind the WICKED organization in The Maze Runner.)

I don’t want government powered by the profit motive. I want government powered by concern for the well-being of all its people. That’s the reason Bernie Sanders stuck with the Democratic Party, and so will I.

Annie Capestany

 Walla Walla