Okay... first rule, I'm throwing this up for some academic discussion. Academic discussion can be heavily opinionated, but avoid flaming and irrational comments please. Here's my premise: The past 5-6 years I have not been educating myself about issues I feel are important. Nor have I been active in trying to ensure protection of my values. I've been changing this recently, spending a lot of time in personal reflection. I used to think of myself as a fairly conservative republican, but not so much any more. Through research, I found my beliefs pretty much walk the party line of the Libertarians. There's a few issues in their platform I don't agree with 100%, but I feel more comfortable calling myself a Libertarian than a Republican. And here's why: Quite frankly, I'm fed up with the trend of our government and media. I support the decisions of our leaders, but I'm bound by oath to. This doesn't necessarily mean I agree with everything. I personally believe that a lot of government aid systems are communist by nature and have no business in my country. Social Security, Welfare, and Medicare just to name a few. I do have family members who are in serious financial trouble right now who are currently aided by these systems. It is my belief that individuals should be more responsible for themselves, and that I should not have to pay for the lack of planning on other people's part. "Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine" is something that comes to my mind. These systems, although good on paper and admirable intent, are inherently flawed. They are flawed and they fail for the same reason why the USSR no longer exists: the human element. There will be people who try to abuse any system. That's just the way things are. Eliminate the system, and the abusers are no longer taking from those who may deserve help. There are plenty of charitable organizations that are capable of helping those in need. I do however, feel that government should still maintain certain land. One of the things in the Libertarian platform is the relinquishing of government-owned land to the private sector. Some government-owned or subsidized land is necessary for the protection of our resources. In this are I include parks, national wildlife areas/refuges, transportation infrastructure, and government buildings and related properties. I can't decide which side I stand on about the issue of eminent domain, I can easily argue both for and against it. I feel that each individual has a right to privacy, however in light of recent events, I find it difficult to justify complete privacy and anonymity (sic). Use of the SSN for identification purposes (although explicitly disallowed), has got to stop whether or not the Social Security system remains. Why must I be reduced to a 9-digit number? Heck, from someone's SSN you can figure out the general area they were born in and a rough time period as well. Not to mention the identity theft possibilities. As far as my stance on the 2nd amendment, and my right to keep and bear arms: if it's a firearm, blade, or any personal protective device... and I want it, I should be able to have it. Stupid people with guns scare me, but that happens anyways. My hope would be social darwinism takes over. On the subject of conscription (the draft), I have full faith in the all-volunteer armed services. However, there must be laws in effect such that we can call upon the able-bodied people of this nation to defend it. I believe there should be specific guidelines set for the process of approving a draft. More to come later, but this should be some fuel for the fire of a good discussion. Keep it clean, no hits below the belt, and don't bite any ears off!