What is a Libertarian?

By Kyle Geronazzo

The first question I hear from most people is, “what is a libertarian?”

Comedian Drew Carey once said that a libertarian is “a conservative who still gets high,” and magician Penn Jillette has said “you have to be careful as a libertarian because you can sound very Republican.”

So there is often a tendency to associate libertarians with conservatives. When looking for the similarities, most point toward how both groups advocate for lower taxes and less bureaucracy.

But I don’t buy that. The moment the conversation is steered toward civil liberties, the war on drugs, and war in general, the very conservatives that we were previously grouped in with shout to the high heavens that we’re all a bunch of liberals.

So what the heck is a libertarian?

Well, if you think it’s wrong to hurt people or take their stuff, you might be one yourself.

What separates libertarians from both liberals and conservatives is that we extend that premise to our members of government too.

We believe that even though a lot of people might like you and the things you’ve said, that still does not give you the right to hurt people or take their stuff.

Libertarians are advocates for individual and economic liberty. To a libertarian, the ideal tax rate is the option closest to zero.

  • We do not believe in punishing victimless crime.
  • We are against corporate welfare.
  • We believe in freedom of speech.
  • We are against corporate monopolies, whether public or private.
  • We believe in the right to freely associate with whom you please.
  • We believe British Columbians deserve more options.
  • We believe that, unless you are harming another or their property, the government isn’t justified in laying hands on you.
  • We want our government to treat you like an adult, instead of trying to be your parent.

“OK. But who are you, and what are you doing on my door-step?” is usually the second question most people ask me.

My name is Kyle Geronazzo.

I was born the third child of four in Kamloops in 1988. Growing up in a home with four children and one working parent we weren’t exactly a rich family. Although we struggled from time to time, we always had enough to get by and we had each other.

Sometimes we had to move around the province for my father’s job.

In one such case, we had the opportunity to move to Kelowna. My parents leapt at the chance. Not only did we get to move to one of the nicest cities in Canada, most of our family already lived there.

Kelowna was paradise. The short and mild winters paired with our warm summers made Kelowna the perfect city for my childhood.

I love the valley. I think this is one of the best places on Earth, and I hope to continue growing my family here.

So it is with one eye to the future that I turn the other to our present. Although we are facing tough times right now, we have so many opportunities right on the horizon.

Each challenge is not an obstacle to overcome, but a chance to thrive and show the rest of Canada a better way.

We have now spent decades fluctuating from NDP to Liberal rule. I think it’s fair to say that by now we’ve tried it their way. No matter which of the two is in power, we face similar problems year after year.

I don’t have all the answers, and I’ll never say that I do. But I don’t believe that we can find the best answers with the one size fits all approach of our larger parties. If two heads are better than one, then surely 4,817,200 are better than 87.

Let’s retire the old top-down approach and give bottom-up governance a shot.

Albert Einstein once said “we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

Let’s find new solutions to the problems the old solutions have caused.

Kyle Geronazzo is the Libertarian candidate in the Feb.14 provincial Kelowna West byelection. He can be reached at [email protected].

EDITOR'S NOTE: All five candidates in the Kelowna West electoral district byelection were offered the opportunity to write a column stating why residents should vote for them.


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