The Free Agent likes keeping her finger on the pulse of youth, so she almost perspired at the opportunity to speak to a group of political science students at Manhattan’s alternative City-as-High-School. Their instructor cleared the path by passing on a list of the students’ concerns, along with the caveat that they were just beginning to learn about politics and knew nothing about economics, so please to keep everything basic.
“You’ll hear Libertarians refer to the Constitution frequently,” The FA began, “because the people who started our party were grappling with the same problems as the Founders. They both decided there was the business of government and the business of society and when they get confused, bad things happen.” From then, as the neophytes say, it was on.
The first question was from a self-described “Ron Paul Republican”, “How would the Libertarian Party address unemployment?” Grateful for such a softball, The Free Agent replied, “Repeal all employment laws.” She then discussed the most catastrophic law affecting high school students, minimum wage. The FA could write a book on how 1937’s Fair Labor Standards Act is the depression that keeps on giving, but she had realized that apart from foreign policy, all the students’ concerns had to do with black markets of various sorts, so she made that her leitmotif. “If you want to do work for five dollars an hour, who am I to stop you? You own your own bodies, you’re not slaves, you have the right to work or not work however you choose. You’re concerned about immigration, one reason we have illegal immigrants is minimum wage creates a black market for lower-paid labor. That kills two birds with one stone, no minimum wage.”
The Free Agent has never had the misfortune to live in a violent neighborhood like the students she met. Unlike theorists, their experience and common sense applauded when The FA said Libertarians would end the drug war and defend gun rights. Being something of a humorist, The FA is used to her speeches being punctuated with laughter, but she wasn’t going for the belly laugh she got when she drew parallels between the drug war and other flavors of prohibition. “We’ve tried everything, every idea everyone can think of, for thousands of years, and we haven’t figured out a way to get people to not want sex. For a hundred years, we’ve tried everything we can think of to persuade people not to get high. Remember the area where government belongs and the area where it creates more problems than it solves? This is the biggest reason your neighborhoods are unsafe.” Unschooled they may have been, but no one in that room was so impoverished of common sense as to suggest that perhaps just one more moonlight basketball league would turn the tide.
One could rightly observe that The Free Agent wasn’t asked to confront the bread and butter issues of these students’ lives, such as how they will be required to pay off the federal debt and could not look forward to seeing a dime of the earnings which will be withheld for their retirement. (Although when asked what the government’s role in healthier diets should be, she asked how the school lunches at City-as-High-School were. “They suck,” came the economical reply. “That’s what the government feeds you when it has complete control,” she pointed out.) For now, they do not see that cloud on their horizon. Just in case there was a patch of fertile ground, however, The Free Agent could not resist planting a seed. “You wouldn’t pay off your crazy crack cousin’s credit card until she got off the crack, would you?” she said.
And thus for two hours, staring down the barrel of the future, was The Free Agent educated.