Some people who don’t follow politics much might not even be aware that there were elections across the country on November 5, 2013. Aside from electing politicians, the voters also got to decide on many state ballot measures. The results are interesting to look at, just to see the pulse of the country. You can get a decent idea of what happened here.
In Colorado, there were 11 counties that voted on the issue of secession. 5 out of the 11 counties voted in favor of it, or at least in favor of pursuing it further. This does not mean these 5 counties will secede. It means it can be pursued further. It would be a secession from the state of Colorado, not from the U.S.
Regardless though, the fact that 5 counties had a majority vote favoring the idea of secession is a good step in the right direction for libertarians.
Another positive thing for libertarians is that a few cities in Main and Michigan had ballot measures to legalize the possession of marijuana. The voters approved the measures. Again, it might be more symbolic than anything at this point, but it is still a good sign of a shifting of opinion towards drug legalization.
On the bad side, New Jersey voters approved (with about 61%) an increase of the state minimum wage to $8.25 per hour, which is $1 more than the federal minimum wage.
On the issue of minimum wage, this is something where America needs a lot of work still. This isn’t just a question of economic ignorance. It is a question of freedom of association.
Minimum wage laws are preventing people from voluntarily associating. Starting in January, if someone wants to offer work to another person for $8 per hour, then he will be in violation of the law in New Jersey. It is prohibited by the state. The person hiring (the employer) is willing to pay $8 per hour. The person who needs a job is willing to work at that particular job for $8 per hour. If that weren’t the case, then no law would be necessary.
The minimum wage laws simply outlaw employment. They destroy freedom of association and the freedom to work.
I think the whole concept of freedom of association has been lost on many Americans. It doesn’t matter if you are dealing with economics or social issues. Having the government force people to do business and having the government prohibit certain people from doing business is just bad policy. It doesn’t matter whether you personally think it is a good idea. You should not force voluntary consenting adults from choosing what to do with their own life and their own property.
In conclusion, the election results are a mixed bag for libertarians. But I think there is some progress and I think there has been a little bit of a shift in public opinion on some issues.