Political Party Nonsense

I try to avoid talking about politics in a generic term here because it’s a boring topic that only incites anger. But after some berating for not being a member of “The Right Party” I thought I’d drop some note on here. Everybody who knows me eventually learns that I describe myself as a libertarian. Notice the lower case “l” there? Libertarian with a capital “L” is the name of a party while libertarian with a lower case “l” is a political belief.

This is important as I’m not a member of any party. People seem unable to wrap their heads around this concept though. For instance although I’m a libertarian I attended the Republican caucus. Why? Because I want to see Tom Emmers get the candidacy for the Republican party. I work with individuals who agree with my ideals (At least as close to my ideals as I can get but more on that in a minute). I don’t give a wooden nickle if a candidate is a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Green, or even a member of the Communist Party (Granted most of these parties are unlikely to have a candidate I support), if they agree with what I believe I’ll support them.

And this my friends brings us to the Tea Party. Notice the capital letters? Yes I’m not talking about the tea party movement but the various political entities call themselves the Tea Party. I have nothing against these groups but my rant is going to be focused on certain individuals. Many people who have become disenfranchised with the Republican and Libertarian parties have moved to one of the various Tea Parties. I got into a conversation with one of these people a while back. His belief was the Republican party is corrupt (No duh, it’s a political party. They’re all corrupt.) and the Libertarian Party is now evil because they let Bob Barr run as their presidential candidate. That meant he had to jump ship to another party because Odin forbid you actually try to correct the problems in a currently established party.

Well our conversation eventually lead to me being a libertarian. This is the point of the conversation where things turned emotional for him. He got onto a long rant about how the Libertarian Party is corrupt and all real supporters of the Constitution must jump ship and go to the pure and perfect Tea Party. He couldn’t grasp the whole concept of me being a libertarian not a member of the Libertarian Party. It was inconceivable to him that somebody could identify themselves by a political belief instead of political party. And herein lies the problem in my opinion.

Our political system has become about party memberships instead of political beliefs. People will often join a political party because of one strong belief and ignore the fact that party doesn’t agree with any other belief they hold. For example many people join the Republican Party because they believe abortion should be illegal. On the other hand many people join the Democrat Party because they want gay marriage to be legal. In both of these cases the issue mentioned is the primary core belief and they are will to ignore all other party beliefs because, I believe, they are unable to wrap their head around the idea of not being a member of a party. For example using the cases I set forth the person who joined the Republican Party may be in support of gay marriage or against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The person who joined the Democrat Party may be against government controlled health care and labor unions. These individuals are fine with imperfect candidates (Perfect being those who completely agree with your beliefs). There are even people in these parties who are willing for force themselves into believing the rest of the party’s platform so they can be a “full member.”

Then you have the Tea Party members (Once again note the capital letters). Many of the people in these parties are unwilling to accept imperfect candidates. Often times members of the Tea Party were at one time members of the Republican Party, then left to join the Libertarian Party, and finally left for the Tea Party. When prodded why they left X Party they will usually say it’s because of one member who wasn’t perfect. What these people want is in fact impossible. They want to be a member of a party that consists only of people who completely agree with them. In other words they want to be involved in an organization that consists only of themselves. No two people have the exact same ideals hence you can’t have a party consisting only of people who agree with you.

So here comes to point I want to make here. Learn the difference between ideals and political organizations. Realize you don’t have to be a member of any single party. This is the only way you’ll be able to work exclusively with candidates you like. Don’t like the person the Republican Party fielded? That’s OK because you can go vote for the Libertarian Party candidate. Are you angry with who the Democrat Party picked? Then go vote for the Green Party person. Is there an individual running independently that you like? Go support that candidate. For those of you who joined a Tea Party because the other parties are all “evil and corrupted political groups run by special interests” come talk to me in ten years (If your specific Tea Party lasts that long). Chances are you’ll find that at some point during that decade span your Tea Party fielded an “unworthy” candidate and thus you’ll want to jump ship to a new “pure and perfect” political party. Or come join those of us who have no party affiliation and thus have flexibility.

In summary get people who get over the party mindset and start thinking for themselves again. Rant mode disengaged.

The Key to Negotiating

I found a quote on Slashdot form a user going by the name pete6677 that sums up the truth on negotiations:

This is what’s wrong with refusing to walk away from a deal. You have no negotiating leverage. When the other party knows you’re committed to buying no matter what, they have no reason to accommodate any request of yours.

They key is letting the party you are negotiating with know you’re willing to simply walk away if some of you wants aren’t met. The story this was posted in deals with the iPhone and the abuse of users by Apple and AT&T. Both companies know most people who are getting iPhones won’t walk away from any deal put in front of them, they want that phone period. Because of this they don’t allow many features people would find useful such as tethering and multi-tasking.

Never walk into any situation where you want to buy a product and allow the salesman to believe you aren’t willing to just walk away. I got some hefty discounts on my truck simply because I had a list of features that I knew none of their trucks had but their competitors did. Since they didn’t have anything with those features they gave me some discounts to make up for it.

This is also an important strategy when going to gun shows. Never purchase anything from a gun show without trying to negotiate a little bit. Many sellers will cut the price a bit, after all there is no guarantee somebody else will buy the item. This usually works best if you got to several gun shows and notice the seller has the same gun for sale at all of them. Likewise if you’re willing to pay cash often the sellers will cut you a bit of a deal as well.

Obviously haggling doesn’t always work. You won’t be able to walk into Target and negotiate the price of anything. But if you are dealing with a salesman who gets paid off of commission you generally have a good chance of netting either some discounts of free upgrades. The key is to make the salesman know you are willing to walk away.

Knowing how to barter is important, it can save you a lot of money over your life time.