It’s an old debate within libertarian circles, but it keeps getting rehashed because it has never been truly resolved. This topic recently resurfaced as an offshoot about the controversy over the Libertarian Party Iraq Exit Strategy. Hopefully, the responses to this posting can be kept to the general issues, as opposed to the specific policy questions debated about the IES or immigration. Some of the related questions in the crossfire are:
Which subsets of the libertarian movement actually move the party (or the movement) forward and which ones hurt us? Are we to be a political organization or an educational one? Should the Libertarian Party be more engaged in political or educational issues? Is the Libertarian Party detrimental to libertarian election results which might be better obtained by Republicans or Democrats?
Last night, I made the following comment:
Some of the best political consultants (for Rs and Ds) that I know are closet anarcho-capitalists. I’m a consultant and an anarcho-capitalist. The two are not mutually exclusive.
B-psycho responded with a good question at Psychopolitik — and opened the door for much needed conversation on the topic. I’ll try to respond.
B-psycho initially responded to my comment:
..Que? This would be news to me.
To Steve: how do these “closet anarcho-capitalists*” explain their job as seemingly working against their long-term interests? Are they just spying on their opposition, or do they think that the more that each “side” undermines the country the sooner a stateless society* will be accepted?
For the purpose of this debate (as the term is used several times by B-psycho and me), I’ll use the general Wiki definition of anarcho-capitalist. I prefer the term Free Market Anarchist. I should also make it clear that while this is my personal belief system, I don’t believe our society is immediately ready for such a utopian solution. It is clear to me that too many people are intellectually and financially dependent upon the nanny state for such a political system to be established without initially starting with some considerable educational efforts and incremental political changes — those preferring serious bloodbaths notwithstanding.
I’ll begin by stating there may be more anarcho-capitalist political consultants out there than people realize. Unlike me, most are “in the closet” — for obvious reasons. One name I think I can provide (as he is getting out of the political consulting business and shifting toward libertarian video production) is David McElroy. McElroy has worked behind the scenes on a variety of Alabama GOP races, yet is about as anarchistic as one can be. We had lunch together a few weeks ago and discussed this very topic (the primary topic was documentary video production and distribution) a bit. He asked for my opinion about distribution of his new documentary, “We’re the Government — and You’re Not” — a film which I thoroughly enjoyed viewing.
Both McElroy and I would agree that we are not working against our long-term interests if we are incrementally moving politics in a direction of less government. If America ever approaches the point that are politically inline with the signers of the Dallas Accord, we can rehash the issue. Until such time, we are all fellow travelers.
To me, the issue is simple. Which brings us closer to a libertarian solution — not being engaged in the political process or promotion of small government candidates who are opposed to the initiation of force?
It’s my view that B-Psycho covered some good ground and raised important questions with this statement: see more…