Decide Now, Libertarians: Hang Together or Hang Separately?

Everyone here knows that the Libertarian Party hasn’t had a whole lot of political success since its creation. Not everyone agrees as to why this is, and that’s part of the problem. Not everyone agrees as to what to do about it, which is the other part of the problem.

Charles Stricklin clearly summarizes the essence of the problem:

I’ve remembered why I haven’t become a card-carrying Libertarian before; it’s because they can’t get their act together. They place too much emphasis on arguing their own little pet subjects and agendas with each other and not enough reaching a consensus and working together toward a goal. If you get 10 Libertarians in a room [and] ask them to hammer out their political party’s platform, you’ll get 10 different opinions and no platform to run on.

You can see examples of this on any libertarian forum, even right here at HoT. People spend far more time arguing with each other and creating divisiveness rather than building a common base of agreement from which we can advance the cause of liberty.

Someone’s always got to insist on decriminalizing drugs; something that won’t go over well with the majority of the population. Someone’s always bringing up impeaching the President; despite the lesson that those supporting impeachment have always paid a heavy price in following elections. Someone’s always got to drive up the kook factor; like saying that Washington will one day be abandoned after they’ve entirely dismantled the federal government. Someone’s got to talk about removing troops from Iraq; when polls show that most Americans want to stay until at least Iraq forms its own government and can handle security duty.

I’m sure these people feel strongly about their own little policy to change the way their government works or fails to, but you Libertarians need to learn something: Just as a political party divorced from ideology, such as the Republicans, is doomed to lose, so does an ideology divorced from political organization. Until you people can stop knee-capping each other, you’ll never accomplish anything of lasting value.

If the Libertarian Party is going to be viable in 2008, or even in 2006, it seems to me that this has to change. “We must all hang together, gentlemen, else, we shall most assuredly hang separately.” So said Ben Franklin, a quote whose attribution isn’t in question (even though the exact wording is).

We aren’t all ever going to agree on everything. But if we’re ever going to get anything done, then we’d better start learning to work together.

65 Comments
  1. Thanks for that very, very, incredibly important perspective. I’ll try to do a much better job myself from now on.

    I’ll encourage the rest of you to do the same.

  2. I say let the LP hang themselves then we pick up the pieces and play the game our way. For now, we let people hang themselves individually

  3. Stricklin appears to propose abandoning party positions left, right and center. Did you find any libertarian positions that he does support? He complains of libertarians kneecapping each other but proposes for the LP a surgical policy more commonly applied to male cats to suppress their roming tendencies.

  4. They place too much emphasis on arguing their own little pet subjects and agendas with each other and not enough reaching a consensus and working together toward a goal.

    His examples: decriminalization of drugs, impeachment, removing troops from Iraq. These topics are central to the principles (personal choice, accountability, non-aggression) upon which the LP is based. To abandon them would be worse than never winning a single election, ever.

    How can one a person who would abandon (or even stifle) their principles to win an election to do what is right AFTER they’re elected? Or is he simply advocating Libertarians just DON’T TALK about their principles, get elected by stealth, & THEN start being Libertarians?

    I suspect that even if Libertarians currently held office in large numbers, he’d write the same article, again advising LP office-holders to abandon their principles and “play the game” with other politicians to “reach a consensus”.

  5. I actually took it to mean that we are all fellow travelers and we’d have a greater level of success if we spent more of our time fighting the enemy instead of amongst ourselves.

  6. One day we’ll destroy the Masonic Zionist conspiracy by freeing our minds via the potency of heroin, and finally the evil town of Washington will be a barren wasteland! Babylon will be overthrown and the people will dance gaily in the streets, waving their blunts at their neocon liberal jackyderm oppressors! INSERT LIBERTARIAN QUOTE HERE!

    Er, um, ahem, yeah. Good post.

  7. I actually took it to mean that we are all fellow travelers and we’d have a greater level of success if we spent more of our time fighting the enemy instead of amongst ourselves.

    I respect that. But quotes like this show that’s not what he meant:

    Someone’s always got to insist on decriminalizing drugs; something that won’t go over well with the majority of the population.

    So, abandon or bury the topic? He dismisses out of hand a MAJOR part of Libertarianism, because it’s (allegedly) not popular.

    Someone’s always bringing up impeaching the President; despite the lesson that those supporting impeachment have always paid a heavy price in following elections.

    He’s not suggesting we stop infighting on this, but that it’s “unpopular” to support impeachment (which I am not sure about, and besides, it’s still the proper thing to do.) Same thing Iraq withdrawal; not “it’s wrong”, but “it’s unpopular”.

  8. Wow. It was hard to get my point into 1000 characters. To summarize:

    He’s not interested in getting Libertarians on the same page, fighting the enemy & not each other, etc. According to his post, he’s concerned with what he believes to be public opinion – fighting the drug war, staying in Iraq, against impeachment, etc.

    I understand that’s the reality of “politics”, but take his post to the logical conclusions:

    1) Change our principles to fit public opinion OR
    2) Hide our principles until elected
    3) Profit?

    He doesn’t suggest trying to bring the public around to our POV, just change to fit theirs.

    I’ve remembered why I haven’t become a card-carrying Libertarian before; it’s because they can’t get their act together.

    No, it’s because he seems not to believe in what Libertarians believe in. He even dismisses Libertarian views as “little policies” and refers to those who believe in them as “you people” – and you’d take advice from him?

  9. Something that’s crucial as Libertarians, which seems to be common sense and which we totally ignore:
    Libertarians CANNOT get elected until those people who are currently voting democrat and republican vote for us. In other words, Libertarians can only get elected by taking votes away from republicans and democrats (and to a lesser extend from those who don’t vote).
    I’m not sure what kind of action this realization directs, but any strategy that doesn’t take this into account is worthless! bickering amongst ourselves, or presenting a common front… both worthless! Unless we can convince voters to switch to voting for us we will not get elected.

  10. First —

    “3) Profit?” — I almost snorted blood on that one, putri!

    Now:

    George’s approach and verbage here is extremely poor.

    I will attempt in my own way to revise the statement, as follows;

    We must not insist on immediate absolutisms. Political realities will always defeat such. The best possible analogous word to politics is “social maneuvering.”

    We mustn’t *EVER* abandon our principles. Any of them. But sometimes, if you slip the end result of the actions under the noses of the objecting populace, great good can be done. After all; great evil is done this way.

    Structurally and societally, the Democrats and Republicans are vastly the superiors of the Libertarians when it comes to unified action and political impact.

    I’ve said it before; freedom, after all, is the freedom to starve. So did King Lou.

    I’ve recently been of the opinion that, like a relay race, we should each of us support those whom propose lesser goals
    (cont’d)

  11. putri — Let me rephrase. I took Hampton’s appeal to get along quite seriously. I don’t neccessarily agree with all of Stricklin’s views.

    Even where I (sometimes very strongly) disagree with Stricklin’s political views, he does open up the sort of debate we should be having with:

    Just as a political party divorced from ideology, such as the Republicans, is doomed to lose, so does an ideology divorced from political organization. Until you people can stop knee-capping each other, you’ll never accomplish anything of lasting value.

  12. (cont’d)
    And then not drop the ball when the others fail to keep up with us.

    In this way, the greatest amount of good could be accomplished.

    I.e.; don’t snub your nose at anyone who wants to accomplish less then what you wish. Use him as a stepping-board to your own accomplishments. I think *THIS* is what George was meaning to say — and failed miserably in communicating.

    The other great problem we have is plain and simple; getting Libertarians (and libertarians to a mildly lesser extent) to cooperate en masse is directly comparative to attempting to herd 1,000,000 cats.

    Even the best skilled and intentioned is going to come out bloody at best.

    This last, I attribute *precisely* to the spirit of “rugged individualism” that is perhaps at the core of the Libertarian dream.

    If only we could move past “Adams”-esque political economics into “Nash”-esque political economics.
    (Cont’d)

  13. (cont’d)

    To rephrase my last line: If only we could recognize successfully as a group, society, and subculture those instances where by each of us acting solely for our own personal best interest, we prevent any of us from acheiving our goals. If, instead, we worked for the mutually most effective objective, we would each of us profit the greatest amount.

    I am NOT stating this is always the case. I am simply stating a “dream” or idyllic Libertarian Party wherein each of us had the cognizance to recognize those instances where it is in fact the case.

  14. Roberto — that can only ever happen on a case-by-case basis.

    The same techniques which will sway independants will also sway the open minded red/blues. Keep in mind that all we need to do for a *major* election that is in all other ways equal, is acheive 35% of the vote. Given the tendancy for splits… that is sufficient to be the largest minority.

    So to be honest, Roberto, your point is at the same time both explicitly valid, and entirely irrelevant.

  15. This is a GREAT post and it is 100% true.

    Libertarians spend too much time arguing with each other and not enough time out talking to the public.

    The LP needs to become more mainstream…

    Mike Sylvester

  16. My point was that just as the GOP spends nearly all of its time and efforts on getting elected while spending very little time on debate and principle, the LP members spend nearly all their time debating and standing on principle and very little on actually getting elected.

    When I was in the software business, I tended to be a perfectionist and didn’t want to release a product until I felt it was ready. My boss at the time taught me a valuable lesson: He taught me that only products that ship pay the bills. Keeping products until they’re considered perfect results in products remaining unshipped and consequently no income.

    Political parties such as the GOP and the LP should focus more on grassroots organizing and winning elections, with idealogy driving them, but not being the all-in-all. Clearly, I think some of those positions mentioned make LP candidates unelectable. Maybe I’m wrong, but I’ve been involved in GOP politics for going on 30 years, so I don’t think I am.

  17. …and you asked if I support any Libertarian principles? Yes!

    Replace the income tax with a consumption tax, such as the Fair Tax.
    Replace Social Security with some sort of Medical Savings Accounts.
    Oppose Imminent Domain.
    Abolish biased preferential hiring (Affirmative Action).
    Reform the federal elections.

    …and those were just off the top of my head.

    Also, most of the time, the American electorate prefers to vote for someone or a party instead of against their opponent. Talking about impeachment, especially after the Clinton debacle, makes you look petty and vindictive, not to mention it’s letting your opponent set your agenda for you.

  18. I fail to see any point in there being an LP if it is “mainstreamed”, which is code for made into another RNC/DNC hybrid. What a stupid idea. People would never vote LP then because there would be no point whatever. We’d be in the same boat with NOTHING gained but a lot lost. As it is, the radical changes that America needs has put it on an intractable crash course with history. If every elected position were filled by a libertarian, there would be tremendous pain in store for Americans. Farting around like a worthless Republican and still getting ignored for it is gross stupidity in the extreme.

  19. DD — I understand what you’re saying here, but also keep this in mind, and I will be personal here:

    you and I both want this country to change. We need some sort of power to exert to cause that change. As things stand now, most attempts made to create change via the libertarian model are in fact quashed mostly by infighting. You and I disagree on a wide spectrum of items, yet we want the same initial direction from where we are now. So why aren’t we both walking side-by-side *right now*?

    Charles: I hate to differ with you, but in today’s climate the most common statement I hear is that people vote for someone solely to keep the other guy out. This applies moreover to the Presidential elections than any other level.

    I cannot tell you how many people I’ve met who voted for Bush simply to keep Kerry out of office… nor the number of people who voted for Kerry to kick Bush out.

    We exist in a climate of either/or. We in the L(l)ibertarian world are just as guilty.
    (Cont’d)

  20. (Cont’d)
    I see this as the antagonistic spirit I’ve commented on more than once before: if you’re not *absolutely*, *one-hundred percent* Libertarian/Anarchist/What-have-you, people recuse you for not being Libertarian at all.

    Take for example the candidate spoken of recently who is *for* socialized medicine, yet is seeking the Libertarian endorsement.

    According to Stephen Gordon, who knows him personally from what I gather, this man is “85%” libertarian.

    And yet, the biggest focus in the libertarian world upon the man *is that one issue.*

    This is needless fractiousness. After all; he believes in socialized medicine because it is a free-er result than the “fascist” (his word — that I agree with it is irrelevant) medicine system we now ‘enjoy.’

    Maybe he’s right, maybe he’s wrong. But he’s still trying to put one foot in front of the other.

    Only way you ever get there is to not follow Xeno’s paradox (the Anarchist’s Achilles’ Heel).

  21. Blah blah. There is plenty of room for different opinions in Deviousland. But I have hammer-of-truthed this matter out many times before. If someone is consistently for less government and perhaps even in some cases the same amount of government, then they will in fact move us in the direction that we all agree we want to go. But backstepping gets us backwards. In the case of the socialized medicine candidate you mention, we would get his socialized medicine and that’s it. One step backwards. I don’t have a problem with the candidate, I have a problem with the candidacy on the ballot line as Libertarian. I’m going to have people voting for the guy, for god’s sake. At least two, if not half a dozen votes and I’m FAR out of his district.

    I fail to see how moving backwards is supposed to move us forward. Winning for the sake of winning is pointless and isn’t going to happen anyway.

  22. Devious — here, you prove my point.

    I could add more, but there’s no reason to do so that is productive.

  23. The reason someone always mentions drugs is because, aside from complete financial liberty (freedom from taxation) our liberty to do with our bodies what we wish is the most important thing that we’re missing. It helps that we know we’re right and that if people would just pay attention to the details, most would agree. You’re never going to get a concensus of libertarians if you through drug law reform out of the picture.

  24. IanC: if you make the libertarian party more mainstream what’ll happen is that some corrupt political types in the democrats and republicans will sign up and corrupt the LP. I think if the LP ever achieves mainstream status even on its current platform it will eventually become corrupted anyway. That would just speed up the process. If we cater to voters rather than standing up for principles, how are we any different than typical politicians?

    We know we’re right, we just need to sell ourselves more thoroughly to the public at large. I think there are a lot of non-voters who could really get behind the LP and a lot of centrist voters. They just need to be informed.

  25. DaveT: I in no way shape or form have been a proponent of “mainstreaming” the Libertarian Party.

    I advocate, however, *streamlining* it. That is to say, causing it to become a functional, effectual, body of power.

    As things currently stand, it is not.

    It is for this reason that I give the following suggestion:

    Advocate those who encourage lesser steps towards freedom than your own. Assist them. And never impede those whom you feel are too radical or extremist.

    And again, DaveT, I say the following:

    The same techniques that will reach the non-voters will reach the open-minded red/blues. It is for this reason that speaking of swaying non-voters over causing people to switch parties is an irrelevant topic. Functionally it’s a useless, contrarian debate and that’s it.

    If you take my statements about the need for actual power, and respond with what you said above… then I for one state that you are *AGAINST* the L(l)ibertarian cause.

    Because you are saying:
    (cont’d)

  26. (cont’d)
    If that is the case, then you are saying effectively that if we as a group ever start getting the power to make changes, then we will inevitably become the thing we stand against.

    I say to you, this is defeatist, it is contrarian, and furthermore it is demoralizing.

    Each of these things are *AGAINST* the cause of the LP, and libertarianism as an ideology.

    And finally, Dave, I deeply wish to continue to believe as I now do that we are in overall agreement as to direction of our philosophies.

    It is for that reason that I will ask you to read more carefully my posts, to avoid in the future making the mistake of putting words in my mouth that were never there. (I.e.; ‘mainstreaming the LP’)

  27. Is this guy in the room at all? One of the major problems with the War on Drugs is the perversion of the justice system. Far too many deaths at the hands of the police. Far too many women in prison because they didn’t have someone to give up. And on and on and on.
    M.

  28. What I’m going to say here is probably not going to go over well, but it’s the conclusion I’ve come to about why the Libertarian Party will never go anywhere.

    If the Libertarian Party is ever going to succeed, it has to understand that the right to free will is fundamental to the libertarian ideal (the Bill of Rights, freedom of speech, religion, thought, etc), but free market capitalism is not. You can be a free market capitalist and be a Libertarian, but you can also be someone who believes in collectivism and be a Libertarian as well, if the evidence shows that a collectivist solution does not impede against free will.

    The health care situation has made this very clear for me recently, as the more I’ve looked into the issue, the more I’ve begun to understood how this is one area where the free market has not produced the most efficient system and that factors other than profit motives play a bigger role. I guess I’m running out of space here, so I’ll stop there…

  29. Our health care system is quasi-facistic/socialized. Not free market. Furthermore, the idea that a more complete and comprehensively socialized system would be superior is absurd.

    Collectivism is inherently in contradiction to free will. The will of the individual is always sacrificed for the will of the collective in collectivism. Libertarianism and collectivism are incompatible. The primacy of the individual is the bedrock of libertarianism. Not collectivism.

    The free market is an inviolable force of nature. It’s not something that you “turn on” or opt into. It simply is. All statist interventions amount to denials of the free market and will thusly produce negative consequences. The free market exists as evidence of free will.

    I think the failure here is yours, thehim and not one of the market. The market is infallible and does not make mistakes. To suggest otherwise would be akin to suggesting that earthquakes and tsunamis occur in the wrong places. We both know that is absurd.

  30. David, I strongly disagree. Our health care system is the most privatized in the world, yet it’s also both the most expensive and the least efficient. Both economic analyses and polling back that up. I used to believe that relying on the free market would produce the most efficient system. The facts are clear. It doesn’t, and I believe that the Libertarian Party will never go anywhere until they come to grips with this reality.

    Collectivism is a matter of economics, but free will is separate from economics. Free will is a matter of having the ability to make moral decisions without government interference. It has nothing to do with paying taxes. Everyone has their own notion of how much of a role the government should play in regulating free markets, and desiring more regulation can be as much an extension of liberty as desiring less, so long as actual free will is not violated and we have an efficient system that makes our society as a whole stronger.

  31. Just another personal anecdote on this subject that I hope will help in explaining why I think the Libertarian Party will never poll over 2-3% unless it starts to understand the difference between free will and free markets.

    John Stossel was on some show recently and said that he thought that if there was no FAA that the free market would still correct for itself and airplane safety would not be compromised. As someone who has actually worked at Boeing testing flight control software, I was stunned that someone could actually believe that. The FAA was a pain, but if they weren’t there, there is absolutely no doubt that corners would be cut and safety would be compromised. It’s simple human nature. The profit motive that people expect to eliminate this only exists at the top of the organizational chart, not the bottom. It’s these little realities that make these notions that “the market is infallible” absurd and keep the Libertarian Party from ever being a serious voice.

  32. thehim, I’ve got to take issue with some of your statements. I think it’s illogical to separate free will from economics since practically every decision we make in our lives is constrained by economic factors.

    Even more illogical is your statement, “desiring more regulation can be as much an extension of liberty as desiring less”. How can you justify that when the means to achieve that “liberty” necessarily involves *forcing* others to pay for it? It’s no different than justifying your “liberty” to live more comfortably by robbing a bank or to live in an evironment free of some particular ethnic group by having them all exterminated.

    An old libertarian axiom goes something like, “others’ freedom stops at the end of my nose”. No rights are legitimate that involve violating the rights of others.

    And I agree with Devious Dave that our current healthcare system is VERY far from that of a free market.

  33. thehim, I’ve got to take issue with some of your statements. I think it’s illogical to separate free will from economics since practically every decision we make in our lives is constrained by economic factors.

    Even more illogical is your statement, “desiring more regulation can be as much an extension of liberty as desiring less”. How can you justify that when the means to achieve that “liberty” necessarily involves *forcing* others to pay for it? It’s no different than justifying your “liberty” to live more comfortably by robbing a bank or to live in an environment free of some particular ethnic group by having them all exterminated.

    An old libertarian axiom goes something like, “others’ freedom stops at the end of my nose”. No rights are legitimate that involve violating the rights of others.

    And I agree with Devious Dave that our current healthcare system is VERY far from that of a free market.

  34. thehim, I don’t even know where to begin with you. I feel sorry for you and we have gone way off topic and I’m too lazy to type and scroll.

    One thing is for certain and that is that there is no question you are even remotely libertarian. Have you thought about joining the Greens? Because that’s obviously where you fit in. You simply do not belong and it would benefit everyone much more if you went where there are people that believe what you do. I totally understand the disconnect and your frustration with the LP now! It’s like trying to fit a square into a circle – not gonna happen.

    Some people believe politicians should have maximum control over their lives and health. And massive control isn’t enough control because of the problems that massive control causes. Circular logic, asking for more of what causes a problem in order to solve a problem isn’t going to solve the problem. It’s like telling an alcoholic to switch from beer to liqour. Go be a Green for everyone’s sake.

  35. Libertarians, by nature, see around corners. We are ahead of our time. It had to get worse before it gets better. Most people don’t see around corners and were waiting until the system was so broken, they couldn’t work around it.

    Libertarians can’t agree because they practice what they preach: disagreement is allowed and protected.

    When the tide turns, we will succeed in spite of our disagreements. We won’t be able to stop it.

    The biggest problem will be hurt feelings from the old-timers who liked being big fish in a small tide pool. The influx of new members will change everything and smooth out the rough edges.

    We need to be prepared to defend our core principle of freedom.

  36. thehim

    as I expostulated earlier in another thread, the FAA and their aconstitutional status is literally what killed so many people on 9/11/2001. In one of four planes, liberty-loving people refused to be human missiles and fought the terrorists off with their bare hands. Had the FAA not allowed people to be stripped of their RKBA, the success rate would have been MUCH higher. Now explain how the cut corners hypothesis coexists with real product liability, where a broken widget could mean the death of a person and also the death of the company. The FAA shields most airplane manufacturers from liability for their fuckups, or did McDonnell-Douglas actually get sued because of the DC-10’s having the nasty habit of having engines fall off?

  37. Robert, I’ll start with you here, and I may have to break this up to cover everything:

    I think it’s illogical to separate free will from economics since practically every decision we make in our lives is constrained by economic factors.

    I think it’s a mistake not to understand the line that separates individual free will from market interaction. If I decide to worship a god in a way that I choose, that has no economic aspect of it. If I choose to grow a marijuana plant and consume, that has no economic aspect to it. I believe that the root of libertarianism is separate from economics in that it’s an understanding that a society that protects free will maximizes security. A society that allows one group of people to define their own liberty in terms of the ability to limit the free will of others, hurts itself. America was established on this principle, and that’s what I consider libertarianism.

  38. I have been trying to make the same point over on the LP blog (www.lp.org/yourturn/archives/000273.shtml) that the LP needs more unity – only I believe the LP can stick to libertarian principles.

    Stricklin is a conservative and sees the LP through the lens of a Republican activist.

    The idea that the drug war is a failure is fairly mainstream. The impeachment issue surely didn’t cost the GOP the elections in 2000.

    I recall seeing recent polls where a slight majority of those who favor withdrawal want immediate withdrawal. This idea is not out of the mainstream.

    Stricklin is arguably wrong on all counts.

    Is the Fair Tax a libertarian idea? No it’s a GOP measure to fund big government and create a brand new bureaucracy to collect taxes, maintain databases, and send out monthly prebate checks.

    If the LP won’t advocate libertarian principles, we might as well hang it up.

    Remember, roughly 1/2 of the nonvoters can win an election.
    The LP should go after them.

  39. Even more illogical is your statement, “desiring more regulation can be as much an extension of liberty as desiring less”. How can you justify that when the means to achieve that “liberty” necessarily involves *forcing* others to pay for it?

    This gets a little closer to understanding why it’s vital to separate free will from free markets. In a democratic society, democratic means should be used to determine such matters that affect everyone within an economic system. If there are two methods for solving a problem, one allows for the free market to solve the problem, and the other has the government oversee it (or some variations of that), it should be decided democratically which way it’s done. By forcing the free market decision on a society, you are taking away liberty rather than increasing it.

  40. It’s no different than justifying your “liberty” to live more comfortably by robbing a bank or to live in an environment free of some particular ethnic group by having them all exterminated.

    No, and this difference becomes clear when you understand the difference between free will and free markets. Exterminating a particular ethnic group is not an action done within a market. It’s an action done that directly violates free will. And the principle of libertarianism is that liberty stops when you violate the free will of others. Robbing a bank, for obvious reasons, is anti-libertarian because it’s an individual stealing from an institution that exists to serve the collective with the market system. It is an extension of society that society democratically controls. Businesses obviously have rights, but those rights do not trump the desires of voters.

    I don’t have time right now to respond to the other comments. I hope to later on. Thanks for the discussion here.

  41. thehim, well, I’m glad to find out you aren’t a libertarian and don’t actually understand liberty.

    By forcing the free market decision on a society, you are taking away liberty rather than increasing it.

    This is so ridiculous I hardly know where to start. Forcing freedom on people, as opposed to forcing violence on them?!

  42. Tom, et all

    1. My last name is Stricklin, my friends call me Charles. If you’d like, I’ll agree to consider us friends, and you can call me that, too. :)
    2. In my personal life, you might call me a Conservative, but when it comes to elections and government, I’m somewhere between Conservative and Libertarian. I believe in limited government and individual freedom first and foremost. As for being a Republican? See http://charlesstricklin.com/2006/04/08/republican-no-more/
    3. The reason I referred to Libertarians in general and the LP specifically as “you people” is because I don’t consider myself as one of you. That’s true. I fall outside both the GOP and the LP, and my comments were directed as such.
    4 and most importantly. All I am saying is that if you remain committed to 100% idealogy, regardless of whether or not it’s valid or true, and never get elected to office to implement your ideas, you’re not a political party, you’re a think-tank. You should decide which you prefer to be.

  43. This is so ridiculous I hardly know where to start. Forcing freedom on people, as opposed to forcing violence on them?!

    If it’s so ridiculous, then refute it. Libertarians are a laughingstock to a large majority of this country for this reason. You tell someone who is worried about not being able to afford medical coverage that they should be glad that they’re free from not having the government help them. That’s assinine, and until you figure that out, you will forever be doomed to be a fringe nutjob.

  44. One thing is for certain and that is that there is no question you are even remotely libertarian. Have you thought about joining the Greens? Because that’s obviously where you fit in. You simply do not belong and it would benefit everyone much more if you went where there are people that believe what you do.

    For a thread that is supposed to discuss building the Libertarian Party, I think you’ve captured quite succinctly why it can’t happen. The worst way to build a party is to come up with a highly extreme interpretation of a basic philosophy and then tell everyone who isn’t 100% on board to fuck off.

    The reason I could never be a Green is because they have the same problem at the other end of the spectrum. They’ve become way too anti-capitalist. They rail on about how corporations are destroying life, and they’re just as ridiculous as you ranting about government. They are the opposite extreme, but the opportunity for third party success lies in the middle.

  45. as I expostulated earlier in another thread, the FAA and their aconstitutional status is literally what killed so many people on 9/11/2001.

    Odd. I blame the terrorists, but maybe I’m nuts.

    In one of four planes, liberty-loving people refused to be human missiles and fought the terrorists off with their bare hands. Had the FAA not allowed people to be stripped of their RKBA, the success rate would have been MUCH higher.

    Are you actually saying that if the passengers were armed, we’d be better off? Oh. My. God.

    First of all, in every hijack situation in history, hijackers were not intent on crashing the plane, so even if people were armed, no one would have dared shoot a gun, which could cause the depressurization of the cabin or lead the plane to crash.

    Continuing in the next comment…

  46. Oh, I’m quite aware of how people are suckered in by “government help.” It doesn’t make it any less ridiculous.

  47. What? Like in European countries, where the health care system is affordable and available to everyone? God forbid we get suckered into that!!

  48. What? Like in European countries, where the health care system is affordable and available to everyone? God forbid we get suckered into that!!

  49. thehim, re #43, I’m really having a hard time reconciling any of what you wrote with libertarian principles. You state, “democratic means should be used to determine such matters that affect everyone within an economic system”. Assuming for the moment we live within a democratic system (I’ve always thought it was supposed to be a constitutional republic), how are my personal health matters something that affects everyone? It is my free will to deal with that in the manner of my choice, which includes the right to freely transact with anyone on mutually agreeable terms. To have such decisions taken from me and given to some collective is an extreme violation of my personal liberty. (cont’d)

  50. thehim, re #43, “By forcing the free market decision on a society, you are taking away liberty rather than increasing it.” This is perhaps the most perplexing statement of all. “Forcing a free market decision” is a blatant oxymoron. A free market decision is nothing more than two parties mutually agreeing to transact in some manner.

    It seems to me that you believe the will of the collective trumps that of the individual, even on private matters such my decision to pay someone for rendering a service. How is that even remotely libertarian? It sounds purely socialistic to me.

    thehim, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that your intentions are sincere, so I’m not going to suggest you leave and go find some other political party to align with. Perhaps your wording has caused me to misinterpret your meaning somehow. If so, please clarify.

  51. Charles,

    Sorry to imply you were still a Republican – I guess you really are politcally homeless. I suppose I would like to see far less government than you and as such I don’t believe the LP ideology is really very radical. Your perception is that the LP is too radical, I think.

    The fact is that things like preventive war, paying tax money to faith based institutions, creating new entitlement programs costing trillions, massive government debt, National ID cards, government databases, gun control, single payer health care, etc. are things that I find quite radical.

    If the federal government simply stuck to the tasks enumerated in the Constitution, the LP agenda would be about 95% complete. There would be no federal drug war, no nation building, no need for a federal income tax, and no social security system.

    I don’t think this is nearly as radical as the ideologies of the Republicans and Democrats. I don’t even think it is radical to hold a President accountable.

  52. thehim, you seem to think a free market actually exists in America. To blame the health care problems in America on the free market system is wrong because there isn’t a free market. Corporatism and one-size-fits-all government regulation ain’t a free market.

    The FAA could easily be replaced by private business paid for by the airlines out of the proceeds of ticket sales. The FAA did fail on 9/11 – there were multiple security failures and if pilots carried weapons, 9/11 may not have happened.

    Why should the working poor be forced to labor only to have part of their meager pay confiscated to fund inefficient and wasteful government bureaucracies? Convenience store workers aren’t jet-setting around – why should they subsidize those who fly.

    How can I trust politicians to decide what collectivist programs are needed and leave the management up to them?
    It is quite a stretch to demand that someone work to pay for the desires and needs of others – that is slavery.

  53. I’m just trying to drive home the differences between politics and ideology.

    Unfortunately, we’ve incrementally drifted so far from the constitutional framer’s original intent that any major change would either be nearly impossible to sell to enough voters to win an election or implement once elected, or both.

    My suggestion? Get elected first. Sell the policies that most voters want. Then, build a force in Washington of like-minded people and over a decade or two, change everything you’d like to, one policy at a time.

    This everything-or-nothing mentality keeps the LP polling at under 5%. Fortunately, the Democrats seem to be afflicted with the same mentality, so that’s a bit of good news. :)

  54. I’m not so sure the all-or-nothing mentality is as widespread in the LP as some seem to think and I’m not so sure that is why the LP polls so low.

    There are numerous other reasons that the LP polls low. Doing outreach among the general public (as opposed to conservative or liberal groups), the first thing I ask people is if they have ever heard of the LP. Many people have never heard of us. Then I ask if they are familiar with what the LP stands for. I would estimate that less than 20% have an accurate idea of what the LP stands for.

    Half of those people disagree with the LP and the other half are somewhat in agreement but suffer from the wasted vote syndrome.

    It is no wonder that people aren’t familiar with the LP. The LP gets little mention in the media and is often marginalized or demonized by the talking heads.

    The LP could compete much better with about $200 million, but money follows power. I just hope America can survive 1 or 2 more decades of Republicrats.