Tim West over at Liberty for Sale responded to a message from one of the various open LP mailing lists (I would venture to say it’s a Yahoo! group). David Macko, who wrote the original email in which he praises Michael Badnarik for not filing tax returns or having a driver’s license, isn’t the focus of West’s ire, yet he adequately personifies the mentality of some purist libertarians.
I suggest you, but here’s my favorite part:
In my opinion ( and that’s all it is ) Michael’s conduct as a private citizen became an immediate negative as the LP’s representative. Like it or not, we dont have a choice about the so called mainstream media – we have to deal with them, or we sink like a stone – and so far my suggestions about starting our own media enterprises as libertarians haven’t gone anywhere, though maybe the Steven’s [sic] can do something there. Since we as libertarians haven’t really begun to establish any real alternative to the “establishment media” whose fault is it that we have to depend on them? We haven’t begun to do anything to get around them.
Your post is only the latest in a string of posts and emails recently by various libertarians that talk shit about the voting public, which is the same voting public that we have to convince to vote libertarian, and the vast majority of them are NOT libertarians. This continues the “insult them because they can’t understand our principled greatness” attitude that is SO SMARMY it reeks of contempt for anyone outside the LP. You cant ask people to vote for us and then in the same breath call them stupid and sheeple.
We can’t win elective office when we as a party, our candidates, or our writers and thinkers in the LP have a attitude of contempt for the very people – the voters and the press – that determine the fate of our candidates.
He’s absolutely right. Many Libertarians still don’t realize that the key to winning the political popularity contest in today’s society is the same method used by any company that sells a product well. Apple didn’t make iPods fly off the shelf by calling Walkman owners dumb shits; Instead, their marketing angle was to make their product a pop-culture icon desirable to anyone who was already on the MP3 bandwagon.
Libertarians my not realize it, but the goal of liberty is already a pop-culture icon, and all one has to do is push theof libertarianism. Liberty is already one of the easiest products in the world to sell, but some just need to learn how to not call the customer an idiot.
UPDATE by Stephen Gordon: Thomas Knapp provides his thoughts on the topic over in Kn@ppsterville:
writes at Liberty For Sale: “We [e.g. Libertarians] can’t win elective office when we as a party, our candidates, or our writers and thinkers in the LP have a attitude of contempt for the very people — the voters and the press — that determine the fate of our candidates.”
Pretty good point — no argument from me. I do, however, want to point out that the whole discussion there (and it’s carried over toas well) is getting tangled up with the subject of Michael Badnarik’s 2004 presidential campaign … and he doesn’t deserve that.