The party is dead to me

I’ve realized a few things in my many years of participating in Libertarian politics (Michael Badnarik in 2004, Bill Peirce in 2006) to realize when the game is rigged. You see, for a while there I got really caught up in the whirlwind of policy and procedure and all the shit no sane person would do except when it’s time to bow down before a master. Now, it’s not the fault of those working within that party, they are just playing the game they’ve always played: keep-away. Once they got something of value, they found out they can lord it over others and gain some false authority along the way.

Anyways, I’ve realized “The Great Game” is pretty stupid. What matters isn’t parties, because parties never move the world, people do. Sure, parties can get people to move from time to time, but they themselves are not a movement nor do they have their own momentum.

At this point you’re probably wondering what the fuck I’m talking about with parties and movements, and what the fuck it has to do with you. Well dear reader, you probably recognize as well the futility of modern political parties, and perhaps you’ve been drawn to the allure of a certain tea party movement, or the marijuana legalization movement, or the gay marriage legalization movement, or the border security movement. Well, can you guess what they all have in common? None of them will fully embrace a party. Or more correctly, no party ever actually embraces them and makes it their priority. And when they do, you can be sure it’s because the movement is a legitimate threat and needs to be tamed by party procedures and committees.

You see, parties end up being watered down by their collective constituencies to the point that infighting and bickering is inevitable. Couple that with a culture of power and false authority and it’s no surprise that politics is a fetid business. No one accomplishes anything because the status quo is safer than accomplishing goals that alienate a percentage of donors. In contrast, movements have a singular goal, and leadership knows exactly what the mission is at all times.

So I’ve personally come to the conclusion that the party system is dead. Sure they may make a lot of noise at election time and the two-party system has devised layers upon layers of self-protective legislation to ensure their place. But the people who wear the suits and speak in chambers belong to self-promoting movements, not parties. Their self-movements are funded by corporations and elitists who in turn are part of their own movements. It’s all very much a game of accumulating power and wealth, collecting public servants like Pokemon.

So where to we go from here? Well, start by making political parties dead to you too (this means consciously marginalizing them where they belong), and focus instead on movements (either libertarian ideals with tangible goals or people with goals). Partisan labels are distractions that are intended to do just one thing: steer you away from the individual or issue into some turbulent philosophical waters where a lot of flip flops have taken place.

Keep moving forward by following those who carry the torch of liberty and justice for all. The more active you are, the more likely the responsibility will be passed to you to carry the torch for the next generation.

Stephen VanDyke

I've published HoT along with about 300+ friends since 2002. We're all Americans who are snarky and love our country. I'm a libertarian that registered Republican because I like to win elections. That's pretty much it.

  1. Hmm. I was trying to make a post here when all of a sudden the page refreshed and erased my comment in the making. Whassup?

    1. Sorry about that, I have set it so only the front page will auto refresh, eventually it will be set by the cache age itself but right now it’s hardcoded.

  2. “The party is dead to me” is a delusional phrase. It means the author is the rejecting the reality that political parties are the tribes that produce and control the people that exert power over our lives and property. It’s unfortunate, but it is the nature of man to associate with a tribe for protection, etc., from other people and tribes doing bad things to an individual.

    The Libertarian tribe has been spectacularly unsuccessful in gaining any political power. The big two have done a good job of transitioning away from print media, which was the primary source of information (i.e. control in a democracy) for the first 200 years of our republic, and moving into the new media (primarily TV and Internet), to keep hold of their power. Individuals who believe that they can “shop” from tribe to tribe are kidding themselves – they will have no impact on the ruling class of our country. It is only through collective action that big changes can be made. “We must hang together, gentlemen…else, we shall most assuredly hang separately.”

    Single issue initiatives are fine – the NRA, the border, NORML, PETA, whatever – but they will never have an impact on the big issues like individual liberty and protection from extortion (either by government or bad individuals). If you really care about just one issue, that’s great, but don’t think you are making a difference on anything outside of that one issue.

    The author is of course entitled to his own opinion. If the sky is yellow to him, great! However, if the premise is that others should believe, like he does, that political parties are less relevant and thus can be worked around, I say don’t believe it. It’s not reality.

    1. I was trying to draw a distinction between parties and movements. I agree with you on the tribe metaphor, but parties are not tribes in motion, they are by their nature immobile. Initiatives and movements are where the activity takes place, and they often find champions in people/candidates, but rarely in political committees.

  3. You drop out of the party for 4 years, then come back to tell the rest of us we should. Forgive me if I’m unpersuaded.

    Especially when I see how the tea party “movement” is being sucked in to the Republican Party, or how various “movement” supporters are still being stuck with choosing between the giant douche and shit sandwich parties.

    1. Don’t listen to me on the matter then. Look around you… we live in tumultuous times and god knows I’m not trying to feed the cult of personality.

      While the Republican Party may have been able to sabotage the Tea Party in it’s infancy, it’s because the Tea Party message spectrum was so wide that all anyone had to do was confuse things a little anyways. Fox News further confused the issue by talking about all the movement and slapping a bunch of GOP talking points on them. Sure a lot of people disagree that their local Tea Party movement has been hijacked and many of them are actually clobbering local parties still, but the nationwide movement has effectively been derailed due to an inconsistent message.