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Required Reading

July 3rd, 2014 - 8:20 am

John Hinderaker wants to know “where are libertarians when you need them?” And it’s a fair question:

In my view, libertarians of both the capital L and small l varieties punch below their weight. They have not contributed as much as they should to the conservative movement. This is partly because libertarians tend to founder on foreign policy, where many are merely modern-day isolationists. But it is also because they have tended to focus on secondary, or tertiary, issues of domestic policy.

Exactly this, and I say that as a small-l libertarian who tries very hard not to dwell on those secondary and tertiary issues. Or, as I wrote here many years ago, doctrinaire Libertarians tend to get into fistfights over the best way to privatize the sidewalks.

Another reason we punch below our weight is the endless libertarian debate over who is “really” a libertarian. Anyone not holding this view or supporting that position must be driven from the pack to maintain purity. Purity is fine is you want to be a member of a fringe movement, but it’s less useful for other activities, such as influencing a major party or winning elections.

Anyway, read the whole thing.

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All Comments   (7)
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"This is partly because libertarians tend to founder on foreign policy"

This is partially because libertarians are, at worst, the DNC's covertly funded front groups, and, at best, usefull idiot stoners played by the DNC like fiddles.

There, I fixed it for you
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
Very interesting article and I am glad you brought this up. Recently in our California primary there were a number of offices to fill: Governor, Sec of State, Controller, Treasurer etc. The ONLY one that had a Libertarian candidate was for the Attorney General Position.

In the Official Voter Guide each candidate is allowed to make a statement so that the voters can get to know who they are and their stance on a number of positions. This one Libertarian candidate had this to say: "Uphold the Bill of Rights, including 2nd Amendment. Protect our privacy. End marijuana prohibition. No death penalty. Prosecute police misconduct. End civil asset forfeiture."

That was it. 24 words. I know the candidates have to pay for this, but this was all he could come up with? Other candidates has paragraphs of information to present. Was this done during a commercial break or something? At least that's how it seemed to me. I actually voted for him, but I can understand how people will look at this and feel that the Libertarian Party is just not that serious about their candidacies. And then that attitude is projected onto anyone professing a small "l" point of view.

I have in the past attempted to contact the local party chapter by e-mail and have not received any response, or have gone to a website with an announcement of an event that happened a year ago. So, all in all, it doesn't really project, to me anyway, an appearance of being a very organized machine. Just some thoughts.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
One of the problems that Libertarianism faces is inherent within the ideology. A basic postulate is that a mass of private citizens each making their informed choices gives a better result than that of a centralized, top-down hierarchy.

In other words the idea of a few people making decisions for the entire country is anathema to Libertarian dogma. No president -be it Reagan, Clinton, Bush, or Obama- can ever get much support from many Libertarian groups exactly because one man (or, eventually, woman) makes the decisions for the country. It's how an executive office works. You can't crowd-source diplomacy or war.

Add to that the highly rationalistic nature of Libertarianism, and you'll get folks who just can't grasp that sometimes a swift kick in the ass is the best diplomatic answer available. Whether it's Bush's Iraq invasion of Obama's Libyan intervention, they're against it because it involves force, which should only be used for strictly defensive purposes.

Bottom line: the ideology is poorly suited to international affairs.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Whaddaya mean, where are the libertarians? WE CAN'T WIN A PRIMARY thanks to the SoCons. All I ever get to do is hold my nose and vote for a full-plank Republican come general election time.

Admittedly, I'm referring to small-ls; the big-L Libertarians are purity kooks who don't belong in office. And yes, there are a few fiscon-solib Republicans making their way into office. But for the most part we small-ls are relegated to the status of demons within Republican ranks.

"Why don’t libertarians stake out a similarly 'radical' position on domestic policy?" Hinderaker asks. Huh? He should run on over to to see what they're saying about Hillary and Obama. Some of it is even making its way to the links on RealClearPolitics and PowerLine itself.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm reminded of the people's republic of judea, which split from judean people's liberation front...
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Doesn't really matter what you brand yourself as-- if you're on the side of sanity and you don't vote for the home team, however distasteful single issues may occasionally be, you're part of the problem.

Standing on principle got us the Great Recession Part Deux, Obamacare, precedent for utter lawlessness of the executive branch, and rolled back race relations a good 40 years.

Doing it the right way got us rid of a lot of idiots through primary challenges. Do the math.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am reminded of Reagan's dictum that someone who agrees with me 80% of the time is an ally. A lot of people have forgotten that, or choose to ignore it.

I'll also bet that a lot of the purists only vote, as opposed to joining the local caucus, and working their way up the organizational ladder. That's how you win.

Build up a local caucus. Then build a series across a state. Then merge across states. Then coordinate these networks during primaries, then the general election.

We all know Ditherton Wiggleroom is a SCOAMF, but he (and the Democratic Party) know how to win elections*. That's one of the things community leaders are good for. We could take lessons.

*No, I don't mean vote fraud. Dems can win quite nicely without that. Most reported cases result from an Alinskyite need to win "by any means necessary" even when it's not required. Kinda like Nixon wasting time on his dime-store "plumbers" crew.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
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