After November, the Libertarian Party, like the GOP, is in denial over the last election. “Its impossible! How could we lose?”
Well, you did. And in the case of the libertarians, you lost more than a month before the election. The Republicans threw your party out at and before the convention. Joining and attempting to usurp the control of the Republican Party was a massive tactical error, one from which the libertarian philosophy might not be able to recover.
Let me clarify that this is an opinion piece, and none of my statements can be cited as absolute fact, while few can be corroborated by citations. You, dear reader, may choose to agree with me or not, but please be aware that my statements here are intended to be illuminating and educational, a means of assisting the Libertarian Party into a future of relevance and possibly political power in this country.
I want the Libertarian Party to recover. In fact, I want more than that. I would very much like the Libertarian Party to replace the GOP as the second party of the country. I want that because the LP is socially very progressive, exactly the opposite of the GOP. Libertarians want to end the drug war, severely curtail the military, have no problem with LGBT rights, support reproductive rights, believe that all races are actually equal and don’t (to the best of my knowledge) practice voter suppression, unlike the GOP. Interestingly enough, these are concepts very close to the hearts of the Democratic Party.
So if this is the case, how did the Libertarians get into bed with the Republicans?
That has to do with the other side of the Libertarian platform. Libertarians believe in the power and infallibility of the free market with the fervor of a religious suicide bomber. The GOP talks about free market capitalism, but what they really mean is crony capitalism. Destroy unions so that working class people can’t get a living wage, er, I mean they are allowed to compete in the free market. Lower taxes on the über-wealthy so that the “job creators” will ostensibly create jobs.
But all that accomplishes is to make the extremely wealthy more so and separate them from the rest of us by a chasm of income. A very few making millions a year while the rest of us barely eke out a living. If corporate feudalism is not the intention of the GOP, they’re certainly doing a fine job of getting us there.
Now obviously I wasn’t there when Ron Paul decided to join the Republican Party, but I can imagine what he must have been thinking; “I can fail again as a third party candidate, or I can go to Congress with these snakes and possibly find a way to lead them to righteousness.” He took a win as a step toward his goal.
It must have looked like the right thing to do. And to his credit, it kept the libertarian ideals in the public eye for two election cycles, something no one else had been able to do previously. An amazing accomplishment indeed. But I have to question the wisdom of it as I look back with 20/20 hindsight. I realize that I’m being an armchair quarterback, but is it possible that he could have done better with the Democrats? We’ll never know.
And now Rand Paul, a possible standard bearer for the LP and a Republican senator from Kentucky is filibustering the Senate against his own party in support of libertarian principals. Needless to say, he is being attacked by is own party for doing so. Is this to be the last gasp of a dying philosophy? I for one certainly hope not. So what does the Libertarian party do going forward to maintain relevance and stay in the public eye? My suggestion is to follow Ron Paul’s great example and compromise.
Dr. Paul compromised some of his principals when he joined the Republican Party. He chose to forego the social freedoms that the libertarian philosophy stands for in an effort to push forward the economic freedom which is the other side of the coin. In the end, he accomplished nothing that will last unless the LP remains relevant and wins a few more small victories. His economic push failed because the GOP doesn’t really believe in economic freedom for everyone. I suggest that you let go of the economic push and instead go with the social agenda which is just as important to the freedoms you cherish. Stay alive, stay relevant and stay independent, but push the social freedoms that the Democratic Party shares with you. This will let you stay in the news, stay in the thoughts of the public and stay relevant in Washington.
In the interest of full disclosure, I wrote a PM article just prior to the election that made the same point. While there was a tongue-in-cheek aspect to that article, there was some sincerity there too. This article is completely sincere and I would ask that you consider my points in your comments, as this is simply meant as good advice.