January 08, 2005

Letter to the Paper XXXVIII

Jonathan Gewirtz graciously posts about one of my previous items something entitled Libertarian Clueless III wherein I take to task the go for broke all or nothing libertarians who seem so dominant in the LP today. While reading through the site further thoughts came to me on fixing the LP:

I do not agree that the LP is inevitably dead. With so few dues paying LP members, a committed band of reasonable libertarians can take over just about any party organ and run candidates who have a chance of winning. I think that a reasonable set of principles for candidates would sound something like this:

1. I believe that Thomas Jefferson was right when he said that that government which governs least, governs best
2. I believe that we can do better at following his advice than our current crop of politicians are doing
3. I believe that improving our government by governing less will better meet the needs of all the people
4. I believe that forcing changes without first showing the happy ending of better government is short sighted and impractical. Small government is a habit which serves the people well and I pledge to work tirelessly to not only reduce government but create the societal consensus to make those changes stick.
5. I believe in humane transitions from the old to the new so that people are never sacrificed for principle.

There is nothing in this statement of candidate principles that should be objectionable to a sane LP. Such a statement would be objected to because it would leave in place certain forms of coercion for a time until public opinion understood the solution and the coercive law or regulation would be removed. A second objection would be leveled at the extra coercively extracted expenses on transition costs. Both objections are in error and desire Bismarck's tasty sausage without the disturbing sausage making.

The problem for libertarians who want to actually affect policy is that the LP is the crazy uncle who you just can't get rid of. Every time you start to make headway you either have to hide your libertarianism or you have to deal with the fact that the LP has poisoned the well and turned off many of your potential partners. The LP must be fixed because the all or nothing libertarians won't ever let it die.

Posted by TMLutas at January 8, 2005 10:12 PM