I Rejoined The Libertarian Party
As regular readers might recall, the Libertarian Party was one of my first stops when I started to become very interested in liberty. It wasn’t much of an organization. Just a dozen or so activists staring down the collective barrell of the guns of the State, not entirely sure what to do about it. This was back in New York, a place where even the Republicans want to raise taxes and grab guns, so however small and ineffective the party may have been as an organization, it was absolutely a necessary thing to have some kind of opposition to the growth of government.
Here in New Hampshire that is not so much the case. The government here is already small and accessible. If you want to run for office as a major party candidate, you pay a nominal fee, and you get on the ballot. Even the Democrats here are not as bad as the Republicans in New York, and the Republicans here more closely resemble libertarians than some LP members I ran into in New York.
Maybe that’s why the LPNH hasn’t been much of a force here, to put it lightly. You might think that the freest state in the union, the home of the world’s largest libertarian political migration, would have a thriving libertarian party, but we don’t. The Facebook page has 346 likes and is updated sporadically at best. The website hasn’t been updated in over a month. Our chairman was incommunicado for some time, until I got the executive director for national to prod him. Planning the yearly convention was impossible in his absence, and when it finally did get planned, it coincided with the Free State Project’s Liberty Forum, an event from which I am banned. They also changed the location at the last minute without issuing any public notice, so that I ended up standing outside a restaurant wondering what happened. Luckily I had a friend inside the meeting, who told me it was taking place in a hotel room.
Add to this the fact that I’m an anarchist who doesn’t think electoral politics are going to solve our problems, and you might find yourself asking the same question I did. Why bother?
All elections are scams, after all. I’m not particularly interested in political power. Even if I was, I’m terribly unlikely to obtain it through the Libertarian Party. There’s certainly no money in it. Hell, I drove an hour and a half to get to the convention, and paid $25 to become a member. This does not seem like the wisest allocation of resources for a guy who makes his living soliciting donations.
The Libertarian Party, for all its shortcomings, serves a purpose. Those of us who have been involved in the movement awhile might look at the institution as ineffective and pointless at times, but think back to when you first got involved. In my case, it was 2004 LP Presidential Candidate Michael Badnarik who radicalized me. When I began researching libertarianism, the Libertarian Party was one of the first institutions I found, one of the first groups that I joined, one of the first meetings I attended.
If you think I’ve done some positive work, you can thank the Libertarian Party for that.
It may well be unfortunate that the image of the party has become what it has, but that’s because people like me move on to other things and leave the institution behind. It’s not the fault of the Libertarian Party as an institution, that the LPNH website and Facebook are lacking content, it’s the fault of libertarians who haven’t been active within the LP. All of this can change if people are willing to put some effort into it.
We might not be winning elections any time soon, we might not even make the ballot. I don’t particularly care about those things anyway. What we can do, is get a radical libertarian message in front of people who are curious about it, under the banner of a recognizable organization that just happens to be the nation’s third largest political party. We can run candidates for public office who don’t have to tone down their message in hopes of winning over a majority of the electorate, giving them the soapbox of a political campaign to put anti-State messages in the minds of voters.
If one of those people just so happens to get elected in the process, I can think of worse outcomes.
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