An Open Letter to the Libertarian Party
There are SO many things I could write about today. And to be honest, there are SO MANY things I'd rather write about today, but a friend of mine, who happens to be a libertarian, has continued to crash in on me with constant Trump bashing and his view that voting for anyone but Jorgenson is tantamount to moral surrender. So, I thought it might be about time to lay out the case as to why I do not support the Libertarian party, despite agreeing with quite a bit of what they believe...
1) THEY APPEAR TO ONLY CARE ABOUT MORAL VICTORIES
An interesting thing about politics, it's not a zero sum game. In order to actually achieve something, and to move the country in the right direction, you have to actually win. I don't mean small victories on policy or making a major party shift their ideology, I mean win elections, with candidates, AND be able to then achieve your goals in the legislature.
Too often the Libertarian party seems perfectly fine with just getting a major party to adjust their platform. They won't concentrate on local elections in order to build a foundation with which to win, and their repeated attempts to win the Presidency seem hollow and empty when all they can do is say, "we're not the other guy, so vote for us." Moral? Perhaps. Victory? Not even close.
How long is it going to take for the party as a whole to wise up and to begin to focus on winnable elections that allow it to build credibility. School boards, city councils, state legislatures, maybe a governorship, and then you might stand a chance at getting on the debate stage in the general election. Until then, it all seems like just an attempt to feel morally superior because from 1971 to now (almost 50 years), you haven't even gotten to the debate stage, let alone past 1% in the polls.
The message is largely unchanged, the "purity" of the party remains a top priority, and still, after almost 50 years, there is nothing tangible to show for it. Which brings me to my next point:
2) THEY REFUSE TO COMPROMISE ON ANYTHING
An interesting reality of the Libertarian cause is that they have very much in common with most conservatives. Limited Government, low taxes, reduced spending, reduced foreign interference, and a good number of others. Yet it is their inflexibility on two key issues of their platform that keep them from being able to make "converts" of conservative leaning individuals that could move them into being a major political factor.
The first of those two is abortion. Now Jo Jorgenson has signaled that she would be willing to revisit this plank, but she's taken no action, and as such, most conservatives are very leery of supporting a party that plays that fast and loose with what many of them consider to be the single most important issue upon which we vote. I cannot recount the number of conservative friends I have who have said something like, "I'd love to vote Libertarian, but I just can't support their pro-choice position." How many are like that? I'm not sure, but if my anecdotal evaluation is correct, enough to make them a serious factor in an election.
The second is their position on open and unrestricted drug use. I mean, does anyone want to go back to the days of cocaine in chewing gum? Or how about Opioids in cough syrup? Oh, and let's not forget, everyone's favorite, meth, acid, or LSD laced marijuana joints that are more modern adaptations. There are REASONS why these drugs were outlawed. Society lived through them and decided to remove them. Now we, who haven't lived through their unrestricted use, are saying that we know better? In researching, I'm not sure I want to even chance it to find out.
Could there be compromise from the conservatives on marijuana? Sure, but not if it comes with the rest of the package. You see, here again, a dogmatic stance of certitude pushes out potential political allies and keeps the party from being able to actually achieve anything.
This is a major contributing factor to point one above. Which leads me to my final indictment of this article...
3) THEY DON'T SIDE WITH CONSERVATIVES
Politics is a game of alliances and brokered deals. I compromise a bit here to help you, and in return, you bend a little bit to help me. Together we move forward and are stronger through our alliance. Yet the Libertarian Party seems to not want allies. They appear to want to go it alone, and that leaves them politically vulnerable as they can do nothing but nip at the heels of the two major parties.
You see, in other countries with larger pluralities of major parties, those parties form alliances which allow people to stay with a party that they are comfortable in, but also band together to advance the things that are most important to them. By working together, neither gets everything they want, but they get a lot of what they need and a good bit of what they want.
Of both parties, the one most likely to side with the Libertarians are the Republicans, and honestly the conservatives among them, yet they don't seem to want to embrace any type of political alliance or common understanding. So instead of an alliance like the Conservative Alliance in the British houses of Commons and Lords made up of multiple parties with common goals, you end up with the Libertarians being largely shut out of American politics in general.
So come vote for us, we achieve nothing, win nothing, do nothing, but hey, you'll get to feel good about yourself!! Yet the most INFURIATING thing is that it DOESN'T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY if they don't want it to. Or is it that they want it to? I can't tell.
You see, politics, unlike religion, depend greatly on the agreement of people. In a religion, it is the adherence to a dogma that draws fellow believers together. Therefore, they have a vested interest in protecting both the correct view of and adherence to that dogma. Don't agree or adhere? Time to move on. Find another group with which you agree.
Politics, however, is about practicality and pragmatism as it deals with daily life not some ideal and/or future scenario. How can I achieve the maximum amount of life the way I want it from those who want it a different way? How can I give where I'm ok with giving in order to get where I'm not ok with bending? Strict adherence to dogma in politics leads to inflexibility, which only returns the same, and then leads to either no one getting what they want (gridlock) or open conflict (like we're seeing now).
This is the biggest short sightedness of the Libertarian Party, and has been for some time.
So, to those reading this who call themselves Libertarian, it's your serve. The ball is in your court. It's first and ten from the twenty, and you're on offense. You have to determine your political future and course. Maintain dogmatic purity? Remain obscure and largely irrelevant. Forge alliances, reconsider your platform, and work with those who would be willing to work with you? See your influence and ability to bring about change grow.
It's not that people reject the overall ideals of Libertarianism, it's that they reject the implications and practical realities of it. Your future is yours to determine, what you do with it, is up to you.