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December 19, 2006

Is The Libertarian Party Worthless ?

by Doug Mataconis

That’s what Bruce Bartlett argues in this essay at Human Events:

The basic problem with the Libertarian Party is the same problem faced by all third parties: It cannot win. The reason is that under the Constitution a candidate must win an absolute majority in the all-important Electoral College. It won’t do just to have the most votes in a three- or four-way race. You have to have at least 270 electoral votes to win, period.

Theoretically, this is no barrier to third parties at the state and local level. But in practice, if a party cannot win at the presidential level, it is very unlikely to achieve success at lower levels of government. In short, the Electoral College imposes a two-party system on the country that makes it prohibitively difficult for third parties to compete.

On the whole, I think Bartlett is correct. Like it or not, the political system that the Constitution, and our history, has created overwhelmingly favors a two-party system to such an extent that truly successful third-parties have only arisen in situations where one of the two main parties was in a state of crisis.

The Whig Party came out of the ashes of the Federalists. The Republicans arose in part from the ashes of the Whigs. Apart from that, there has been no third-party that has been anything other than a flash-in-the-pan. Had Teddy Roosevelt defeated Woodrow Wilson in the 1912 election, it’s likely that the Progressive Party a/k/a the Bull Moose Party would have supplanted the Republicans, but, other than that, there has been no serious challenge to the two-party system since the 1860 Presidential Election. That’s 146 years folks.

Bartlett goes on to point out something that has been my pet peeve for years. Even when it gets media attention the Libertarian Party seems to blow it. The reason for that is that, quite honestly, the LP is often the haven of gadflys. With the exception of Ron Paul, who returned to the Republican Party, I don’t think I can name one Libertarian Presidential Candidate that I can honestly say would have been qualified to fill the office he was running for.

So, if not the Libertarian Party, then what ?

Bartlett advocates something I think makes sense:

My conclusion is that for libertarian ideas to advance, the Libertarian Party must go completely out of business. It must cease to exist, period. No more candidates, no more wasted votes and no more disillusioned libertarian activists.

In place of the party, there should arise a new libertarian interest group organized like the National Rifle Association or the various pro- and anti-abortion groups. This new group, whatever it is called, would hire lobbyists, run advertisements and make political contributions to candidates supporting libertarian ideas. It will work with both major parties. It can magnify its influence by creating temporary coalitions on particular issues and being willing to work with elected officials who may hold libertarian positions on only one or a handful of issues. They need not hold libertarian views on every single issue, as the Libertarian Party now demands of those it supports.

In some sense this is exactly what organizations such as The Cato Institute already do. And, quite honestly, I think Cato has been far more effective in influencing the public policy debate in Washington and around the nation than the Libertarian Party can ever hope to be.

Is the LP worthless ? Well, yea, maybe it is.

Update: Brew argues in the comments that one of the reasons that the LP has not been successful is because the Republicans and Democrats continue to shut it out of the arena. As I argued in January, though, the two-party system is inherent in the structure of America’s political system, and we’re unlikely to see anything different anytime soon.


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39 Comments

  1. With the problems that the Democrats and Republicans have created for our nation, the Libertarian Party is invaluable.

    Comment by George Whitfield — December 19, 2006 @ 9:44 pm
  2. >>> In some sense this is exactly what organizations such as The Cato Institute already do.

    Don’t forget http://downsizedc.org.

    Comment by Jeremy West — December 20, 2006 @ 2:53 am
  3. Why’s everybody blaming the LP ? Institutes and advocacy organizations are fine for pampered elites accustom to positive academic and economic circumstances. The average person needs an outlet for their discontent and rage too. If you don’t like the LP, fine. Go do your own thing, but don’t call for it’s elimination.

    Comment by Eric Sundwall — December 20, 2006 @ 6:51 am
  4. Eric,

    I’m not “blaming” the LP for anything, except perhaps diverting resources from other, more fruitful pursuits, I’m just saying that they haven’t accomplished much of anything in the past 35 years.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — December 20, 2006 @ 7:33 am
  5. And what is the real reason there is basically only two Partys?

    It’s because these Partys have made it nearly impossible to get on the ticket. It’s not that the Libertarians don’t have the wherewithall….they do.

    It’s the laws that keep them from getting ahead.

    Ballot access laws are unconstitutional and until people start to see this there will always be only two Party that can get into office.

    To use the fact the Libertarians don’t get on ballots as a justification for the Partys destruction is fallacious.

    Comment by Brew — December 20, 2006 @ 7:39 am
  6. Brew, the institutionalization of two major parties goes much further back than the current era of politics. In fact, it goes all the way back to the election of Adams. While the behavior of the current parties to retain their grip on power is reprehensible, it is not the “real reason” there are only parties.

    Setting that aside, the LP is far too doctrinaire and fringe to be competitive on the ballot anyhow. If all of the rules preventing competitive third parties were removed, the LP wouldn’t be out there winning a bunch of elections all of a sudden.

    Comment by Adam Selene — December 20, 2006 @ 7:53 am
  7. It’s too bad that there are some that believe people who want to return Government to it’s Constitutional roots are “fringe” or some other tripe.

    Re: “doctrinaire”…Maybe that’s the whole reason the two big Partys are so much alike? Perhaps if they had PRINCIPLES they would be better for the Country.

    Perhaps you’re confusing doctrinaire with principles? :)

    Comment by Brew — December 20, 2006 @ 8:00 am
  8. Sorry Brew, I don’t find the LP just wants to return government to its “constitutional roots”. Nor do I find the LP to be just principled. The majority of what I run into goes beyond principled and becomes doctrinaire. Interesting, though, that you decided to tackle that and ignore what I pointed out about the roots of the two party system.

    Comment by Adam Selene — December 20, 2006 @ 8:08 am
  9. I didn’t mention that because I don’t know enough about it to comment. It’s better to just not comment then to show you’re ignorance, but I could have said something and waited to be corrected :)

    How far back the two partys have monopolized power I just don’t know. But the point remains: The Rs and Ds have monopolized the system to the point that anyone who wants to compete must jump through nearly impossible hurdles to do so. I suspect this has been going on for a very long time.

    No matter how long its been going on it’s still happening today. And is the main reason they can’t get elected.

    Another problem is that once a Libertarian does get on a ballot they are refused access to debates. What are the Rs and Ds afraid of when they refuse to debate a Libertarian?

    Comment by Brew — December 20, 2006 @ 8:19 am
  10. Brew, I would guess that it has very little to do with fear (arrogance of power should not be confused with fear). I think the R/D candidates don’t debate the third party candidates because they see little value in it, for them. Which is the same reason the media don’t cover them and the debate committees don’t, as a general rule, invite them.

    It makes a great talking point to say that the third party candidates aren’t included because of fear, much better than admitting they aren’t included because they aren’t relevant. Now, the issue of relevance, itself, is important and should be addressed. Sadly, I don’t see the LP, Constitution Party or any other third party dealing with it.

    The two party system dates back to the election of Adams in 1796. It grew out of the natural fracture line between the Revolutionary era leaders between Federalists and Anti-Federalists. As long as Washington was willing to hold power, neither side would act as a separate fashion, except when they didn’t have to oppose Washington directly. Once GW stepped down from power and made it clear he was leaving public life, that could, and did, change. The fact is, the two party system is brought into existence by the structure of our Constitution and by traditions dating back for more than 200 years. The things you point to are merely the tools to make sure it is the same two parties, not tools to maintain a two party system.

    Comment by Adam Selene — December 20, 2006 @ 8:32 am
  11. It is fear! Fear of having to defend their positions. Fear of having to defend the system they promulgated. Fear of losing their grip on power. Fear of the people learning another side to their ideas.

    When Michael Badnarik was arrested for trying to enter the Presidential debates, which he had a pass to enter, I was appalled and stunned beyond belief and greatly pissed off.

    To think that this Country puts up with the arrest of a candidate for President because he was trying to enter a debate that he should have been a part of is scary but enlightening. It shows that the monopolists don’t want to share a stage with opposing views.

    Another scary thing about it all is the fact that the media isn’t there to protect us from the monopolists, rather they help propagate it.

    In the mean time we get people that use these facts against the Libertarian Party as though it was the LPs fault.

    Comment by Brew — December 20, 2006 @ 8:45 am
  12. Ballot access laws are unconstitutional and until people start to see this there will always be only two Party that can get into office.

    To use the fact the Libertarians don’t get on ballots as a justification for the Partys destruction is fallacious.

    Actually, ballot access laws have been loosened dramatically over the past decade, thanks to the Libertarian Party among other organizations. See, I’ll give the LP credit for something :). But even where ballot access laws have been liberalized, the Libertarian Party still can’t get elected.

    The Libertarian Party’s main problem is an overall lack of seriousness about electing candidates. Again, I’ll give credit to the current leadership of the LP, they actually seem to be serious about getting people elected.

    The LP, in the past, has recruited people who are considered eccentric (the little blue man in Montana), tax cheats (Michael Badnarik), Birchers who like to pretend they’re libertarians (Ron Paul), and other weirdos to run for office. It’s hard to take a party seriously if you run loons on your ticket.

    Also, another reason why the LP is worthless is because ideologically based parties will fail in America. Libertarians are only anywhere from 8-22% of the voting population. Conservatives and socialists have about the same percentage of the voting population but they’ve been more successful because they’ve built alliances with people they don’t agree with 100%. Look how much disagreement there is in the Republican and Democratic parties among their members.

    Comment by Kevin — December 20, 2006 @ 8:47 am
  13. Oh yea..

    You mention that “the two party system is brought into existence by the structure of our Constitution”….Where is that? I am not aware of a part of the Constitution that directly or indirectly warrants only a two Party system.

    Comment by Brew — December 20, 2006 @ 8:48 am
  14. Brew,

    I posted an update that links back to an article I wrote in January about this topic. In essence, I think that the current form of the American political system makes a two-party system largely inevitable.

    I will probably post more on this topic of inevitability later today.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — December 20, 2006 @ 8:53 am
  15. the method of electing the President just about guarantees a two party system. The countries that have multi-party systems are all, so far as I am aware, Parliamentary Constitutions. It is not because the Constitution mandates it directly or indirectly, it is a consequence of the construction of our government. We made that worse with the 17th Amendment, by the way. It’s one of the reasons why we saw a fair amount of change in which parties were dominant in the first 100 years of the country, and none since then.

    Comment by Adam Selene — December 20, 2006 @ 8:53 am
  16. Brew, I’ll say it one more time and then let it go. Stop confusing arrogance of power for fear.

    Comment by Adam Selene — December 20, 2006 @ 8:56 am
  17. When Michael Badnarik was arrested for trying to enter the Presidential debates, which he had a pass to enter, I was appalled and stunned beyond belief and greatly pissed off.

    To think that this Country puts up with the arrest of a candidate for President because he was trying to enter a debate that he should have been a part of is scary but enlightening. It shows that the monopolists don’t want to share a stage with opposing views.

    Actually, that’s not why he was arrested. He was arrested because he deliberately broke a police barracade. Also, the presidential debates are run by a private commission. The debate commission can allow whoever it wants to participate.

    The Badnarik arrest:
    http://worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=40843

    You mention that “the two party system is brought into existence by the structure of our Constitution”….Where is that? I am not aware of a part of the Constitution that directly or indirectly warrants only a two Party system.

    Because the Constitution does not make any provision for proportional representation and since we have direct representation and a winner take all electoral system, unlike most of the world, it’s only natural that we would have a two party system because there is no way smaller parties can compete.

    Comment by Kevin — December 20, 2006 @ 8:57 am
  18. Brew,

    One other point, I’d buy your argument that the major parties are “afraid” of the LP if it weren’t for the fact that there’s nothing for them to be afraid of.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — December 20, 2006 @ 9:00 am
  19. The Libertarian Party is not the only Party with a bunch of loons.

    Just look at BOTH the Rs and Ds national conventions. Wander your eyes through the crowds and tell me if there aren’t any loons in the pile.

    Internal debate within the Party is a healthy thing. It keeps the Party going in the right direction. Nothing wrong with that.

    But it is true that, at least in the near past, the Party has been used more for educational purposes rather than actually being elected to office and this has been detrimental to them. But these things change and will be in the near future.

    It’s funny how articles declaring the LP be destroyed happens at the same time the Rs and Ds are in dire straights. Because of their lack of principles they are losing members. Therefore they should be made to look useless?

    Besides, playing devils advocate, even if you don’t agree with the principles of the LP they are good for the system because they make you think. I would rather that then having only two positions to choose from.

    Comment by Brew — December 20, 2006 @ 9:01 am
  20. Just look at BOTH the Rs and Ds national conventions. Wander your eyes through the crowds and tell me if there aren’t any loons in the pile.

    The difference is that the LP would put them on the ticket. The loons in the Dems and Repugs have usually no chance in hell of being elected anything.

    Comment by Kevin — December 20, 2006 @ 9:04 am
  21. I’m sorry but it goes down to what you would call a loon.

    In my eyes Forbes is a loon. Gulliani (?SP?) is a loon. Bush is a loon. Clinton is a loon. As well as 90% of those getting elected. IMO, anyone who says they believe in individual Rights then does what they can to destroy those Rights is a loon.

    Most of these so called loons in the LP are actually people fighting to regain the Liberties we have lost. However they do sometimes look goofy in the eyes of many.

    Perhaps you should close your eyes and hear what they’re actually saying?

    Comment by Brew — December 20, 2006 @ 9:11 am
  22. Brew

    I don’t like the powers that be anymore than you, but the American people are not going to elect to office someone with blue skin (turned blue because of drugs he took to ward off the Y2K apocalypse) like that guy who ran for Senate in Montana.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — December 20, 2006 @ 9:12 am
  23. I am not aware of that. Someone actually painted themselves blue? LOL!! He wouldn’t get my vote either and I’m a die-hard LPer.

    So, in your analysis of the LP, because there are a few loony people running makes the whole message meaningless and untrustworthy?

    I remember a day when the Republicans espoused small Government and the elimination of huge bureaucracies. After 8 years that Party will never, in my mind, be able to make that claim again and is the reason the Rs are frantic and splintered.

    Comment by Brew — December 20, 2006 @ 9:20 am
  24. Brew, he didn’t “paint himself blue”, his skin turned blue because of drugs he took. He took the drugs because of Y2K.

    You continue to miss the point. The LP’s candidates are loony. Not a few, many of them. The LP’s platform is loony, not all of it, but enough that it cannot be accepted by the mainstream of voters. The LP is a fringe group that cannot succeed in the American electoral environment EVEN IF the system encouraged multiple parties, which it does not. Your continued equating of arrogance of power with fear is a good example of it. If the LP would talk about the arrogance of the GOP and DNC they might get somewhere, instead of claiming that the situation is about fear.

    Comment by Adam Selene — December 20, 2006 @ 9:35 am
  25. One last thing before I wear out my welcome :)

    If my memory serves me, I’m 50 and it seems to be slipping lately, didn’t the “debate commission” actually want the LP candidate to be invited? Wasn’t it an agreement between Bush and Kerry that the LP candidate wasn’t let in?

    Don’t use the fact that the two Parties fight against the inclusion of a third Party be used against that third Party. It’s just not fair and misleading to boot.

    Comment by Brew — December 20, 2006 @ 9:39 am
  26. OK…you got me. I didn’t read your post closely to get the distinction that it was a drug the goofball took…..sorry, my bad….

    Prey tell…What parts of the LP platform is loony? The parts pertaining to individual liberties and personal responsibilities?

    Comment by Brew — December 20, 2006 @ 9:45 am
  27. Brew,

    Here’s one area. I find the LP position on most foreign policy issues (which usually seems to amount to not ever doing anything) to be incredibly naive. I think most Americans would agree.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — December 20, 2006 @ 9:47 am
  28. Absolutely agree Doug. I find the belief that if we simply become foreign policy isolationists all the “bad things” will stop to be naive and unrealistic. More than that, I find the ideas dangerous.

    Comment by Adam Selene — December 20, 2006 @ 9:50 am
  29. By the way, you aren’t “wearing out your welcome”. We encourage debate and opposing points of view. You’re holding your own fairly well, you aren’t attacking people, just ideas. So, why would we be upset?

    Comment by Adam Selene — December 20, 2006 @ 9:52 am
  30. The other problem with LP foreign policy positions is that, far too often, they seem to be in line with the blame-America-first crowd.

    I’m far from being someone who thinks that every thing America does in the world is right. I think Iraq is turning out to be a mistake that could and should have been avoided.

    At the same time, though, the LP refuses to acknowledge the idea that the United States’ vital national interests extend to more than just our borders. For that reason alone, I wouldn’t trust them with national power at this point in our history.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — December 20, 2006 @ 9:53 am
  31. If my memory serves me, I’m 50 and it seems to be slipping lately, didn’t the “debate commission” actually want the LP candidate to be invited? Wasn’t it an agreement between Bush and Kerry that the LP candidate wasn’t let in?

    Nope. To participate in the presidential debates, usually a candidate has meet a threshold of receiving at least 5% in opinion polls. The debate commission, understandibly, does not want to crowd the debate platform with fringe candidates who will receive only 1% of the vote at most.

    Comment by Kevin — December 20, 2006 @ 9:54 am
  32. Frankly I’m not going to try to defend all of the LP platforms as there are a few I don’t agree with as well. Which I am sure there are a few in your Party that you feel the same way about.

    As far as foreign policy issues I don’t feel neither of the two Parties in power have a leg to stand on. Through their interventionism we have had unconstitutional wars and so-called “police actions” all over the world. We are hated and vilified by many Countries for our foreign policy. This is huge area where the two Parties has totally screwed up.

    This Country was never meant to be a world police and we have a contract that is supposed to prevent it, it’s called a Constitution, wherein it is written that only Congress has the power to wage war. There is nothing in there that allows them to divvy out that power.

    If there is an area that needs to have a MAJOR enema of change it is the area of foreign policy. An area that neither Party has a right to brag about.

    Comment by Brew — December 20, 2006 @ 9:58 am
  33. Prey tell…What parts of the LP platform is loony? The parts pertaining to individual liberties and personal responsibilities?

    I throw another one out there, some aspects of the anti-prohibition platform. While I do support an end to prohibition on non-hallucinogenic drugs including pot, cocaine, and heroin, I understand government restrictions on hallucinogenic drugs because the user can and do under the influence harm others at a much higher rate than users of alcohol and other drugs.

    Comment by Kevin — December 20, 2006 @ 10:01 am
  34. Kevin,
    The issue on drugs is really about individual responsibilities. Like the saying goes….if you play you pay. Just like the ludicrous law NYC just passed to ban trans-fat in restaurants laws against drugs are an affront to individual responsibilities and liberties.

    IMO…As for drug laws….I wouldn’t mind seeing them re-legalized and taxed. Send the poor guy to rehab rather than jail. We have the largest per-capita population in jails, and other parts of the legal system, then any other Country, some of them combined. All because of the failed “war on drugs”. This is untenable.

    Comment by Brew — December 20, 2006 @ 10:12 am
  35. The issue on drugs is really about individual responsibilities. Like the saying goes….if you play you pay. Just like the ludicrous law NYC just passed to ban trans-fat in restaurants laws against drugs are an affront to individual responsibilities and liberties.

    IMO…As for drug laws….I wouldn’t mind seeing them re-legalized and taxed. Send the poor guy to rehab rather than jail. We have the largest per-capita population in jails, and other parts of the legal system, then any other Country, some of them combined. All because of the failed “war on drugs”. This is untenable.

    No disagreements.

    Comment by Kevin — December 20, 2006 @ 10:41 am
  36. Both the article and many of the responses have severe factual errors often repeated by Republicans. Unfortunately, they are sometimes echoed by former Republicans who have joined the LP, or ‘Libertarian’ scholars in think tanks living in 1971, lending an air of legitimacy.

    –Libertarians not only regularly get elected, they’re elected in a larger proportion (most officials are appointive) and when trained, more easily than D & R’s. In nearly half the cases they lead the bodies that they serve. Since libertarianism is a body of knowledge that demands study, many areas have run out of Libertarians to run for office. The number of Libertarians in office are at an all time high. However, many State LP’s have no specific goals for getting people in office, as they focus on education and activism.

    –Libertarians are well aware of the problems of the 2 party system. Unlike Mr. Bartlett, they do not passively and stupidly stand still. As a result of their work, ballot restrictions have dramatically eased in most of the US, and Libs have begun initiatives to place the electoral college on a proportional basis that are getting increasing votes.

    –The claim that Libertarians lack policy wins is ridiculous. Libertarians have led in the fight for deregulation, removing thousands of obsolete laws from the books, and incidentally removing the legal blocks to creation of the internet. Cities nationwide have begun adopting best practice statements and privatization policies as a result of meetings with local Libertarians. In NH, the Governor appointed several Libertarians to examine state problems.

    –Libertarians regularly work in coalitions with all groups. In one in which I’m involved working on voting reform, local D & R party leaders have agreed that not only ballot requirements are too high (and where I am, they are comparatively low) but to work with Libertarians for a proportional representation system.

    –The CATO Institute not only is one example of the type of institution Bartlett suggests, it was founded by the LP specifically for that purpose. The purpose of the LP is to first change the electors through creating Libertarians and people receptive to Libertarians. Claiming Libertarians must give up because they have ‘only’ a certain percentage is seriously mis-informed. People testing Libertarian receptive tested at 8% in 1971 and now at over 20% thanks to the LP’s efforts. Libertarians are getting elected by lopsided majorities in many races. In another generation that 20% will not only go up, but be far more organized as a self-conscious constituency. What is happening in this article in one of many attempts to grab away this constituency. At the same time, as one official told me, some Republicans are holding meetings that the country will soon be ungovernable unless the LP is stopped.

    –The LP’s position on foreign policy is to spread Libertarianism and keep troops home. As a result groups such as ISIL and the Libertarian International Organization have created Libertarian groups in over 100 countries, worked closely with the Reagan administration in the overthrow of communism, and now there are thriving Libertarian parties and groups creating stability in former hot spots such as Central America. Libertarians nationwide are active in sister city and exchange programs, aware of Eisenhower’s dictum that these are the true forward defense of freedom. Indeed, groups such as the LIO have begun a project to bring democracy and Libertarian civic action to the remaining problem countries–unlike many D & R leaders, who create unstable situations by supporting dictators and questionable factions under color of national interests.

    –The 2000 LP Platform planks have living examples in each area of people trying non-governmental solutions with superior results. Questions of acceptability or practicality are therefore moot. The LP’s coming task is to better inform the public on these alternatives and examples. It is for this reason that a GOP member funded group, the so-called Libertarian Reform Caucus, raided the last national LP convention in a Buchanan-Reform party style takeover and gutted its platform, suppressed the new program with many enlightening examples, is running candidates calling for mandatory health plans and conservative government while funds are disappearing. This is naturally being resisted by the local LP’s. Meanwhile, even as some GOP groups go out of their way to work with the LP, others run by extremists do all they can to attack the LP and theiir own people, as in an effort by NY State GOP local chairs to prevent their own Gubernatorial candidate, Weld, from also running on the LP fusion ticket. Mr. Bartlett’s apparent lent aid and comfort to these GOP shenanigans and attempt to drive budding Libertarians back while spreading long discredited shibboleths is revealing of the co-ordination of this effort.

    –The LP is hardly a haven for unserious kooks, unless one considers the co-inventor of the spreadsheet, an Admiral who commanded the famed submarine Narwhal, eminent college professors and management consultants, and other luminaries as kooks. indeed, in many states the major growth demographic of the LP consists of people in mid-level government convinced, as one said at a training seminar, that the LP Libertarians he had met were the only people conversant with the realities they faced, not the pretty theories. However, the LP does get neo-conservatives masquerading as Libertarians and propounding outrageous statements when they get in position. That Bartlett is among those who cite these fellow traveler moles and plants as the problem shows the profound and diabolical hypocrisy of the LP critics–and the desperation of the lazy, corrupt and often criminal forces of ‘good ol’ boy’s’ hypocrisy that Libertarians dub the Cult of the Omnipotent State or Government–and which Reagan, in a letter to the LIO and LP, hailed as the real issue of our time.

    –While people like Bartlett theorize free of facts, other newspapers report the facts and recognize that the LP is accomplishing exactly what its founders such as this writer promised in 1971: a slow and stabilizing reform over several generations replacing coercive government mismanagement with tolerant voluntary solutions around the world not by limiting government but empowering the citizen. Thus the series in the Miami Herald that pointed out that Libertarians are quietly winning, transforming politics forever, and building a political army of community leaders pledged to the Libertarian principle–and fundamental principle of natural law–that to advocate initiation of force is morally evil, and such advocacy at best argues one is incompetent to handle affairs. Human Events is well aware of these Libertarian human events, and simply don’t want you to know.

    Comment by Michael Gilson-De Lemos {"MG"} — December 20, 2006 @ 9:53 pm
  37. The fact that the two party system is locked in concrete is no reason to give up and quit the fight. The solution is the same as it has always been, pick the weakest of the two leading parties and infiltrate; take it over and make it your own. That’s how the Neo-Coms and anarchists and fruitcakes took over the DNC (not to mention the labor unions –especially the NEA– and little outfits like the NAACP). Of course they had a few offline organizations already well in hand — the ACLU, the American Communist Party, and the Harvard faculty. Hummmm.. you know, looking at how R.Emanuel was able to pick up his House wins in the last election, the Lib’s would do well to infiltrate the Democrats and take it over. But the biggest nut to crack is going to be “integrity”, just look at how the “French” Dems currupted the poor, stupid GOPers once they took over Congress and the White House. You’re barking up a mighty big tree. Maybe the only option is to just piss on it and walk away. Maybe not!

    Comment by Rue-Mur — December 21, 2006 @ 2:08 am
  38. The last thing we need is a non-political libertarian organization. We have more than enough of those, and they don’t seem to be doing too good of a job.

    The only progress the libertarian movement is making these days is with the Republican Liberty Caucus and even the Libertarian Party.

    Hundreds of libertarian Republicans now hold political office around the Nation. Ron Paul is NOT the only elected libertarian Republican. And even a few Libertarian Party members hold public office.

    Progress is gained in politics. Not by some beedy-eyed wire-rimmed glasses wearing Policy Wanker inside the Beltway.

    Go Republican Liberty Caucus. And if you don’t like Republicans than support the Libertarian Party.

    Whatever you do, don’t waste your time at think tank cocktail parties.

    Eric at http://www.mainstreamlibertarian.com

    Comment by Eric Dondero — December 21, 2006 @ 6:26 am
  39. Kevin: “I throw another one out there, some aspects of the anti-prohibition platform. While I do support an end to prohibition on non-hallucinogenic drugs including pot, cocaine, and heroin, I understand government restrictions on hallucinogenic drugs because the user can and do under the influence harm others at a much higher rate than users of alcohol and other drugs.”

    I’m sorry, I’m a lot more worried about someone hopped up on amphetamines than I am about someone dropping acid. Obviously someone driving under the influence of hallucinogen is a bad idea, but so is someone driving under the influence of alcohol. If that’s your reasoning for outlawing hallucinogens, I’d take a closer look.

    I don’t know if there are many good statistics about violent crimes committed while under the influence of certain drugs, but I would guess that hallucinogens are not anywhere near the top of the list.

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — December 21, 2006 @ 6:42 am

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