Confessions Of A Former “Big-L” Libertarianby Doug Mataconis
Vodkapundit’s Stephen Green explains why he divorced himself from the party that once captivated him so much:
[W]e all woke up one morning to learn that airliners had crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and into the wooded hills of Pennsylvania. “Well, here’s a war even a good Libertarian like me can support.” We’d been attacked, directly, and we knew who the culprits were and where their protectors and sponsors were. We would go after them with such righteous fury that no one would dare strike New York City ever again.
Boy, was I wrong.
The angry folks at Liberty were mad at most everybody but Islamic terrorists. One even went so far as to denounce the Afghan War as “racist.” It was all imperialism this, and blowback that, and without a care in the world for protecting American lives, commerce, or, well, liberty. Then Postrel turned over Reason to Nick Gillespie, who seemed more interested in presenting libertarianism as something hip, arch, fun — and ultimately unserious. Such should have been no surprise, coming from the former editor of a magazine called Suck.
I felt abandoned, betrayed, by my comrades. By my former comrades.
If Libertarians couldn’t agree about the clear-cut case for war in Afghanistan, you can imagine how Iraq must have divided us. I had to stop reading Liberty months before my subscription finally, mercifully, ran out. Blogger friends of mine stopped emailing me. Ron Paul, whose name once graced the back of my first car, started sounding to me, less like a principled defender of American liberty, and more like a suited-up reject from the Summer of Love.
I stopped voting Libertarian for local candidates, leaving lots of blanks on my ballot. Next year, I’m not sure which party I’ll support for President, much less which candidate. From here, it looks as if the Republicans have become wrong and corrupt, the Democrats are stupid and corrupt, and the Libertarians have gone plain crazy.
Unlike Stephen, I was never a card-carrying member of the Libertarian Party and pretty much gave up on them as anything other than a protest vote after the 1992 elections. Locally, the candidates they were fielding here in Virginia were often rank amateurs who could not be taken seriously to fill the positions they were running for.
And, well, then there were just the crazy ones.
They existed before 9/11, of course, they were the one who talked about the Bilderbergers, the Council on Foreign Relations, and seemed to be able to spin an elaborate conspiracy theory to explain everything from the Kennedy Assassination to the eye above the pyramid on the back of a $ 1 Dollar Bill. There seemed to be a lot of them in the Libertarian Party circles that I did float around in early `90’s and, frankly, I wanted nothing to do with them even then.
Much like Stephen September 11th was a turning point for me as well. Leaving aside for the moment the issue of the Iraq War which I opposed from the beginning, it seemed axiomatic to me from the start that the War in Afghanistan was completely justified given the fact that it was directed against a foreign government that was harboring a terrorist group that had killed 3,000 Americans in one day and had made clear it’s intention to kill more of us.
But that’s not how many hard-core libertarians saw it. In their eyes, the war was unjust from the start, and some of them found it easier to believe that the United States Government had conspired in mass murder than that a ruthless terrorist who believed he had the blessing of Allah to murder infidels had in fact done just that, especially considering the fact that the evidence clearly supported the idea that it was the terrorists who were responsible for 9/11, not George Bush.
So the question is where does someone who believes in individual liberty, but also believes that the War on Terror is a war not only worth fighting, but a war that has to be fought go ? The Democrats aren’t an option because they’re mired in socialist economic nostrums. The Republicans, despite some individuals who still believe in individual liberty, have been nothing but a disappointment. And, well, the LP is just not worth thinking about anymore.
If anyone has the answer, let me know.