More Liberal Political Advice for Libertarians

This time it's from Jeff Jarvis:

I suggest that the libertarian bloggers band together and take over their party, for they are, in fact, their party's best hope: Hold the first online convention, a national internet primary to pick your next candidate. Run some sane people with libby leanings (Reynolds, Volokh, Gillespie, et al). And continue to have sane discussion of issues from your perspective to add into the national debate. And get rid of the loonies.

That oughtta go over big.

I won't vouch for the virtues of a Gillespie presidency, but at least it probably wouldn't have too many cabinet meetings.

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  • ||

    From what I've read here by LP'ers and apostates, if you throw out the nuts, you throw out 40-70% of the LP...

  • ||

    Joe L,

    The same could be said for the Repubs and Dems, too.

  • Nathan||

    Here are your choices:

    Take over the LP. This requires less work in the short term (Its a small party, would require fewer resources) but much more in the long term (Congratulations, you now control a party that has draws dick. Even if successful you'll spend the next generation building the party up from the ground up)

    Take over one of the Big Two. This requires a LOT more work up front (you'll be battling well funded, well motivated interest groups who have no interest in giving up their power) but, if successful, ends up with a viable political machine (beating a dead horse here, but go read Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus to see how its done).

    Considering how un-influential the DC Republican Party is I've always wondered how difficult it would join it and orchestrate a libertarian coup?

  • ||

    Oh Nathan you kidder you... I can tell yo that you are in for a heck of a fight on that score......... from the people that frequent this board.

  • ||

    The problem with getting rid of the loonies in any political group is that you have no one left who wants to run for office.

  • ||

    Nathan-

    You raise an intriguing possibility for something akin to the "free state project": Take over defunct state Republican parties, or even state Democratic parties perhaps. Small and weak Republican parties would be obvious targets for libertarian take-overs.

    Another intriguing possibility is taking over weak Democratic parties with a left-libertarian platform. I'm not just talking about victimless crimes. I'm thinking of something that combines the best of the ACLU (they're certainly good on some issues, despite whatever reservations people here might have overall) and the Institute for Justice. A lot of the cases that IJ takes on can appeal to traditionally left-leaning constituencies, since they do a lot on behalf of urban and/or minority-owned small businesses fighting regulations.

    Then again, I'm not moving to New Hampshire either, so all this is just wild speculation for me.

  • ||

    "if you throw out the nuts, you throw out 40-70% of the LP"

    Actually, you'd throw them all out, and start a new party of sane "libertarians," or "classical liberals," or whatever. This would essentially amount to splitting the Republican party...

  • ||

    You won't get anywhere without the Galambosian vote.

  • ||

    New LP party Rule #48: All potential candidates must possess a state-issued driver license.

  • Warren||

    The old question of reform from within or overthrow from without. But the way I see it, the LP is the reform from within option. It's a legitimate political party, which runs candidates and seeks to win elections.

    From reading the comments I frequently find on this board I get the sense that the 'overthrow' crowd in the libertarian movement doesn't believe in political involvement at all. Instead they go for minting their own money, not paying income tax, generally ignoring the laws they don't like, and attempting to bring down the system via black-market economy.

    I don't see any hope of libertarian reform of either of the two major parties. We use to get a lot of rhetoric from the Republicans. But I don't think it's possible to actually persuade the establishment to divest itself of power.

  • ||

    Joe L

    "The same could be said for the Repubs and Dems, too."

    Except for one MAJOR difference. The Repubs and Dems have miliions of members, most of whom are beyond the inner circle or core of true believers and nutcases. With the LP there is nothing but the core activists and true believers. Therein lies the rub.

  • ||

    There is a Libertarian in the Republican Party!All the rest are anticonstitutionalists.

  • ||

    Sometimes I go over to Eschaton and give the liberals/Kerry some libertarian advice. They never say "thank you" and are even quite rude on occasion...

  • ||

    Badnarik is a damn loony bin, but I'd be willing to bet that most libertarians, like myself, are far more moderate than him. Plus, I vote libertarian because I want to support the party and not Badnarik, however pointless that may be.

    To sum it up, the LP will get nowhere if they keep nominating nut-cases like Badnarik. Moderating their message wouldn't hurt either...

  • ||

    Gio,

    In what way do you think that the LP should moderate their message?

  • ||

    "Moderating their message won`t hurt either..."
    Minimizing and moderating our rights under the Constitution is exactly what you get from the Dems and the Repubs.
    I`ll stick with a straight shooter any day.

  • ||

    "I`ll stick with a straight shooter any day."-Translation, I'll stick with the LOSER any day...

    Neal Boortz gives an example. How about a focus on Eminent Domain, NOT ENDING THE WAR ON DRUGS. When you talk about taking people's homes and businesses for the benefit of Nordstrom's you can get votes. Talk about medical marijuana or industrial hemp or the Gold Standard, and people say "Uh-huh" and politely move on, thinking "LOOONIE".

    How about not saying, "I'll reduce the Federal Government ot 10% its size" and simply say, "I will grow the Federal budget at GNP growth less 1-2% per year? And my priorities are"....whatever you think they ought to be.

    How about "I'm for school vouchers. They help inner city children and most minorities support them. It'll help the CHILDREN and don't you care about minorities?" Rather than blowing up the UN building.

    Just some suggestions.

  • ||

    I haven't quite smoothed out the specifics on where I stand, to be honest, but it would help if the LP did as the republicans and the democrats do; find the most electable candidate. Although I don't see that happening anytime soon, seeing as how the hardcore libertarian following would rather defend principle above reason.

    This unabashed zealotry is only hindering the libertarian struggle. All opinion, of course, but that's just how I see it...

  • ||

    Ya'll are thinking small.
    Who needs elected officials, like President and such like, in the US government?
    Hit and Run will take over the world!
    Just you wait!

  • ||

    "This unabashed zealotry is only hindering the libertarian struggle."

    true.

    however.

    another hinderance is that libertarian ideas are widely regarded as fucking nuts. either the libertarians want to unleash THE CORPORATIONS and enslave us all or they want to unlease THE DRUGGIES AND HAMOSEHSHUALS and rape/drug us all.

  • ||

    The problem with the libertarian party, I imagine, is the problem of herding cats. In broad terms, libertarians tend to be individuals with an abundance of confidence that they are right about everything. To function as a political party requires members do things like compromise, work together, get along, refrain from saying really alarming things. The LP spends too much time sneering at or scaring the average voter to ever make anything resembling a political impact.

    There is an opportunity, however, in dumping the lunatic fringe. The Democratic and Republican parties are full of disaffecting voters. Some of these voters could be captured by a moderate, thoughtful, libertarian-leaning party.

  • ||

    "another hinderance is that libertarian ideas are widely regarded as fucking nuts. either the libertarians want to unleash THE CORPORATIONS and enslave us all or they want to unlease THE DRUGGIES AND HAMOSEHSHUALS and rape/drug us all."

    Indeed. I'm certaintly not suggesting moderating their more poised stances, such as the opposition to the war on drugs and their advocation of a free (or freer) market economy.

    Anyways, Badnarik is, as of this moment, the figure-head for the LP, so it doesn't help when he's ranting about how we should put the IRS on trial for fraud, blow up the UN building, and how zip codes are illegal federal territories. People see and hear shit like this and they figure anybody associated with the LP must be a bunch of loonies.

    You have to remember, most people in this country do not hold their allegiances to any party. If they hear a libertarian candidate who isn't zealous and talks more about reasonable reform, as opposed to more radical reform, then they'll listen.

  • ||

    There is no solution.

    Libertarianism is, simply, nuts. And Badnarik is taking the philosophy to its (il)logical conclusion.

    The bottom line is, people want a government around to set the rules and keep their children safe. They want the government to look out for them if their in trouble. They don't want their grandma living with them because she has no savings and can't take care of herself. They want drivers on the road to be registered and insured.

  • ||

    Hence the reason why we're discussing moderating the libertarian message ;).

  • Gene Berkman||

    Joe L. suggests the LP concentrate on issues like opposing eminent domain, and supporting school vouchers, rather than opposing the War on Drugs.

    Each of these issues is a valid concern for Libertarians. Each also has a powerful special interest in favor of the statist position - businesses that benefit from redevelopment; public school teachers and companies that sell to public schools; and the police and prison guards unions. Each issue illustrates the strength of statism, and libertarians have put effort into each issue.

    Libertarians supported the voucher initiatives in California, both of which were defeated by 2 to 1 margins. The medical marijuana initiative in California passed with 56% of the vote. So the issues that would united conservatives and libertarians are not necessarily more popular than the more radical libertarian views.

    Maybe if the Republicans who post on Hit & Run can get their party to oppose imminent domain, we Libertarians can support it. Otherwise, we are alone, and as fringy on that as on the drug issue.

  • ||

    The problem is that most Libertarians and people who want a government based on classically liberal philosophy are people who are well educated and responsible; they don't actually NEED the government like others do. I used to think that everyone was smart, "in their own way", but the older I get the more I realize that most humans, not even talking about Americans, are extremely undereducated if not miseducated. These people really DO need a government to take care of them or they would be lost. I certainly don't want to deal with a bunch of glorified typists and salesmen trying to govern themselves. They might burn down my lab.....

  • ||

    I find it odd the liberal jarvis dude would name two non-libertarians as possible candidates -- and if anyone thinks Badnarik is weird try listening to a stump speech by Eugene Volokh!

    "and then there was this case in french law in 1784 that basically, well, let me quote it in french..."

    I love the guy but Badnarik is about 125% better as a political candidate than Mr. V would be.

    Glen Reynolds sane? Yeah, lets run a college professor from some podunk university -- that will help our credibility.

    For everyone's bitching Badnarik has run a totally credible and effective campaign for the budget he's got. I've never heard him off message or rude or anything talking to audiences -- he's a good speaker, good one on one, he fits his speech for the audience he is addressing, etc etc.

    Sure I'd love to see a Gary Johnson or Judge Gray run for president on the LP ticket, raise 30 million dollars, get a boat load of publicity, millions of votes, and maybe they will in future, but they didn't this time and Badnarik has done a worthy and respectable job considering...

  • ||

    "The bottom line is, people want a government around to set the rules and keep their children safe. They want the government to look out for them if their in trouble. They don't want their grandma living with them because she has no savings and can't take care of herself. They want drivers on the road to be registered and insured."

    People want a government at a certain size because they currently believe that it makes them better off. The moderate, consequentialist message for we libertarians to deliver is that the value of government in many areas is greatly overstated, and is in many cases just a vehicle for the politically powerful to take from the policially weak.

    Framed properly, the social security debate is one way of looking at this. It is not at all obvious to the people in their 30s who will be paying all the bills that this is a good idea. Socialized medicine is another example. It is not obvious that rationing by bureaucrat is in any way superior to rationing by price, especially if choosing the former deters voluntary investment in research by eliminating that dirty old profit motive.

    It isn't hopeless, but it can't be rolled out as the LP rolls it out - all as a matter of principle with no compromise.

  • ||

    Maybe take an established Republican with name recognition and a power base, and persuade him to switch to the Libertarian party? Arnold Schwarzenegger comes to mind.

    A lot easier than running a candidate. And it doesn't matter if he doesn't toe the party line 100%; he doesn't toe the Repub party line either, and you don't see them whining about it.

  • ||

    praktike:

    Libertarianism is, simply, nuts

    Only as "nuts" as fairness derived and pursued with logic is.

    They want the government to look out for them if their in trouble.

    The abundant evidence is that when government goes beyond the purview of protecting folks against force and fraud, it causes trouble for them. Most, if not all, large-scale maladies can be liked to government action.

  • ||

    ...make that "...can be linked to government action."

    Some day I will start using that "Preview button"...

  • ||

    The solution to making the LP and libertarian ideas respectable is to draft a well known libertarian to run for president.

    Taking a cue from the most successfull Republican president in recent years, an actor would be a good choice.

    VOTE CLINT EASTWOOD FOR PRESIDENT / MAKE MY DAY!

  • ||

    "I don't like the fact that my employer-provided private health care coverage is administered by bureaucrats at several levels, from the HR at my employer to the HMO to the staff at the doctor's office. "

    Then pay for a better plan, or pay for a worse plan and go fee for service out of an MSA. You really don't see the difference in bureaucratic control between your situation now and the one faced by those under a single payer system?

    In any event, my point is that 'universal access' is a lie. It is just a matter of changing the criteria for resource allocation. There are steep costs, and it is not obvious that a single payer helps more people over time.

  • ||

    The way to make the libertarian party a viable party would be to start running significant numbers of viable candidates at the local level, where they have a prayer of winning.

    The problem is that if your party's head thinks drivers licenses are unconstitutional you are probably not going to be taken all that seriously at the local level. So, if we run someone like Glenn at the national level it will
    a) draw alot of free press because it's so unconventional
    b) bring in alot of people who read instapundit and think Glenn is not crazy.
    c) and these people will have a better image of the national party which will hopefully translate to local candidates, provided of course that they are not crazy.

    Not to mention that Glenn Reynolds has a hell of alot more name recognition then Mr. Anti-Drivers license guy.

    So great idea!

  • ||

    "...and simply say, 'I will grow the Federal budget at GNP growth less 1-2% per year?'"

    Well, there are RINOs and DINOs, so I suppose there have to be LINOs too. Sigh.

  • ||

    Here's a tip for you: Have a Libertarian Governor or Senator run for the top spot.

    Wait...there aren't any? Ever?

    Maybe your dreams are a little too lofty.

    Try running someone popular (and not for their D&D skills) for Governor in a state with endemic mismanagement and/or corruption and nothing to lose (the Garden State's just been plowed and is ready for a new crop ... or maybe I smell Nutmeg in the air).

    Rinse and repeat until successful.

    National aspirations will be then be a smidge more realistic.

  • Jesse Walker||

    Talk about medical marijuana or industrial hemp or the Gold Standard, and people say "Uh-huh" and politely move on, thinking "LOOONIE".

    I think you've been smoking some of that industrial hemp, Joe. Medical marijuana is actually a fairly popular issue, unlike the other two.

  • ||

    Missing the point....

    I think alot of Libertarians miss one critical point when they "sell" their message. Most Libertarians tend to focus on the power of the federal government and say things like "Depart ment of Education? unconstitutional! I'd abolish it." Most do not think about the next step. This is the fact that there is nothing which says the STATES cannot make their own dept of education, drug laws taxes etc.

    That is the part we as a party need to communicate. We need to be able to let people know if they are scared of drugs, fine, prohibit them at the state level. In doing so we can also point out things like support for medical marijuana. With the states having the power you have a better say in the isssues YOU find important that others from another state may disagree with. We as a party need to better communicate this message. People raised to believe in the power of government are to my mind like addicts. You need to wean them off their addiction.

    Finally we cannot expect all people to become lockstepped with us in freedom. If the Libertarians were to come to power on the federal level, I forsee a great deal of diverse states, I.E. "green" states, Libertarian states etc. People would naturally find the amount of goverment which they can agree with. We would simply be letting the voting market decide at that point.

  • dsmtoday||

    I'd like to see a libertarian takeover of the California Republican Party. Social conservatism doesn't work out here, but social liberalism combined with fiscal conservatism might be able to make a big dent out here in the land of the big state debt. If you baby-stepped it, and didn't try to rush things, would probably be a fairly strong party in 20 years.

  • ||

    I get the feeling there is a big chunk of voters who are appalled by Bush and the Boston long-face with the medals. They want small govt, low taxes, liberal social policies and a fairly hawkish but not crazy foreign policy. None of the two main parties is offering this choice. Perhaps the LP ought to try and go after this segment. Seems quite a straightforward plan.

    The main problem IMHO is the LP's foreign policy, which tries to deal with stuff like terror as a purely law enforcement and reactive issue. Plus far too many libbos seem to buy the paranoid analysis of folk like Justin Raimondo.

  • ||

    Then pay for a better plan, or pay for a worse plan and go fee for service out of an MSA. You really don't see the difference in bureaucratic control between your situation now and the one faced by those under a single payer system?

    I don't want to pay for a better plan. It's about the best I'm going to do given my limited resources. I have no idea what a single payer system would be like. Depends on how it's funded. Fortunately, nobody running for the presidency is proposing a single payer system, so it's immaterial.

  • ||

    All this hand-wringing about the LP and governments is wasted energy.
    I'm tellin' ya, H&R rules!
    That's all that matters.
    Here (and on AntiWar.com) is evidence of a snowballing meme of thought that government is irrelevant except to cloud men's minds and fuck things up.

  • ||

    "The bottom line is, people want a government around to set the rules and keep their children safe. They want the government to look out for them if their in trouble. They don't want their grandma living with them because she has no savings and can't take care of herself. They want drivers on the road to be registered and insured."

    Praktik, I hope you have enough money after all the taxes you pay to still hire a nanny to get you through the rest of your life.

    The rest of us, well, we don't mind some responsibility.

    Oh, and I drive uninsured. One car got stolen. Did you hear me whining about it. Heck, no. It was worth about $2000 and I got another for $1200. What's your problem? Maybe it would be more pleasant for your granny to not be in a nursing home with no-one that loves her, if the US Feds hadn't taken all the financial responsibility away from her and her husband with the SS program.

    You take away the responsibility, and people don't have it to use. Responsibility is a "use it or lose it" type deal, like marksmanship or instrument flying.

  • ||

    I'm with Barton on the UN thing (and most everything else he posts, for that matter). I think if Badnarik had specifically stated "when no one's in the building", that would resonate with most votors.

    You'd hate to blow up that occasional hard-working UN beauracrat who is just doing his job, whatver the hell that is.

    You'd get most of the GOP agreeing with you on quitting the UN. They would just do so privately in the voting booth, as most are weenies when it comes to running the majority freakin party.

    And any LP candidate who wants to get anywhere should lay off the hemp crap, and just say he believes in legalizing marijuana and ending the drug war. The stoners keep bringing up the BS about hemp ("you can make rope, it can be used as short fibers in a phenolic resin to make material stronger than nickel-steel, it dices, it slices, it julians fries... ") all they want.

    The left-wing libertarians (aka, stoners) should just be honest, and say they want their freedom. Unfortunately, they would then not have much to say against the 1st and 2nd amendments to the Constitition, and they would have to remember what the hell they were ....

    ... talking about? hemp? huh?

  • ||

    I agree with Jonathan Pearce. I consider myself a libertarian, but as soon as someone starts in about 'U.S. out of Iraq now' I tune out. We need a ferociously protective federal government, to keep the non-libertarian furriners out of our business. And I keep running into other people who see it the way I do.
    I also agree with whoever said that the message isn't getting out. Someone hears 'get the gov't out of the schools' and thinks that means 'abolish education.' This is a PR problem. Solvable? The FSP hasn't seemed to manage it yet....

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