Libertarian Party

Libertarian Lawmakers or Libertarian Laws?

Advancing laws that further libertarian objectives, no matter who champions them, looks like the surer route to our preferred ends.

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It would be great if our political system were restructured to make third parties viable competitors for federal office. Personally, I'd like to try a party-list proportional representation system with statewide, multi-member districts, and I think we should change the rules governing candidate inclusion for the presidential debates, too. Absent all of that, I'd also welcome a simpler (and more historically precedented) transformation, like one of the major parties realigning on policy or dissolving entirely and being succeeded by something more libertarian.

But let's assume none of that happens and libertarians stay in our present position vis-a-vis governance for the foreseeable future. And let's assume libertarians—as a party, a loosely organized movement, and an ideology which roughly one in five Americans lean toward—will continue to have limited money, time, and public support.

Given all that, a question I've been mulling as we approach Election Day is this: Is it better to have libertarian lawmakers or libertarian laws? Should we be expending energy trying to put a couple of friendly faces in Congress, or should we focus on legislation, irrespective of who writes or votes for it?

I understand the appeal of having a standard-bearer for the movement. I was the sole intern at Ron Paul's 2008 campaign headquarters, after all. More recently, Rep. Justin Amash (L–Mich.) has been by far the member of Congress with whom I'm most closely aligned, and I'm sorry he's not seeking reelection to the House. I know how hopeful and reassuring it can be to see a politician with decent name recognition giving thoughtful voice to libertarian views on the national stage.

I also don't underestimate the importance of personality in swaying public opinion. The average American only has so much enthusiasm and mental space for politics, which is as it should be. For many people, it can be easier to identify with a compelling, sympathetic person and their general philosophy of governance than to sort out a whole agenda's worth of policy positions for oneself. I suspect as a movement we've put too much emphasis on public officials filling this representative role as opposed to media figures—like Joe Rogan or Rush Limbaugh—who are background noise in the lives of millions. But I don't discount the value of having a popular person making acceptable or attractive what would otherwise be unknown or unpopular libertarian views.

Still, between libertarian lawmakers and laws, I pick laws every time. They're the surer route to libertarian ends, since having a handful of libertarians in Washington produces very few substantive accomplishments. Libertarian lawmakers can pen all the bills they want, but how much does it matter if they can't pass them or even bring them to a vote?

In his 11 terms in Congress, Paul sponsored 620 pieces of legislation. Just four made it to a floor vote, and only one became law. That bill, passed in fall 2009, "allowed for the sale of a customhouse in Galveston, Tex." Amash's record is similar. Over a decade in Congress, he has been the primary sponsor of one item of enacted legislation. It renamed a post office.

Earlier in his tenure, Amash was able to force some notable amendment votes—in 2013, for example, he narrowly lost an attempt to defund a National Security Agency metadata collection program. Yet even losing a vote that way would likely be impossible now. As Amash has repeatedly explained and complained on Twitter, representatives are no longer permitted to freely offer amendments to legislation on the House floor.

Meanwhile, we don't need libertarians in Congress for there to be legislation we can support. The FIRST STEP Act, for instance, was introduced by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R–Iowa) and Dick Durbin (D–Ill.). The bill President Donald Trump vetoed last year so he could continue U.S. facilitation of the Saudi-led coalition's war crimes in Yemen was introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.). Sen. Tim Kaine (D–Va.), a longtime critic of presidential abuse of post-9/11 war powers, introduced a February bill banning Trump from further military action against Iran without congressional permission.

None of these legislators are libertarian heroes, but their views sometimes overlap with ours—and we can work with that. At the local level, where a libertarian on a city council may be one vote in seven, running for office can make strategic sense. But in higher levels of government, where a libertarian may be one vote in 435, we don't need a whole libertarian person in office to most effectively advance libertarian policy goals.

We can lobby for legislation, raise grassroots support for ballot initiatives, and support precedent-setting court battles on an ad hoc basis. We can join and form issue-based coalitions, generating momentum for policies we support with a rotating cast of allies. We can play to our strengths as a movement (being disproportionately loud, obnoxiously persistent, and unfettered by major-party loyalties) instead of our weaknesses (wielding formal power and winning elected office in winner-take-all, single-member districts).

If a principled libertarian happens to make it to Congress, fantastic! That's a bonus—but if it's our primary focus as a movement, it's a distraction from more concrete and achievable ends.

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  1. Having a blind squirrel that occasionally finds a nut is nice, but it’s far better to have someone who actually has libertarian principles. Having an R or a D occasionally put forward libertarian-ish legislation is nice, and better than nothing, but they also put forth a ton of anti-libertarian legislation. Voting for someone who’s only right 1 out of 10 times doesn’t feel good.

    Congress critters also do more that just legislate and vote. They bloviate, and having someone consistently bloviate about libertarian ideas shifts the entire conversation in that direction. If you start from the position of “the drug war is immoral and must be ended immediately”, whatever compromise you make with the drug warriors will probably be more libertarian than if you start from a position of “the drug was is inherently a good idea just implemented poorly” and compromise from there.

    1. Very well said! It could be argued that Ds are libertarian when it comes to abortion and gay/trans rights, and GOP is libertarian about guns, but the remainder of what they stand for is statist BS that doesn’t deserve my vote.

      1. Being pro-abortion is not a strictly libertarian position. It’s an ethical position depending on if/when you believe a fetus converts from personal property of the mother to a separate individual. Though it seems many libertarians favor abortion mostly because they reflexively oppose government regulations.

        And what are gay/trans rights? If you mean create special classes of individuals based on how they identify that are then legally required to be treated differently, then yes, Democrats on strong on that. If you mean for a gay or trans person to simply have all their rights protected the same as everyone else, then both parties are a mixed bag.

        And pro-gay rights was very 2018, the extra woke are now pro-gay penumbras.

        1. Libertarians are not pro-abortion nor are they anti-life. We are Prochoice on Everything including abortion. The framing of this issue as two pros and no anti is ridiculous in the first place. It is quite possible to be both pro-choice and anti-abortion.

          Libertarianism is a POLITICAL philosophy only. It sets the standard for how humans should interact with each other, namely voluntarily. It can not tell you who is entitled to be called a human. You have to make that determination from some some other part of you personal philosophical values. That why it must be left to the individual to make that determination, not the government.

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      2. It could be argued that Ds are libertarian when it comes to abortion and gay/trans rights

        Noting screams liberty like being forced to bake a cake against your will because your customer happens to be a faggot. Or forcing women who do not wish to shower with men to shower with men. Or forcing people who find abortion repugnant to pay for it or go to prison.

        and GOP is libertarian about guns

        Nothing says libertarian about guns like background checks, red flag confiscation, and bump stock bans.

        1. Weren’t these concessions to the left in the spirit of cooperation?

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      3. Ds are libertarian when it comes to abortion

        Only if you assume a unique human being formed of their unique DNA has no agency.

        1. If it can’t think yet, that might be the right call.

          1. What does “thinking” mean? Is “feel pain” included in “thinking”? Or does it require a sense of identity that isn’t well formed until age 2 or 3?

    2. having someone consistently bloviate about libertarian ideas shifts the entire conversation in that direction

      or the opposite depending on the audience

      1. That’s right. When I ran for assembly in 1988, I thought I might help shift what’s now called the Overton Window by this means when I appeared on a panel discussion of housing policy. Years later I realized I had the opposite effect, bringing out the radical idea that tended to remind the audience that the extreme version of what the more-or-less pro-landlord speaker from the Coalition of 100 Democrats (conservatives working within the Democratic Party in New York City) spoke for existed. This would tend to make the audience more wary of what that moderate reformer would have to say.

        It’s often better for the general audience to not hear the radical point of view, lest they form reaction against it, and also everything else that speaker says, even things they might otherwise agree with. “The drug war is inherently a good idea just implemented poorly” is a winning strategy in both the short and the long run. You concede points to win the trust of the undecided. They won’t trust us, and will react against us, if our ideas are very alien to theirs. It won’t elevate our ideas in their opinion, but actually lower them.

        1. mealy mouthed half measures never help. look at AOC — she’s boldly stretching the Overton Window way to the left, giving cover for mainstream Dems to shift left and look moderate.

          1. You’re confusing effect with cause. She’s not stretching anything, she’s a product of her time and place. The previous incumbent had benefited for a long time from incumbency and was out of step with the grass roots. With her election, things just snapped into approximately the position where the electorate was — maybe a little to the “left” of it, but not as much as you think, if at all. I should know, I lived there until 2016. “Conservatives” had gotten old and died or moved out.

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        2. I’d say “Even if the drug war…” Argue in the alternative, but don’t concede the underlying point.

        3. Radical works in a one-two punch. The radical states the most extreme view possible. The next guy takes a position between the radical and the current overton window.

          If it’s done right, the middle guy stretch the window wider because the existence of the radical makes him sound reasonable. Without the radical, middle guy is the extremist.

    3. Where will these people with libertarian principles be found?
      Certainly not at Reason or in the LP.
      And if the above do accurately represent your brand, then your philosophy is shit.

  2. Libertarian government > libertarian laws > libertarian president and legislators.

    1. Looks like I spent so much effort on the HTML coding that I fucked up the comment. I would absolutely rather have a libertarian president and a legislature full of libertarians; but my comment refers to having a libertarian president who would be ignored by a non-libertarian legislature; or having just one or two libertarian legislators who would be similarly ignored.

      1. A libertarian president could just veto everything. The only laws that could pass would be those with widespread public support, which would be much better than what we get now.

    2. Libertarians need to focus on the local level. Want to know how Colorado turned Blue? How rioters got off freely this summer to go burn and pillage night after night? It was that Soros has been playing a long game at the local level- identifying functionaries in local grass roots organizations, schools and city councils- then funding their transformation at the city and county level. The Berniefictation of the Democratic Party has been happening at the local level as well- AOC and Omar have drastically reshaped Dem talking points because they could win elections in their local districts.

  3. Yes, please. We need to talk more about multi-member districts, which is the only way minor parties will win seats. Fuck “ranked choice voting” for being half-assed electoral reform that will do nothing but reinforce two party government.

    1. My scheme is to elect the top three winners, and each casts as many votes in the legislature as they received in the election; none of this 1 vote business. Reduces the urgency to re-apportion districts too.
      Every voter can also volunteer; one is chosen at random for each district, who casts all the remaining election votes.

      1. So the word “mandate” can actually have some actual meaning in terms of winning elections? I think I like it. Its definitely interesting, and more likely to erode the old parties.

        1. I especially like the volunteer representative. Not only would the volunteers not be beholden to parties for campaign funds (although I’d bet they’d be the most partisan of all representatives) but casting all the remaining votes makes them almost the “none of the above” candidate.

          I’d also like having an official “none of the above” choice, and if that was in the top three, there would be an actual vacancy. In addition, if 10% of districts elect “none of the above”, then the entire legislature is fired, an election is held within a week, and no previous candidate for that legislature can ever run again (which of course includes all incumbents). A paper revolution of sorts.

        2. I also think it would be about the best way possible to actually encourage people to vote. Votes would have more meaning than they do now, but still, no single vote would be likely to decide anything important.

          1. Could have used that in current election. Both our State Assembly and District City Council races had only a single candidate. And, neither of them worthy of my vote.

            I’ve long advocated for a none of the above option. And, a requirement that there be a threshold level of support beyond a simple majority or, the position is eliminated.

      2. WHile this is interesting, it seems like that would work once or twice. As a voter, do I want to empower one guy who agrees with me 70% and who will carry the day on my important issues 100%, or do I want to send someone who will still have to compromise with others to get anything passed?

        I just wonder if this won’t lead to the same thing, where people have incentive to coalesce around the “strong horse” to ensure their prime issues get covered.

        1. I don’t think it would break the two party system, but it would shake them up. A lot of districts would elect three from the same party. But a lot of districts would elect some third party candidates, and they and the volunteers would prevent the two main parties from taking the voters for granted.

          One of their mysteries, for instance, would be whether to have their own little party-only primary. Would it be better to have several candidates in the hopes of getting all three seats, or is there a risk of splitting the vote so much that the opposition sneaks in and reduces your overall vote count?

      3. Re: the Volunteer
        Unless the volunteer gets paid more then the typical congress-critter, you’re going to have a problem. Simply put, it’s expensive to live in DC (even part-time), and flying back-and-forth between your real home (back in your state) and DC is also expensive.

        Current politicians get around that by either being independently wealthy enough, leaning on their political party support networks (there’s places that basically rent dorm rooms to politicians of their party), or by leaning on lobbyists.

        Seeing as the “volunteer” won’t automatically have a party, you’re either limiting the position the independently wealthy, or pushing them into the arms of either the political parties or lobbyists, all of which are, I assume, counter to your goals.

      4. My scheme is to hold an election and arrest anyone who shows up to run.

    2. It doesn’t matter how you do it in a representative or even a direct democracy, in the long run it works out the same. The voters will be served. It’s the same with or without lobbying, because the voters are also customers of businesses that lobby, carrying thru what the voters want as customers.

      If you’re 1% of the voters, what’s the difference what means are used to reflect that 1%? You’re a fart in a windstorm no matter what.

  4. The libertarian lawmakers we need to make a more libertarian and more capitalist society are already in Washington. It’s just that their constituents are insufficiently libertarian and capitalist. Once we persuade the voters in their districts to desire a more libertarian and more capitalist society, the politicians we already have will be falling all over themselves to be more libertarian and capitalist than each other–the same way progressives try to outdo each other with social justice.

    The guy who famously said, “Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!” changed his mind completely and became a political force for integration in his later years. It wasn’t because he had a Paul on the road to Damascus moment. It was because he had presidential aspirations, put his finger in the air, and saw which way the wind was blowing. Once the American people wanted an end to segregation, there was little that politicians could do to stop it.

    The purpose of libertarianism is not to seize the levers of government and inflict a libertarian world on an unwilling population. The purpose of libertarianism is to persuade voters to want a more libertarian world, and the more we do that, the more libertarian our politicians will become. Persuading people is difficult, time consuming, and frustrating, but it has the advantage of being the only way forwards. Before we could get a world where cannabis is legal, we had to persuade a certain number of people that legalizing cannabis was desirable.

    1. “Once the American people wanted an end to segregation, there was little that politicians could do to stop it.”

      Please give some credit to the 101st Airborne.
      “Woodrow Wilson Mann, the mayor of Little Rock, asked President Eisenhower to send federal troops to enforce integration and protect the nine students. On September 24, the President ordered the 101st Airborne Division of the United States Army—without its black soldiers, who rejoined the division a month later—to Little Rock and federalized the entire 10,000-member Arkansas National Guard, taking it out of Faubus’s control”
      (Note for Yankees – Faubus was the governor at the time who used the National Guard to block the school entrance)
      Details: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Rock_Nine

      1. It wouldn’t’ve stuck for long if people hadn’t wanted it.

        1. Considering the so called progressives are pushing segregation lite, has it really lasted so long.

    2. The guy who famously said, “Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!” changed his mind completely and became a political force for integration in his later years.

      At least he got a song out of it. Wallace, by The Drive-By Truckers.

    3. As I say above, we could also try and get a little more local. Even getting some more Reps put in place would allow for more persuading- just as AOC has been able to drive more national discussion of Socialist positions. She only had to convince 17,000 people that she was worth electing- and that won her the primary in a safe Dem district, which got her into Congress.

      If libertarians could do a little more of that, and a little less JoJo Woke Social Signaling, it might make more of a difference.

      1. It might. Or we could be like Trump. He didn’t have to do anything in local politics. But he did become highly regarded in business.

        You can get into politics at any point.

        1. Trump ran as a populist. He didn’t need to persuade anybody of his positions like Reagan did, or like a Libertarian will have to.

          1. You saying a Reagan or a libertarian can’t be, and run, as a populist? Populism is not an ideology.

            1. Closely related to populism is celebrity. Given the way the world works with celebrity today, would you really be able to tolerate a Kardashian presidency?

              1. I don’t think that’s an accurate descriptor of populism. There’s more to it than “celebrity”.

                Trump’s populism was taking some issues that were widely popular among large swaths of americans and making them his policies. He made his platform conform to the voters he wanted rather than persuading the voters to conform to his platform.

    4. That’s it. The best example was pointed out in I forgot what ‘zine: the legislators in East Germany getting re-elected one more term on the promise to abolish East Germany and hence their jobs. They succeeded. Remember, these were the same legislators who’d operated the communist regime there for years. They wanted to get one more term rather than be thrown out early.

      Hitler was afraid the Nazis would lose their last election. He couldn’t command the voters, he could command only their votes. He succeeded.

      No matter which way the people want to point the country (or state or district or municipality), they’ll get their wish.

    5. But to persuade them, we first have to win their personal trust. People listen to people, not to ideas, primarily. They’ll get their ideas from the people they’ve come to trust.

      And one of the best ways to win people’s trust is to agree with them. So you may be well advised to hide your opinions for a while.

      1. Am I alone in believing idea’s are more important than the person presenting them? Holy cow; this is so in-crowd thinking.

        1. I think delivery matters. But trust, yeah… it matters quite a bit.

          Ideas have behind-the-scenes world views that are hard to define in any one argument but easy to see in how you conduct yourself. So actions speak louder than words on what your world-view is. If people don’t trust you, they won’t trust the ideas you have come from a good place.

          It’s why atheists generate lower social trust :p

  5. A libertarian laws indeed.

    1. From one, many

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  7. The point of politics is to affect laws and policy. The point is not to give gasbags who say things you like a platform. I am dumfounded that anyone would think there could be any debate about which is more valuable results or symbolism, which is all a lone “Libertarian” lawmaker is.

  8. Laws matter for absolutely nothing if we are unwilling or unable to impose them.

    If the Constitution is to survive 2021 it will do so only if we impose it upon tens of thousands of government employees.

    The military is split. The FBI is openly committing treason as are governors and DAs and police across the nation.

    Support your local sheriff. End the tyranny. We need to impose the US Constitution by force of arms upon these illegitimate governments.

    Politicians no longer matter. Voting is irrelevant. Government has failed because we failed to uphold the law.

    The Constitution is being ignored by the state because we have not demonstrated the will to fight for it.

    The only thing that matters today is who will stand and fight.

    Kill a commie for mommy. Kill a commie today!

    1. Commie’s actually end up killing themselves off (see USSR and Detroit/CA) so long as they aren’t allowed to conquer and consume anymore. That would be my favored approach to the problem. I suggest being on the defensive side of any future civil war to come.

  9. I agree with this sentiment. Let’s move away from identity politics and partisan tribalism and talk about individual issues.

    1. Like forcing people to wear masks, right Chipper? I mean, it’s just like a wall for your face as you said yesterday.

      And again, the no tribalism meme again, yet that’s 80% of your comments. Strange.

    2. “talk about individual issues” — Oh, you mean like the U.S. Constitution does? Ya, restoring the substance of it would definitely be a step in the right direction.

  10. I’d settle for either more libertarian laws or lawmakers because right now we do not have enough of either.

    1. There is no such thing as a libertarian lawmaker. The two terms are incompatible.

      The US Constitution guarantees representatives.

      Neither ‘lawmakers’ nor laws will prevent the Communist revolution that is here.

      1. “The US Constitution guarantees representatives.” — that swear an oath to….. The ‘Supreme Law’.. Which just doesn’t seem to be on anyone’s scope these days.

      2. This is the kind of batshit insanity that causes you guys to be such losers or unable to see a victory or movement.

        Libertarianism is an ideal of absolute freedom. It’s a limiting principle and an unachievable goal. Like Plato’s perfect chair – you can’t ever achieve it, but you always try to reach it.

        Laws that protect rights are not antithetical to that.

  11. “We can lobby for legislation, raise grassroots support for ballot initiatives, and support precedent-setting court battles on an ad hoc basis. We can join and form issue-based coalitions, generating momentum for policies we support with a rotating cast of allies…”

    You mean actually getting involved in local politics? I mean, like attending city hall meetings? Actually writing an actual letter to your local politician when they do something right, or something you don’t like, and explaining your position. I guess. But, it’s SO much more fun, and much easier, to complain on FB or wherever.

    1. As a former, local government administrator, I couldn’t agree with you more. No matter how hard we tried to get more public input, no one cared or participated……..until their ox was gored. Then they’d scream and holler and call us every name in the book.

      Non participation isn’t pretty.

      1. The very flaw in the idea of ‘democracy’ is it’s not grounded in any principle. Even local government representation needs to contain a level of principle that goring other-people’s ox (whether you can see/hear them or not) will have consequences.

        1. Put another way; Good-people elect principled representatives not pawns for their agenda. Which also lies-within the very fault of this crooked believe of ‘democracy’ instead of ‘republic’

    2. From my experience the P.C. culture (Politically Correct / Political wheels themselves and Public bandwagon-ing) has far more sway on legislation than those (as I’ve seen – insignificant citizens) actually involved in local details of any politics on the table.

      Example; Smoking Bans – I watched as local legislatures didn’t give 1-penny of respect for hundreds of the very citizens it directly affected. I watched as 3-sets of public opinion council meetings had almost 99% ‘don’t do this’ support by citizens and a 1% ‘do this’ push by P.C. foreign entity the HHS and a public plaque award dangled as bribery. The government lobbying government. It was a very sick sight to see.

  12. As Ron Paul recognized decades ago you cannot get elected in the Libertarian Party. So he switched and ran as a republican. You have to pretend in order to get the money to run from the national party. LP doesn’t have the funds and few donors. Sure you would hope there would be more limited government / fewer laws types that run, but the two main parties don’t care much for those and run them off. Or like Amash they cancel themselves. He could have stayed a RINO and kept up the pretense. Anyway the citizens and illegals in this country want a large government that provides tons of benefits and they will not elect anyone who proposes cutting those funds off. So good luck with that.

    1. The national GOP never sent Ron Paul any money to run. The voters in his district loved him.

      1. They never send most candidates money to run. If your district is bound to be won or lost by you or another of your party, they have no reason to send you money. They put money where it might make a difference, beating the candidate of the other party.

    2. The parties don’t run off anybody who’s willing to do the work. You work for a party enough, you gain trust, responsibility, and authority. It’s like any organization. They’re not interested in having somebody come in and dictate to them! Who is? But they do need volunteers. But that does require sacrifice on your part, including long times you need to keep your mouth shut and your ears open.

      1. Libertarians should not focus on making new laws but eliminating existing ones.

        That is much more in line with Libertarian philosophy.

    3. Well Amish is a RINO. What’s ironic though is Ron Paul aligned with the GOP platform more than most other so-called Republicans.

      The platform is good – the politicians that run on that platform; not so much.

  13. Well, there is one very big problem with being libertarian.
    While the socialists can force their views on the populace by legislation, (social media) mob action, and police/military action, it is impossible to force people to be free.

    1. ^^This.

    2. You are correct. Being libertarian is a mostly “defensive” position.

    3. “… it is impossible to force people to be free.”

      And that seems to be what a plurality do not want. Because with freedom comes responsibility and consequences from which far too many want to be protected.

      1. I don’t think that’s the case. I think people would be pretty happy without the overweening government we have today, but government is a monopolistic super bureaucracy which has no market pressure to constrain itself, and very few people would be willing to give up their government bennies unless guaranteed that everybody else gave them up too, simultaneously. Government intrudes so much that most people are better off trying to control government, or trying to sic it on others, than minding their own business while others try to sic government on them.

    4. One thing I have thought of, and probably not originally, is to have an absolute bare bones umbrella government, and lesser voluntary associations underneath it. Some would include a military in the umbrella government, some would include police and courts, some would even include some minimum laws. I would include no taxation, no budget, and only the proviso that violations of self-ownership can be prosecuted by victims (or their guardians, heirs, etc).

      These associations would be joined by contracts renewed (or not) yearly. The contracts could not include coercion such as conscription, jail for violating laws, etc …. but they could establish huge fine for not “volunteering” for military service or jail as ordained by association courts according to association legislatures.

      Some association contracts would require turning property and income over to the association, which I think would simulate socialism well enough for 99% of self-proclaimed socialists. Others would merely provide insurance, charity recommendations, etc.

      The biggest advantage besides the liberty of choosing your association (or none) is that the socialist ones would (a) have to face fiscal reality, and (b) provide salutary lessons for everybody.

      1. What you are describing might fall into “minarchism.” One form is envisioned in the “Night-watchman State.”
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night-watchman_state

      2. Just do away with geographical representation in governments and end the monopoly. Let people live under the government they vote for. If we can have separate insurance companies and banks and credit cards, we can have separated tax/spend/protection rackets.

    5. Who wants to be free? That shit’s hard work mentally and emotionally. You have to accept responsibility and be accountable for your decisions and actions. No thanks man! Waaay easier to be a victim and blame your (perceived) problems on others. All you have to decide is if you’re a victim of capitalism or immigration and it’s all smooth sailing from there.

    6. It’s technically possible to force governments to leave people alone, although it would be very difficult.

    7. The U.S. Constitution (which is being wildly mangled beyond recognition) was written PRECISELY to “force people to be free”.

      Maybe it’s time for good-people to stop being “revolutionaries” (tear it down and start-over) and hopefully acknowledge that the fault is but an ignorance of what’s already there.

      1. No, it was to protect people who want to be free from people who don’t.

  14. Libertarian laws, its why I give to the IJ and not libertarian party. The IJ actually wins some victories with my money.

  15. It’s a shame that nice Christian-Anarchist girl turned into a pro-baby killin’ commie statist. Must have been the instagrams.

  16. “…having a handful of libertarians in Washington produces very few substantive accomplishments. Libertarian lawmakers can pen all the bills they want, but how much does it matter if they can’t pass them or even bring them to a vote?”

    It depends. Having a few libertarians in the House of Representatives doesn’t accomplish much. But even 2 or 3 libertarians in the Senate could stop the worst bills from both parties.

  17. DownsizeDC.org has been trying the approach outlined by the author for many years. Those who like her proposals should visit https://downsizedc.org/action/

  18. Why would libertarians care one way or the other about the Saudi war with Yemen? Shouldn’t libertarians mind their own business rather than championing Yemen’s business?

    Is Yemen an outpost of libertarian thinking? No.

  19. Allegedly, all “laws” are to be constitutional. There is no evidence that the Constitution applies to anyone. Therefore, there is no evidence that anyone has any jurisdiction over anyone. Therefore, there is no law in existence or that can be created that applies to anyone.
    “Inasmuch as the Constitution was never signed, nor agreed to, by anybody, as a contract, and therefore never bound anybody, and is now binding upon nobody; and is, moreover, such an one as no people can ever hereafter be expected to consent to, except as they may be forced to do so at the point of the bayonet, it is perhaps of no importance what its true legal meaning, as a contract, is. Nevertheless, the writer thinks it proper to say that, in his opinion, the Constitution is no such instrument as it has generally been assumed to be; but that by false interpretations, and naked usurpations, the government has been made in practice a very widely, and almost wholly, different thing from what the Constitution itself purports to authorize. He has heretofore written much, and could write much more, to prove that such is the truth. But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain — that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.” ~ Lysander Spooner

    1. Lysander Spooner is never mentioned in countries with 90,000-word constitutions forced on the people at the point of a bayonet. His “No Treason” broadside was most expressly directed against the Income Tax the Customs Union enacted in order to coerce nullifying States back under the protective Tariffs of Abominations. Even the phrasing “Go to A, B, and…” copies verbatim the oath income tax collectors were required to take to facilitate capturing and hanging them if they absconded with the loot. His private post offices are gradually re-emerging now that the Comstock monopolies stand unmasked as violent, unconstitutional usurpers.

    2. ^Sounds like lefty buffoonery to me.

  20. Laws are embodiments of coercive rules. Lawmakers lie to raise funds, lie to get elected, lie to get appointments, and compromise on principle to get their ideas approved. Hard to see how those processes are going to lead to any enhancement of freedom.

    1. Getting their snouts smacked right outta the trough sure works. In 2016 the Dems–Biden, Leahy, Hillary, Obama…–were “against” cops no longer shooting kids over weed. Suddenly, over four million Libertarian votes changed the outcome in 13 states wielding 127 electoral votes, and all that prohibitionist crap that’s still in the GOP platform vanished along with Dem hands in the till, snouts in the trough and checks in the mail. THAT is democracy in action with a hockey-stick increase in the LP vote share toppling the most violent looters and removing their cruel laws.

  21. The result is all that counts.

    Get Libertarians to win local contests, gain experience, and move up, bringing younger Libertarians in behind them. If this prompts Rs and Ds to act more like Ls, we win without spending the campaign money.

    1. ^Well said.

  22. So Bonnie’s tack is to make believe a girl-bullying antichoice Republican version of Catch-22’s Doc Daneeka is a “libertarian”. On the eve of another batch of Libertarian spoiler votes for OUR candidates and platform guillotining an arrogant pack of coercive mystical looters, this is to be expected. Just not in Reason magazine! The LP platform wrote the Roe v Wade decision, and God’s Own Prohibitionists have wailed and squealed like Ceausescu of Romania demanding girl-bullying Amendments and Nixon’s Anti-Libertarian Law. Now, like Nationalsocialists convicted at Nuremberg, they whine for out support lest the Bolsheviks come after them. Better you than us, fascisti!

  23. In my view, the best way for libertarians to influence public policy is two fold. Think tanks (since they are more effective than political parties) or ballot initiatives. If you’re looking to get elected, then the Republican Party is the best means to do so. Otherwise, to libertarians who have little inclination to run for office, working at a think tank is a great idea. However, ballot initiatives are an excellent way too.

    The Alaska Libertarian Party had a very realistic strategy that is worth considering. They fielded candidates to maintain ballot status but the party primarily backed ballot initiatives. I am unsure how successful the AKLP was, but for Libertarian Parties, I think Alaska’s strategy is the best way to go. If so, I would strongly suggest one of your first initiatives revolve around enacting a school choice option.

  24. That’s because libertarians don’t want to adhere to their own principles.

    As soon as they recognize a principle they feel obligated to ignore it when it suits them.

    It’s kinda hard to take seriously.

  25. It seems to me the examples you cite undermine your thesis. Yes, electing ONE Libertarian to Congress isn’t going to cut it. That’s why we need to elect 218 of them! Do you honestly think Ds and Rs are going to enact libertarian policies? The FIRST STEP Act turned the War on Drugs from 100 to 99, and you’re acting like we’re winning hearts and minds. If Ds and Rs will vote for libertarian ideas then why did Paul and Amash experience so much futility? And they were Republicans! Sanders has a libertarian idea about war in Yemen – and it loses! Joe Biden still opposes the legalization MJ, FCOL! That despite the fact that its favored by around 60% of the public. WAKE UP! Ds and Rs will NEVER vote for libertarian ideas because true libertarian ideas mean government giving up control over our lives. It means not being able to direct subsidies and tax breaks to major corporate donors, which means no major corporate donors! PR is a great idea, but would require major Constitutional changes to happen. The solution is RANKED CHOICE VOTING, which can be enacted a the state level, and that is happening now!

    1. Voting for a second place loser makes no sense.

      1. Kanye wins with third place majority.

      2. Libertarian laws. Duh. I like Ron Paul because he’s been on the right side of every political issue for thirty years, not the other way ‘round.
        And yes, I realize that laws are enforced by men, for the time being at least, so there’s no way around the system having imperfect parts, but being a government of laws rather than men is still a worthy ideal. And one that’s more attainable than the vague every-child-above-averageism of the left (and a lot of the right).

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  27. Politics is downstream of the culture. Politicians are not the ones that change people’s minds. The effective politicians ride waves that were already formed. In our system “libertarian laws” would not be interpreted by courts or the executive in the way you might hope. This is also because the culture we are in now is that laws are enforced and interpreted based on personal motives and feelings.

    Politics is just an awful place to start if you want to change how a society is governed. The real truth is we have the government people want. People want a government to attack their perceived enemies and supplement their lifestyles. There is no concept or respect for an equally applied rule of law or limited government. Most people do not want freedom, but rather desire security.

    In this context of the culture, any focus on libertarian politics is futile. This can be seen in how even the few libertarian-ish publications like Reason barely resemble libertarian principles whenever a given issue shakes their worldview. There also seems no way (certainly not in the short term without something terrible happening) to alter this cultural shift . So maybe that’s why people instead choose to focus on the politics hoping the people that get paid to poll test every question might instead try to drive the public’s opinion instead of ride it. Not happening though.

  28. We have plenty of libertarian laws. Laws against murder, rape, theft/fraud, and anything else that violates the natural rights of others. The problem is all the goddamned authoritarian laws that need to be unmade.

    1. The UN-Constitutional ones.

  29. i think the ultimate goal is libertarian lawmakers and a majority of them. libertarian laws may be the consolation prize making it still worth the effort if we can’t win. non-libertarian law makers will advance and vote for libertarian laws for one primary reason….. to try and get votes back that we are taking. we saw how the tea party failed to significantly change things from within one of the parties, we have to actively make it clear that our votes must be earned.

  30. The problem with this idea is that politicians today seem to have greater loyalty to party than to their constituents. This makes it hard to vote in favor for a bill opposed by your party, the reverse also being true. Justin Amash being a poster child for the consequences of opposing the party. Better to target Congressional district amenable to Libertarians and get a voting block large enough to swing legislation. Don’t focus on bills but on getting concessions on what is in bills. Remember these are marathons and not sprints. The biggest failure of the Tea Party was it either opposed legislation or put out failed legislation. A better strategy is to move legislation through but shaping it to your goals.

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