Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

The Libertarian Party Future, Perennially Out of Reach

Where does political libertarianism go after the midterms?

"He's going to finish certainly no worse than second, and maybe first," Libertarian Party (L.P.) 2016 vice presidential nominee Bill Weld enthused about Massachusetts state auditor candidate Dan Fishman in mid-October. And once Fishman grabs all those votes, Weld declared, "[We're going] to make a list of every campaign for whatever office this year that Libertarians fare no worse than second, and then we're going to take that and publicize it strongly. I think that's going to be a crevasse in the two-party monopoly."

It looked like Weld might be onto something two weeks later when The Boston Globe took the highly unusual step of endorsing the L.P. candidate for a job that's been held, in all living memory, by Democrats. "Fishman would bring a sorely needed independent streak to the office," the region's dominant newspaper proclaimed. "Give this Libertarian a shot."

Massachusetts voters declined the advice. When the smoke cleared on November 6, the would-be Libertarian auditor for the government of Taxachusetts finished not first, not second, but a distant third place, with a desultory 4.2 percent of the vote. The effort was enough to give the party automatic statewide ballot access for 2020—no small achievement—but not enough to stave off the national wave of nausea that afflicted many libertarians on election day.

President Donald Trump, who was rebuked when the House of Representatives flipped Democratic yet emboldened by the Senate getting more Republican, chose in his three weeks of closing arguments not to campaign on the libertarian-friendly grounds of tax cuts, judicial appointments, regulatory reforms, and the economic growth that has thus far accompanied all three. Instead, by his own admission, he opted to whip up fear of a distant caravan of northbound asylum-seekers, asserting without evidence that there were likely terrorists among them and making daily noises about massing troops along the U.S.-Mexico border and unilaterally revoking the privilege of birthright citizenship enshrined in the 14th Amendment. His final commercial, about a deranged illegal-immigrant cop-killer, was rejected on content grounds by Fox News.

Democrats, on the other hand, campaigned hard on Medicare for All, even though our current Medicare-for-seniors system is projected to run out of money by 2026. With the annual federal budget deficit zooming back north of the ominous $1 trillion threshold despite nine years of economic growth and a booming stock market, the two major parties have abandoned even the pretense of acknowledging fiscal reality.

About the only federal candidate prioritizing the budget calamity was Gary Johnson, running as a Libertarian for Senate in his home state of New Mexico. "The biggest issue facing this country is the deficit, is the debt," he told me 12 days before the election. "You know what? In five years we could well be spending $1 trillion, interest only, on the debt. Young people are getting fucked."

Johnson, who had told Reason emphatically from Election Day 2016 until spring 2018 that he would never run for political office again, decided in August to get into the New Mexico race in large part because he reckoned the L.P. badly needed a victory. "He's not going into the race unless he thinks he can win," Johnson's longtime campaign confidant Ron Nielson told me just before the announcement.

Running in the state he governed twice, and where he earned 9.3 percent of the presidential vote in 2016, against a GOP novice (Mick Rich) he out-fundraised and a Democratic incumbent (Martin Heinrich) with low name recognition, Johnson was able to participate in debates and generate extensive media coverage. The first independent three-way poll in late August hinted at a shockingly competitive race: 39 percent for Heinrich, 21 percent for Johnson, and just 11 percent for Rich.

And yet Election Day 2018 brought another Libertarian bummer: Heinrich sailed to re-election with a whopping 54 percent of the vote. And no-name, no-charisma Rich doubled up on Johnson, 31 percent to 15 percent. What happened?

Political fear and loathing, it turns out, is no friend to independent and third-party candidates. The most telltale math in New Mexico two weeks before the election was the partisan intensity of early voting. By then, around 15 percent each of registered Democrats (who comprise 45 percent of New Mexico voters) and Republicans (who comprise 29 percent) had already cast a ballot. And the quarter of the voting population that doesn't affiliate with a major party? Only 7 percent of those had voted early.

As we learned in 2016, when voters feel revulsion toward a candidate or party, they are likely to go for the alternative with the best chance to defeat the bad guy. In a high-turnout midterm like 2018, minor parties undershoot their polling projections by massive amounts.

The most anticipated of the 22 Libertarian races for governor, for example, was rising party star Larry Sharpe in New York. An energetic, fast-talking campaigner with a preternatural talent for fundraising, Sharpe brought in an impressive $450,000 in a contest against unloved Democratic incumbent Andrew Cuomo, faceless Republican Marc Molinaro, and two other minor-party candidates. One week before the election, Sharpe confidently predicted to me he'd get at least 10 percent.

Turns out his decimal was in the wrong place. He pulled just 1.6 percent, behind even Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins' 1.7. Yes, the L.P. achieved state ballot access for the first time in history, but that low showing came as a demoralizing shock.

"WTF is going on?" Wisconsin Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Phil Anderson messaged me on election night. And no wonder: In a toss-up race that incumbent Republican Scott Walker eventually lost, Anderson's pre-election polling average of 4.2 percent had collapsed to a barely visible 0.8 percent. Eight Libertarian candidates for governor were polling higher than the Democratic-Republican point spread on election eve; zero repeated the trick once the votes were counted.

It gets worse. The three state legislators who had previously switched from Republican to Libertarian once in office—Nebraska state Sen. Laura Ebke and New Hampshire state Reps. Brandon Phinney and Caleb Dyer—all faced their first election wearing the L, and all lost badly. Mayor Jeff Hewitt of tiny Calimesa, California, took his crusade against the Golden State's overweening and unsustainable public-sector pension system to the campaign for a much larger seat on the Riverside County Board of Supervisors, and was an agonizing 360 votes short as of press time. Insurgent Wyoming state House candidate Bethany Baldes came so close to unseating incumbent Republican Majority Leader David Miller that she was erroneously reported as winner on election night, only to eventually lose by 53 votes.

For those not keen on third-party politics, the above list of disappointments may elicit a shrug. But there were concrete policy plans tethered to these losing Libertarians. Ebke authored what has become the model occupational licensing reform bill in America. Hewitt weaned his city off the state and county fire department bureaucracies and all the unfunded mandates and pensions they require. Phinney helped make it legal for visiting bands to drink on stage in New Hampshire. When allowed to, these candidates inject sorely needed libertarian policy and philosophy into our moribund, statist debates.

While Republicans Rand Paul and Mike Lee are still in the Senate, and Reps. Justin Amash (R–Mich.) and Thomas Massie (R–Ky.) retained their House seats handily, elected libertarianism has rarely looked so defeated.

Libertarians are accustomed to being outnumbered and excel at playing long-game strategies, often far outside the cyclical sugar highs of electoral politics. As bad as 2018 was, 2008 was in many ways worse. But that election also sparked a backlash that brought the Pauls, Massies, and Amashes of the world to Washington.

As disappointing as November 2018 felt for the L.P., the party did emerge in a stronger position for 2020, when it will be the only minor party with a spot on all 50 state ballots. American politics moves fast, so the next two years may yet feature more political libertarianism than we can currently fathom. As hard as that may be to believe after Election Day.

Photo Credit: Logan DeBorde/Unsplash

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    But there were concrete policy plans tethered to these losing Libertarians.

    I think I found the problem.

  • Jerryskids||

    This libertarian plans on continuing spitting into the wind. Look at the comment section even here and it should be obvious that the vast majority of people fear liberty if it means responsibility. They instinctively turn to the comfort of government, knowing there are Responsible Adults and Top Men and Experts to backstop their lives if they should fail at the basic job of taking care of themselves. Like little kids who still trust their parents are omnipotent and there's nothing they can't fix. But whether you worship the Chocolate Jesus or the Cheeto Jesus or whether you still believe that government is full of well-meaning but misguided naifs who might be straightened out with a good dose of reality, you're really putting your trust in a lie. You're still trusting in Santa Claus. Santa Claus ain't sneaking into your room in the middle of the night while you're fast asleep just to leave you presents, Santa's sneaking into your room in the middle of night while you're fast asleep to steal the coins out of your piggy bank 'cause Santa needs a fix and he ain't got no money.

  • Rich||

    Well said. 8-(

    I knew a guy who claimed libertarians could never be a factor in politics, because politics is all about initiating force.

  • Uncle Adolf’s Gas and Grill||

    Look at the comment section even here and it should be obvious that the vast majority of people fear liberty if it means responsibility.

    Looking at the comment section tells me that people are less afraid that liberty means responsibility, but that at least in the libertarian telling, it usually means unilateral disarmerment.

    Apparently the attraction of legal hookers and blow isn't substantial enough to entice most voters to put up with having their neighborhoods turned into circuses, their cities into a cross between war zones and clown world, their countries into third-world shitholes, and their communications monitored and censored by "free market" social media companies.

    And for that, I blame them not in the least.

  • JFree||

    You are proof that fearmongering is VERY effective in herding sheep around.

  • Hank Phillips||

    THAT oughtta put that Weimar Constitution where it belongs!

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    The comment section also shows the LP has a lot of kooks with fringe ideas and theories. One newer poster here has taken to asserting that Iraq was welcome into Kuwait in 1990, and when allied forces liberated Kuwait, that we were in fact invaders, and an unwelcome occupying force. When I corrected this person, pointing out that I was present for those events, and that no one else views history in this manner, I was told I was wrong

    That's the kind of shit that a kook says. If I were coming to Reason for the first time, looking into libertarianism, and I saw opinions like that, it would be a definite turn off.

    Don't even get me started on Hihn.

  • DarrenM||

    legal hookers and blow

    Only if someone else pays for it.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    So, "Adolf", what is your vision for how society ought to be organized? Do tell.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Jeffie wants to import a permanently disenfranchised servant class.

    "Libertarian Moment"

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    Well, let's count the lies:

    "Jeffie wants to import"

    Lie - I don't want to 'import' anyone.

    "a permanently disenfranchised"

    Lie - there is no reason migration should result in permanent disenfranchisement.

    " servant class."

    Lie - I don't believe migrants are doomed to be servants forever.

    And now let's compare this to what you favor: immigration of non-citizens who can't vote either. Huh. So it sure sounds like YOU ALSO want migration of people who can't vote. "Yeah, but that's different somehow!"

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    And why don't you describe to us how you think things ought to be. Give an affirmative vision of your own instead of just griping and complaining about everyone else's.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    See, people like "Adolf", and "buybuy", and lots of other pests around here just come to bitch and moan and complain. They have no affirmative ideas of their own. And if they do, they don't offer them because that would open themselves up to criticism, which they are evidently afraid of.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    We do, but there is no discussion with a whiney, retarded little shitposter like you. Presented with anything other than unlimited open borders and you start whining and crying. Instead of having an adult, intelligent, civilized discussion.

    Most of,us want to secure the border in one fashion or another. Then take a look at reforming our existing immigration procedures as necessary, and devise a more streamlined guest worker program for people who just want to come here and work. Without porous borders, the number of people coming in will need to increase substantially, but probably not as much as it is now counting illegals.

    It's a big job so it will likely take several years to do all of this. Then we can focus our immigraton laws more precisely to suit the needs of this country, and it's citizens, property.

    There's your overview. Although I'm pretty sure how you will respond. You will also likely make the same claim about no one having ideas or a plan against few weeks. Since you do t really retain anything.

  • TLBD||

    Reason, as the leader of libertarian thought, needs to stop pretending everything is peachy and start pointing out the problems so that they can be addressed.

    I think this is one if the biggest problems I have with Reason. Libertarianism isn't winning any battles for minds because too many are far too interested in not ruffling feathers in any party, excepting Republicans, which just makes them another in a long list.

    Also, how about some investigative journalism? Take out some big boys that we all know are corrupt and grow your following.

  • Rich||

    If you like investigative journalism, check out Project Veritas.

  • TLBD||

    Veritas is more about exposing hypocrisy. Like undercover Robby. Which is fine, but not what I'm talking about.

    I'm talking about exposing corruption and using that to further libertarianism.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Ironically, undercover Robby's greatest feat was to expose undercover Project Veritas.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Well, that James O'Keefe fekkow is a big meanie to leftists.

  • Juice||

    the leader of libertarian thought

    orly?

  • TLBD||

    If the layman happens to know anything about libertarianism, they know Reason.

    That was what I meant, you're right that it didnt come out the way intended.

  • Nardz||

    Pop libertarianism
    That's Reason, at least the most generous way to describe it (as opposed to calling it out for being crypto-progressive)

  • SIV||

    While Republicans Rand Paul and Mike Lee are still in the Senate, and Reps. Justin Amash (R–Mich.) and Thomas Massie (R–Ky.) retained their House seats handily, elected libertarianism has rarely looked so defeated.

    They're all Republicans. Not one Libertarian in the bunch.

  • TLBD||

    Paul and Massie are more libertarian than most writers at Reason. Amash would fit in well here with his extreme form of TDS. Lee seems to be a Republican to me, though.

  • Robert||

    But Dana Rohrabacher, about whom the same could be said, lost.

  • SIV||

    Did Rohrabacher have an LP challenger?

  • MJBinAL||

    ^THIS^ is why libertarianism is going nowhere fast.

    Libertarianism is not something that you can check yes/no blocks and pass a test to achieve. Anarchism is, because "all government is bad" and "all restrictions on ME are bad" is an absolute,and is anarchism, not libertarianism.

    Libertarians share the idealist objectives of anarchists, but recognize the reality that requires nation-states, some government structures, and borders that help define the nation-state and the citizenship associated with it.

    This means, that good libertarians are going to disagree exactly how much government, exactly how rigid the border, and exactly what defines a citizen. In other words, good libertarians are going to agree on ideals and differ on implementation and limits on how close to the ideal is practical.

  • MJBinAL||

    If you can't get your head around this, then your "approved" and "true" "libertarians" are going to be politically considered wack jobs never seriously considered by most people. I wish that were not true, because I believe a more libertarian society is wildly superior.

    Paul and Massie are libertarians who are members of the GOP. They are not anarchists, they are libertarians. In that they don't agree with me, or you, all of the time, but our core principles are much the same. They are members of the GOP because it is the only way a libertarian can get elected.

    Gary Johnson got elected as a Republican. His views did not change, but as a Libertarian he got spanked. I hope this changes, but don't believe we are going to live that long.

  • StackOfCoins||

    "Paul and Massie are libertarians who are members of the GOP. They are not anarchists, they are libertarians. In that they don't agree with me, or you, all of the time, but our core principles are much the same. They are members of the GOP because it is the only way a libertarian can get elected."

    This is the sad reality. Though the GOP is hopelessly misguided on several issues, it is still the most liberty-friendly of the two on average; by this virtue it is the party that is easiest to graft libertarian philosophy onto. The voters don't really care about policy beyond pet issues; just whether or not the party in power is going to fuck them.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    What is sad is the idea that the party of Ted Cruz, Jerry Falwell, Donald Trump, Steve King, Louie Gohmert, and Roy Moore is mistaken for or claimed to be "liberty-friendly" by ostensible adults.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "I so hate Americans"

  • DarrenM||

    The larger a political party gets, the more involved in implementation, limits, and other practical considerations it becomes. This is a natural brake on the growth of a party that focuses on "ideals".

  • Alive Free Happy||

    Hewitt won despite the LPCa who's officers have harassed the activists helping his campaign with thugs, secret prosecutions and disrupting their personal lives (their families and jobs) in order to push them off. If you are an activist or a donor stay FAR AWAY from those guys.

  • Alive Free Happy||

    Hewitt won despite the LPCa who's officers have harassed the activists helping his campaign with thugs, secret prosecutions and disrupting their personal lives (their families and jobs) in order to push them off. If you are an activist or a donor stay FAR AWAY from those guys.

  • AJ_Liberty||

    "Phinney helped make it legal for visiting bands to drink on stage in New Hampshire."

    For a second I thought this was satire.

    The challenge for the LP is that it is too easy for it to be caricatured. I applaud efforts to make our society more libertarian but the sad reality is our society is not very libertarian. Strong majorities love social security and medicare....they love having the biggest military and opposing rogue regimes....even some level of minimum wage has broad appeal. This becomes one big marketing dilemma. Most people like that there isn't a red light district that their kids have to walk through to get to school....or that cocaine isn't available at the corner store. People like safety nets....because you never know. So the LP problem is strategic...do you chip away at this edifice or do you threaten to demolish the whole thing. People are easily scared....and angered. The LP needs to simplify its message....honing in on a handful of initiatives that have some broad appeal. They need to set aside some of the more ambitious goals by admitting that society is not yet ready for them (the message should be baby steps). The electorate isn't going to go cold turkey....and they will want proof that the LP can actually govern. My sad prediction is that we will have to suffer an economic crash before we re-think how we as a society spend other people's money....

  • JFree||

    This 100%. We have the level of fear/insecurity in our politics that would make one think the US is some teeny village surrounded by cannibalistic barbarians with more advanced weaponry and an attitude. And that level of fear is unfortunately implanted there by mass messaging that uses the most advanced knowledge we have of what the human animal is and how our brains work - to turn us INTO that basic animal rather than lift us from that.

    Hard to know what the solution is

  • Robert||

    The challenge for the LP is that it is too easy for it to be caricatured,


    All small parties are if they're either ideologic or associated with a guru or identifiable interest group.

    It's been evident for a long time that, in the USA at least, libertarians don't benefit by having our own political party. We do a lot better mixed into larger bodies not primarily identified w us. We need the help of other interests, just as other interests need the help of each other & of us.

  • Robert||

    See the essays linked from the bottom bullets of http://users.bestweb.net/~robgood/political.html . They were written ~15 YA, by which time I'd realized LP was a mistake. Many libertarians thought so at the very beginning, many more after just a few yrs., but I needed more evidence. The evidence keeps piling higher that activist libertarians in the USA shouldn't have a political party of our own, but should operate by other means.

    Some of us should operate mostly not-directly-political organiz'ns & projects that advocate radical change. Others of us should be involved primarily in either directly-political or indirectly-political organiz'ns (such as the major political parties) & work for marginal gains, and/or vs. marginal losses.

  • Gaffer Tape||

    Just want to say that those are some very persuasive articles. I don't have a radically different view from you regarding the LP and party politics in general, so maybe I'm just a choir being preached to, but you definitely pushed me further in that direction.

  • CE||

    Start a party around which the brave and honest can repair. Eventually they will come to their senses and join us.

  • Robert||

    the sad reality is our society is not very libertarian.


    No! Our society is extremely libertarian if you grade on a fair scale, comparing to the rest of the world & all of hx—let alone on an absolute scale running from worst to best conceivable. It's only "not very libertarian" compared to that ideal in your head.

    Shit, that's like saying our society is not very rich because we don't have infinite wealth, not very cold because it's not an ice age, not very warm because Earth isn't molten.

    You couldn't possibly list all the things you're allowed to do, the myriad choices you make every min. that nobody even thinks of interfering w. Freedom is vast. Think of every possession you have that has not been stolen; think of all your neighbors who aren't even thinking about stealing them from you.

  • AJ_Liberty||

    "Shit, that's like saying our society is not very rich because we don't have infinite wealth"

    I am talking about the size and scope of government. Yes, most of the world is even more socialized and is more controlling of behavior. But let's not take that observation too far: is social security libertarian? How about Medicare/Medicaid and the myriad agencies that administer welfare of various forms? How about the numerous three-letter agencies that regulate all matters economic and beyond? Libertarian? Is massive military spending libertarian? Exactly how much of the US budget and its $1T deficit is libertarian? It's not an indictment but a realistic look that most in our country prefer safety nets of some sort over charity and rugged individualism. So...no...your quote above is not at all like what I am saying....

  • Robert||

    How much total of your $ are they taking? If it's less than half, that means you're mostly free, doesn't it? You can't conceive of their taking everything you have, & never letting you have a single thing from then on? Then you're not grading on a scale that starts at 0.

    Even if you want to grade on a curve normed to the present, do it worldwide. Are there any countries that don't have SS? How many don't have socialized medicine? The only reason they don't have massive military spending is either (1) the USA's doing it for them, or (2) they don't trust that many of their people to have guns & military ttraining!

    And if you norm the curve to hx, the present comes out well above the norm. How about when you had to be in the official religion? How about when we were cannibals, literally eating our neighbors?

  • buybuydandavis||

    " but the sad reality is our society is not very libertarian."

    Importing tens of millions of people from even less libertarian countries is sure to improve that.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    I value libertarians as gadflies, and as critics of other parties which bring actual theories of government to the ballot box.

    The possibility of libertarian government seems vanishingly remote. Libertarians offer no theory of government. They can't expect to govern until they dispose of a paradox at the heart of their movement—being that since the invention of national government, no considerable national government has ever been constituted except by a sovereign—and libertarians reject on paradoxical principle the notion of sovereign power.

    Libertarians, more than any others, prize limitations of government. But they never seem to ask themselves where the power to limit government is to be found. In all cases of limited government yet known, the answer has been that limitations of government come from a sovereign acting at pleasure, imposing rights by exercise of powers limited by geographic extent, and not otherwise.

    Libertarians reject that as an abhorrent and unprincipled notion. But it isn't a notion at all. It is a fact of history.

    Nothing says there can't be something new to history, created and made to work according to new rules, from which new political experience might be derived. Libertarians who wish to govern need to understand that finding that new thing is the task they set for themselves. For now, there is no sign that libertarians have even thought to try.

  • TLBD||

    This is where we need to separate ourselves from our anarchist friends.

    The sad reality is that if markets worked the way many libertarians suppose, we wouldn't have government because a better idea would have surfaced and dominated.

    Human nature is the variable that is too often ignored. Libertarians should continually seek the least amount of government possible, and that is what they should run on. Ultimately, because all data points to that being best for society and prosperity.

  • TLBD||

    Point being, the principles will come to the populace after it is shown to work. Trying to push the NAP first and asking others to trust that it works is backwards and will never get us anywhere. People want proof, and if we're going to try something different they dont want someone who is dogmatic, where they know they would burn down the world for their ideas.

  • U. R. Huyulov||

    Markets only "work" to the extent that violence is not an option. That's pretty well understood in libertarian circles. As violence is always an option in the underlying anarchy of the world, that means markets can only start working when there is something preventing violence, which usually means some form of government.

  • IceTrey||

    Every adult being armed at all times wouldn't prevent violence?

  • U. R. Huyulov||

    No, it wouldn't. Some of those adults would use their arms to commit violence against others. Some people would have more or better arms, and be better at using their arms than others.

    Don't get me wrong. I'm for gun rights and the universal exercise of them. But that has to be coupled with an overarching authority that punishes the initiation of force. Individual gun rights are not a substitute.

  • IceTrey||

    Anyone who committed violence would be shot to death by those defending themselves.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    What if the aggressor is a much quicker and better shot? Didn't you ever watch any westerns?

  • IceTrey||

    The 20 other people standing around would shoot them.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Who is to say there will be twenty other people always standing around? What if your assailant has buddies?

    Once again, didn't you ever watch a western? Those types of films cover all that stuff. Amd you're fixing deluded if you think individually arming everyone will remove all need for govern,ent law enforcement.

    Even seriously saying that kind of shit hurts the brand. It sounds like something kooks and fringe party people say.

  • StackOfCoins||

    It's not a question of power but authority. In an authority vacuum, someone with power will fill the gap, and become a de-facto ruler.

    That is why a Constitutionally limited government is so important to liberty. Everyone agrees to trade some small portion of their absolute autonomy with the understanding that everyone else will. And if one initiates force the government is supposed to act to stop it.

    Unfortunately the government is now so large that it has become a monster in it's own right.

  • MJBinAL||

    And here is where many of our anarchist friends who believe themselves to be libertarians run into a fundamental issue.

    "Constitutionally limited government is so important to liberty"

    Government, requires the nation, the nation requires citizens and borders. They are fundamental to it's existence and to have a "constitutionally limited government" requires having a government.

    If, you decide to grant sovereign power to a king, emperor, or the like, you can waive the citizenship issue since everyone within the borders is under his power. But if, you want limited government with that limit being the concept of the citizens owning all rights, with limited rights delegated to the government, then you are going to need to define and limit citizenship.

    This is what is going on in Europe in truth. The nations of Europe are being turned into states. This is why the EU wants it's own army, and it wants all "national" borders open. Those are internal borders, not national borders to the EU. They still want to control the external borders of the EU. The citizens of the UK know this in their hearts and it is the core of the drive for Brexit.

  • DarrenM||

    Government regulation and legislation should be focused mainly on providing a framework for people to live securely without having to worry about violence from others. Too often, the government goes too far and attempts to tell people what to actually do and think. In a way, it's like those organizations set up to solve a specific problem. When the problem is solved or at least minimized, it looks for or creates new problems to justify its own existence and the expansion of its power and influence.

  • CE||

    All the historical data point to government growing uncontrollably until it collapses.

  • JFree||

    There are plenty of examples in the world of more-limited and restrained government than the US - and bluntly of governments that allow for a freer people than the US.

    Libertarians would do well to close the fucking books/theories - and pay more attention to what actually does work in the real world. That still unfortunately doesn't address the bigger problem of getting the American people on board with what does work - but it does at least allow for the electoral strategy of starting small and local where there is a chance of convincing one small group of Americans at a time. The focus on theories/abstraction is itself a sign of immaturity and fear.

  • U. R. Huyulov||

    There are plenty of examples in the world of more-limited and restrained government than the US - and bluntly of governments that allow for a freer people than the US.

    Can you name one of those examples?

  • JFree||

    Switzerland, New Zealand, Ireland. There's a ton in any of the subset categories where the US almost never actually ranks first anymore.

  • JFree||

    Switzerland in particular even has an identifiable political party - FDP.Liberals - that would be an example for the LP to follow if they want to move in a more inclusive pragmatic/Nolan-quiz type direction.

  • U. R. Huyulov||

    Oh, so you're going by "subset categories"? As in "Netherlands allows free hookers and blow, so they're more libertarian than the US. Never mind that you have no gun rights and can have your house raided at 3am for making an anti-immigration post on Facebook."

    If you look at the overall picture the US is far and away the most liberty friendly country in the world. And those rankings are generally bullshit with the metrics and criteria selected and weighted to favor the countries that the ranking organization wishes others to emulate (usually western Europe).

  • MJBinAL||

    Well said U.R.

  • JFree||

    If you look at the overall picture the US is far and away the most liberty friendly country in the world.

    Fine. Then I will turn your question on you. Name ONE evidence-based source for that assertion.

  • Robert||

    People keep coming.

  • StackOfCoins||

    I would refer you to the text of the Constitution.

  • Uncle Adolf’s Gas and Grill||

    A whack of the clue bat: If you want a government like Lichtenstein, you might want to start with a population of similar low time preference temperament and high-trust culture and strong social cohesion as that of Lichtenstein. Importing the population of Guatemala is probably not going to be helpful in that pursuit.

    Given that that ship has long sailed for the United States, the current population is highly unlikely to be able to implement a libertarian society, let alone sustain one. I would very much like to see a blueprint for establishing a libertarian Detroit, and would very much like to be as far away as possible should some idiot actually attempt to implement it.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Many of the libertarians here favor an i migration policy that is suicide to libertarianism.

  • StackOfCoins||

    That would be the cosmos, which happen to be most of the writers. The actual libertarians here in the comments are aware of the problems of letting people flood the country.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Thank God, because open borders is a disaster.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Where "actual libertarians" = Libertarians For Authoritarian, Bigoted, Cruel Immigration Practices.

    That group generally meets right after Libertarians For Statist Womb Management and Libertarians For Tariffs And Protectionism.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "If only America didn't have so many Americans!"

  • DarrenM||

    Pick a state, then push for a more parliamentarian style of government. There is absolutely no reason any state government has to be modeled on the structure of the Federal government. Maybe California, since it's dominated by one party.

  • IceTrey||

    Government is the means by which we place the retaliatory use-of-force under objective law. The power to limit government is found in the people. The problem is the government initiating force. The solution is to prohibit it from doing so. It's not that hard to understand.

  • U. R. Huyulov||

    The government needs to initiate force to fund itself.

  • IceTrey||

  • U. R. Huyulov||

    That's a good humor site. The trust fund and user fee options still require initiation of force. The donation option is just laughable -- nobody would donate. The citizenship fee is also not going to bring in enough money because there are basically no benefits to being a citizen in that scenario -- you get to vote or run for office in a powerless government. Voting is basically worthless even with our current government!

  • StackOfCoins||

    "The citizenship fee is also not going to bring in enough money because there are basically no benefits to being a citizen in that scenario -- you get to vote or run for office in a powerless government. Voting is basically worthless even with our current government!"
    And yet, people vote, because it is free to do so, and they get to act like entitled children for one brief moment of one day. Any scheme that reduces the pool of voters to those who must take an extra step would be a good idea. A fee is one such scheme, but to fund even a government limited to it's proper role, it would have to be substantial. If it were too low, it would just perpetuate the problem of too many ill-informed people voting.

    Military service is probably a better filter for voting rights. If you have skin in the game, you get to play politics. It would have neatly disposed of such poor leaders (and would-be leaders) as Obama, Clinton, Trump, Sanders, etc.

  • MJBinAL||

    The founding fathers were inclined to make voting a right attained by owning real property. People who owned property, paid taxes, there being no income tax for example.

    So, how about, in order to vote in federal elections you must be a net federal tax payer. If you are not funding the government, you don't have any skin in the game of how it spends that money.

    Ms. Cortez would still be tending bar I suspect.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    So, how about, in order to vote in federal elections you must be a net federal tax payer.

    Applying that standard at the state level would improve our electorate by preventing votes from Alabama, Mississippi, and a dozen other red states. We could have accomplished something similar by making the Confederacy a string of unincorporated territories.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    So, how about, in order to vote in federal elections you must be a net federal tax payer.

    Applying that standard at the state level would improve our electorate by preventing votes from Alabama, Mississippi, and a dozen other red states. We could have accomplished something similar by making the Confederacy a string of unincorporated territories.

  • IceTrey||

    It wouldn't really matter since the government couldn't initiate force no ones rights would be in jeopardy.

  • StackOfCoins||

    In an anarchist society, everyone's "rights" are in jeopardy because there is no one guarding rights. It's everyone for themselves; or ad-hoc organizations with varying levels of security.

    In such a society, private actors are very capable of denying another's rights.

  • IceTrey||

    Opinions are like assholes everyone has one.

  • CE||

    It's a flawed structure, because the government starts by stealing your money and assuming control over everyone. It doesn't protect your rights, it's the biggest violator of your rights, week after week.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Whining Gee-Oh-Pee defeatism. While the GOP was licking the blacking off their boots with offers to close saloons and allow Klan lynching, the Prohibition party racked up 1.4% of the vote election after election. Eleven such elections took the Communist Manifesto progressive capitation income tax and put it into the Constitution. One point 4 percent of the vote amended the Constitution to make beer a felony in the space of 44 years. The LP through its spoiler votes has already legalized pregnancy termination, stopped the personnel growth of the general government, frozen conscription, deregulated air travel and is currently rolling back superstitious laws banning plant leaves. This is the fastest growing party to cover the spoiler vote gap with 4 million votes!

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Do you understand that your wacko rants are like libertarian kryptonian for potential converts? We need more warm bodies voting LP or at least for things that are LP friendly.

    I can eat people to read a Stossel articles, or watch one of his videos, but then I cringe at the idea they might be exposed to any of the bizarre infantile shit you spew. Or get a look at a Dhoaman article, or Shikha.

    But you just can't help yourself, can you?

  • Fancylad||

    GOP was licking the blacking off their boots with offers to close saloons and allow Klan lynching
    Why would they do that? In all three incarnations, from 1866 until the 1970's, the Ku Klux Klan was the paramilitary wing of the Democratic Party.

  • a ab abc abcd abcde abcdef ahf||

    Tired old refrain is still true: Government intrudes into our daily lives so much that most problems are better handled by diverting government bureaucratic attention on others instead of us -- "Oh look, a shiny code violation" -- "Oh look, advertising signs too big" -- "Oh look, they allowed Russians to advertise" -- "Oh look, he sold stock a week before he closed factories" -- on and on, the examples are legion.

    Government is too intrusive in our own lives to unilaterally disarm by voting to surrender any of our government benefits and influence without other people simultaneously surrendering theirs.

    Politicians and the bureaucratic system are far too corrupt and inbred for anyone to believe that government can be reduced across the board.

    The only solution I can imagine is local control. Start with school boards -- reduce school waste. After a few years of experience and proof-of-pudding, advance to county supervisors and city councils. Establish a track record of competent and fair budget cutting.

  • IceTrey||

    Prohibit government from initiating force. Fixed.

  • a ab abc abcd abcde abcdef ahf||

    Some car races try to keep competitive by controlling the technology -- gas tank size, tire types, air intake size, etc etc etc.

    I like the ones that have a basic rule -- after each race, any car can be sold for some flat value. No matter how much a team puts into their car, if anyone else wants to buy it for, say, $10K or $1M, it has to be sold. This is a natural deterrent to winning races by outspending everybody else, makes races more about good drivers than expensive cars, and almost certainly makes the public more interested in watching races.

    One of my fantasy reforms for government is the same. All government projects have their own independent revenue source and all budgeting must be entirely transparent. Any private entity can buy any project at any time at the actual price.

    I have faith in government incompetence and market accountability, and believe there is not a single government project which would not do better as a private entity -- more efficient, more useful.

    I knew a company which specialized in buying other companies' failed product lines. As an example, one had a web email service running off NT servers. When this company bought it, they migrated it to Linux servers. The increased reliability meant they could fire the people who spent all day rebooting the crashed NT servers. The increased throughput meant they didn't need as many servers for the same load.

    Bringing this kind of market accountability to government would do wonders.

  • Robert||

    How you going to do that, when the voters want gov't to initiate force? At least the letter man has a plan for winning their trust. Once you have their trust, they're more likely to let you do what you want.

  • IceTrey||

    I'd start with a 28th amendment, "The government may not initiate force."

  • Robert||

    How are you going to get that, when the voters don't want such an amendment?

    You're like answering the riddle, how do you fit 6 elephants in a Volkswagen? A: 2 in the front, 3 in the back, 1 in the glove compartment.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Shout it in the streets.

    "fixed"

  • CE||

    Local control? Ever met an HOA board and the people who want to be on them?

  • Qsl||

    The admonishment from Munger I think holds true- that there is a de facto distinction between destinational libertarianism and directional libertarianism. One of these is a utopian project, making the perfect the enemy of the good. The other, faced with the cruel realization that libertarianism will almost always be a fringe proposition, tries to make the best of the cards they've been dealt. I see the term cosmotarian bandied about.

    And while there may be times when destinational libertarianism can make some inroads towards government, generally it is "standing on principle", which is effectively capitulating that it will have absolutely no say in crafting policy. Agree with us on everything or we will help you with nothing.

    Libertarians are their own worst enemies.

  • TLBD||

    I think the cosmos get (and deserve) shit because their view of directional libertarianism flows through modern progressivism.

    It makes no sense to most of us libertarians, because if directional, why are they starting on the side that is far more illiberal? Far less likely to implement market based policies? This is where Reason is fucking up consistently, and this is why we've had mass exoduses from this place.

  • U. R. Huyulov||

    Reason is not fucking up, at least in the short term. There is a lot of money in opposing Trump and populism in general. "He who pays the piper calls the tune."

    Long term they're in trouble, because Trump will be gone soon and with him the anti-Trump dollars.

  • buybuydandavis||

    It would be interesting to see their books, but I suspect most of their funding is from corporate money and not from the AntiTrumpers.

    The NeverTrumpers can't even afford a sandbox for Bill Kristol to play in anymore. I doubt that Egg McMuffin is sending Reason any checks.

    Does anyone think the AntiTrumper pomos send money to Reason? Most of them consider libertarians Nazis, and that won't change no matter how much they cheer for open border and legalized weed.

    And it looks like sex work cheerleading is increasingly a minus, as the pomos go Marxist victorian.

  • buybuydandavis||

    It would be interesting to see their books, but I suspect most of their funding is from corporate money and not from the AntiTrumpers.

    The NeverTrumpers can't even afford a sandbox for Bill Kristol to play in anymore. I doubt that Egg McMuffin is sending Reason any checks.

    Does anyone think the AntiTrumper pomos send money to Reason? Most of them consider libertarians Nazis, and that won't change no matter how much they cheer for open border and legalized weed.

    And it looks like sex work cheerleading is increasingly a minus, as the pomos go Marxist victorian.

  • buybuydandavis||

    It would be interesting to see their books, but I suspect most of their funding is from corporate money and not from the AntiTrumpers.

    The NeverTrumpers can't even afford a sandbox for Bill Kristol to play in anymore. I doubt that Egg McMuffin is sending Reason any checks.

    Does anyone think the AntiTrumper pomos send money to Reason? Most of them consider libertarians Nazis, and that won't change no matter how much they cheer for open border and legalized weed.

    And it looks like sex work cheerleading is increasingly a minus, as the pomos go Marxist victorian.

  • Qsl||

    There is a reason why progressivism has more traction than let's say white nationalism- it speaks to people's concerns. For better or worse, it is the 800 pound gorilla in the room, and eliminating them from every facet of society probably isn't practical.

    To that end, it isn't libertarians you have to convince that market based policies would work better- it's progressives. And you don't even get to have that conversation until you are speaking on their terms.

    While Reason could devote more time to the nuts and bolts of libertarianism, let's not kid ourselves that they've become Huffington Post-lite. I don't agree with all the articles either, but not all of them are directed at me.

  • U. R. Huyulov||

    You don't think "white nationalism" speaks to people's concerns? That would explain why you are so confused about these things. Not surprising as you refer to leftists by their chosen euphemism while labeling the other group with the epithet chosen by their opponents.

    There are a lot of white people who are afraid of being replaced. They are sick of seeing themselves demonized by the powers that be. They feel they have no say in matters, with all sorts of shit they don't want (such as transgender bullshit) being forced down their throats by the powers that be, using whatever tools they have available (activist judges, corporate power, etc).

    You don't have to agree with those sentiments, but to pretend they don't exist is just wrong.

  • Qsl||

    Oh great, I''m being language policed by the anti-SJW crowd.

  • U. R. Huyulov||

    That's all you have for a response? Sad.

  • Qsl||

    That's all you have for a sense of humor?

    Even sadder.

    My response is actually perfectly encapsulated by AJ_Liberty further down. Notice the words tactical and pragmatic, and how that fits within the overarching theme of directional libertarianism, while still being closer to libertarian ideals than "let's spend a fuckton of money on a wall".

  • Robert||

    He was giving white nationalism as an example of something other than progism, that's all. He could've used vegetarianism or alcoholism. & he didn't say those sentiments don't exist, just that they're less powerful than progism.

  • U. R. Huyulov||

    Nice try, but that doesn't fit what he said. Given that he didn't make that argument when I questioned him, but rather attempted the usual proggie excuse that it was "humor", I ain't buying that.

  • TLBD||

    White nationalism is barely a thing, so your point is useless.

  • Robert||

    No, that was his pt.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "To that end, it isn't libertarians you have to convince that market based policies would work better- it's progressives."

    Good luck with that. Progressivism is government of, by, and for the government class.

  • MJBinAL||

    Good point, it is worth noticing that the few libertarians elected, have been elected as members of the GOP.

    As bad as the GOP is, there is a current in the GOP that gives lip service to small government and actually does believe that you can boost economic performance by reducing taxes on those who pay them. There is some philosophical common ground.

    The Progressive (Democrat) party has some policies that some destinational libertarians and anarchists like, but the philosophies behind them are totally different. The Progressives believe that the government CAN close the borders, and deport every entrant, but they prefer that not happen because they believe it will benefit them electorally. You might note that if they are right, opening those borders will make libertarian policies MORE difficult to implement, not less.

    The lack of strategic thinking bothers me, the thinking about, "if we do that NOW, will it make it more likely to progress toward a libertarian society in the long run, or less?".

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    The de coral party, as currently run by the socialists. Is an existential threat to our constitutional republic. They should be treated as such. They are not a group that acts in good faith, nor ar they an entity to be bargained with.

    They are the enemy within. Period.

  • CE||

    Even Hayek pointed out that liberals are more likely to move in a libertarian direction than conservatives. Liberals are open to change and trying new things. Conservatives are natural authoritarians who cling to the past. It is a happy accident of history that the USA was a limited government Constitutional Republic at it's founding.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Turns out Hayek was wrong.

  • U. R. Huyulov||

    You can wield influence by having a lot of voters or by having a lot of money. If you don't have either of those, your choices are to stick to your principles but have no ability to advance them, or compromise your principles to align with a group that does have voters or money, in which case you have no ability to advance your principles either since you must remain aligned with that other group's principles.

    This idea that we can piggyback on the Republicans or (as with cosmotarians) the Democrats and divert them even slightly in the direction of liberty is a fantasy. If you don't bring the bodies or bucks to the table, they have no reason to change anything to please you. Whitepapers don't fucking count.

    The best path at this point is to align with the powerful group that has the least anti-liberty tendencies, while trying to convert more people to favoring liberty with its consequences. It is clear to anyone with half a brain that the party with more respect for liberty is the GOP at this point in time. Which makes the cosmos sucking up to the Dems all the more galling.

  • Qsl||

    Somehow having better, more workable policies is absent from your analysis. Oh, wait, whitepapers...

    Let's not forget the parable of The Great Orange Hope (or BernieBros, take your pick), who was actively derided and despised by his own party, raised less money than Hilary, and yet here we are.

    Let us also not forget how Ron Paul was completely fucked over by the GOP.

    Certainly work with republicans as much as possible, but fealty to them is probably isn't in the cards anymore.

    Something something something spoiler vote and what have you done for me lately?

  • U. R. Huyulov||

    Somehow having better, more workable policies is absent from your analysis.

    Yes, because nobody cares about that. Voters and dollars (and to some extent media influence) are what matter in politics. Policy only matters to the extent that it wins you voters, dollars, and good press. Which means the policy has to be seen as causing an improvement AND you have to get credit for it. Neither of which are going to be true for the incremental policy improvements you're suggesting. The results will be hard for ordinary people to perceive, harder for them to understand the cause of, and even if they do, the powerful groups who you worked with are going to grab the credit.

  • Qsl||

    What does it matter to me if a Republican or Democrat or the LP proper gets credit for moving in a more libertarian direction?

    I'd say that is the best of all possible worlds.

  • U. R. Huyulov||

    Because the Republican or Democrat who gets the credit is going to use it to gain more power.

  • Robert||

    But when they gain more power, so do we.

  • U. R. Huyulov||

    But when they gain more power, so do we.

    That's intended as a joke, right?

  • Robert||

    No. Pols trade favors for favors. It's proportional, so small favors are repaid only small-ly, but what do you want?

  • Robert||

    Policy only matters to the extent that it wins you voters, dollars, and good press. Which means the policy has to be seen as causing an improvement AND you have to get credit for it. Neither of which are going to be true for the incremental policy improvements you're suggesting. The results will be hard for ordinary people to perceive, harder for them to understand the cause of, and even if they do, the powerful groups who you worked with are going to grab the credit.


    So? That's how everybody else has always advanced. We can too.

    There's nothing special about our desires that make them infeasible politically. Everybody's desires are! So they all get, at best, just a little of what they want. Let's make sure we get ours, & see if we can be the go-getters who can get more than our share of what we want—in our case, liberty.

    Actually I think we already have. We have more freedom in our country than our power would suggest. We're already punching above our wt. It's just that you don't recognize it, or are ungrateful for it.

  • U. R. Huyulov||

    There's nothing special about our desires that make them infeasible politically.

    Yes, there is. Libertarians are giving nobody any free shit. Libertarians are not telling anybody that they will ban the things those people don't like.

    Those are the two primary things that people want government to do.

  • Robert||

    So? We're giving them back their own stuff & letting them do what they want. Even the people who want other people's shit also want their own, & even the people who want to ban the things they don't like don't want to ban the things they do like. Seems like an equal contest to me. What more could you want?

  • U. R. Huyulov||

    Let's not forget the parable of The Great Orange Hope (or BernieBros, take your pick), who was actively derided and despised by his own party, raised less money than Hilary, and yet here we are.

    Trump had the voters. He was despised by the establishment, but not by the rank and file GOP. He won the primaries because he had long-frustrated GOP voters eating out of his hand. He won the general (barely, and not in the popular vote) because Hilary had few enthusiasts and alienated so many voters.

    If libertarians want to replicate the success of Trump, they need to get into the hearts and minds of a large number of voters like he did, and have some luck in their opponents as he did. There's no evidence they have that in them.

    I don't support fealty to the GOP, just recognize that they are far less anti-liberty than the Dems right now. If that changes in the future I would consider supporting the Dems (or some other powerful group). But at this point trying to steer the Dems toward liberty is throwing pearls before swine.

  • Qsl||

    "Of the nearly 700 counties that twice sent Obama to the White House, a stunning one-third flipped to support Trump."

    https://tinyurl.com/y6u4p5un

    Rank and file GOP you say?

    Something something something spoiler vote and what have you done for me lately?

  • U. R. Huyulov||

    You're the king of the non sequitur, aren't you?

    Trump had the rank and file GOP on his side. Picking up counties that voted for Obama does not contradict that fact.

  • Qsl||

    There's a reason they're called swing states, son. I leave it to your ineffable wisdom to deuce what that could possibly mean, and that might change the outcome of an election.

    The point being there was possibly more than getting the rank and file riled enough to simultaneously invoke never Trumpers and getting out the vote.

    And if you have a memory that goes back farther than last year, Trump would be more accurately described as populist than GOP.

    In short, a half lie is still a lie.

    Clear enough for you?

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Trump had the voters.

    Trump had the downscale, rural, superstitious, disaffected, poorly educated voters.

    That, coupled with our system's structural amplification of yahoo voices, enabled him to use a two-cushion Electoral College bank shot to effect a longshot victory.

    America's electorate is improving in ways that threaten the Republican Party. A libertarian should applaud this, unless we are discussing Libertarians For Statist Womb Management, Libertarians For Drug Warriors, Libertarians For Military Belligerence, Libertarians For Government Gay-Bashing, Libertarians For Government Micromanagement Of Ladyparts Clinics, Libertarians For Tariffs And Protectionism, Libertarians For Prayer In School, and other authoritarian right-wingers in unconvincing libertarian drag.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Arty, conservatives and libertarians are better educated than leftists. Proven fact.

  • Robert||

    Trump had the downscale, rural, superstitious, disaffected, poorly educated voters.


    So? Is he complaining? Wah, your voters are classier than mine!?

  • IceTrey||

    He won by 70 votes that's a solid victory. Hillary didn't win one swing state.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    You think Hillary would have done better I swing states, as she is married to a swinger.

  • Robert||

    If libertarians want to replicate the success of Trump, they need to get into the hearts and minds of a large number of voters like he did, and have some luck in their opponents as he did. There's no evidence they have that in them.


    There was no evidence Trump had that in him before he proved it. If Trump, or Fujimori, or other examples around the world I could probably think of, can come seemingly out of nowhere to do it, anybody can. How about Hitler? Putin?

  • IceTrey||

    Actually Hitler lost his one Presidential election. He was appointed Chancellor.

  • Robert||

    But the point was, that didn't happen w/o some work on the part of him & his supporters. Whatever it took, they got it done, even though nobody would've predicted that.

  • U. R. Huyulov||

    But there is a clear explanation for how Trump did it, as unlikely as it was. He told the GOP base what they wanted to hear on immigration and other issues, and when the media shrieked about being racist, misogynist, etc., he told them to fuck off. After decades of the GOP leadership giving in to pretty much any Democrat demands to avoid bad press, that was something that delighted the GOP base. Then he had one opponent in the general election, who ran possibly the most incompetent major party presidential campaign in history.

    There is absolutely no clear path for how an LP candidate can win the presidency. Hell, even when the LP candidate got free media attention -- the thing that libertarians have been craving for decades -- he managed to turn it into a negative for the party.

  • Robert||

    You saying Hillary's campaign was less competent than Goldwater's?!

  • AJ_Liberty||

    The LP had a generational opportunity to be relevant in 2016.....two major-party candidates with huge negatives....and with flawed messages. They needed to avoid an Aleppo moment....find a key issue that people could get behind....and avoid coming across as Cheech and Chong. Well....let's just say praising Hillary Clinton's government service was an unexpected tactical choice. They should have said....Hillary is a criminal....Trump is an unqualified narcissist.....we were governors and won't fuck this up. Maybe with our politics swinging to more extremes we will see another opportunity soon.....who knows....maybe Trump v. Oprah in 2020....The key is to not waste the limited opportunity in the spot light to act like a weirdo....or not ready for prime time.

  • CE||

    Johnson-Weld got 3 percent of the vote. Not much, but triple the best LP tickets of the past.

    Had they run a flawless campaign, maybe they crack 5 percent.

    The Red/Blue guys were terrible candidates, but that just kept Blue/Red voters fearful of letting the other terrible candidate win if they strayed to the LP.

  • JFree||

    two major-party candidates with huge negatives

    Voters who view their choice in negative terms are the most loyal DeRps around. Because negative campaigning - aka fearmongering - is the most effective form of manipulative propaganda. Make someone anxious or insecure about something and they will immediately throw away any aspirational thoughts. When a prairie dog sees a hawk, its first reaction is not to contemplate liberty but to race to the burrow it knows.

    THAT was actually the 2016 political environment. It is the ideal environment for the status quo to assert itself and eliminate alternatives. Not by making a rational pre-frontal lobe argument but by invoking the limbic instinct for self-preservation and risk-avoidance.

    In that environment - assuming that there isn't actually some existential threat - the only tactic for a third-party (inherently 'riskier' because it isn't already known) is to play. To demonstrate by its actions that things aren't actually dangerous/threatening.

    It's why I think the best campaign strategy for the LP is to have 'events' that SHOW what liberty can be like. Markets that can sell granny's unapproved homemade applesauce, where the unlicensed can cut hair, where cryptocurrency types can sell their version of money, etc.

  • JFree||

    And if that means the LP itself has to run point with the city/county to get the variances and exemptions to allow that event to take place -- well that is EXACTLY what can prove that the LP itself can be a viable political party - that it can DO something instead of just talk about it in abstractions.

    Course it also forces 'local' on the LP - and forces 'playing well with others' on libertarians - and both of those seem to be a real problem.

  • Robert||

    in which case you have no ability to advance your principles either since you must remain aligned with that other group's principles.


    1. Not everything is about advancing principles. Within constraints of principles there can be a lot of wiggle room on policy. Wiggle room can get you a long way before you run up against firm constraints. Let's take that space.

    2. Not every group has principles! No principles, nothing to run up against. So get involved w groups that have power but lack principles.

  • DarrenM||

    The fallacy is thinking this is all or nothing. You can advance your principles a little. Pick your battles. Political allies may oppose some principles, but that opposition may be weak and of low priority. You then have the ability to compromise. Support a thing your political ally (whoever that may be) strongly favors in exchange for them supporting something you strongly favor. It's called compromise. You don't get anywhere without it.

  • U. R. Huyulov||

    yeah thanks, I know what compromise is. But the point is, no one is going to compromise with you unless your support is worth something. If you don't bring bodies or bucks to the table to support your ally's favored policies, why should they help you with yours?

  • vek||

    Once upon a time I used to be a purist libertarian... Then I learned more about history, human nature, and just generally grew up. The libertarian solution is pretty much always the general direction a society should go in... But often taken to its logical, most extreme version, it can get a bit wacky. 70-80% libertarian is probably the best possible in many cases IRL.

    Also, what modern Cosmotarians believe in... Well a lot of it just plain would be horrible in the real world. They refuse to accept that not EVERYTHING just magically works itself out in practice, because human nature doesn't work that way on all issues.

    I think you can kind of boil it down to this: National Libertarianism can work GREAT... It's when you try to get into the nonsense globalist/internationalist ideal that things fall down. Within borders you can be 99% pure libertarian... But once you start dealing with ruthless foreign nations... When you actually care about the continuance of a particular civilization or culture... Being anything goes doesn't work.

    No 1st world nation can survive open borders. Sometimes we can't bend over backwards and do the nicest possible thing for a foreign nation, because sometimes it is worse for our nation. Etc. Libertarianism works in most situations, but not all. I think most progs and cons know this, hence discount even all the good bits. An 80% libertarian, 10% conservative, 10% liberal nation would probably be the bees knees, but I doubt we'll ever get it.

  • U. R. Huyulov||

    Exactly. Libertarianism only works within an area where there is an overarching authority that effectively prevents violence. Interactions that reach outside of that area should not be guided by libertarianism.

  • IceTrey||

    So ending drug prohibition to stop the violence in South America and giving those people their liberty would be a bad idea?

  • U. R. Huyulov||

    Umm, what? Ending drug prohibition within US borders is libertarian in itself. The effects on South America don't even enter into the computation.

  • IceTrey||

    Where do you think the murderous drug cartels are located?

  • U. R. Huyulov||

    Why should I care if they are not active in the US thanks to drug prohibition being ended?

  • MJBinAL||

    Because they don't distribute weed in states that legalized week (with taxes)? look again?
    Because they don't distribute Oxicontin everywhere? where have you beed?
    Because there is no liquor smuggling in the US? really?

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    The mere fact that domestic black market weed was so high quality, and so plentiful, really put a damper on the feasibility of selling Mexican ditchweed in the US at a profit.

  • StackOfCoins||

    An oz of medical in Tucson goes for about $100. Aside from the cost barrier of getting the card, there is no better deal.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Not if it's good weed. There is a pretty wide spectrum of bud quality these days. Best bet is something that was sourced from a good grower in WA or OR. Which is about the best on the planet anymore.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Mexican weed is a non event in states where it is currently legal. Mexican weed is garbage.

  • IceTrey||

    Your stated goal is to prevent violence. Ending drug prohibition stops the violence here and there. Our embracing libertarianism would extend beyond our borders even if you don't think it should.

  • Robert||

    What do you think, like we'd need a version of the opium wars to make them open their markets too?

  • MJBinAL||

    "giving those people their liberty"

    Is not our job. They are being oppressed by socialist government they chose. As usual with totalitarian regimes, you only get to chose (in truth) once, so they only chose once, but they got what they voted for.

    Fixing it, is not our problem.

    You will notice that we are not being flooded with drugs and gangs from France, but rather South America (natural opioids) and China (synthetic opioids such as fentanyl by the drum).

    Or are you going to blame the totalitarian regime in China on our drug laws too?

  • IceTrey||

    Their governments are totalitarian and corrupt because of our past interference. Ever heard of the Banana Wars? Iran-Contra? We broke them we should fix them. Plus it would stop them from coming here.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Yes, yes. It was all wonderful and on the brink of turning into Xanadu before we messed it up.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    The very least we could do is to offer rhetorical support to foreigners being oppressed by their corrupt governments. Condemning them to their fate - again, rhetorically - can't be the response of a person who is committed to liberty as a general principle.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    No one gives people liberty any more than someone is given power...

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=85EDnxFCf6E

    RIP Jim Davis

  • vek||

    We should end drug prohibition for our own reasons. Whether this would be good, bad, or indifferent for other nations shouldn't matter. It probably would be good for south America... Or not. If they kept it illegal, we'd still need to get that blow from somewhere! So it might make it worse if Colombia didn't get on board. But it shouldn't effect our actions either way.

  • CE||

    Freedom only works with an overseer, eh?

  • AJ_Liberty||

    For me, there is a tactical order to policies....and open borders can't be first. Perhaps the LP could support a more liberal guest worker program.....and a pragmatic path to citizenship framework....but to throw open the door with the current welfare system and identity politics in full swing.....it's silliness. It unnecessarily alienates fiscal conservatives who should be the LP target audience. Liberals are too attached to government goodies and solutions to drift over to the LP because of open borders. It's just poor tactical positioning.

  • vek||

    There definitely needs to be an order of operations. Because it DOES matter.

    I used to think it would be hunky dory if we had no welfare state etc... But then I learned more history and human nature. I am now of the opinion that multicultural societies simply are not functional. They never are historically. They always have to be held together with violence.

    Functional nations need to have a single dominant ethno-cultural group to be stable. There's a reason why ethno-cultural considerations have historically been the #1 determining factor in where national borders are drawn on a map, when force isn't applied to force other groups into obedience. It's because it is a natural fit for constituting a nation state.

    Now, you can have a 10-20% minority population that is treated well in a nation... But anything more than that and you have endless infighting. For this reason, we should always be picky about who comes into our nation, and how fast people are pouring in. I have my doubts that different racial groups will ever live in harmony either... But if it is possible, it is ONLY if 100% assimilation is forced. This means metering out the speed of immigration at the very least.

  • IceTrey||

    Libertarianism and the LP need to focus on one thing, stopping the government from initiating force. That is the problem and it's simple enough for the average human to understand and agree with.

  • IceTrey||

    Oh yeah there is no birthright citizenship in the 14th amendment.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    The simple way to sell libertarianism is to push popular, incrementalist libertarian ideas as apart of a candidate's platform. Selling stuff about 'no initiation of force' is a loser. Selling olocirpes like 'no asset forfeiture', and 'repeal and/or lowering taxes and fees' are popular ideas.

    Otherwise people start looking at libertarians like those of us here look at Hank Phillips or Hihn.

  • IceTrey||

    What do you think happens to forfeiture and taxes when the government can't initiate force?

  • Robert||

    Sure. Make a $million & then the $1k you were looking for solves itself. Great advice.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Nothing because you come off as a fucking obtuse argumentative kook when you push for that. So it isn't going to fucking happen.

    Selling people on the things I just suggested can work, and can actually be accomplished without completely dismantling our entire system to do it. Nor requires a constitutional amendment that no Ken would ever agree to.

    No extreme anarchy o,atofrm candidate is getting elected resident. An LP or conservatarian candidate running on scaling back shit people already definitely don't like might.

  • DarrenM||

    You'll need a better definition of "initiating force" and this "NAP". Otherwise, I guarantee you whatever you say will be twisted to mean something it doesn't. To complex, it will be distorted. Too simple, it leaves itself too open to interpretation.

  • IceTrey||

    Sure it will have to be explained in more detail to the proles but everyone here knows what I mean.

  • StackOfCoins||

    "Libertarians are accustomed to being outnumbered and excel at playing long-game strategies, often far outside the cyclical sugar highs of electoral politics."

    L O L

    Might as well just accept at this point the country is hopelessly fucked. People are too stupid to vote in their own interests. They will keep casting ballots for R or D until all the money runs out.

  • lap83||

    That quote just seems so naive and deluded to me. I wonder what he is thinking about specifically. "sure it's not great that we have to trust the Democrats on the open borders issue but in the end it will be to our benefit... Yeah we're basically using them to get more freedom! That's the ticket"

    So sweet. So simple

  • StackOfCoins||

    Welch is probably the most progressive of all the cosmos. Would not surprise me in the least if he switched parties.

  • MJBinAL||

    Naa, he has a good gig here.

  • ||

    Progressives play the long game really well.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    There's a lesson to be learned there.

  • U. R. Huyulov||

    Offer people free shit financed from the public treasury?

  • buybuydandavis||

    "Libertarians are accustomed to being outnumbered and excel at playing long-game strategies, often far outside the cyclical sugar highs of electoral politics."

    Thank you for digging that one up. I took my usual tl;dr attitude toward the article, so missed that.

    It is just too precious.

    "excel"

    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    I accept nothing. Nor will I stop fighting against progtardation and all of it's evils.

    Vent if there is only one chance in a thousand, that works fine. Forget the the thousand.

    One is all I need.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Matt's willingness to believe in looter honesty puts Pollyanna to shame. It's like Mister Dooley said of the British cries for gold mines suffrage just before the Boer War:
    "I'd give thim th' votes," said Mr.Dooley. "But," he added significantly, "I'd do th' countin'."

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    You're a later child for why libertarianism doesn't catch on. You know that, right?

    You're a ranting weirdo that even creeps out other libertarians. If I sent someone to check out an article on this site, I cringe at the idea that they might read one of your insane rants.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Watching disaffected right-wingers -- especially those who lean toward Republican Party authoritarianism and intolerance -- object to others' "insane rants" about libertarianism is a steady source of amusement.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    My rants are practical, sound and well founded. Nor am I a communist traitor, such as yourself.

  • June Genis||

    This article completely leaves out the impact of the wasted vote syndrome. As things come down to the wire voters fear that if they don't vote for the lesser of the two big evils they will get the really big evil. The solution to this is to replace our current plurality voting system with one that uses Ranked Choice Voting. With RCV voters can cast a first choice ranking for a Libertarian (or any other third party candidate) and reserve a lower ranking for an old party candidate. There are no wasted votes or spoilers with RCV.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Ranked choice has resulted in countries with NO libertarian party at all.

  • DarrenM||

    With all the cries that voting is too complex for minorities to handle and that they are disenfranchised, I do wonder how RCV would go over.

  • U. R. Huyulov||

    The Maine implementation of "RCV" (what happened to Instant Runoff? Bad focus group results?) was terrible. They threw out your ballot if you don't rank all the candidates.

    In the Maine 2nd district, there was a GOP incumbent running against a Dem and a Dem-lite claiming to be an independent. In the rural areas, there were a lot of ballots ranking the Republican first and not ranking the other two, either because the voter didn't understand the new system or just didn't want to rank two candidates they didn't like. So those ballots got thrown out and the Dem won the seat.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    The only voting changes that should be considered are ones that decrease the likely hold of a progressive being elected to office.

  • ||

    Some libertarian moment.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Like Sarwark sez: "Last month, 27 Libertarians were elected to public office, for a total of 52 for the year. That's a 53 percent increase from 2016!" KMW oughtta raid the kitty for a history book for Matt (and another one on long division and statistics). The LP tripled to more votes than the gap between looters and losers--or the State of Virginia. These last elections fit the Fisher-Pry hockey stick graph just fine. As long as the Dems are keener on banning energy than enforcing women's rights, we need to run pro-choice candidates. And as long as God's Own Prohibitionists would kill their own mothers to force women into coathanger abortions and bring back the Comstock laws. The LP platform offers unregulated energy production (YES nuclear plants) repeal of the communist manifesto income tax, ending superstitious censorship and foreign entanglements. A spoiler vote for that changes more bad legislation than 10,000 votes wasted on looters. Heck... even Ireland voted individual rights for women! WINNING is repealing bad laws.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    And you go on to prove what I said about you above..........

  • I'm Not Sure||

    Libertarians: "Vote for me, but if you want shit, you'll have to pay for it yourself."
    Everybody else: "Vote for me and I'll give you free shit that somebody else will pay for."

    Yes, the L.P. achieved state ballot access for the first time in history, but that low showing came as a demoralizing shock. "WTF is going on?"

    You have to ask?

  • Inigo Montoya||

    Yes, because people are profoundly stupid. Who do they think "somebody else" is? It is them! Unless Mexico actually starts paying for our walls and other such fantasies, the somebody else doesn't fucking exist except in a politician's basket of standard lies. One way or another, you pay for what you get. At best, the direct cost is hidden from you, which actually is NOT doing you a favor. When costs are hidden, you can bet your ass they will be hiked up, the quality will go down, and you will have less recourse to complain and effect change. I'm sorry, but anyone who believes the "somebody else" crap is either a naive child or a mentally challenged adult.

  • StackOfCoins||

    "I'm sorry, but anyone who believes the "somebody else" crap is either a naive child or a mentally challenged adult."
    That is the average progressive. They honestly think they can just fleece the rich or print money or... something. They are largely incoherent, but there it is.

  • Inigo Montoya||

    Yes, because people are profoundly stupid. Who do they think "somebody else" is? It is them! Unless Mexico actually starts paying for our walls and other such fantasies, the somebody else doesn't fucking exist except in a politician's basket of standard lies. One way or another, you pay for what you get. At best, the direct cost is hidden from you, which actually is NOT doing you a favor. When costs are hidden, you can bet your ass they will be hiked up, the quality will go down, and you will have less recourse to complain and effect change. I'm sorry, but anyone who believes the "somebody else" crap is either a naive child or a mentally challenged adult.

  • Len Bias||

    My favorite line in House of Cards was something like "third parties are the future. They always have been."

  • Alive Free Happy||

    Reason did a great disservice to its readers (albeit likely unavoidable) by writing this too soon and publishing it too late. The LP made a HUGE win in California with the Hewitt campaign. Easily one of the top 20 most powerful positions in the state.

    https://bit.ly/2SA37P2

  • buybuydandavis||

    Wahoo! Irrelevant power in a One Party State.

  • Alive Free Happy||

    Reason did a great disservice to its readers (albeit likely unavoidable) by writing this too soon and publishing it too late. The LP made a HUGE win in California with the Hewitt campaign. Easily one of the top 20 most powerful positions in the state.

    https://bit.ly/2SA37P2

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Easily one of the top 20 most powerful positions in the state.

    It appears Hewitt holds one of five positions (likely a lone wolf among the five) in Riverside. It seems unlikely that one-quarter of the top 20 most powerful positions in California government are spots on a county board, and unless Hewitt can persuade his way into a majority on that board he seems destined to be essentially powerless.

    There might be 20 people working in the governor's office with more power than that possessed by anyone elected in Riverside, let alone a minority member of a five-member commission unrelated to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Palo Alto, San Diego, etc. What could make this single spot in Riverside powerful?

  • Inigo Montoya||

    Of course L's can't win. The electorate is profoundly dumb. All my life, I heard jokes before each election along the lines of, "whichever side wins, we're screwed." And yet, some of the same people who made those jokes or chuckled over them, continued to vote for being screwed. Statists don't want freedom, or scares them or else makes them jealous that someone they know might enjoy freedom more than they do, so better to deny it for everyone. I don't have an answer to creating more intelligent and braver people. Maybe the L party should just fold for a generation or two, until parents raise a generation that actually doesn't want to be forcefed statist bull crap.

  • StackOfCoins||

    The L-party should stop nominating candidates for L and focus on how they can saturate the GOP with libertarians, or at least liberty-friendly conservatives.

  • Inigo Montoya||

    They might as well do the same with Dems, who are supposedly anti-war and pro civil liberties (except they aren't!). It's all a crock. The two major parties have only one principal: get themselves elected into power by trouncing the opposing party. Everything else they say, and I mean everything, is just sloganeering. It's not sincere.

    So why should the GOP be seen as the natural home for Libertarians? Is it because it's the party of fiscal responsibility? What a joke! Actions speak louder than words. They wouldn't know fiscal responsibility if it bit them on the ass—same as the Dems and being "anti-war."

  • I'm Not Sure||

    Not excusing the GOP on fiscal responsibility, but they apparently decided that plank was a non-starter and if they wanted to get elected, they'd have to promise at least as many free lunches as the Democrats.

  • DarrenM||

    The difference is in how they go about getting themselves elected. Both parties pander to their respective "base". This results in slightly different policy decisions. (At the moment, I go with Republicans as the party that doesn't screw things up quite as much and that makes more easily correctable mistakes.)

  • I'm Not Sure||

    Sounds about right. At some point, Republicans figured if the money is going to be spent anyway (not spending never appears to be an option), they might as well spend it on things they want.

    And here we are.

  • Robert||

    So why should the GOP be seen as the natural home for Libertarians? Is it because it's the party of fiscal responsibility? What a joke! Actions speak louder than words.


    And the actions are that the more Republican a state legislature is, the more fiscally responsible.

  • Rational Exuberance||

    So why should the GOP be seen as the natural home for Libertarians? Is it because it's the party of fiscal responsibility?

    Fiscal responsibility per se is not a libertarian issue, since it can be achieved by raising taxes and decreasing freedom just as much as by lowering spending.

    The GOP is the natural home for libertarians because it advocates for fewer regulations, less federal government, and more states rights.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    Both Team Red and Team Blue support "fewer regulations, less federal government, and more states rights" to a greater or lesser degree, and always very selectively.

    But more importantly, "less federal government and more states rights" does not necessarily lead to *more liberty*. It OFTEN does, but there are plenty of counterexamples where it doesn't.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    It's still better than the status quo.

  • Rational Exuberance||

    But more importantly, "less federal government and more states rights" does not necessarily lead to *more liberty*. It OFTEN does, but there are plenty of counterexamples where it doesn't.

    Less federal government and more states rights means that people can vote with their feet in response to bad regulation or restrictions on their liberties. That is the most basic right and insurance of freedom. All others pale in comparison. That's why "less federal government and more states rights" is always a good thing, subject only to basic constitutional protections.
  • Rational Exuberance||

    Of course L's can't win. The electorate is profoundly dumb.

    And here we have exhibit A demonstrating how many self-proclaimed "libertarians" share the same statist, authoritarian, elitist mindset of progressives.

    People like you are a big part of the problem.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    Wait. Calling people dumb is "statist" and "authoritarian"?

  • DarrenM||

    Since Medicare-for-All was found to be nonviable, Democrats have instead decided that the government was going to buy everyone a ticket to Disneyland after realizing that "the voting public will never know the difference."

  • Robert||

    What's so funny is that you don't realize there's a group of authoritarians somewhere complaining, "We have no chance. Libertarians get all the squeeze. The country's full of libertarian thinking. We might as well pack up for a generation or 2. Politics doesn't work for us. It can't work for us. Boo hoo!"

    Get over it. Everyone who's unsatisfied w the status quo, regardless of what direction they want to change it in, thinks they're picked on, neglected, helpless, etc., & that the people won't respond because they're stupid, venal, or whatever. I guarantee you our mirror image thinks just like we do & is just as clueless to the fact that we do just like them.

  • U. R. Huyulov||

    There are no authoritarians anywhere who are complaining about libertarianism triumphing. Those authoritarians that are complaining are resentful because a different flavor of authoritarianism is beating them. Libertarianism is not even a threat to them at this point. It ain't 1995 anymore.

  • Robert||

    You should've heard Jay Diamond on the radio ~25YA, when his favorite rant was about how the radical libertarians were in control of everything, preventing or wiping out regul'ns, etc. He was not being sarcastic; he was at a stage where he was taking the authoritarian position on every issue. But I guess that was 1995 or thereabouts; you really think things have changed that much in just 23 yrs.?

    But it doesn't really matter, the main point is that radical libertarians are not special in this regard. Those on the fringes of public opinion, & even many of those far from the fringes, all complain that the world's in the hands of whichever opponent, w people in gen'l too stupid to do the right thing, the game being rigged, etc. All seem to think they're the only ones in that boat.

  • Robert||

    It was more like just 20 YA that Jay Diamond was like that, now that I recall better. I remember my friend Peter had died, so it was probably 1997 or later.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    The moment has passed.

  • CE||

    We see "Libertarian" on the ballot and think A) this guy's on our side or B) he's not really a libertarian, but still better than the other two guys, or C) he's a loon, but harmless.

    Other voters see "Libertarian" on the ballot and think D) wasted vote. I'm gonna be responsible for the other Red/Blue team winning.

  • Cyto||

    asserting without evidence

    Interesting turn of phrase. I noticed when this suddenly appeared almost everywhere at once in the media a few weeks ago. It had all the hallmarks of a poll-tested phrase being pushed by DNC "talking points" providers, just like "risky scheme" and "mean-spirited", etc. from the past.

    It was amazingly uniform in its arrival, being attached to all reporting of Trump's tweets starting on the same day. It seems that I remember some discussion on NPR about using such labels to combat "fake news" in the days prior to the new meme's arrival.

    I'd be interested to read a story that runs down the creation and propagation of such memes. Back in the early 90's I had the time to watch C-SPAN from time to time and I was able to watch the press agents for the DNC and the Clinton campaign (Stephanopolis and others) brief reporters on various topics of the day using such unique phrases. The next day my national news anchors would be using those exact phrases to discredit or boost ideas in conformity with those press agents.

    Surely things have gotten more sophisticated now... we've moved on from journo-list and now we have more secure means of communicating... but the basic idea has to be the same. So who are the first-order influencers, and who are those who just pick up ideas once they are "out there", like Welch?

  • Robert||

    I'd like to know how "double down" (apparently derived from blackjack) replaced "double up". Blackjack went thru a fad of popularity, but when people use that phrase, do they mean the person doing it is doubling their effort or stake or stance while promising or guaranteeing to go no farther than that? The only person I hear still saying "double up" is Jerry Hickey on his excellent infomercials, referring to ordering 2X as much of an InVite product in return for a bonus.

  • Rational Exuberance||

    The "two party monopoly[sic]" is a result of how the US political system functions, and it is a good system: it keeps extremists from having too much influence. The multiparty system in Europe is what gives fascists, socialists, and communists so much power there. Hitler was made possible by a multiparty system.

    Libertarianism in the US is going to gain power by influencing the direction of the major parties. That's a good thing.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    The problem is that in a given race, the democrat winning is such a horrible outcome that no one wants to take a chance and will hold their nose for a shitty republican in the alternative.

    My district reflected that dynamic this year. I have no desire to keep Cathy McMoriss a Rogers in office, but Lisa Brown is a flat out communist (she worked as an economics professor in Nicaragua around 30 years ago, shilling for Russian backed economic policies for the Sandinista government). No way that bitch was getting elected in my district. So I voted R. Didn't want to though.

  • Let freedom ring||

    You can't win electorally now. But you can stop feeding the beast. You have the right to keep your hard earned money, all of it. Since 2003 tens of thousands of Americans who earn an honest dollar have legally received 100% of withheld taxes by filing a well recognized alternate 1040 form called a "zero return". That is complete refunds of all income and payroll taxes , both federal and state.
    Yet the libertarian/conservative establishment refuses to acknowledge this.
    More media coverage and legal support would both expose the federal deception around these income excise taxes, and empower freedom minded people to keep their money and improve their lives. Young people could move out of their parents basement. Better yet, they could plan for their future themselves.
    Statists who claim to love the state and who do not earn federally connected "income" orb"wages" could still voluntarily contribute to the federal government and keep their benefits. Why not? Let the individual decide what is best, based on constitutional guidelines. See www.nontaxpayersforronpaul.blogspot.com

  • Moderation4ever||

    Let me first say that I am not a LIbertarian. Like many I appreciate and like the idea of minimal government. The biggest problem I see is that todays Libertarians are looking from the prospective of an older white middle male. They object to government interference for themselves but think it fine to restrict woman's reproductive freedoms. The second amendment is sacred unless a person of color has the gun and then you hear a silence. Young people are facing massive debts, but the concern is keeping taxes lows for the older guys (like me). The GOP seem to have the lock on the old white guys. If Libertarians want to win they need to broaden their idea of what is Liberty and what it really means to people.

  • Eddy||

    Yes, neither the Reason staff nor the commenters have had anything to say about 2nd amendment rights for nonwhite people, or student debt.

    No, not a peep.

  • Furzeydown||

    So you can pinhole every single Libertarian, and we can pinhole you as a Prog. Excellent. Or maybe it's more varied than that?

  • Ed Grinberg||

    "Young people are facing massive debts, but the concern is keeping taxes lows for the older guys... If Libertarians want to win they need to broaden their idea of what is Liberty and what it really means to people."
    If your idea of liberty is me having to pay for your debts . . . well, I just don't know what to say to you.

  • MarkJ-||

    The LP has some big problems to overcome. Chief among those are,, Half of the people who might vote LP think that Libertarian has something to do with "liberal" and more than half of the people who call themselves Libertarian end up voting republican to spite democrats.

  • Peter Verkooijen||

    And the other half who might vote LP think that libertarians are alt-right white supremacists.

    Libertarianism has everything to do with liberalism; it is the real liberalism, classical liberalism, individual liberty, limited government, equal opportunity under rule of law, including free enterprise, free trade, free movement, open borders.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    The progs now smear everyone who disagrees with them as alt right nationalists. Their control of the media must be taken from them.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    Libertarians must authentically and consistently stand up for the liberty of everyone. To pick and choose who deserves liberty and who does not is fundamentally inconsistent with libertarianism - it just makes you one of the Team Red/Blue tribalists who are also mere fair weather friends of liberty. Standing up for the liberty of everyone does not necessarily mean invading the world or defending every nutty thing that every person says. But it does mean, at an *absolute minimum*, rhetorically supporting the liberty of everyone. THIS ALONE can win a lot of converts if it is done right. There is a yearning for a movement that is not just a bunch of B.S. peddled by snake oil salesmen. Obama was so popular in 2008 because he was an idealistic outsider that seemed authentic, and not just another phony politician. Trump was popular in 2016 because he too was authentic, someone who said what he meant and didn't apologize for it. The same can be said here.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "Libertarians must authentically and consistently stand up for the liberty of everyone. "

    Not with a government constituted to secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    Which is why you cannot be a libertarian. You won't consistently and authentically recognize the liberty of everyone. Your attitude is "screw the foreigners". And with that attitude, claims that you, or others like you, might make about believing in liberty as an abstract principle, ring hollow. You don't. If you are willing to make exceptions for how much liberty you are willing to stick up for, for foreigners, how many other exceptions are you willing to make?

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    It isn't an Americans job to fix the lives of foreigners. Nor is it my job to fix everything for the other people in my neighborhood, although with some frequency I choose to do so.

    People in other countries should be fixing their own problems, for the most part.

  • vek||

    What if upholding the absolute freedom of foreigners, saaay via open borders, actually REDUCES everyone elses freedom in the USA?

    Because this is in fact the practical, real world outcome as observed IRL.

    Which is why I say fuck 'em. The world is not a utopian place dude... Sometimes you can't always do things the way you would want to.

    I never want to have to kill somebody... Yet there are 100,000 possible scenarios people have pop up in their lives where they are wise to kill another person, necessary even. That's just in self defense... There are probably another 100,000 where one could make a strong case that killing somebody else would be greatly in their best interests, even if it's not moral. THAT is reality.

    The absolutist moral case for open borders may be legit... But the practical case is absolutely horrible.

  • nicmart||

    The LP's candidates usually offer feel-good platitudes that are even less libertarian than Reason's pablum. What's to get excited about? The vote has no symbolic value.

  • Peter Verkooijen||

    Libertarianism got discredited by association with trumpism, lost any credibility it had in the eyes of upcoming generations.

    Except for some deregulation, Trump has been a disaster for individual liberty, free markets, equal opportunity under rule of law. Government keeps expanding, the CFPB and ObamaCare are still in place.

    America is now stuck in a classic banana republic dynamic; socialists versus nationalists, both sides promising more free government goodies to their people.

    Libertarianism or classical liberalism can only find a way back via the left; infiltrate and take over the Democratic Party as the sensible alternative to stale old discredited socialism.

  • buybuydandavis||

    " Instead, by his own admission, he opted to whip up fear of a distant caravan of northbound asylum-seekers"

    Yeah, I'm sure that's exactly what Trump said.

    Fake News.

  • tlapp||

    It will take a Libertarian with real charisma to get people to listen and understand the message of freedom. Gary Johnson, nice guy but no charisma. Weld no libertarian. Ron Paul was interesting but a curmudgeon. You do need to the people skills of Reagan or Bill Clinton. If we can start winning 3-5% of the national vote that will be enough to sway elections and we'll at least get a place at the public policy table.

  • Brandybuck||

    Yes. If we all just sit back and relax, then soon enough the Great Libertarian Hope will show up to save us all.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Start peeling off some congressional seats, and some state assembly positions. The more of those the LP has the less the LP appears to be a fringe party.

  • Brandybuck||

    No ideology based party will ever succeed under the US electoral system. Not the Libertarians, not the Greens, no one. That's just a fact of life. You need 20% of the voting populace for such a thing to ever happen, and you simply can't get 20% of American to agree on any specific set of ideas. Hell, even "conservatism" broadly defined was raped and tossed in the dumpster in 2016. Progressivism was the most successful, but is itself even in its heyday not so much an ideology as an attitude. (That attitude being "we right thinking affluent white folk know better than you").

    Which is why broad coalitions parties have been the norm throughout history. The "conservatism" of the Republican Party shifts and alters with the wind from year to year. The ideas of the 2018 GOP do not resemble those of the 1980 GOP. Democrats are no better, and the party of Kennedy does not resemble the party of Hillary in the least.

    Frankly, libertarians need to give up on the idea that they can ever become a significant political party. Libertarians greatest success has been promoting individual ideas. Because eventually every single idea gets its day in the sun, and if we prepare for that then those ideas can win. Such as ending the draft, marriage equality, and legalized marijuana. Single ideas only, but they won largely because libertarians helped build the foundation for them.

  • vek||

    This is basically correct, unless we completely alter how elections are structured in the US.

  • Haha, charade you are||

    Unless they get on the debates, and get their shit together, they will sadly remain a fringe party.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    The exclusion of LP candidates from the debates is bullshit, but probably,won't change.

  • Sevo is my bitch||

    The future of Libertarians is the same as their past: Being unpopular Republicans.

  • Widhalm19||

    The sad truth is that most highly-civilized people do not want liberty nor freedom. The vast majority of people living in cities want safety and security by way of submissive conformity. They are a mob of sheeple. It's what being an Identity Leftist is all about ..... who will save me from being my depressed, anxious, hysterical self? Being free requires internal motivation, responsibility, accountability, competence, courage, self-reliance, self-sacrifice, and most importantly, essential knowledge, skills and experience. The exact opposite of victim culture. True Libertarians will ALWAYS be in the minority.

  • ||

    I essentially started three weeks past and that i makes $385 benefit $135 to $a hundred and fifty consistently simply by working at the internet from domestic. I made ina long term! "a great deal obliged to you for giving American explicit this remarkable opportunity to earn more money from domestic. This in addition coins has adjusted my lifestyles in such quite a few manners by which, supply you!". go to this website online domestic media tech tab for extra element thank you .
    www.geosalary.com

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online