I’m actually going to give a speech to the Libertarian Party of Oakland County, Michigan, on February 21st, in which I am going to lay out the case that modern liberalism, with it’s emphasis on postmodernism, critical theory, and political correctness, has morphed into an existential threat to libertarian values. One would hope that this would unite libertarian minded people under a single banner. Some polls suggest that as much as 70% of the public hold libertarian values. If that 70% of the public could only vote as a block, we would win every national election, and yet we do not vote as a block, and libertarian values do poorly in elections as a result. The reason is, of course, that to the ‘true libertarian’ there is no such thing as a true libertarian.
I’m the perfect example of the fact that there is no such thing as a ‘true libertarian.’ I believe that the one true role of government is to defend and enforce the non-aggression principle. I believe that all legitimate government power derives from this role. Since libertarianism has never existed outside the realm of a nation-state, this means that I believe in nation-states, and that I think being a nation is important. Some who call themselves ‘libertarians’ say that this belief in ‘statism’ makes me a statist, and not a libertarian. I would suggest that these so-called ‘libertarians’ are really anarchists, and not ‘libertarians,’ but they, obviously, disagree, and see no difference between my belief in a state with limited powers, and the totalitarian beliefs of a communist. To them, I want a state to exist, so I am a communist.
In my view, there is a reason that the libertarian party never takes more than 1% of the vote, in spite of the fact that as much as 70% of the country may be libertarian-minded by belief, and that is the simple fact that the libertarian party is not inclusive of libertarian belief. Many libertarians seem to be a party of one, accepting themselves as ‘true libertarians,’ but excluding anyone who has any belief with which they disagree. I cannot even begin to describe the irony of having someone who believes that any form of authority is evil, then taking the position that they themselves and nobody else has the right to define the word, ‘libertarian’. If that fits you, then you are exactly the kind of person I am calling out.
It is because of these kinds of so-called ‘libertarians’ that I have never voted for the libertarian candidate in any election. I would have voted for Ron Paul when he ran, had I been turned-on to libertarian values at that time, but I did not realize I was a libertarian until Ron Paul was asked about his belief in legalizing heroin in a Republican presidential debate. His response was brilliant. He turned to the crowd and asked anyone in the audience who used heroin to stand up. Nobody stood up. Ron Paul then asked anyone in the audience who would start using heroin were it legal, to stand up. Still, nobody stood up. Ron Paul shrugged his shoulders and said, “It does not look like the ban makes much of a difference on usage,” and then gave a brief speech on the harm the ban does. His point was irrefutable, and I have been an admirer of his, and his son Rand (STAND WITH RAND) ever since. As for the Libertarian Party, if Ron Paul gave up on you, why shouldn’t the rest of us?
What then is a ‘true libertarian’? According to the American Heritage Dictionary, a libertarian is an adherent of ‘libertarianism,’ and ‘libertarianism’ is defined as follows:
noun. an extreme laissez-faire political philosophy advocating only minimal state intervention in the lives of citizens.
Other than taking exception to the word, ‘extreme,’ which I would call ‘subjective’, this seems to be a fair definition. I would also say that the belief that government has a legitimate role in defending and enforcing the non-aggression principle applies as ‘minimal,’ making me, based on the definition of the word, a ‘libertarian’. The definition does not say that I have to be an anarchist to be a libertarian, and in fact, I would argue that saying there should be no government goes beyond advocating for a minimal government role. Anarchists do not fit the definition of the word, ‘libertarian,’ and they should not be members of the Libertarian Party. Anarchists should create their own party, and as long as anarchists control the Libertarian Party, belittling actual libertarians as ‘statists’, I will point out to that party that the definition of the word ‘libertarian’ says nothing about affiliating with you. I’ll ask it again: If you cannot even keep Ron Paul as a member, why should I pay you any attention?
Those who say that it is not libertarian to believe in national borders, or in the need to enforce them, are also not necessarily ‘libertarians,’ as the acceptance of the need for a government also implies the need for defined territory under which that government applies. I believe not only in national borders, but also in a strong national defense, and I make a very strong case for this as a libertarian position in this post. I am not going to go so far as to say it is impossible to be a libertarian, and not to believe in national borders, as one could make an argument that government can exist without defined borders, but I could also argue very effectively against that position. What I will say is that it blows my mind that someone could call themselves ‘libertarian’ while also claiming the authority to define the word ‘libertarian’ beyond the definition used in dictionaries. Claiming the sole authority to define who is and who is not a ‘libertarian’ is not very libertarian-minded, but is rather a somewhat authoritarian position to take. Perhaps these people should rethink their own affiliations and leave the rest of us alone.
More importantly, those so-called ‘libertarians’ who say that people like me are not libertarians are alienating the vast majority of the public, who would otherwise agree with them on 99% of the policy decisions our government could choose from. There is a political term for the strategy of alienating like-thinkers. That term is ‘loser’. Those members of the Libertarian Party who refuse to accept people like me are the reason the Libertarian Party never gets more than 1% of the vote – a number they could not break even when the other candidates were named “Hillary Clinton” and “Donald Trump.”
And just for the record, while I held my nose in voting for Trump, I cannot even begin to express how pleasantly surprised I have been by his performance as President. I don’t agree with President Trump on everything, but he has done more that I agree with then I ever imagined he would do. I wish he would restrain himself more on Twitter, but the last time I looked nobody ever died from a Twitter post, so I am far more concerned with the policies Trump is putting in place. In terms of policy, I think Trump is doing a commendable job, overall. As for the question of whether or not a libertarian can support Trump, I would say that if the President is moving us closer to libertarian values, then it would be dumb not to support him where we agree with him. I would say it would be dumb not to support anyone where and when we agree with them, unless, like Hillary Clinton, they publicly profess to having ‘one position for the public, and one position for policy.’ Only a fool would support someone who openly admits to lying to the public. There are unfortunately a lot of fools in this country…
I wanted to support Gary Johnson, and though I could forgive Gary Johnson for not knowing what Alepo was (all politicians have gaffs), I could not forgive him for having his tongue sticking out during an entire interview on national news. Gary Johnson later said he was stoned out of his gourd, which I can forgive, but I cannot vote for someone who does not know better than to be stoned out of his gourd, to the degree that he does not even realize his tongue is sticking out, throughout an entire interview. I’m sorry Governor Johnson, but that was a bridge too far.
I would also point out that most of the members of the Libertarian Party did not vote for Gary Johnson, so when you tell me I am not a true libertarian unless I vote libertarian, I would remind you that most of the people in the libertarian party don’t vote for libertarian candidates. Most of them cannot stomach anyone, because everyone disagrees with them on something, and they cannot stomach the idea of voting for someone they disagree with on anything. These libertarians need very badly to grow up, and the rest of the libertarians in the Libertarian Party need to start schooling the bad libertarians on manners.
If the Libertarian Party wants my support, it needs to do two things: 1) support your own damned candidates, and 2) solicit my membership because of rather than in spite of my political views. Unlike many members of the Libertarian Party, I actually support libertarian principles, not only in theory, but in practice. I want to work to see libertarian policies implemented, and have no interest in people who only want to spout off.
I want to be clear that I am not talking to every member of the Libertarian Party. Most of you are my brothers and sisters in arms. We have the same values, maybe not in everything, but in the vast majority of things. We can legitimately debate what the proper role of government is, but those who believe they are the only authority in determining such things as the proper role of government, alienate the vast majority of people who would otherwise be open to the label ‘libertarian,’ and do great damage to the Libertarian image, as well as to the Libertarian Party as a whole. Where are the real libertarians when these authoritarian, anarchist imposters chase away potential allies?
My message to the Libertarian Party is a simple one: Stop committing suicide. Your core values are not extremist at all. Your beliefs are largely mainstream. Embrace the people who agree with you, and become more inclusive. If you cannot even get a site with the title ‘The Daily Libertarian’ to support you – more than that, if many of your members do not even want the support of sites with titles like ‘The Daily Libertarian,’ how then do you ever hope to achieve anything more than joke status in a real election? There is a reason Rand Paul will not run under your banner, and that is that you guys chase out your own supporters. You are the political equivalent of cannibals. That needs to stop, but it will not stop until the rational libertarians chase out the extremists, or at least tell them to stay civil when debating other libertarians.
At the end of the day, my message to Greg Salcido and to those extreme members of the Libertarian Party are the same: debate me. Don’t deflect with ad hominem attacks, and don’t attack me with terms like ‘statist.’ Attack me on the grounds of whether I am right or wrong, not in terms of what label fits (I will pick that for myself, thank you very much!). If you cannot do that, then leave me and the rest of the actual libertarians alone. We’re happy with Rand Paul.