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Home 2008 May 2008 The Death of the Libertarian Party

The Death of the Libertarian Party

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(This article was originally published on May 27th, 2008. It expresses my disapproval of the man the Libertarian Party chose for their presidential candidate in 2008.)

Over the Memorial Day weekend the Libertarian Party picked a candidate to run for president. In doing so, it managed to rid itself of any significance it had ever had. The presidential candidate it picked was a conservative named Bob Barr, a former Republican whose voting record on issues of personal freedom is horrendous. His running mate, one Mr. Wayne Allen Root, is an even worse choice when it comes to one who believes in the principles of liberty and non initiation of force. Of all the candidates running, the Libertarian Party managed to pick perhaps the least libertarian of all the candidates, and they managed to do so at a time when the American people are just starting to understand the true meaning of freedom and liberty and are starting to yearn for people of honesty and principle to lead them once again. Now it seems the Libertarian Party has sold itself out to a couple of power lusting politicians in the hopes of gaining a few new members and some more money. It has now taken a sharp right turn and disenfranchised all the honest, hard working people who made the party one embracing freedom for a few dollars more.


Now admittedly my involvement with the Libertarian Party is quite limited, but my interest in the party spans many years. Back in the mid eighties I was introduced to the Libertarian Party and the principles of liberty by a neighbor of mine. At first I thought their ideas were too radical, but then I began to realize that forcing people to conform to your beliefs as government has a tendency to do is not only wrong, it´s anti-American. I began to understand that this nation was set up in an effort to protect the principles of libertarianism, the principles of individual liberty, personal responsibility, non-intervention, and non-initiation of force, so that these principles could grow and flourish. I realized that instead a sort of stealthy collectivism had been creeping into our society for decades, a "my side´s right and your side´s wrong" mentality had pervaded our culture and pitted one group against another. Libertarianism bridged gaps on both sides with its uncompromising philosophies of right and wrong. At that time the Libertarian Party encompassed and embraced those principles and fielded political candidates that did the same. They gave the voter someone and something he could vote for rather than someone he could vote against or something considered the lesser of two evils.

As the independent voter I have always been I give myself greater latitude to vote not for a candidate based on party loyalties and platforms, but one who has proven themselves to be honest and principled and who cares for the people they represent instead of the corporate entities and special interests that woo them with campaign contributions. It is of vital importance to me that a candidate understand that the United States Constitution recognizes individual rights and puts great emphasis on the state not infringing upon those rights, it does not recognize group rights and indeed our founding fathers seemed to realize that the superseding of group rights over individual rights would lead to a very dangerous tyranny, the tyranny of the majority. Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats ever seemed to get that right, as they always wanted to tread on someone´s rights in one way or another. I would often look to the Libertarian Party to present me with a candidate I could vote for.

In the 1998 Illinois gubernatorial race that changed. As an Illinoisan I had the choice between the criminal George Ryan and the socialist Glenn Poshard, neither of which I wanted to vote for, or the Libertarian candidate. I had my mind made up long before the election who I was going to vote for, but just a few weeks before the election, if memory serves me, the Libertarian Party decided to pull its candidate for governor and endorsed Poshard. I was angry. As I recall, I actually took the time to write a letter to the party expressing my anger. I felt they had abandoned me and left me no one to vote for. I ended up voting for Lawrence Redmond, the Reform Party candidate who I knew little about, but I absolutely refused to vote for other of the two major party candidates who I knew were unprincipled. At that point the Libertarian Party was on life support for me, as I realized they had compromised their principles in an effort to play politics and gain power rather than remaining significant by maintaining its hold as the party that honored the principles that made this nation great.

During the 2000 presidential elections the Libertarian Party nominated Harry Browne and in 2004 they nominated Michael Badnarik. Both these men were principled admirable candidates who I voted for. Their candidacies made it possible for me to forgive the Libertarian Party for their earlier faux pas in Illinois. But now they have selected a ticket I cannot possibly support and I don´t see how any principled libertarian could. By doing so they have cast aside their own principles, the philosophies that gave them any significance whatsoever, in favor of accepting more unprincipled people into their fold in a lustful bid to gain more money and power. They have torn the heart out of their party, and nothing survives long without a heart.

The Libertarians could have nominated the likes of Mary Ruwart or Steve Kubby or any of a number of other candidates who embody the spirit of freedom better than Bob Barr or Wayne Allen Root. Bob Barr abandoned his own party rather than trying to change it from the inside as he should have, what makes anyone think he won´t abandon the Libertarian Party if things don´t go his way? The freedom movement has now lost a powerful ally. It would have been nice if there had been a true libertarian to vote for alongside of Republican candidate Ron Paul to give us a choice between the greater of two goods. Instead, it looks like the way things are shaping up for the 2008 presidential election we´re going to have to pick between the lesser of three evils, not just two. It looks like freedom lovers are going to have to go it on their own for now, but we always have and we remain resilient. We know better than anyone that in order to remain free one must fend for oneself. To me, at least, the Libertarian Party is dead. May it rest in peace.

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Last Updated on Saturday, 07 July 2012 20:44