L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 85, August 14, 2000
Why Compromise Will Never Work
by Jonathan Taylor
Special to TLE
In the wake of the Libertarian party platform being decided upon - and 'wake' here should be pictured as the type of chum and fish shit filled cloud that is appropriate - we are once again at war with ourselves. Quite honestly, I'm beginning to wonder if I should just up and join the republican party, at least this last convention, they managed to get all their turds in one heap. And the worst part of the whole mess is, I think that some (mayhaps even 'most') of the people within the Libertarian party who disagree with me (and therefore, are wrong) are of the best intentions. When they look at me, and smile, and tell me that compromise with a group of people - a culture, more accurately - that has done nothing but shit on everything I believe in for over 150 years is the only way to regain the type of freedom upon which this country was founded, I actually don't usually feel physically ill.
"I certify that I do not believe in or advocate the initiation of force as a means of achieving political or social goals." Now, I presume that unless the party's cheese has completely slid off of its cracker, you still have to be a member of the party to vote on the platform. And if you're a member of the party, you sign that statement (I checked to make sure they were still including it). I don't see much gray area there. Gun control is a social goal. Forcing the issue by requiring me to be licensed to carry a firearm is initiation of force - all laws being in the end enforced at bayonet point. If you believe in taking the existing system back over, with slow, incremental changes, I submit to you that you are probably in the wrong party, by definition. Plus, I believe that such an approach would work much better if it were attempted by 'corrupting' one of the two branches of the National Party - they are far more experienced at slow incremental change, anyhow. However, that is neither here nor there.
Now, based on the principle that the initiation of force is wrong, we should not make it our stated goal to initiate force against citizens of this country. If the nonaggression principle is no longer the party's mantra, then take it off of the membership application. That seems simple enough to me. However, as I said earlier, I honestly think that a majority of these people are working towards what they believe is the greater good of the party, and indeed, what is the greater good of the country. It is their truthfully held belief that the slow, incremental approach is the way to regain what we have lost. Now, here is where I go out on a limb.
Short of something monstrous and cataclysmic happening, we will never - EVER - elect a Libertarian to the White House. The system today is too corrupt, people plain just don't care, and anyone who thinks their vote for president matters (I use matters in terms of selecting the president, it is actually quite important to me to vote from an abstract philosophical standpoint) needs to re-read the constitution. Assuming - by a miracle that to my mind would come close in stature to the Second Coming - we ever have a candidate whom a majority of America would vote for, and who is true to Libertarian principles:
(1) The cynical part of me suggests I place my money on that person suffering a sudden and unexplainable brain hemorrhage that left a .40 inch hole in the center of their forehead.
(2) If he managed to garner ONE electoral vote, that person would probably join him in the morgue.
Paranoid, I know. However, I would like to point out that things are sure as shit not getting any better as time passes, and so far the government has shown no qualms about killing, imprisoning, or "disappearing" people - and none of these people has been a serious threat, not on the scale that a viable Libertarian candidate for president would be.
So, the solution is to dilute the message, to make it less threatening to both the great unwashed masses, whose beer-swilling sensibilities we may offend, and to those who oversee us now, whose beer-swilling sensibilities we may offend. Horse shit. The whole reason the Libertarian party was founded, as I understood it, the whole reason that we exist, is because we are not a group of people who will compromise to get our goals accomplished, we are not a group of people who will whore ourselves out to anyone with the cash to pay for the advertising we need to get elected. If this is not the party that believes in those things, then I'm in the wrong place. And this fine publication needs a new title.
As I said, I believe most of you who may be reading this, and calling me naive (or perhaps a few more choice adjectives), have your hearts in the right place, but your butts in the wrong seats. The Republicans and the Democrats have been practicing this act of slicing our freedom away for quite some time now. They are going to recognize it being employed against them, by a third party. They will not allow it to happen, not in that manner. That, I can almost guarantee you. As I stated previously, I believe you would be far better off trying to slowly modify and change the existing major parties from within. That, they are still receptive to, because they are always looking for someone else to make promises to and pick up a block of voters. I am sure they would be willing to promise you a couple of things - I mean, shit, at one time or another, they promised the Native Americans most of the country - in exchange for your votes. Their goal will never change.
It does not matter how honest your intentions are, compromise will never work with people who are dishonorable and have the destruction of everything you hold dear at heart. After all, what possible good are you to them? The Libertarian Party needs to remain strong, to remain principled, not out of any hope of changing the system, but based on the same logic as attempting to gain one million signatures on a petition to convince you to run for president - to show that there is a principled constituency that will not and can not be ignored. The party of principle must never surrender the one thing we have, that other parties do not, assuming it is not already too late for us as well. Rudyard Kipling advised that "The end of that game is oppression and shame ...", and I believe he may be absolutely dead right.