L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 98, November 13, 2000
The People Have Spoken!
The Party of Pixie Dust
by Pete Willis
Special to TLE
The national Libertarian Party likes to call itself "the party of principle." Resting on a strong foundation of philosophy and economics, the case for liberty is rock solid. Why has the party consistently failed to build on that foundation? I propose four factors to explain the continued disinterest in the LP.
First, the candidate(s) chosen by the big-L Libertarians are intellectual lightweights using shopworn slogans as a platform. In every public forum and speech, Browne was endlessly handing out his little bromides, not translating philosophy into practice.
Also, the LP has not yet offered evidence that they are fit for or capable of office. Do not forget the "take out a contract on Saddam Hussein" policy. The huge budget cuts proposed by the LP are impossible without a majority in congress. Ending foreign entanglements is prohibited by the Constitution. American ratification of a treaty makes it law of the land until reneged by congress (not the president). Do they not understand how the republic was designed to operate, or is the LP planning to ignore the parts of the Constitution it doesn?t like?
Third, I would point out the miserable performance on the ballot during this election. As long as the LP measures success by the number of candidates, not the number of votes or persons elected, it will continue to fail.
Last, the national LP pays a huge amount of rent in the Watergate, but could be just as ineffective from Bumfuk, Iowa. They focus ten or twenty years in the future, when Nader and his horde of ignoble savages have demonstrated how to affect policy right now. We, the recipients of endless fundraising pleas, are told to ignore these past failures and hope for the future. Give them your money, your hopes, your happy thoughts, and someday liberty will triumph.
You'd think that with an unassailable philosophical foundation, the LP could clean house. But after thirty years of error, the LP has not grown beyond cheap slogans and inexperience. It is unsophisticated, unfit, and unsurprisingly unsuccessful. It pains me to say it, but the folks in the Libertarian Party are not proffering principle. The LP is peddling pixie dust. I don't know about you, but I'm not buying.