L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 104, January 8, 2001
Back in the Saddle
by Andriy Berezhny
Special to TLE
Of late, things have been interesting over at LewRockwell.com, a paleo-conservative and, until recently, libertarian organ. Rockwell reported that "Third parties are dead". He didn't support this bold assertion but he's sure it's true and he's terrible unhappy about it. Then he put up an article lambasting Libertarian Party members as "Useful idiots" and the Libertarian Party as a slightly more dangerous version of a "Dungeons and Dragons club meeting in the basement of the student union."
The author ridicules the Libertarian Party as irrelevant. He then accuses it of stealing the Senate from the Republicans and making Gore's challenge in Florida feasible. He was apparently having such an intense hissy fit that he didn't notice his self-contradiction.
I expect that we'll see a number of similar articles during the next few years. The arguments of the Nervous Republican can be summarized as follows 1) The Republican candidate is entitled to the libertarian vote, even when the Republican candidate is a socialist.
The Republican Party is so focused on frittering away freedom in the vain hope of getting votes from socialists or approval from the mass media that they can't understand it when, as a direct consequence, they lose the votes of people who care about liberty.
2) Sure, we're evil, but the Democrats are more evil. If you care about liberty, you have nowhere else to go. We own you so we don't have to live up to the promises we make.
That may work for a while, but people know it's wrong to support evil and tire of being betrayed.
3) Our candidates may say that they want more socialism but they don't really mean it. They're just lying to win votes.
People tire of being lied to. Most people have learned that when a Republican candidate says he wants to enact another socialist program or place more limits on constitutionally protected liberties, he means it.
That's it. That's all they have to offer. That's why they're nervous. Nearly every Republican I describe the Libertarian Party to ends up voting for our candidates. We have something to offer. The Republicans have power but nothing else.
The Republicans center their campaigns on prolonging and extending immoral and destructive socialist programs their betters fought against. They vote for "reasonable gun control" which results in increased crime, and the deaths of innocent people, while simultaneously asserting that they understand and uphold the Constitution. They vote for utterly unconstitutional, un-American, and anti-liberty laws which penalize people for crimes which harm nobody else. They apologize to the media for what little faith they have in liberty.
The Republicans are nervous. They're nervous because they used to have something to offer and they're afraid that they're about to lose it. They used to be able to offer the promise of liberty.
They kept making the promise throughout the Reagan-Bush era of increased government spending and multiplying gun control laws— "But we wanted to cut spending. We just didn't have the support of the Democrat Congress". This argument is, perhaps, plausible.
They kept making the promise throughout the Clinton era, in which a Republican Congress whined "We wanted to abolish all those bureaucracies we promised to but Clinton wouldn't let us so we increased their budgets instead." This argument strains their credibility to the breaking point.
They held the tenuous position that a Republican President and Democrat Congress results in increased government power, a Democrat President and a Republican Congress results in increased government power, but that, if the Republicans controlled the Congress and Presidency, then—then we would see the Federal government slashed to those powers explicitely delegated in the Constitution—then the Republicans would finally get government out of our lives.
What if they fail? What excuse have they left to offer—that they need control of Congress, the Presidency, and the media in order to push government back? If government continues to grow, no credible excuses remain.
The Republicans must be terrified. They have what they wished for. The House is theirs. The Senate, with the Vice President's tie-breaking vote, is theirs. The Presidency is theirs. If they do not live up to the promise of liberty, their long-suffering supporters will see the Republican party for what it has become and be left with no alternative but to find a party that truly cares about liberty—one that will bind the government down with the chains of the Constitution.
The Republicans are nervous. They have good reason to be nervous, for the Libertarian Party lives and there is only one way to kill it: enact its platform.
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.—Gandhi