As a libertarian one of the things that greatly amuses me is how elements on both the “left” and “right” sides of the political spectrum attempt to court us. One minute we’re an ineffective minority of extremists and the next we’re supposed to have a lot of common ground with whatever side is trying to appeal to us.
One of the more entertaining articles that tries to court libertarians to the “right” is this fine piece. You know the article is going to be a doozy when it starts with “The talented National Review writer Charles C.W. Cooke…” If there’s are two things that don’t go together it’s talent and the National Review. The laughs don’t stop there. The author, Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, claims:
The political calculus for libertarians is relatively straightforward: They are a small minority — albeit an influential one — and are not completely at home in either party, but can get a lot done if they ally with one in particular.
See, when we’re being courted we’re influential! Gobry’s assertion that libertarians could get a lot done if they allied with one of the two major parties is particularly funny. A lot of libertarians decided to do exactly this and jumped onto the Republican Party ship only to get kicked off and boarded by many unsavory scoundrels. During this libertarian expedition they were told how valuable their views were and how they were welcomed with open arms. Then the Republican National Convention started getting closer and it appeared the libertarians captured a sizable number of seats in several states. This forced the Republican Party to show its true nature and it threatened to banish Nevada’s delegates if too many were going to vote for Ron Paul, had Ron Paul supporters arrested in Louisiana, and prohibited Ron Paul supporters in Maine from participation by forcing them to sign an oath of loyalty to Romney. As a final blow the Republican Party moved to change the rules to dissuade libertarians within the party from participating and even went so far as to hold up one state’s delegates to prevent them from hindering the rule change. Needless to say participating in the Republican Party didn’t do jack shit for libertarianism.
The article then makes the best argument against libertarians participating in either major party’s political process:
And self-delusion it was: On every issue of importance, the left has betrayed libertarians (if “betrayed” is the right word, given that they never actually bothered to promise them anything). Obama’s treatment of the Constitution has been as roughshod as any of his predecessor’s.
Saying Obama’s treatment of the Constitution, which libertarians are supposedly upholders of according to the author, was as roughshod as Bush’s really drives the point home that both parties give no fucks about any supposed restrictions to their powers. If both Republicans and Democrats are doing the same thing then why should libertarians support either of them? Here’s where the real laughs come in:
The reason why liberaltarianism was always doomed to fail is because, at the end of the day, progressivism is an all-encompassing ideology. And while libertarians won’t agree with conservatives on everything, the two can certainly agree on a lot, because of a key bedrock principle of libertarianism that is shared with conservatives but not progressives: the importance of localism.
Holy hell, that’s rich! Conservatives recognize the importance of localism? Is that whey the Republican Party is always pushing for national laws prohibiting same-sex marriages? Is that why they’re looking to replace the Affordable Care Act with another national healthcare scheme? Is that why they’re constantly supporting drug prohibitions on a national level? Is that why they’re always arguing that we need to keep “illegals” out of this country instead of allowing each border state to decide what it wants to do for itself? Conservatives lost the right to claim they supported local politics long ago. But the best laugh was saved for last:
It is exactly this sort of ideological, moralistic progressive urge that makes progressivism and libertarianism like oil and water and makes the conservative movement the natural home of libertarians. At the end of the day, an alliance with the conservative movement is the only plausible way for libertarians to effect meaningful political change in America.
According to Gobry the natural home for libertarians is an abusive one because, as I pointed out above, libertarians were living in that home and were beaten harshly for it. I think the biggest joke of this article though is implying libertarians want to effect political change. While some libertarians certainly do I am not one of them. I am part of the branch of libertarianism that wants to eliminate the state entirely. My goal, and those who share my goal, don’t want to put the right people in power, we want to remove everybody from power. In my opinion libertarianism’s natural home is in counter-economics. That’s because counter-economics allow individuals to act on their own accord and not as part of some political collective. Individualism is at the core of libertarianism so any collectivist strategy is going to be a poor fit.