Theoretical libertariansm versus practical libertarianism

Libertarianism seems like an idea that the vast majority of people can get behind.  More and more people are approaching me, describing themselves as mostly libertarian.  The problem, as they describe it, is a matter of libertarians not really grasping the reality of the world we live in.

I’m going to concede that they make a fair point.  It’s not that libertarian ideals can’t be applicable to the real world.  Instead it’s that so many libertarians don’t bother to look at things in the real world before opening their trap.

A case in point is’s J.D. Tuccille.  Yesterday, he arguing that right to work laws were actually not libertarian because they violated the power of the contract, telling employers and unions what they can’t do in a contract.

Needless to say, he was met with a great deal of resistance.  Later yesterday evening, he posted this at Reason:

However, there is a group that benefits from responding to laws with more laws, and that group consists of politicians and government officials. Note that the long-standing positions of the major political parties are represented both in the federal legislation mentioned above and the current battle over right-to-work laws. With the NLRA, Democrats positioned themselves as advocates for labor, while Republicans responded to business concerns with Taft-Hartley. Republicans now champion right-to-work on behalf of beleaguered businesses, while Democrats tout their opposition to such laws to their union-member constituents. By intruding the state into labor-business relations, politicians elevated their own importance and power in a way that simply staying out of the matter, or repealing laws, never could,

Are libertarians welcome in the GOP?

One of the biggest struggles between conservatives and libertarians isn’t over gay marriage, abortion, or even the War on Drugs.  No, its whether libertarians should be faithful to the Republican Party.  This discussion has gotten even louder in recent weeks after Mitt Romney’s defeat at the hands of President Obama.

However, the question I personally have is whether or not libertarians would be even welcome within the party.  My fellow United Liberty contributor, Kevin Boyd, wrote this regarding his thoughts on what libertarians should do:

The solution is simple, we must launch a hostile takeover of the Republican Party. We need encourage our libertarian friends to abandon the Libertarian Party, which has accomplished a grand total of nothing in its 40 years of existence. Conservatives and libertarians need to get involved in the Republican party, especially on the local level. Work your way up the party ranks and eventually become the establishment.

I see what Kevin is saying, and he’s right about the Libertarian Party’s lack of accomplishment.  As a member of that party, I’m extremely frustrated with the poor showing during the last election by Gary Johnson, who I felt was a very solid candidate.

However, Johnson’s appearance on the LP ticket ties into my concerns about whether libertarians would be welcomed within the GOP.  Johnson was a two term governor of New Mexico, a clear fiscal conservative, and a man with solid “small government” credentials.  He was shut out.

Ron Paul made some waves this time around, and much of the derision he faced within the GOP could be argued to be the result of his fanatical supporters and their actions.  However, four years ago, he was right where Johnson was this time around.

Our Time For Choosing

Our rulers in Washington DC are fighting over the so-called “fiscal cliff” which means that at the end of the year a bunch of “spending cuts” and tax increases will take effect causing all sorts of calamities. Our wonderful representatives in Congress and our brilliant President/Messiah, Barack Obama are trying to work out a “balanced” deal to make everything alright. The “balanced” deal appears to be we raise taxes today, especially on the evil “rich”, and that we cut spending in a few years (ie. never). No one on Capitol Hill dares to suggest that instead of asking American taxpayers to pay more taxes that we actually, you know cut spending. The fiscal cliff debate is actually America’s time for choosing of whether or not we will be a country that values freedom and liberty or we will be a country subservient to the state.

Both parties proposals’ are generally the same. Higher taxes, no real spending cuts, and no real entitlement reform. The only differences are the numbers and who benefits and who loses. There is no real choice for those of us who believe in liberty and freedom. The Republican Party, which is supposed to be the party of limited government, is now actively purging fiscal conservatives from important committee positions. What are those of us who believe in liberty supposed to do?

What does Jim DeMint’s move to Heritage mean for the Freedom Movement

Jim DeMint

Since Jim DeMint resigned his Senate seat on Thursday to run the Heritage Foundation, there has been a lot of discussion about the the future of the conservative movement. Many conservatives are excited, a sentiment perhaps best summed up by Erick Erickson. They believe that DeMint will be free to say what he wants, no longer being pressured or restrained by leadership. Indeed, DeMint did just that on Thursday during an interview on CNN, telling Wolf Blitzer that he’s “not with Boehner,” who called for increased tax revenues in his counter-proposal to the White House. “This government doesn’t need any more money, this country needs less government,” said DeMint.

Other conservatives have used the news to take some shots at DeMint. For example, Jennifer Rubin slammed DeMint, writing, “He’s a pol whose entire style of conservatism –  all or nothing, no compromise, no accounting for changes in public habits and opinions — is not true to the tradition of Edmund Burke, Russell Kirk and others.”

Freedom Matters.

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Anthony Randazzo: What’s Next For Libertarians?

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The GOP Doesn’t Have a Libertarian Problem

Post image for The GOP Doesn’t Have a Libertarian Problem

A friend shared this interesting post with me the other day. Basically, with Romney losing the election and the Republicans trying to blame everybody but themselves, the question of the party having a “libertarian problem” arises. The author makes a couple of points that are worth considering.

Mitt Romney ran against libertarian ideals.

There was almost literally nothing libertarian about the GOP’s presidential ticket. They ran on a platform of government a little smaller than the Democrats would prefer. Expand the war on drugs. Expand globally with aggressive (“preventative”) war. Expand spending. Balance the budget at some point in the distant future. None of that sounds libertarian because none of that is libertarian.

The GOP has to have libertarians before it can have a libertarian problem.

In the Senate, they’ve got Rand Paul. Mike Lee isn’t so bad, either. In the House, there are a handful of decent members, but only 1 that I’d trust to make the right stand, no matter what. (I’m looking at you, Justin Amash.) That’s not much of a libertarian presence in Congress.

Why Libertarians Lose

“Libertarians will never win.”  “Why don’t you just join the Republican Party?”  I’ve heard all the reasons I’m “doing it wrong” from people outside the Libertarian Party.  “We don’t have ballot access.”  “We aren’t able to raise money, because we aren’t bought by special interests.”  I’ve heard every excuse inside the Libertarian Party about why we do not win elections.  Aside from the ballot access issue and joining the Republican Party, what you’re about to read is also valid for “small L” libertarians, grassroots campaigns of either the Democratic or Republican variety, and nearly any recently “off the couch” activist-turned-candidate.  There are obvious exceptions in the case of independently wealthy individuals or celebrities or athletes cashing in on their fame, but these are generally the “rules.”  Also, there are “wins” that can be achieved without actually having more votes than the others running, but that is for another day.

The “mistakes” I outline below are not the fault of the candidate, their staff or their volunteers.  It is my opinion that they are just unaware of the “mistakes.”  The first and most devastating mistake that Libertarians make is that they are not involved in government until they are ready to run for office.  They have not attended a single City Council, County Commission meeting, or visited their state legislature to watch them in action, let alone been involved enough to know the players or the game.  At the local level, there are many opportunities to get involved without winning an election.  This mistake hurts potential candidates for two reasons: no one knows who they are, and they do not have any record on which to run.

Rand Paul looks to lead in the Senate

Rand Paul

On Tuesday, Politico ran a mostly great story about Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), son of Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), outlining some of his more libertarian-leanings on issues that dogged the Republican Party in the most recent election cycle:

In the wake of Barack Obama’s reelection win and ahead of a possible 2016 White House bid of his own, the Kentucky Republican plans to mix his hard-line tea party conservatism with more moderate policies that could woo younger voters and minorities largely absent from the GOP coalition. It’s the latest tactic of the freshman senator to inject the Libertarian-minded views shared by his retiring father into mainstream Republican thinking as the party grapples with its future.

In an interview with POLITICO, Paul said he’ll return to Congress this week pushing measures long avoided by his party. He wants to work with liberal Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy and Republicans to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for pot possession. He wants to carve a compromise immigration plan with an “eventual path” to citizenship for illegal immigrants, a proposal he believes could be palatable to conservatives. And he believes his ideas — along with pushing for less U.S. military intervention in conflicts overseas — could help the GOP broaden its tent and appeal to crucial voting blocs that handed Democrats big wins in the West Coast, the Northeast and along the Great Lakes.

“We have three big regions where we’re not competitive,” Paul said. “And we have to be competitive in those regions.”

A libertarian explains why she’s voting for Mitt Romney

While some conservative bloggers have tried to make a case for libertarians voting for Mitt Romney, they haven’t really been able to connect because they fail to understand where we’re coming from in our perspective on politics and public policy. However, Liz Mair, a libertarian who works as a political consultant and strategist, explains that she is voting for Romney, despite reservations about some of his policies:

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