The Libertarian Party (LP), at least here in the Hinterland,
seems ready for primetime (originally posted 5/31/2010)
by Brian Wright
Timid men prefer the calm of despotism
to the tempestuous sea of Liberty. – Thomas Jefferson
And in This Corner
So now comes the LP of Michigan (LPM), with its 2010 convention in Okemos (a relatively well-to-do bedroom community of Lansing, the capital, and East Lansing, home to Michigan State University). Yours truly, being acting Webmaster and having a long history with the LPM—actually one of the founders in 1972—I continue to have high hopes. The photo on the right shows Bill Hall, current “political director” of the LPM. Political director is such a plum job: organizing the candidates and getting the paperwork together for the state elections commission.
Well, I’ve been there, too… back before personal computers. It was no fun then, and it’s still no fun. Yet the solitary man in the corner performing thankless clerical work to satisfy “who the state says can be on its run-for-office list” is the sine qua non of Libertarian life. And part of the reason I regularly question the metaphysical rationale for the Libertarian Party in my heart of hearts.
“Incrementalism” vs. “Absolutism”
These terms have been used to frame the key issue of whether we “small-l” libertarians should participate in the electoral system ever since I’ve been a member and sometimes leader in the LP. Logical and moral consistency, not to mention history, seem to argue for the direct approach. Where would we be today if the American colonists had said to the Brits, “Hey, man, if you perform that act of tyranny, we’re going to, like, elect more-friendly dudes to Parliament.”?
Would Gandhi have been more successful as a political activist than he was by his absolutist nonviolent resistance? I don’t think so. Also, if, according to my view in the SNaP, the world is dominated by a Matrix of the Power Sick (MOPS), wouldn’t that MOPS prefer a political activism that stood no chance of challenging its power. In the USA, the Libertarian Party comes along in the early 1970s at the peak of antiwar activism—I mean a peace movement that truly threatens the corporate-fascist, mass-murder MOPS machinery to its foundation.
So what do the YAF kids like me do? Instead of taking it to the streets to overthrow the Evil Oligarchy, we found and join the LP, learn Roberts Rules, and conduct meetings and conventions.
That’s the extreme negative and MOPS-opportunistic view of the LP and of modern Western political activism in general. Plus, the fact that legal barriers to third-party success are fat and electoral results slim tends to support the conviction that working within the system is playing a fixed game. But after years of having something to do with playing that game, and seeing the indirect and cultural effect of the Libertarian alternative especially in local politics, I’ve eased up on the “purity of effectiveness” argument… mainly because people are still pretty much just people.
It would be my preference instead of participating in the Libertarian exercise to launch 500 Gandhis—who would simply refuse to cooperate with and thus end the coercive state tomorrow. I would do my part, too. But the time and place of the real Gandhi has come and gone: we are not a culturally distinct people dominated by a foreign power. The weeds of statism are home grown… more like pods delivered, while we sleep, by our neighbors on behalf of aliens—the banksters and their pals—who rule mostly by mind control. [Though, with an iron fist ever more evident through the threadbare velvet glove.]
And you know what? The Gandhian pattern of absolute insistence on natural rights, civil disobedience, and nonviolent direct resistance to the moral depravity of state power is alive and well in the American freedom movement. Without going into detail, but simply pointing to such a Ron Paul phenomenon aftermath as the Restore the Republic organization, I can confidently state that the Revolution—nonviolent so far, but unwaveringly absolute to the resurrection of Constitutional liberty—is on. “You’re not the boss of me” is putting fire in the bellies and hope on the table for millions of Americans. We will have our country back. It’s not a matter for Congressional vote… by a bunch who ignores us anyway.
The Libertarian movement, which is to say, the Party, is also on.
Cutting the LP Some Slack
The question is will the Party be part of the general restoration-of-liberty movement—part of “the Patriot Uprising”—or will it continue with its national candidates, in particular (Senators, Congresspeople, President and VP), rationalizing incremental solutions to statist slavery? Perhaps the issue of fundamental morality of Libertarian political activism can be best considered in the particular issue of hemp legalization. Let’s frame it like this:
You’re an LP candidate with prospects of winning your state rep race in North Dakota, a state in which farmers have organized to defy the federal law banning agricultural hemp. They’ve acquired bags of hempseed, configured their equipment to plant the seeds, then notified the authorities that tomorrow morning they will proceed simultaneously on scores of private farms throughout the state to sow the new crop. Do you issue a statement in support of the farmers’ disobedience, or do you counsel the farmers to hold off until the statute banning hemp is changed.
Okay, this example is a bit of a red herring. If American culture has reached the point that thousands of North Dakota farmers are going to give the finger to the feds, we’re home free. Any LP candidate who values his neck is going to support the farmers. At least I think so.
The question on the floor is what’s going on with the LP in Michigan?
The Michigan Libertarian Party is one of the leading state LP parties in terms of membership and budget, candidates fielded, nonpartisan local offices won, and vote totals statewide. Because of the continued deterioration of American politics, the rampant statism and corporatism— and resulting wars and destruction of civil society—more people than usual are looking for an alternative to the Demopublicans.
The amazing amount of simple political knowledge that’s been generated over the past four or five decades about the ideas and ideals of liberty—despite MSM blockades and distortion—has finally begun to turn the tables. The Internet, spiritual awakening, the awareness by average Joes and Janes that the money power (and its puppets) is out to loot and ultimately kill us… all these are positive steps in the progress of the species. Not to mention Constitutional liberty in America. Not to mention the restoration of hope in a rust-belt state like Michigan.
From my perspective, when the American people en masse revolt, imminently, and “institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness,” they’re still going to need some kind of political structure to get to a small-central-government system. Here’s where the Libertarians come to the fore. As the note on the LPM 2010 convention registration form states:
Facing the Future, Ready to Lead!
..with honest-to-goodness real people. Going through the business on the convention floor, seeing some of the new, younger candidates for state rep speak up and express their confidence and excitement… well, it’s rewarding. We have some potential winners. A couple of the state rep races have only a single older-party candidate presence. Then later the banquet with Larry Reed, president of Foundation for Economic Education (F.E.E.) and former leader of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, puts the icing on the cake.
This was a renewal of hope for me. And Dr. Reed’s words hit just the right balance of moral insight and inspiration. He starts by discussing a general decline in character we’re seeing in the country—pointing as an example to Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal who lies about serving in Vietnam and everyone acts as if it’s no big deal—then refers to one of the most character-rich causes in history: the abolition of slavery. Reed regales us with the true story recounted in the small movie Amazing Grace: Two men, William Wilberforce and Thomas Clarkson, in early 19th-century England make the commitment over several decades to end slavery in the country. They succeed because THEY WILL NEVER GIVE UP.
And that’s the lesson to take home. The Libertarians and the libertarians… we, will never give up. And our time has come.
 Agricultural hemp is the native, natural strain of cannabis sativa and has multiple commercial uses: food, clothing, paper, construction materials. The size of the hemp industry is conservatively estimated at $1-$5 trillion per year, a productive engine that can lift all humankind out of material bondage. The insane solitary reason this industry does not exist in the US is a sentence in the federal drug statutes naming it a schedule-1 narcotic.
 I haven’t even mentioned the documented treachery of a MOPS network—working thru the US government, allied governments, and various black contractors and financial interests—that is responsible for the 9/11 attacks. The inexorable spread of such knowledge among the people will catalyze the transition to a New Paradigm society based on the nonaggression principle. Much sooner than most people think.
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