Book Review: Introduction to the Libertarian Party (2013)

For Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Independents, and everyone else
by Wes Benedict

WesBenedictAnyone who has been around the Libertarian Party (LP) as long as I have—from its founding and with a long absence 1972-1978 and some shorter occasional absences since—can cite a relative handful of books that were LP ‘culture bearers,’ from first presidential candidate John Hospers’ scholarly Libertarianism, to David Bergland’s Libertarianism in One Lesson (now in its < > printing), to Dr. Mary Ruwart’s Healing Our World (coming up on an acclaimed third edition), and of course to all the polemical masterpieces of Professor Murray Rothbard (perhaps the most LP-centered being For a New Liberty). And a host of others that don’t come to mind at the moment.

Wes Benedict’s Introduction to the Libertarian Party is a worthy candidate for an LP book of the times, meaning these times—let’s say late 1990s to the present. It sports several notable features:

  • brevity and accessibility: 120 pages, nicely laid out, good spacing and readable font
  • covers the essentials: with enough detail to be truly informative but not overburdening the reader with dry recounting of stats
  • healthful moderate perspective: not saying the LP is the salvation of humankind, but gives common sense reasons for its importance
  • well-written and unpretentious, useful work

Any critical comments are thus offered in the nature of friendly suggestions. The flow of Wes’s narrative is perfect for anyone who is a Libertarian wanting to recruit new ones: Starts with the nonaggression principle, outlines the platform on key issues, shows why voting for what you believe in is not a wasted vote, discusses the nuts and bolts of building effective LP organizations locally and nationally, mentions celebrity endorsements, and speculates about serious fundraising (then candidly wonders whether major money would kill the party via because of infighting). I doubt anyone could put the case for the LP better.

Membership1 Wizened veteran of the libertarian movement that I am, while believing the LP is on the rocks, now, and will die without fundamental grand strategy change, I felt like cheering reading this passage by Mr. Benedict in defense of voting LP:

“I will not be a coward. I will not be a conformist. I will not encourage Membership2continuation of the status quo. I will not discourage others who are trying their best to make a difference. I will not let the Democrats and Republicans fool me into thinking the world will end if the other party gets into office. I will not walk out of the voting booth feeling ashamed of what I did. I will vote for what I believe in.” [Dammit!]
— page 97

So chalk me up as a pro LP kind of fellow. While currently inactive in Michigan, I shall remain a member regardless of strategy taken until they pry my membership card (#2437 at your service) out of my cold dead fingers. And success is yet possible…

Grand Strategy: Leave the Sandbox

In my not so humble opinion, despite the ministrations and the fine efforts of extraordinary individuals such as Wes Benedict (and a dwindling number of others), the LP is a dead horse unless it radically changes its grand strategy. I outline my thoughts in a book, Leaving the Sandbox: Grownup Grand Strategy for Libertarians in an era of wanton US federal crimes and terror. Synopsized in my The Columbus Statement. More recently I’ve founded the Good Neighbor Truth and Justice Caucus of the LP to promote the strategic shift. In three points, from the column, this is what we see as essential:

  1. Frontadvocate globally for truth per the Thrive Movement (http://thrivemovement.com/the_movie) model—to address what I have identified as the Old World Order (OWO) Threat Matrix (http://brianrwright.com/Threat_Matrix.doc), which needs to be further refined. [My recent Toto Worldwide Foundation (http://gofundme.com/TotoWorldwide) launch is directly pertinent.]
  2. advocate amiably at city hall to defy, resist, and nullify Threat Matrix high-crime assaults of OWO functionaries.
  3. in terms of practical immediate legal strategy, advocate (according to Appendix C of After 9/11 Truth: http://brianrwright.com/AppC.doc) fully empowered grand and petit juries of our peers (to bring the people’s justice to particular government criminals and their associates: http://www.amazon.com/Hidden-4th-Branch-Governments-Nightmare/dp/1456566660/?tag=thecofcoa-20) as well as to spread the ‘Hendrickson Discovery’ (http://losthorizons.com/Cracking_the_Code.htm) for legally, prudentially defunding the federal Leviathan.

I’m at the inception of writing my first novel, The Truman Prophecy, at this juncture in my life, so my time to prosecute the above is limited for the remainder of 2015. Still, I’m happy to discuss LP and libertarian strategy with anyone seriously interested: simply leave a reply  to this review below and I’ll get back with you. Or message me on Facebook.

Contextually, in the new strategy, what Wes describes in Introduction to the Libertarian Party as essential steps for building the party are still required. The book will always be a valuable tool. It’s simply our efforts as Libertarians will become far more accountable, universal, integrative, and collaborative with other liberty groups. We will also place candidate-running as of secondary or tertiary priority. Applying systematic ‘point-count’ grassroots local pressure toward liberty—at city hall and the state house—will be the primary mission, and the LP running of candidates will serve that mission as appropriate.

The fruition of the  strategy will mean many hands making light work. So qua third party, or blossoming major party, we are going to need to efficiently maintain many of the traditional functions of the LP as outlined by Mr. Benedict. On a practical political level for the LP, his book stands uniquely and deserves to be among the aforementioned classics.

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