Posted by Andy Jacobs in IPR comments on a previous post:
Libertarians won’t get anywhere if we just sound like Republicans, and this includes “Republicans who really mean it.”
If people just want somebody who sounds like a Republican, then they can vote for Republicans.
I want less taxes and spending, but one of the reasons that I want less taxes and spending is because much of the taxes and spending goes to fund wars of aggression abroad and a domestic police state at home.
The first part of the statement that I made above appeals to conservatives, but the second part of the statement is an example of how it can be spun to appeal to liberals and to show them why they ought to favor less taxes and spending.
Many conservatives will rally against the public welfare system, but then they will enthusiastically support big military budgets, foreign wars of aggression, and a domestic police state.
A lot of Republicans have found that they can talk about limiting government, cutting taxes and spending, supporting the Constitution, et cetera, during election time and then once in office they ignore all of this stuff. They will sound almost like a Libertarian on the campaign trail, but once in office they help make government bigger and bigger.
The key here is that they will sound “almost” like a Libertarian. They’ll talk about cutting taxes and spending. They’ll talk about the public welfare system and government employee unions. They may even talk about gun rights.
However, there are certain things they WON’T DARE SAY. They won’t talk about (re)legalizing all drugs. They won’t talk about ending US military intervention abroad and bringing all of the troops home. They won’t talk about cutting military spending. They won’t talk about eliminating the Patriot Act, the Department of Homeland Security, the TSA, the CIA, the NSA, or any other act or agency which is supposedly making us “safer”. They won’t say that gays should be able to get married, and that prostitution and porn should be legal. They won’t say that people should be free to gamble with their own money. They won’t talk about how big corporations are in bed with big government. And they won’t dare talk about ending the Federal Reserve System.
I found out about the Libertarian Party back in 1996 after I stumbled upon Harry Browne speaking at the Libertarian Party’s National Convention in July. What impressed me about Harry Browne and made me want to join the Libertarian Party is that he did NOT sound like a Republican or a Democrat. He was clearly offering something much different that the two major parties, something that was just as different from being Republican as it was from being a Democrat. If Harry Browne had sounded like a Republican (or a Democrat), I wouldn’t have joined the party, and I may have changed the channel before his speech was over.
I don’t believe that sounding like either of the major parties is going to get us anywhere. If those of us who want the Libertarian Party to be successful want it to actually happen then we’ve got to make it clear to the public that we are offering them something that is totally different from either the Republicans or the Democrats. We need to make it clear that we are just as far from being Republicans as we are from being Democrats.
I say all of this as somebody who has quite possibly done more one-on-one outreach to the widest possible spectrum of the population than anyone else in the party for the past 10 plus years. I’m not talking about going on TV shows or radio shows (although I’ve done both), and I’m not just talking about posting stuff on-line, I mean talking to people in person one-on-one where the other person can talk back. I’m talking about all over the country, in all types of areas (big cities, suburbs, medium towns, small towns, rural areas, and north, south, east, and west and all points in between). I’m talking about all economic groups, age groups, races/ethnicities, religions, political persuasions, etc…
So when I talk about this stuff I’m not just some guy sitting behind a computer screen spouting off without really having any personal experience or knowing about which I am speaking. I am a voice that has much experience behind what I say and these are my observations.