In an apparent response to recent criticism of the Libertarian Party and Libertarian National Committee (LNC) by LNC member Wayne Allyn Root, LNC member Starchild offered the following analysis and recommended reading to all other LNC members:
Wayne seems to be suggesting here that libertarianism qua libertarianism just can’t/won’t appeal to people. That it can only appeal to people if it is peddled as either liberalism or conservatism (and of course he wants it to take a conservative character). But in that case, what is the point of having a Libertarian Party?
It’s easy to criticize what the LP has achieved, because the need for freedom remains more pressing than ever, and we all want to see a freer society. But by the standards of alternative parties in the United States, the LP has actually been quite successful. We’re the third-largest party in the country by most measures, and have outlasted many others. We have arguably had a significant impact on public policy, the public dialogue, and people’s beliefs, even if we haven’t freed any jurisdictions, succeeded in getting major parts of our platform written into law, elected tens of thousands of people to public office, etc.
Am I satisfied with what we’ve accomplished? No. Do I think there are more things we can and should do to take the party to another level? Absolutely! But aping the Republicans by watering down our message, or shutting the door to all tactics and methods of fighting for freedom other than trying to elect people with “L’s” next to their names, are not among them. If we hadn’t kept a relatively strong commitment to libertarian ideas over the years we’ve been in existence, I don’t think we would have had nearly as much impact and sustainability as we have, but conversely if the LP had been more determined in consistently upholding our radical message and speaking truth to power, and less concerned about “being taken seriously” or the superficial benchmarks of conventional success, I think we would today be much stronger in all ways than we are.
While we’re passing along recommended reading material, here’s a piece by Jim Peron, head of the libertarian Moorfield Storey Institute, which I found insightful, in which he discusses one of the things holding us back. Although I think Peron (fortunately for the movement) exaggerates the problem a bit in some respects in the piece below and his follow-up essay, he is right to point out a mindset which can and does unnecessarily alienate people who are often strongly libertarian in many respects and have much to gain from freedom, and which we would do well to be more mindful of in our communications. Be sure to read his comments at the link comparing the LP with Students for Liberty –
Starchild and Wayne Allyn Root are two of the five “At-Large” members of the LNC elected at the LP National Convention in Las Vegas in May 2012. Each has been reported to represent one of the two more extreme factions within the party: Starchild as Radical/Purist/Bottom up; Wayne Allyn Root as Reformer/Compromiser/Top Down.