LNC Member Starchild offers analysis of LP

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 –

http://storeyinstitute.blogspot.com/2011/04/disaster-of-me-libertarianism.html

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.

See for example: http://www.independentpoliticalreport.com/2012/05/lnc-elections-thread/

18 thoughts on “LNC Member Starchild offers analysis of LP

  1. give-me-liberty

    “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.”

    More extreme factions? Those are really the only factions at this point.

  2. Starchild

    Joe @2 – I’m sorry to say I’ve long since forgotten whatever it was I’d intended to post that night. If it’s any consolation, I know it was nothing earth-shatteringly important.

  3. Joe Buchman Post author

    Starchild @ 3 — And here I thought you’d been working on something AMAZING all this time. Sadly looks like 2,000 isn’t going to happen over there then.

    🙂

    Joe

  4. Austin Battenberg

    I just read the article on the Moorfield Storey Blog and I have to agree with much if not all of what is said in there. This is another reason why I like Gary Johnson so much, is because he is ACTIVELY trying to appeal to the LGBT community, as well as those affiliated with the NAACP. Because he isn’t focusing on WMASM issues, he doesn’t sound like a conservative-lite (ala Bob Barr or WAR), he sounds like an individual that compares with neither the liberal left, or the conservative right. That is why I think he has an opportunity to truly spread and grow the LP moreso then any party.

    That being said, I tend to agree with Starchild’s analysis of the situation at hand, but despite the differences of the radicals versus the reformers, I still don’t think any purge should occur, and I think we should all work together, and we should all do our own thing without forcing the other side to comply. We just all need to agree NOT to sound like non-libertarians, that is pretty much it for me.

  5. Austin Battenberg

    And that video! Wow I never seen that! It was fantastic. Gary Johnson needs to get the Students for Liberty on board. They are more on the Reason/CATO side then Ron Paul’s Young Americans for Liberty, so they would be a natural fit to bring young people to support the Johnson campaign!

  6. Austin Battenberg

    And you know, as much as here we all agree that we hate the FAIR Tax, and how un-libertarian it is, I can understand why it would appeal to someone who is poor, because first, they get a rebate check which insures that they don’t pay any taxes on necessities, and it also means that those who make more money, end up paying more taxes.

    I don’t like a sales tax, even if it does replace the income and corporate tax, but I can see how it might appeal to a non-libertarian. And unlike Barr/Root, even though its non-libertarian, it isn’t necessarily right-wing or left-wing, so it doesn’t have the same impact as saying that gays can’t marry.

    Same with drug prohibition. We all might agree that all drugs should be legal, but instead Johnson is saying that it should be treated as a health problem instead of a criminal problem, and only advocates legalization of marijuana. Still big steps towards freedom, but not an absolutist position. Thus it can be appealing outside the libertarian base.

    Maybe perfection and being a radical isn’t 100% necessary. That is why I am not against reformers. I just hate it when they sound like conservatives because I didn’t join the LP to because its the RP-lite.

  7. Mark Hilgenberg

    Great post, I do agree! I think the debate goes beyond radical vs. pragmatic, it hits at the heart of liberty.

    Liberty is for all individuals and it is a very positive message, it should not be distorted in a way that makes it seem exclusionary or factional. The idea that one group of individuals, who just happen to FEEL differently on an issue or politician, are bad and deserving of ridicule, is wrong.

    We need to point out bad policies while inviting everyone to look our way. I like Johnsons “Be Libertarian with me” message, it is very inviting and positive.

  8. Indy

    I plan to watch that! I can’t wait. We should all get the IPR community together and chit chat while it goes on. Give analysis etc.

    Starts in about two hours if you want to post an article here for discussion

  9. Steve

    It’s great to see Starchild doing good work on the LNC and bringing in a new perspective. I voted for both Starchild and Root in the At-Large race in Vegas and I hope that out it, there can be some kind of synthesis that makes for a strong, broad-based party. I told people at the convention that if there were a party of all Starchilds (Starchildren 🙂 ) I couldn’t be in it but if the party wasn’t big enough for people like him, I couldn’t be in that either. Same goes for Root and his kind.

  10. Joe Buchman Post author

    Steve @13,

    “I voted for both Starchild and Root in the At-Large race”

    Sounds like the basis for a new caucus inside the LP!

  11. Bubbalicious

    Gotta agree with Steve!

    I did not vote for Wayne this time but I did in 2010 (At Large, not for chair tho) for party unity and I am real glad Starchild made it on. I’m not mad Wayne got re-elected either, it’s just that there were a lot of choices on the ballot.

    We need a party big enough for both.

  12. Seymour_Results

    “Starchild as Radical/Purist/Bottom up; Wayne Allyn Root as Reformer/Compromiser/Top Down.”

    And here, I thought that false dichotomies were just for mainstream conformist stupids. The emergent hierarchy can be interacted with at any level, but the emergence itself needs to be recognized. It is not “bottom up” or “top down,” it has its own structure, and all attempts to force interaction with that structure into “top-down / command and control” or “bottom up / decentralized” are stupid, without recognizing the legitimacy of the other (some have a tendency to a certain hierarchical area, and there are benefits and drawbacks to top, middle, bottom). It’s not either-or.

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