Original editorial submitted by Marc Montoni:
I think I’ve made a mistake. I think I continued to make it for almost two decades.
I used to be that guy who showed up at every LP meeting and invited everyone who was in attendance to make that next step, and to join the LP. I collected and sent well over 1,200 new or renewal memberships to the LP between 1996 and 2016.
I think it was a mistake because the LP’s membership efforts — mine included — have been too successful…
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In the seventies, even many minarchists would have been at great pains to describe even one government regulation that they agreed with; and which they could justify being left among the powers allowed to government.
Now we have self-styled “anarchist LP members” who have no trouble suggesting that there are, indeed, government regulations that have a libertarian justification for supporting them.
In the past week, I have read commentary by two people I have known for a long time, saying that there is a libertarian case to be made for preventing people under 21 from owning a firearm.
A month ago, a whole bunch of self-styled “libertarian anarchists” jumped on the “under 18 cannot consent to sex” bandwagon — despite the fact that it is just another government regulation like any other (and despite the fact that millions do just that, year after year).
We appear to have a deep-seated misunderstanding of what anarchism and even libertarianism actually mean.
You become a libertarian when you understand that it’s wrong to run the lives of others.
You become an anarchist when you understand that there simply are no exceptions.
We have spent the last forty years allowing ourselves to swallow Leviathan’s propaganda that “it’s for the children!!” and that only Leviathan can ever be the arbiter of who is competent to own a weapon, drive a car, have sex, take drugs, buy property, or set up a business.
We have become Leviathan’s “good little junior partner” in the charade.
How far we have fallen.
I am deeply sorry for my error. My penance is that I am going to take a long break from recruiting LP members, at least until I can find a better way to enlist the people who are already out there in the millions who completely understand that the entire construct of our government is one big fraud and long con.
In short, the kind of people the LP has pointedly avoided talking to, for two generations.
Instead, we’re talking to valium-popping socialist soccer moms and beer-swilling sports-bar union thug dads — who both joined the Leviathan parties when they were in their teens either because that’s what their parents were or because they were rebelling against what their parents were. We’ve spent forty years talking to that audience, and the result has been 40 years of banging around between 10,000 and 25,000 annual donors.
There must be more. We need a quarter-million annual donors, and walking softly isn’t getting us introduced to them.
We need to be offensive to the rest to appeal to the best.
And make no mistake, Libertarian ideas themselves are TOXIC to Republicans and Democrats. You can’t make them like it; nor can you make them not be offended by our ideas. They are simply not capable of any other reaction. We should stop trying to be inoffensive and non-threatening to them, because in doing so, we sell our real cohort down the river — without any benefit to us.
It appears to be reality that the LP is now on a path from which it will not easily diverge. There are vanishingly few Libertarians who understand that we’re ignoring our core market — and they’re getting more and more scarce every day.
Arvin Vohra, who has been trying something very different, will be replaced at the national convention in 2018 with someone far more milquetoasty who will go in the exact opposite direction.
The die is cast, and it will likely stay cast.
The LP is now part of the “loyal” opposition.
It has become a whipped puppy — instead of the junkyard dog that it was supposed to be.
Marc Montoni serves as the President of the Libertarian Practical Politics Association as well as the Chief of the Annoyance Caucus of the Libertarian Party. A long-time resident of Virginia, primariy Richmond and Harrisonburg, Montoni has served as the Membership Chairman for the Libertarian Party of Virginia as well as many other posts over four decades of service. He now resides in Colorado with his family.
See his blog at:
[This article was originally published on the author’s blog and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.