Thursday, November 21, 2013

Liberty Lines, Nov. 21, 2013

Published in the Farwell TX/ Texico NM State Line Tribune

(This was in response to a column by the newspaper's owner- click on the picture to read it- which suggested that the presence of a Libertarian candidate ensured the victory of the Democrat in the VA governor's race.  I was asked to weigh in on the matter from a libertarian perspective.)

First of all, I am what you would call a "small 'l' libertarian" as opposed to a "Big 'L' Libertarian". It's the difference between being a philosophical libertarian and being a political libertarian (a member of the Libertarian Party). They can be the same, but often aren't.

The Libertarian Party is a political party supposedly based upon the principles of libertarianism- but they often fall short due to their desire to win elections- or to at least play the game. They soft peddle and avoid topics they think would hurt them, and because of that can't even get the support of many libertarians. I used to be a dues-paying member of the Libertarian Party, but dropped out because of the LP's refusal to stick to the principles.

When they lose an election, both Republicans and Democrats think Libertarians took votes from them. Both are probably correct to a degree, depending on the particular election, but I think in most cases the people who end up voting for the Libertarian candidate simply wouldn't have voted at all if there hadn't been a Libertarian on the ballot. There is a simple solution- become more libertarian rather than constantly whining that libertarians should vote for candidates they find repugnant.

Most Libertarians, and practically all libertarians, see no reason to prefer the Republican candidate over the Democrat, or vice versa. Most see them both as simply different branches of the same political party, rather than seeing the superficial differences they emphasize having any actual value at all. If you are being chased by a hungry tiger, why would you care what color the stripes on his tail are? Both Democrats and Republicans believe it's their "right" to control what you do with your own life and property, and will use deadly force to enforce compliance. The only difference is in which parts of your life and property they choose to interfere with. That's no choice.

One big part of libertarian (and principled Libertarian) thinking is that a vote for the lesser of two evils just keeps resulting in more evil. If the choice is between two people who shouldn't be holding office, then to vote for either one is endorsing someone you don't want under the belief that "you have to vote for someone". No, you don't. It's better to not participate than to throw your support behind someone you know is dangerous to individual liberty. If you vote you are implicitly agreeing to go along with the result even if "your side" loses. In other words, if you vote you have no right to complain about the results. Yes, I know the voters usually turn that upside down, but think about it: If you play chess by the rules, how can you complain if you lose? Especially if you keep agreeing to play chess with a known cheat, or with someone who keeps changing the rules mid-game to favor himself. In that case the only winning move is to refuse to be drawn in. Go play something else instead.



  1. "...discussing his group's thinking."

    I have a hard time picturing a group thinking. I've always thought of thinking as something that only happens in an individual mind.


  2. Of course, there is "the hive mind", where people change their thinking based upon what they perceive the "group" as thinking. Yes, it's still their own thoughts, but kinda, sorta, in a way, not. People who think of themselves as a part of a group will often think and do things they would never consider doing on their own- unfortunately, usually only in a negative way. Thus the wide support of the act of "taxation" by people who would never consider breaking into your house and stealing your stuff on their own.

  3. My experience as a libertarian is similar to yours, Kent. I have gotten to the point where I only vote for candidates I really want in office, but as I become more and more an anarchist, I'm less and less inclined to vote. My thinking is sorta like: If someone is standing with a shotgun trained on me and on his right is a sturdy man with a leather whip and on his left is a sturdy man with an iron rod, I'd prob'ly choose the whip. [Psr Bru]

  4. I heard that most people who voted for the Libertarian would have voted for the Democrat, largely because of this social stances and their disgust with the Clintonista candidate.

    Me, I voted for myself. I know how to run my life.

  5. Your treatment above is perfect, Kent. Pare it down to their size and submit it.


  6. It's in today's paper. But they have no website, which is why I published it here, too.

  7. I vote, but not for ANY candidates but only to reject all taxation or usurpations of the prerogatives of civil society .I will utilize any opportunity to peacefully holler NO in the face of the criminal State however impotent it may be as long as the chance to do so is available.