Blogs > Liberty and Power > The LP's Wishy-Washy Sectarianism

Sep 11, 2008 6:57 pm

The LP's Wishy-Washy Sectarianism

The LP now says that there is a risk in third parties getting together when they have such strong ideological differences. Fair enough.

But it's funny to argue that"Libertarians may agree with Greens on the need for a foreign policy based on nonaggression, but it is for very different reasons." I never understood this argument. There are a THOUSAND good reasons to oppose war. Libertarians should embrace every single one. Indeed, contra this LP rhetoric, the LP has long been focusing on too narrow a reason to oppose war: because it is unconstitutional, or because it's a waste of money. The biggest reason for a libertarian to support"a foreign policy based on nonaggression" is because, under libertarianism, aggression is per se evil. And on this issue, many Greens are at least as good as many libertarians. In fact, the LP has long tried to be somewhat neutral on war, since it's been seen as a debatable issue among libertarians. Well, if we libertarians can disagree with each other over mass murder, I don't see what a little domestic socialism is between friends.

After all, the LP is now the party of"the principle of individual sovereignty, limited government and lower taxation." With such a broad, watered down"philosophy," many leftists would fit right in: Most leftists I know think government is too unlimited and taxes are too high. Believing in lower taxes is not enough, and neither is believing that it's time to come home from Iraq. Real libertarianism is anti-tax, anti-war and anti-state, across the board, and yet ecumenical enough to work with fellow travelers on important issues. It seems the Libertarian Party, in trying to broaden its appeal by watering down its own dedication to the non-aggression principle, has actually alienated itself and marginalized its outreach. I would suggest the LP become less sectarian when it comes to working with people and become more principled in its own internal devotion to philosophy. Now it's sort of floundering with the worst of both worlds.

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Dan Clore - 9/13/2008

You might like to check out my Nolan Chart column, Anarchy for President:

Scott Semans - 9/12/2008

Right on, Anthony! Let's call a spade a spade. Liberventionists are NOT libertarians. They have disgraced the LP and should be driven out of the Party and the movement. The tent isn't big enough. The LP could have been the Party of Principled Peace at a time when significant numbers of Americans are open to the message, but even the contenders for the nomination who were solid on the issue knew they could not emphasize it. At the start of the first Iraq War the LP brass took a phone survey and found that "Republican creep" had already poisoned the party ranks. Fearing a loss of contributions, the anti-war message was softened, and it's only gotten worse since then. Check the national LP website for an anti-Iraq message, much less a ringing condemnation of the principle of preemptive invasion - the most starkly anti-libertarian policy imaginable - you will have a hard time finding anything indicating that this is a party which supports peace on principle. Now there's a pair of turds on the national ticket who will only bring in more selfish tax whiners and propertarians. I don't know how many real libertarians are still in the party - I left after the platform was gutted - but if there's somebody with the position and the balls to start a kick-the-bums-out movement, I'd re-up. Just as America needs to clean up its hateful foreign policy and apologize to the world for its warmongering, the LP needs to apologize to the movement by flushing the liberventionists.