Posted by Brad @ 10:06 pm on February 26th 2007

Catty Libertarians

I didn’t put Ron Paul in the headline this time!

Via Homeland Stupidity, a good writeup of some blowback Badnarik got for his support of Ron Paul this weekend.

Both Rojas and I have at various times been diehard partyline Libertarians (or close enough), but both of us have become pretty disillusioned with the internal feeding frenzy of the hardcore party purists, who tend to get their way more often than not, and who explicitly thrill in throwing off chances of reaching a wider audience for the sake of some kind of ideological eugenics program, wherein they parse down the party to maybe a dozen people, but goddamn will those 12 people be them some fuckin’ Libertarians. Harry Browne’s body wasn’t even cold before they began trying to exorcise his spirit from the party.

Now, I wasn’t a big Badnarik fan in 2004, and thought him part of the problem. But, he’s certainly grown on me in, say, the last week. Money quote from that article:

On Friday night, Badnarik endorsed Republican Rep. Ron Paul (Texas) for President in 2008, which excited most people in attendance, but solidly annoyed a vocal few, such as George Phillies, who is vying for the 2008 LP nomination.

Phillies, who was in the audience Sunday morning, was visibly upset and asked why Badnarik would cross party lines. “Ron Paul is a Republican,” he said.

“I don’t care if Ron Paul is a Martian,” Badnarik responded. “He is the one person in Washington who understands the Constitution, the one person I trust implicitly.”

I have to admit a little fist-pump went with reading that part.

A bit later, Badnark says he’ll support the LP nominee, should Ron Paul not win the Republican race.

Wrong answer.

The smart play here is for Libertarians to go whole hog on Ron Paul. He comes out of the gate with one thing they’ve never had–access. A sitting congressman, a member of one of the big two, invited to the debates, etc. He’ll be a minor candidate, to be sure, but most importantly the MESSAGE will get out, and in terms of bang-for-your-buck, the best investment is clearly with Paul (if you want to reach a national audience, anyway–there’s some legitimate debate in the LP about that). The Libertarians, on their own, would never be able to generate the money needed to reach the people that even a single Ron Paul appearance in a debate would reach. A dollar for Paul goes a lot farther than a dollar for, say, Phillies–especially this early.

The smart Libertarian play here is to get behind Ron Paul in the biggest way possible, and hand him over an LP ballot line for president in every state for which the LP has ballot access. The hardcore Libertarian organization purists get a free national candidate, get months of virtually free access, and if they don’t want to work for a registered Republican, they can focus on down-ticket races as tends to be their preference anyway. For people like weltschmerz, who are more concerned with that national voice, they can throw in with Paul. Best of both worlds, as far as I’m concerned.

Of course, for that idea to take hold and become a reality, a degree of power would have to be wrenched from the crotchety Libertarian insiders (such as there are). But if Libertarianism, which ought to be among the broadest-reaching ideologies in American political discourse, isn’t willing to expand beyond a a thousand or so hardcore purists, then frankly they don’t deserve their party, or any of the success that has so far (and so consistently) eluded them.


  1. I should add I have never been involved in the LP in the way that Rojas and weltschmerz have been. The most involved I’ve ever been has been as an outsider advocate and a few campaigns I volunteered for pretty briefly. So, as always, I defer to their first-hand experiences with the internal LP political machine, and their opinions of it. :)

    Comment by Paint CHiPs — 2/26/2007 @ 10:10 pm

  2. they parse down the party to maybe a dozen people, but goddamn will those 12 people be them some fuckin’ Libertarians.

    LOL!! This reminds me of how I have vehemently berated Carl Milsted of the Libertarian Reform Caucus for telling me not to condone the mass murder of those who support even the most modest of taxes. Hmm…maybe the adulteratedists have a point.

    You need to make an “essay” about this, and submit it to the Libertarian Reform Caucus – they are the realists of the LP.

    Comment by weltschmerz — 2/27/2007 @ 1:24 am

  3. We here at The Crossed Pond would like to take this opportunity to note that we do not, in fact, condone the mass murder of people who support taxes.

    Comment by Brad — 2/27/2007 @ 3:14 am

  4. Speak for yourself, collectivist lickspittle.

    Comment by Rojas — 2/27/2007 @ 12:10 pm

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