The road to LP victories
by Bill Van Allen, Jr.
You’ve all no doubt heard the old saying – attributed to Teddy Roosevelt, I think – “I’d rather be right than be President?”
An awful lot of Libertarians – who THINK they’re really helping advance the cause of individual liberty with personal responsibility and minimal government – seem to have taken that saying to heart and modified it somewhat: “I’d rather be right than have a Libertarian elected to ANY office.” And I’d bet most don’t even realize it.
Sad isn’t it? Hey, if you’re one of them, don’t stop listening to me just yet. There’s a larger point to this article, and if you read to the end of it – and then think about what I’ve said for a moment before you respond – you might find that you actually agree with it. It’s important that we can consider concepts independent of who is part of the conceptualizing. That’s the only way to find the rational course of action, and if Libertarians are about anything, we’re about rational thought processes. Please read on.
When you take that mindset into account, it’s really no wonder that more Libertarians don’t offer themselves for public office. It’s bad enough having to defend yourself from the outrageous exaggerations and misrepresentations of your position by the political opposition (R’s and D’s) without having to put up with even MORE vicious criticisms from members of – or nominal supporters of – your own party.
Look at the contrast. Once there’s only one candidate left, the Republicans and Democrats rally around him/her, almost without exception. A Libertarian on the ballot has to watch his own back, because there are always some Libertarians who are more concerned with undermining his/her candidacy because of one or two positions than they are with getting the member of their party actually ELECTED, where he/she might be able to do more good than the Republicrats will. Until we learn to close ranks and support our candidates, even if they’ve got a pimple or two, we’ll never be a political force to be reckoned with. Even with those nominal blemishes – real or imagined – any Libertarian candidate is better by far than any Republicrat statist candidate.
The Libertarian Party is in the process of growing up and some of our number are stubbornly resisting supporting anything but “the perfect Libertarian candidate.” Hey, people, grow up! There is NO such thing as the “perfect Libertarian candidate” because there’s no such thing as the “perfect Libertarian!” If we believe in anything, it’s in each individual’s right to be what he wants to be, as long as he doesn’t commit fraud or force someone else to do his bidding against their will. Libertarians need to learn to distinguish between a good Libertarian candidate and the two evils, and support the “good” LP candidate instead of holding out for perfection. If we don’t support a “good” candidate over two evil ones, we’ll still get evil.
Look at it this way: The erosion of our liberties didn’t happen overnight; it was a process of incremental change which began in the 1970′s. What’s taken us to the point we’re at now – where government has the power to spy on our every move – physical and financial – is called “incrementalism.” And that’s the only effective way to get our liberties back. If we don’t slow the American locomotive down as it races headlong to the New World Order station first, we’ll never be able to back it up the tracks to the U.S. sovereignty and the system of minimal federal government our Founding Fathers created. And if we can’t slow it down, the only way to stop it is to blow it up and build a new engine. That’s not a rational solution.
None of us will live long enough to see the latter plan be successful, and if we try that plan, the highly organized forces of repression will simply take over in the midst of the ensuing chaos and establish their iron-fisted military rule, and there will be nothing all our “protesting” will be able to do about it. Individual liberty as the cornerstone of a nation will have been wiped off the earth – probably forever, certainly for several lifetimes – because of our inability to back a Libertarian candidate who is not “perfect.” At first, change will come slowly, but if we don’t accept a little change when we really crave a LOT of change, we’ll never get to the BIG changes we want to see. First we put the brakes on big government. Then we shrink it. Maybe one day Americans will be responsible enough so that we can mostly do WITHOUT government at all, but first we who value personal responsibility have to take responsibility for helping create the change we want to see.
That’s what we’re facing, and the decision is ours. Each of us. Individually.
Which of us want to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem?
Bill Van Allen, Jr.
At-Large Rep 1, LPF
Chair, LPSRQ (Sarasota County)
LP candidate for FL House, District 69, 2002 & 2004