The New Libertarians
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We chose the name New Libertarians because we were able to get the URL http:// newlibertarians.com, and thought that name described us accurately. We’re an innovation on the American Libertarian Party, founded in 1972 in response to the Vietnam War and huge cultural changes of the 1960’s.
Others have used the name New Libertarian to describe other variants on the Libertarian Idea, most of them aligned with the current ideology of the Libertarian party. When we get established we might have an internet plebiscite to choose a different name for our organization. Many who identify Libertarians as being “very ideological” think our de-emphasis of ideology isn’t “True Libertarian.” They have a point. My point is that Libertarians are about Liberty, the first freedom is freedom of thought- so the idea of “Libertarian Ideology” is oxymoronic. We can argue about it, later.
In 1972 the Libertarians had a very transparent and practical mission. It opposed the Vietnam War, and war in general- so it unified the “Peace Movement” and the “Anti-Vietnam War Movement”. At the same time the “Civil Rights Movement”, the “Women’s Liberation Movement”, the “Anti-Prohibition Movement”, and the “Anti-Draft Movement” brought protests to the streets, and the protests overlapped. Sometimes they got out of hand, riots and arson sometimes happened- the protests were met with police suppression, and sometimes brutality.
In the 45 years since, the Libertarian Party lost its way. When the Vietnam War ended, the “All Volunteer Army” replaced the draft- the Libertarians lost their main issue. The AIDS/STD epidemic, drug abuse became a problem, the “Religious Right” emerged- and the “culture wars” began.
The Republicans and the Democrats seized the initiative to “divide and conquer”, and the nation had a wave of “Law and Order” sentiment- with Republican ascendence as the stronger political party, largely because they enjoyed an influx of former “Dixiecrats”, when LBJ’s Voting Rights Act (1965) alienated the Jim Crow South and that gave Republicans the majority. It persists today.
Most of the original Libertarians defected to the Democrats (and I was one of them)- and what was left became “anarchist/minarchist anti-statists”- anti-government, anti-taxes, anti-education- and their most successful candidates became “Tea Party Republicans.”- because candidates need party support to compete. Those who currently control the Libertarian Party have a very hard time differentiating themselves from the Tea Party Republicans, and enjoy most of their support from those who are protesting the corruption of the Republicans (and the Democrats) but they vote mostly Republican, for lack of viable Libertarian candidates.
In 2016 they got ballot access in all 50 states, and most of it was unused. They offer a new voice the opportunity to be heard and get on the ballot- a great opportunity. I was one of those, too- in 2014 I ran for MTHD#3, as research for a book and to call attention to a corrupt multinational corporation and local polluter, because neither the Republican nor the Democrat were inclined to make an issue of it.
The purpose of my book was to show how to use the Libertarian ballot access to oppose Republican/Democrat corruption, overcome their “divide and conquer” strategy by attracting viable candidates who are willing to “…represent the Constituency and the Constitution- not the Party, the Party Ideology, or the Big Money behind the Party”.
The political parties are the primary vectors of corruption, and they collude to prevent candidates’ ballot access who aren’t vetted to be loyal to the corrupt “status quo”- which is designed to benefit the “Plutocrat Puppeteers”, who stage the “Puppet Show” at election time, with all its divisive rhetoric and “hot-button non-issues”, “party brand loyalty”, attack ads, etc – and I wanted to create a tool which will enable the uncorrupted idealist devoted to good governance to compete, and then to prevent him from getting dragged into the swamp- with a “Pledge” and a “quality check” to keep him honest.
Done right, I thought the combination of the factors- gaining access, providing independent constituency data, setting up alternate fund raising, defending the pledge to represent their constituency- might convince challenging candidates in both Democrat and Republican primaries to adopt the tool, and convince the voters to take a chance on someone who isn’t “approved” by the Puppeteers and their Party Puppets. Once they’ve lost their party primary- perhaps corruptly, as Bernie Sanders lost- then they could become Libertarian candidates having gained the crucial exposure and legitimacy a primary gives a candidate.
Since the Libertarians have no primary ballot, I proposed to do an online primary, open to all registered voters to choose Libertarian candidates. We have to draw support from both Republicans and Democrats, and present ourselves as a viable alternative- so why not let everyone be in our primary? Letting the Libertarian Party Machine choose the candidates guarantees the typical 3% showing at the polls.
The current Libertarian party hierarchy isn’t excited by this idea, because they have so much invested in their Party Ideology and their own little social club and their silly convention and “platform fights” so they don’t approve of putting the Constitution and the Constituency first- and the Party Ideology secondary. But they give their candidates zero party support- especially with respect to fund raising, the main function of the Republican and Democratic Parties- and so their candidates are free to be more independent than Republicans and Democrats- who are expected to be “team players”, in return for the “war chest”.
What makes this the right thing at the right time is the election of Donald Trump. The electorate put him in the White House because he claimed to be wealthy (“…very, very, very rich!”) and fearlessly independent- and promised disruption. He was attacked by the corrupt “establishment” from both parties, and that gave him credibility when he said he wanted to “drain the swamp”. And he fought back, with gusto. And he won, no denying it. But nobody voted FOR Donald Trump, they voted AGAINST the status quo. His opponent, a vetted party loyalist, Hillary Clinton- corrupt to the bone- represented the “status quo”. The most “qualified” (and “vetted”) candidate in American history was there and participated in most of the big mistakes of the last 25 years! Nothing was going to change under Hillary, and America wanted change.
When he gets impeached, and convicted (the only questions are when, how and what for…) and Mike Pence becomes president it will result in chaos. Pence wasn’t chosen for competence- he was chosen to capture a difficult yet essential Republican core constituency- the “Fundamentalist Christians”, who had many reasons to not like Trump- but the majority of America isn’t interested in that- and doesn’t want Mike Pence for President.
The elections of 2018 will be about Trump’s impeachment and the dysfunctional Republican Party who will have failed to pass any of the legislation they promised on Health Care, Taxes, Infrastructure, Deficits, Jobs, Immigration despite having clear majorities in House, Senate, and the White House- and changed the filibuster rule so they have complete control… but yet will accomplish nothing. The wars will widen, the rich will get richer, the taxation will become even more complicated and regressive, the corruption will expand to new heights, promised big changes won’t happen. Will the electorate just do what they’ve always done? Flip the coin, again? The Democrats are counting on it.
I think their ears will be open to a new idea.