Thursday, June 03, 2010

The Greater Freedom Movement

After the Libertarian Party Convention there is good news and there is bad news. The good news is that Mark Hinkle beat Wayne Root for national chair. The bad news is that on the final ballot Wayne Root received a significant percentage, about 45%, of the final vote. The first is a good sign that the Libertarian Party is moving back in a more libertarian direction, the second is a sign that there is still a great distance to go before the Libertarian Party can be restored.

Wayne Root was supported by the Reform Caucus. The Reform Caucus was founded on a good idea, that the Libertarian Party could attract greater numbers by working with others who are freedom oriented but who are not as purist as the Libertarian Party. Unfortunately it went entirely the wrong direction - the members of the Reform Caucus started steering the Libertarian Party in a much more Republican direction, giving a big boost to Bob Barr and Wayne Root, ultimately resulting in Aaron Star trying to purge purists from the National Committee.

While there were some in the Reform Caucus who had the best of intentions, trying to reshape the Libertarian Party in that direction was entirely the wrong way to collect the energy of the greater freedom movement. Becoming more like one of the two major parties, or moving more towards the center of the Nolan Chart, is not the way to bring together the greater freedom movement.

The way to go isn't to be more like the Democratic Party or the Republican Party, but to find a way to build alliances with the disaffected of both parties. The way to do that isn't to eliminate what it means to be libertarian, but to encourage the other disaffected fringes to grow and to work with them. It was once pointed out that if Cindy Sheehan's anti-war movement were to join forces with the Tea Party protests it would be a coup for the freedom movement. It has been noticed that the way the parties divided in the bailout separated the mainstreamers of both parties from the mavericks of both parties (with the alleged maverick John McCain a bailout supporter unlike real mavericks Paul and Kucinich).

The greater freedom movement can be considered "libertarian" in the sense used in "Tribesman, Barbarian, Citizen … and Libertarian", but it actually is more diverse than the Libertarian Party Platform could ever be. The Pournelle Chart is a better model in certain respects because it separates the Anarcho-Syndicalists from the Anarcho-Capitalists. It differentiates the Counter-Culture from the Objectivists, while acknowledging that they are both part of the same greater freedom movement that combines the best elements of the Tea Party with the best elements of the Sheehan protests.

The Campaign For Liberty could have been that, by inviting the four leading third candidates on to one stage. It probably still could be, and in doing so is taking the place that should have been taken by the Reform Caucus, and doing it in the way the Reform Caucus should have in the first place. The trick is to acknowledge the differences in the Issues Designed to Divide (abortion being the biggest, and also whether a system without government would be capitalist or syndicalist, but don't budge on the definition of capitalism) instead of fighting over them, and to concentrate on the common foe. That way both purity of ideology can be maintained while making the necessary compromises to work together. Instead of becoming less radical in order to stop scaring voters, the trick is to become more radical by embracing the other, different radicals.

If that is accomplished, then it will be possible for the greater freedom movement to succeed, which will be a victory for the Libertarian Party, both the purists AND the reformers.


Christian Prophet said...

The way to go is to not alienate those who have historically felt comfortable with the Democratic or Republican party. They are not going to switch over if they are alienated. A little common sense can be leveraged to great success, wouldn't you say? By the way, have you seen the "Robin Hood Oath?"

Ayn R. Key said...

Those who are comfortable with the Democratic or Republican party aren't going to leave the Democratic or Republican party. We get those who are decidedly NOT comfortable with them, who want something that is actually different.