I’ve been calling myself a Libertarian since 2008. I’m beginning to think I’ve made a mistake.
For me, voting for Hillary is clearly out of the questions since she’s socialist in everything but name and voting for Trump is also off the table since he’s a habitual liar and vindictive bully whose positions vary from strong conservative to left of Hillary depending on his mood and the time of day. Since I generally want the government to get out of my business, you might think the Libertarians would be a perfect fit for me, and I though so too for a time, and yet…
On paper, the Libertarians are great. Looking over the Libertarian platform, I object strong to abortion, but beyond that, I find myself in nigh complete agreement. Personal freedom, economic liberty and minimalist government? Sign me up!
However, I’ve spent a lot of time over the past month looking more carefully at the Libertarian movement, and sadly I’ve found that though their official positions are sound, they have an huge problem, the Libertarian Party is infested with druggies, anarchists and social imbeciles.
Let me break it down for you.
The Libertarian Party supports drug legalization, and this causes a problem. The problem isn’t the position itself but the fact that this position attracts large amounts of stoners who don’t care about anything other than drugs. This stoner-centric thinking causes Libertarians to spend an unnecessary large amount of time discussing issue. Perhaps the best example of this occurred at the recent Libertarian Party National Convention where the Libertarians got some rare coverage on C-Span. Through the entire televised portion of the convention, the Libertarians only showed one policy video, and what video did they choose as the most important thing they must tell the nation? They wasted six minutes of national air time on a mini-documentary about a pot dispensary. (11:30 to 17:30) I think drugs should be legalized, but instead of emphasizing how it’s your right to get high, why don’t the Libertarians emphasize the fact that there are people dying of terminal diseases every year that are denied the opportunity to try experimental drugs because the FDA hasn’t approved of them? Better yet, why not take those six minutes to talk about an issue of greater importance like the national debt, domestic spying or any one of several dozen other pressing concerns? If there weren’t so many of them stoned, the Libertarians might realize how stupid it is to make pot their central issue.
Libertarianism represents small government not zero government, and yet there’s a sizable and vocal faction of the Libertarian movement usually posting the #TaxationIsTheft mantra that believes all government is wrong. Though the anarchy position is rejected by Libertarian think tanks, anarchist ramblings among the base are significant. These words from libertarian anarchist Christopher Cantwell typify this view. “Libertarians are anarchists, whether they realize it or not…the goal is not to win your elections, the goal is to turn a large enough minority against the legitimacy of the State as to make its continued function impossible.”
I’m all for drastically reducing the size and scope of government, but anybody who thinks that we should all be living in the world of Max Max is nuts.
The Libertarians present themselves horribly. To a certain degree, the lack of polish is understandable. After all, nobody donates money to Libertarians and few people actually are Libertarians, so they’re drawing from a limited pool or resources and you can understand why they don’t necessarily have the political and media sophistication to match the mainstream parties, yet Libertarians problems aren’t just in terms of polish but in a complete misunderstanding of the rules of polite society.
Examples of this can be found everywhere, but the latest and greatest example was brought to light by James Weeks II who while running for the position of Libertarian Party Chair stripped on stage at the National Convention while it was being broadcast on C-Span. To their credit, most of the Libertarians in the room rejected the strip tease and jeered the juvenile display, but if the discussions I’ve seen online are any indicator, a large portion of Libertarians see no problem with Weeks’ strip routine.
When this is allowed to happen and celebrated by a good portion of the community, it either means that the Libertarians don’t even take themselves seriously or they have no understanding whatsoever of social standards, and either way, it’s incredibly damaging to the movement.
In theory, Libertarians hold most of the principles that the United States needs to adopt to get back on the right track, and for my money, the severely flawed Libertarian presidential candidate is still a much better alternative to Hillary and Trump, but I’m not sure I want to call myself a Libertarian anymore because a bunch of people in the Libertarian Party are out of their mind.