The Libertarian Party has been around since 1971, and during its conception, the party out of the gate has been consistently receiving about half of a percent of the popular vote, and 1 electoral vote in 1972. The party was originally formed to promote the principles of classical liberalism, and to roll-back the state powers. The party was formed to promote the ideas of the libertarian philosophy; the party was based on principles, not a party based on politics.
Now it’s 2016. The Libertarian Party could actually attain 5% of the popular vote which could be the biggest win for the party in their history. In 2016 Gary Johnson and Bill Weld have had the greatest opportunity imaginable (To win), with the other two candidates from both of the major parties that are both morally reprehensible, and economically illiterate. Unfortunately, the candidates while marketing, and advocating a watered down version of libertarianism, the presidential and co-presidential combo didn’t even come close in winning the popular election.
Yet, this could still be a win for the Libertarian Party, by receiving 5% of the vote so we could get this “magical” federal funding, to supposedly level the playing field. Therefore, The Federal Election Commission will classify the Libertarians as an official "minor party," granting the 2020 nominee money to make politics more equal. I don’t know about you, but a libertarian for political equality just seems a little bit hypocritical.
The Libertarian party’s original logo was the Libersign (an arrow), and with the emblazoned "TANSTAAFL" "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch". The party in its creation, understood that government bailouts, handouts, generally government anything was a bad idea. The party’s end was to reduce the size and scope of government, or to others eliminate it. By advocating or trying to attain government money through popular elections, we are going against the very principles that the party was based on. I wonder sometimes if the party’s means have become the end in itself.
Some would argue that the FEC fund is made entirely out of voluntary donations from the tax-payers. But if it’s money that is stolen anyway, then why perpetuate the problem? Why acknowledge the system to begin with? Why use any federal money at all? We don’t want the FEC to exist in the first place, so why continue to perpetuate the problem? We don’t want to be “Part of the Problem”. By continually recognizing the state with its wasted and inefficient functions, it gives the state even more credibility to the already brainwashed public as well as other libertarians.
Some of my Anarcho-Capitalists heroes would proclaim to take all the government money handouts, and everything you can, to bankrupt the system from within. I don’t think that is the correct method of handling it either. Again, by acting in such a way seems immoral. Two wrongs don’t make a right, and I truly believe if we acted that way, government would grow even faster. The government would force tax payers to make up the difference in higher taxes for their other "obligations" that are depleted by political parties taking these funds. We can also argue that we cannot avoid the state (roads, taxes, legislation) but we should try to avoid the things we DO have control over, by creating bylaws that prohibit our private organization from expanding the political welfare. We could lead the charge and put our lack of money where our mouth is, by setting a precedent that we will not encourage theft, of any kind. The only solution is to avoid taking ANY federal money. I think the best thing we can do is to rely on markets and charities as much as we can, the two things we celebrate and hold near and dear to our hearts.
Another conflation made by libertarians is with different types of welfare or subsidies. A long time motto and one adopted by the Libertarian Party is "Taxation is theft". So using legal means to avoid paying this theft or extortion is not the same as using legal means of taking extorted money. The easiest solution is to hold ourselves to a higher standard and refuse the funds.
I would argue that the problem with the Libertarian Party is not the platform, but the messengers. Liberty in itself is a hard sell. We don’t want to give out free stuff, we don’t want to help special interest, and we don’t want to interfere with the economy. That in by itself is a hard obstacle to overcome, especially in the self-entitled culture we live in. By standing by our principles, and not relying on the system, we can use that to our advantage, that we are principled and not hypocritical, or corrupt. We don’t want to get too close to the political event horizon, like the other two parties have.
The other two parties are not even taking government money, because it’s limits how much they can spend on their own campaigns. We should set a higher standard, and act principled instead of giving lip service. We should take the hard right over the easy wrong. Nobody said being a libertarian or promoting Liberty is easy, and we still have a big fight on our hands. In this fight we should take the moral high ground, regardless of how dirty our opposition fights.
Liberty & Rock n’ Roll
Johnny “Goddamn” Rocket
Host of the Johnny Rocket Launch Pad