Saturday, July 06, 2024

Politics will never increase liberty

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for June 2, 2024)

If you are a good person who votes for Democratic or Republican candidates because you feel you must, even if you don't agree with the crazy positions the national party holds, I won't hold the party's flaws against you.

I also hope you don't confuse the Libertarian Party for libertarian people. They aren't the same thing at all.

Politics ruins everything it touches. The problem with political Libertarianism is that libertarianism and politics aren't compatible.

Politics is the use of "the political means"-- theft, fraud, coercion-- to force people to do what you want by controlling legislation and enforcement. Maximizing liberty by respecting all the rights of all the people all the time doesn't figure in anywhere. Instead of the political means, libertarianism encourages using "the economic means"-- voluntary interactions, trade, and free association-- to shape society.

A Libertarian Party trying to spread liberty with politics is like a Republican Party advocating an authoritarian police state or a Democratic Party keeping certain candidates out of debates or off the ballot; an embarrassment to its name and all it claims to stand for.

I understand feeling this is what you have to do because it's how others work for change. It won't work for libertarians because they have to disregard what they are to participate in politics. If they win by being un-libertarian, what was gained? It's hard to convince people you've got a good idea and a better way when you follow the same toxic path the others do.

I was once a dues-paying member of the Libertarian Party, but it has been years since they nominated a presidential candidate I could support.

The tactic of nominating Republicans who'll hide their authoritarian positions during the campaign, or knee-jerk anti-Republicans who'll go overboard in the opposite direction as a reaction to previous candidates, doesn't advance liberty.

Libertarians have told the other parties for years that if they want us to vote for them, they are going to have to earn it rather than threaten us into it. They never seem terribly interested in earning libertarian support. The same goes double for the Libertarian Party.

I understand that under the current circumstances it appears libertarians would need to be un-libertarian to change society, but this isn't going to work.

If politics is a game you enjoy, go ahead. Just realize- politics of any kind is doomed to never increase liberty in any meaningful way.

I couldn't do this without your support.


  1. It's a slower and sometimes frustrating process, but liberty only seems to grow one on one, as Tolkien says: "I have found that it is the small everyday deed of ordinary folks that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.”

  2. Politics is the process where self-appointed elites hash out between themselves who gets to direct and control; to rule, over everyone else. To rule is the arrogant belief that the ruler ostensibly knows how to run other people’s lives better than the individuals themselves do, or far more typically, because those elites solely desire to order others and with no more justification than satisfying their craving for power. As you correctly note, “Politics will never increase liberty” because ruling is the antithesis of liberty.