Are Libertarian Parties A Waste Of Time?

‘What is it that encourages ordinarily sensible people to start niche political parties?…What it [ the UK Libertarian Party] will do, like the Libertarian Party has done in the United States, is to tarnish the libertarian brand, allowing the crazier aspects of libertarian thinking to come to the fore, and achieving nothing of any merit…

..The lesson from American politics is that when libertarians create parties, they end up undermining liberty by diverting campaigners’ efforts way from the mainstream. Perversely, the Libertarian Party in the United States has undermined liberty: if it becomes a noticeable minority party, the British equivalent will do the same.’

Alex Singleton in the Daily Telegraph on the folly of setting up libertarian parties.

Worth reading the Samizdata comments thread  for some surprisingly vitriolic comments from ex-LP members.

59 thoughts on “Are Libertarian Parties A Waste Of Time?

  1. Yes.

    Although the New Zealand ACT has had some success and they’ll be worth watching in the upcoming election.

  2. Actually Sinclair, I’d say ACT prove it can be done. While I’m leaning toward micro-parties being predominantly ineffective, it would be wise not to forget how the Greens or One Nation started out.

  3. Yasmin

    It’s certainly a stirring defence 😉

    But the LDP has far more chance of making inroads in Oz than than the LP has in the UK – principally because FPTP makes it impossible for small parties to get anywhere in the UK. however, having Cameron and Brown as the competition should do wonders for recruitment 🙂

  4. I think Singleton has a point. Here in Aus the LDP got sent up by the Chaser boys as a bunch of crazies who support gun ownership and want to re-introduce smoking in pubs.

    It annoys me, because while I don’t support the above two examples, libertarianism makes a lot of sense to me, and I fail to see why it doesn’t get more widespread support – do people actaully want a big government that regulates and controls everything?

    Political parties are about getting power and control; the concept of a political party wanting less power is too much to comprehend for most people.

    I like the way GetUp! operate as a grassroots advocacy organisation, though I disagree with many of their stances – they mostly support banning, regulating or controlling things. Every single other lobby or activist group wants something banned, regulated or controlled by the government – I’m getting sick of it.

    Rather than having a fringe party like the LDP, I would love to see a libertarian version of GetUp! – a lobby group advocating for less government nannying and control of our lives. Maybe it could be called HandsOff!

  5. papachango

    i agree with you. i have argued repeatedly that the LDP has too many policies (albeit well argued and rational ones) , which merely makes it media fodder.

    1. less govt interference
    2. less tax
    3. more freedom

    that’s it.

  6. pommygranate –

    If they’re a registered political party they are always going to be asked for their position on drug laws, Iraq, gun ownership etc. so effectively they have to have a stack of policies.

    By being a getup! style lobby group they can pick and choose their issues.

  7. i have argued repeatedly that the LDP has too many policies (albeit well argued and rational ones) , which merely makes it media fodder.

    Pommy – If we were media fodder then why didn’t they do more eating? Pauline Hanson was media fodder and she has massive brand recognition as a result. Oh what I would do to be able to pull in the number of votes that Pauline pull in. If anything I think the LDP kept it too tame. Given more time, money and balls I would have painted two ponys pink, given them rugs naming one of them “liberty” and the other one “democracy” and I would have ridden them around martin place in a wiggles costume carrying a pop gun. I would have dressed nice ladies up like the statue of liberty and staged a water fight in front of parliament. I would have done this until the media arrived for a photo op. Our problem was a lack of media fodder not an excess. If you were hoping we would get a serious invite to the leaders debate on the strength of a three point plea for small government then you were dreaming more than me. The media will cover the major parties on serious issues because the major parties might win power, and the media covers the other parties because the other parties might entertain us along the way. You need to be entertaining and meaningful. You can be entertaining with a personal interest story, a dramatic stage presence, a loud drum, a funny costume, a new novelty or any number of ways. Stating that small government is a good idea is not overly entertaining for the masses. It’s old rhetoric even if it is a grand idea.

    Here in Aus the LDP got sent up by the Chaser boys as a bunch of crazies who support gun ownership and want to re-introduce smoking in pubs.

    Papachango – You make out that being ridiculed by the Chaser boys is a bad thing. In case you hadn’t noticed the more successful parties got a lot more Chaser time than we did. Being ridiculed by The Chaser is a good thing. People watch The Chaser. Being on The Chaser makes you a part of the debate.

    When Richard Branson launched Virgin Airlines he was deadly serious. And yet he dressed up as a pirate and paraded like a lunatic in front of the media. And who’s laughing now?

    But the LDP has far more chance of making inroads in Oz than than the LP has in the UK – principally because FPTP makes it impossible for small parties to get anywhere in the UK. however, having Cameron and Brown as the competition should do wonders for recruitment.

    Pommy – I agree entirely on this point. Australias preferencial voting system gives leverage to minor parties (not to mention voters). Even if minor parties can’t win power they can readily steal key voting blocks and in doing so they force the major parties to move ground. A libertarian party in the UK or the USA under their electoral rules are essentially a waste of time. In Australia a well run libertarian party with media recognition could tilt the field even if it never rules the roost.

    The way for the LDP to build profile and become relevant is for it to stay the course over time, work the electoral system strategically and prepare for the moment when lady luck pays a passing visit. As such I’m very pleased to see that the LDP is contesting a bi-election.

    Most entities, be they businesses or otherwise, have an untidy beginning. However if the foundations are right and they work hard then they ultimately succeed. The LDP has good foundations. It needs to keep it’s foundations and get noticed. It does not need to turf out good policy and play to the conservative centre. The conservative centre is not the target market. The LDP should stick with being different.

  8. Pommy,

    If you ever want to be more than a micro party, you need fully costed policies. The LDP should have them again.

    The Chaser boys send everyone up. They can even take the piss out of Rove on Rove. If you’re smart you just play along with them, make your point and get noticed.

    This argument is simply rubbish. There are more successful libertarian parties than the US LP. Given the state of the Liberal party, the possible break up and re-emergence of a tory party and the disappearance of the dry and liberal wings, libertarians should resist any suggestion they should join the Liberal party and in effect support a new Tory party.

  9. I love this:

    ” 5/31/2008 06:28:00 PM
    Anonymous Ian B said…

    Well if it’s any consolation, the article motivated me to

    1) Tell Alex on his blog that if he thinks there is libertarianism in the three main parties he must have his head stuck up his arse.

    2) Send the LPUK my tenner.

    You know what they say about there being no such thing as bad publicity…

    Seriously, I’m getting sick to fucking death of these people who think that because they want tax cuts they’re libertarians, and then argue that anyone in favour of social liberties are “cranks”. [That means you, Miranda Devine}.

    I’m also mightily in favour of your argument based on libertarianism as beneficial to all. This needs to be the basis of a libertarian argument. The Randian “conceit of the (self declared) ubermenschen” has to go.”

  10. a better way would be to target the uni/tafe/etc students, get them while they’re young. just not as young as what religious institutions do… all the pun intended

  11. “A libertarian party in the UK or the USA under their electoral rules are essentially a waste of time.”

    Fighting the good fight here in the US I will agree with this statement. In the forum I have run this topic has come up that perhaps America, while a home we love, is not a very viable prospect for liberty in the future due to these electoral rules. Perhaps there is a place that has a much greater likelihood of achieving Liberty. Time and time again, from our limited knowledge, researching wikipedia, and asking outsiders who come in, Australia has come up as potentially a better place for working towards liberty (the other one being Ireland)

  12. pommygranate:

    1. less govt interference
    2. less tax
    3. more freedom

    that’s it.

    It sounds simple and entirely reasonable, but what do #1 and #3 entail ? They entail getting rid of things that your average pundit also thinks is reasonable.

    If welfare, socialised medicine and education, environmental laws didn’t appeal to the masses, we wouldn’t have our 2 major political parties backing them.

    Aussies want to have their cake and eat it.. they love the sound of low taxes and freedom, I have no doubt.

    But voters also love the sound of “fixing” the system, protecting the environment, fighting racism and inequality, helping out families.

  13. Riley, there is one advantage to moving here- numbers! If committed Libertarians only made up 1% of the USA, that would be about 3 million people. That might not seem like much to YOU, but Australia only has 20 million people!
    If you all emigrated here, and voted for the Liberty and Democracy party (our libertarian party), then your votes WOULD make a vast difference! (If you do move here, can you speak through your nose, to get the Aussie Accent?)

  14. Yes I know being on the Chaser can be good publicity if you’re a good sport, but trust me you didn’t come off well. They featured Lisa Milat, sister of the backpacker killer saying everyone should be allowed to own guns. A bit unfair perhaps, but that wouldn’t have won you any votes.

    I’d love to see a higher profile libertarian party, ideally I’d like them to be where the Greens are now, but seriously what chance have you got of getting a Senate seat?

  15. Papa,

    You are misinformed. Get your facts correct.

    You are both wrong about Lisa and the likelihood of us winning a Senate seat.

  16. Libertarianism will always be a fringe political movement because if its internal contradiction: Libertarianism’s core philosophy is about devolving power; but as a political movement, it is concerned with acquiring power. This is an inescapable dichotomy for libertarianism as a political movement, and helps explain why voters who love freedom refuse to vote for libertarian political candidates.

    Libertarianism’s greatest strength is as an intellectual movement. As a political movement, libertarianism forever insists upon presenting socially inept, mildly extremist candidates who argue that their outrageous, often rigid positions on political issues are based upon ‘principle.’ But if ‘principle’ actually guided the libertarian candidate, then why is s/he seeking power?

    A specific example: Milton Friedman always described himself as, “a small ‘l’ libertarian.” Yet his intellectual argument against the American Army draft completely changed the entire American military. He never ran for office, and he certainly was ‘principled,’ but his effectiveness as a libertarian intellectual far surpassed anything any libertarian politician has ever accomplished.

    Libertarian politics is therefore a self-contradiction, doomed to lose, and actually has the effect of diminishing the effectiveness of libertarianism’s greatest strength: Libertarianism (freedom) is a philosophy, not a political ideology. The more political that libertarians become, the more they try to imitate or duplicate the ideological underpinnings of other ideological movements. But all ideologies and theologies are based upon myth, while philosophy is grounded in rational reality.

    Why give up libertarianism’s greatest strength? For power?? Instead, organize as an intellectual movement, and libertarianism will continue to tranform all of humanity. Organize to win power, and electorates will laugh at the obvious contradiction and decide that such amateurish extremists belong to the political fringe.

    We libertarians are not measuring the ‘success’ of our philosophy correctly. Let others run for political office to acquire power as their measure of ideological success; our success is measured as a philosophy that spreads to influence and shape the thinking of every responsible adult on the planet…including those ideologues who acquire power.

    Stick with our strength: we have the better philosophy. Let others battle for power; they have no philosophy at all, only ideology. In the end, philosophy trumps ideology.

    As a practical matter (all politics is about practicality), if libertarianism (freedom-lovers) in America captured only 15% of voter registration but did not run any candidates for office, the result would be that libertarians would have an effective strangle-hold on legislation.

    Choose however you want, to measure libertarian success. As an ideology though, like all ideologies, freedom launches wars (Napoleon spreading the Rights of Man from the barrel of a cannon; Bush, and ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’), and will never win elections. As a philosophy, freedom shapes dialogue, influences votes, inspires rationality, and especially, like all philosophies, it generates questions.

  17. Just a little tidbit. Costa Rica’s Movemiento Libertaria party holds about 10% of the seats in the national assembly. That’s quite an achievement for any libertarian party.

  18. That is an example I was referring to. The US LP is not the only big libertarian party around.

    There is no contradiction: we want power over those who want power over everyone else. The confusion is the public is like any other group of humans, they want freedom and they want paternalism. In short, ends that are incompatible, or the human condition. We have to simply point out our way makes them and everyone better off.

    “Organize to win power, and electorates will laugh at the obvious contradiction and decide that such amateurish extremists belong to the political fringe.”

    You have absolutely no proof of this other than your assertion that:

    “As a political movement, libertarianism forever insists upon presenting socially inept, mildly extremist candidates who argue that their outrageous, often rigid positions on political issues are based upon ‘principle.’”

    Like I said we are more than America.

    “As a philosophy, freedom shapes dialogue, influences votes, inspires rationality, and especially, like all philosophies, it generates questions.”

    You don’t think a philosphy gets noticed if it competes for votes?

  19. Mark

    If you ever want to be more than a micro party, you need fully costed policies.

    whilst i agree with you that you need a few well thought out and costed policies, i don’t believe the LDP needs a policy on everything. no party offers detailed policy as this leaves you open to attack from all sides.

    a party that advocate legalising drugs and reintroducing handguns can expect to be attacked relentlessly by a centre-left media. in contrast, the Greens have some detailed policies which are barking mad and infantile in their stupidity. however, the media seems willing to give the party a free ride.

    the LDP sadly does not have this luxury.

    a bit more vagueness over the unpopular policies would be welcome 🙂

  20. jono

    They entail getting rid of things that your average pundit also thinks is reasonable.

    yes, which is where good PR comes in.

    ‘the LDP believes the govt should stop nannying us’ wins votes. that this directly implies less welfare does not matter.

    ‘the LDP believes in less welfare’ loses votes.

  21. True – a good point even. We don’t have a policy on land rights for gay whales. (Nor should we and we should resist the efforts of the gay whale lobby). There is always a temptation for there to be one and you can see even Wilson Tuckey rambling about it to get support from whoever he can. (Thanks strawman). But iof course the more you support, the more you can be disagreed upon with.

    We did have costed policies (i.e the ones we advocate) and it makes you a credible alternative and more than a protest party.

    “a bit more vagueness over the unpopular policies would be welcome ”

    I think you are very wrong here pommy. Clarity, berevity and good framing is what is needed. I see your point but if you do a thought experiemnt and think how to sell the less popular ideas with that method, I think most people would side with me. Even you, you bloody pessimist!

  22. If it wasn’t for the US LP, then fewer people in America would have heard of “libertarianism”. They have done good.

    I agree with pommy that we don’t need a policy on everything. Minor parties duck and dodge non-core issues all the time. We should have broad generally in-offensive statements on most issues… and then detailed (and a bit radical) plans on a few key areas.

    The LDP is still young… but if we stick with it then it will grow. It took the Greens a long time to build recognition.

    I wish the UK LP all the best of luck. Hopefully their involvement in political debate with bring libertarian ideas to a bigger audience in the UK.

  23. Mark –

    I may be misinformed but I’m on your side at least. I’m one of about 60 people that actually voted for you in the senate in my electorate.

    I’ll admit I’m no expert on how the senate electoral system works, but you got something like what – 16,000 votes nationally? Each of the three variants of the fishing/shooting/lifestyle parties got about twice as many votes each as you guys. Explain to me how you’re going to come within cooee of getting anywhere near a senate seat?

    As for Lisa Milat sorry I did get my facts wrong, she’s Ivan’s sister-in-law not a blood relative. I have nothing against her, and as the saying goes you can’t choose your relatives. But you would have to expect that the likes of Chaser, not to mention Today Tonight and other tabloids would be on to a family connection like that and would milk it for all its worth.

    Being explicitly in favour of repealing smoking bans and gun controls won’t win you votes, no matter how you spin it.

    I tend to agree with Duoist – your energy would be better spent promoting a general libertarian philosophy – it’s badly needed, as we seem to be accepting more and more nannying.

  24. Lord Acton famously wrote: “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

    In the electoral surges between the political Left and Right around the world, note that “change” from one party winning office to displace the party in power is all too often the result of corruption by members of the ruling party in power. This is an eternal feature of politics, and any power-acquiring political party will eventually have its share of corruption, be swept out of office, and then return to power just as soon as the successor political party reveals its own corruption.

    For libertarianism to avoid the corrupting influence of acquiring power, simply avoid acquiring power. Instead, use the philosophy in the political arena to hold politicians accountable for their anti-libertarian votes. This can easily be done by forming civil societies like the local Chamber of Commerce or Board of Realtors or Soccer Club. These groups endorse candidates and lobby for their interests, but they do not attempt to acquire power. They influence; they very deliberately make no attempt to rule.

    The analogy for libertarians seeking power to consider is theocracy, say, as in Iran. A theocracy is rule by clerics on behalf of a theology. The inevitable corruption that eventually accompanies acquiring political power means that God/Allah is eventually going to get some substantial part of the blame for potholes in the streets, schools without books, clerics committing adultery, inflation, unemployment, or luxury limousines for the Great Pubah in charge of it all. In effect, theocracy destroys respect for the theology, by the very normal process of power corrupting even the best-intentioned people.

    Power in behalf of a philosophy is even more dangerous, as Marxism has proved at the cost of 94.3 million innocent dead. Hitler wrote that National Socialism was his “philosophy of life.”

    Power corrupts–always–so leave power acquisition to the battles between ideologies and theologies, the myth-builders. Libertarianism is a philosophy; a philosophy of DEVOLVING power, not acquiring power. If libertarians want political success for their philosophy, measure that success by how widespread you have made your philosophy among the members of the political parties vying for power. Spread the rationality of libertarianism so that power-seekers list temselves as ‘libertarian-conservative,’ or ‘libertarian-liberal,’ or ‘libertarian-Green,’ etc.

    Want a practical example for Australia? How many Australian PhD philosopers at Australian universities specialize in the philosophy of human rights? If none, HOW is that possible in a freedom-loving land? What university graduate in Australia ever took a philosophy course in ‘Pluralism,’ or ‘Freedom,’ or ‘Human Rights’ or ‘Libertarianism’? Freedom is a philosophy, not an ideology, despite the best efforts by many to make it an ideology. In fact, ‘freedom’ is a universal, MORAL philosophy, its major strength in comparison with the philosophy of peace (‘Peace’ is an ideal, not a moral; freedom is moral, not an ideal).

    Grow libertarianism in Australia any way you desire. But never be surprised or disappointed at why it is that libertarianism, everywhere, when it attempts to acquire power is a fringe political movement attracting extremists instead of mainstream voters.

    Libertarians have the better philosophy; it is an intellectual movement, not a political movement. Play to your strengths.

    See: http://www.philohr.org, the world-wide intellectual movement for freedom.

  25. Pommy – the problem with vague policies is that you then leave it to candidates to make things up on the fly. You can’t bang candidate on the head with a policy book when they wonder off track unless you have a policy book. Policy detail is needed for party discipline. First principles are fine but policy gives the candidate meat to feed the media. Admittedly some candidates will know the brief better than others but that is true in managing any group of people. You seem to be saying that people should just preach the gospel any way they see fit. I think that is a recipe for failure unless you can find me a hundred or so super human candidates. As we see here on the ALS libertarian routinely preach a divergent gospel. Nobody votes for a party that is openly at war with itself. Policy defines the battle plan and stops us shooting at our own side (or our own foot).

    Papa – how many primary votes did Family First get when Steve Fieldings became a senator?

  26. Duoist – there is no contridiction between wanting power and seeing fit that power be devolved. You can’t give away something that you don’t have. Sometimes you go to war to secure peace. Perhaps some pacifists can’t fathom the logic but I doubt most people really struggle that much with this issue and it isn’t the limiting factor in terms of political success.

  27. Duoist,

    The Movemiento Libertaria hold 10% of their Congress seats.

    With 10% of the seats, you’d outrank the Nationals. Hardly “fringe” material.

    I can’t see how you can keep on pushing your thesis without explaining how these guys came to that position.

  28. a Duoist- is Duoism a relative of dualism, a belief that there are two realms, and the pure realm of philosophy should not muddy itself with the messy physical world of political reality?
    Well, ‘Cartes’, I think that a political philosophy that advocates giving up on politics is a contradiction in terms.
    Let me tell you a Buddhist story that will illustrate our point.
    When asked by questioners, who came a long way to visit him, how he would conquer desires, Buddha is supposed to have replied, ‘By using desire.’
    When his visitors scoffed, believing that desires feed on desires, he asked them, ‘Did you not have a desire to visit me here before you came?’
    ‘Yes,’ they honestly replied.
    ‘And did you fulfil that desire?’
    ‘Yes’
    ‘And do you still have that desire, or has right use of that desire expunged it?’
    I am sure you can see the moral of the story. You can use fire to fight fire, and one type of power can be used to control other powers. Libertarians don’t believe that voting for politicians automatically increases power to the center.

  29. Theres no chance of good PR, when the instant any libertarian party gets attention, its smeared by the collectivist mainstream media as a bunch of gun nuts.

  30. It is not PR we can crave until we get more resources.

    If the message gets and people check us out, we can build up until we are better resourced.

    Just keep plugging away.

  31. I don’t really give a rat’s rectum that Alex Singleton thinks libertarian parties are a waste of time. Nor that non-members think the LDP should do certain things or adopt certain policees, or not do or adopt them as the case may be.

    All I expect is that nobody is dumb enough to believe libertarianism can’t be pursued on many fronts. Unless there is clear proof that only one approach works, and there isn’t, no libertarian should criticise others for pushing the case a certain way.

    If you don’t believe the LDP will make a difference, do it your own way. But make sure your criticisms are directed at the anti-libertarians.

  32. Actually Sinclair, I’d say ACT prove it can be done.

    If I were a lib, I wouldn’t be that pleased with ACT’s performance as a political party (actually, if I were a lib, I’d think that ACT were a punch of authoritarian state lovers, but that’s another story). It hangs on by the skin of its teeth only because of an oddity in New Zealand’s electoral law (as do a couple of other parties) and has had next to no influence. One bad electoral cycle will kill it (it has had several very close calls in the past, eventually its number will come up).

    It probably shouldn’t have gone from Think Tank to political party. That way it could have had a much greater influence on NZ discourse rather than pigeon holing itself into the far right of NZ’s political spectrum. Rodney Hide has been attempting to reposition ACT, but that will be a massively hard task.

  33. Papachango, I don’t usually engage in ad hominem tactics. But your derogatory crap on Lisa Milat deserves a swift kick in the nuts. You are very clearly ignorant and none too bright.

    As for Lisa Milat sorry I did get my facts wrong, she’s Ivan’s sister-in-law not a blood relative. I have nothing against her, and as the saying goes you can’t choose your relatives. But you would have to expect that the likes of Chaser, not to mention Today Tonight and other tabloids would be on to a family connection like that and would milk it for all its worth.

    Being the relative of a criminal is not, nor should it ever be, a disqualification for participating in politics whether “blood” relative or not. Any presumption of clever political hindsight around that is double handed wanking.

    For the record, the bully boy attack by ACA on Lisa had no electoral impact. (The Chaser’s effort was merely parasitic on the ACA and not even worth discussing. Today Tonight was not interested.)

    As the LDP’s candidate in the Senate in the ACT, Lisa achieved a higher percentage vote than our Senate candidates in any other State. To put it simply so you don’t get it wrong again, she was our best Senate performer.

    She is also a committed libertarian and since the election has been working diligently to help the party. I wish all our members were as solid.

  34. DavidLeyonjelm

    I wasn’t trying to be derogatory on Lisa – merely making a point.

    It that’s how you treat people who actually voted for your party it’s no wonder you get less votes than the fishing and shooting party!

    cheers

  35. And I wasn’t trying to be derogatory about you; I was merely making a point in the same vein.

    I’m not going to overlook wildly inaccurate comments about our best Senate candidate for the sake of a vote. We are a party of principle.

  36. I’ve put more thought into what you said Papa.

    We will be around come next election and we compete in by elections and State elections.

    The ASP and ALFP do not and may not be around.

    We are building the brand (slowly though). Given the changing landscape of where Australian parties are positioned and which ones exist – we stand to grow more from the traditional left and right as they either exit their parties or are left with none to vote for.

    We’d be mad giving up now.

  37. I never knew that John Cusack was on drugs! That’s the only way to explain his opinion of President George Bush the third. If only it were true about the Bushranger!

  38. Thanks for that Mark – your party room debates and cocktail nights must be fun!

    Maybe you have a point – correct me if I am wrong, but this is the first federal election you ran for, whereas the Shooting/Fishing/shrimp on a barbie parties have been around for a while under various names, have they not?

    Anyway best of luck with it, as I said I support your basic priciples of libertarianism, even if I may differ on some minor policy detail.

    From my point of view I come from, shall we say, a ‘Melbourne inner-city organic latte’ sort of demographic, though I have many friends outside this stereotype. If I were to conform to my peer group, I should be a raving leftie/Greens supporter, but I can’t stand their interventionism.

    But I can speak somewhat from the point of view of your inner city type. My concern is that they don’t really understand libertarianism, and see the LDP as some sort of redneck, gun nut party, not helped by the Chaser and ACA. (My crowd wouldn’t dream of watching crap like ACA, but they love the Chaser!)

  39. Actually the funniest thing about the Lisa event, (up till the Chaser ran with it) was realising how many people actually watch ACA. Lots you wouldn’t expect, and who were certainly embarassed when confronted on it. Unfortunately the Chaser then went and gave them an out. But be suprised about how many of your crowd secretly watch ACA…

  40. Actually Nicholas, Bush made at least five appointments of self identifying libertarians to various posts in the last 12 months. That is more than Reagan did in two terms.

    Bush is no libertarian, but he does not appear to be against us. Huckster on the other hand recently made a speech blaming all of the GOPs problems on libertarians within it.

  41. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that the LDP candidate for the upcoming Gippsland by-election, Ben Buckley, is a high profile local of libertarian ideals; low tax, less government control, etc. He has appeared several times on WIN TV news and local radio current affairs programs. He has been outspoken at all the local community/council “meet the candidates” meetings. He is not sitting back theorising on the future of libertarian parties!
    He is even being referred to by a couple of local papers as being a likely “king maker” on June 28th. What about all you libertarians getting active and sending in funds for the advertising, as well as offering to help out on polling day?

  42. Peter- Great Work!
    Jim- If you read the book by James Bovard, “Attention Deficit Democracies”, you will read Bush quotes that will have you gagging! Bush talks about how they can ‘give’ 1000 hours of service to their country, and someone who was old was told he could work on another round of ‘service’. Maybe he does appoint libertarians to positions, but I wonder if he actually knew they were libertarians? Or was he just doing deals?

  43. Papa – we all disagree on minor policy details. They are always up for amendment but we support them as a whole on election day.

    People – please support Ben’s campaign. It is vital to keep our momentum going.

  44. @16

    I have considered moving to Aus for some time now. Actually even before I got into the liberty thing (5ish years ago). I knew people who lived there and Americans who visited and from what they told me and pictures I would see it just looks amazing. The thing is, right now I am at a point in my life where such a move is unfeasable. I have been in the process of creating a business, once the business picks up it will be much more doable. I intend to go to architecture school (a prospect which takes years of prep work here in California due to an insane 98% rejection rate) and Australia has also a more viable prospect for that as well (including the $13k per year “we tooker jab” international fees I would be paying) and what apparently seems like a much less restrictive architecture market.

    A friend of mine once told me that should I become a liberty activist that I should be rather careful with how I try to come across to people, that people will just assume I am trying to Americanize Australia with ideas such as citizen gun ownership, free market health care solutions ect and because of this instantly discredit what I have to say.

    The thing American libertarians have going for us is that we are already here. No need to relocate to a brand new culture (even though Socal culture and Aus culture aren’t that vastly different). The downside is that we have to put so much effort into doing things that we would not have to do in another country (ballot access, foreign policy, ect).

    As for the accent. No… and if I practiced it probably wouldn’t convince a native aussie.

  45. Nicholas; I have already said that Bush is no libertarian, my opinion is that with the vetting process involved in these appointments, it is unlikely that Bush or someone close to him would be unaware they were libertarians, especially if there was hostility.

    I am wary of quotes and clips, I recently encountered a video clip of McCain appearing to agree with Obama on unconditional talks with rogue regimes and terrorists such as Hamass.

    I thought he was losing all sense of reality too, until I found another which had him in the same clothing, in the same location, making the same statement, only totally different in context and with about another couple of minutes of footage in it.

  46. A friend of mine once told me that should I become a liberty activist that I should be rather careful with how I try to come across to people, that people will just assume I am trying to Americanize Australia with ideas such as citizen gun ownership, free market health care solutions ect and because of this instantly discredit what I have to say.

    Largely correct Riley.

    It’s not uncommon for Australians to reject an idea because they think it is “American”, implicitly assuming it must be bad. They watch American TV shows and movies and buy American goods with alacrity, but still think there’s not much that’s worth imitating about the country.

    Most Australians believe in the right of self-defence, and they take great pride when an Australian wins an Olympic medal in shooting, but think that owning a gun for self-defence is an American idea.

    Similarly, they think that being responsible for your own health care including insurance options is how it is done in America. Therefore to be avoided.

    If the exact same idea is seen as originating from another country (the Netherlands, for example), it tends to receive serious consideration. It’s a shame Switzerland doesn’t have a higher profile as it would help the gun debate enormously.

    The only explanation I can offer for this bizarre outlook is that Australians are obsessively interested in sport. As I’m sure you know, that overcomes any need to think too deeply.

  47. The money is on the machiavellian black prince.

    I understand Sukrit’s concerns considering his anti-war stance. My concern is that Obama is pretty much a socialist. To what extent I don’t know, as he’s very good at presenting with a strong individualistic American flavour. When his wife is campaigning for him I think she gives an insight into his politics, and my god, that is scary.

    Did anyone hear her ‘pie’ speech? It’s pretty straight forward. Most Americans don’t want a big slice of the pie, so those with too much pie need to give up a bit of their slice.

  48. Well, as Australians always say, “She’ll beer right!”, Or is that, “Sheila+Beer=Alright!”?

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