Why don’t libertarians enjoy the benefits of a cohesive unified political force as do the Democratic and Republican parties? The thing that unites them is often the thing that divides them; their dedication to independent thinking and their undervaluation, if not aversion, to belonging to a group. Libertarians, justifiably, don’t see a benefit in joining either side of a battle whose victors are fighting over the same sinking ship. That makes sense. But even if jumping ship has become the sanest response to a culture gone mad over trumped up political differences that eventually lead to the same bankrupt destination, it still might benefit the liberty movement to show an interest in building a more cohesive movement.
An unfortunate dynamic energizing the political battle of left vs. right is an increase of an emotional over a more reasoned response which only encourages more polarization. Exactly the opposite of the libertarian response, for the mainstream left and right, defending one’s side has eclipsed defending one’s ideas. Everything gets boiled down to the trap of we must vote for Obama/Romney just to have Our side at the helm even if neither candidate has a clue as to the course correction needed to keep us from hitting the iceberg.
We think our battle’s worthwhile because of its place on the world stage and have lost sight of the increasingly ruinous grounds being fought over. How much difference does it make if the state takes 10 of your marbles, places 6 of them in the military industrial bucket of war compared to placing 6 of them in the domestic industrial bucket of social programs? As political parties alternate their stints of power all the statist programs (with a few more added every year) are funded and that’s been the trend in the last 100 years. Everyone’s a winner, except those of us who don’t want to pay for the cost of cultural suicide.
I understand why libertarians do not want to play the same pointless game. The system in place is so corrupt that one’s vote hardly matters anymore. I do think though that libertarians do themselves a disservice with the infighting. I understand that distinctions are important when it comes to well thought out worldviews. But none of our differences matter as long as we do not have a seat at the table in the national conversation.
Here is a great read by Walter Block, a self-avowed atheist and libertarian who argues frequently for more cohesiveness in the libertarian movement, but specifically here addresses the notion that libertarians cannot be people of faith:
“To say that a religious person can’t be a libertarian, I think, has about the same truth value as the claim that if you like chess, baroque music, handball, swimming, running, karate, movies, chocolate, Austrian economics (to mention just a few of my own favorite things) then you cannot be a libertarian. To repeat, all that is required of a libertarian is adherence to the NAP (Non-Aggression Principle), and none of these things I mention, orreligion, should disqualify anyone.”
Read more here: http://lewrockwell.com/block/block206.html
Thank you to the Youngbloods for the theme.
If you hear the song I sing
you will understand…listen
You hold the key to love and fear
all in your trembling hand
Just one key unlocks them both
Its there at your command