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Written by Tim Yow Jr.
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If there is one thing that is clear about the Libertarian Party, it is that we have an assortment of ideologies attempting to work together under our beloved libertarian banner. It is also clear that there are a small few who don’t seem to want to work with anyone outside of their own limited circle. I am still convinced that the latter is indeed just a small few. I strongly believe most Libertarians recognize that, as Benjamin Franklin put it, “We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”
Many are discouraged by the infighting and the unwritten “purity test” that several try to apply to those around them to see if they are libertarian enough to be Libertarian. Personally, I know the party will never rid ourselves completely of this one-upmanship mentality and, to an extent, some of it can be healthy. My own journey into libertarianism has benefited greatly from being around people who challenge my mindset and make me take an honest look at my beliefs, even the core ones. I’m far more libertarian today than I was when I began the journey and that happened as a result of listening – not just listening to those whom I agree with, but listening to dissenting voices as well.
Part of my growth has been the result of taking a good honest look, as a minarchist, at the relationship between us and the more radical factions within the party. Today, more than ever, minarchists, voluntaryists, and anarchists can and must work together in order to achieve any goals set before us. Like a group of strangers on mass transit, we surely need to make the best of the journey and avoid casting judgment on our fellow sojourners when learning of their intended destination. Whether you are on for 2 or 3 stops or need to get as far as the transit system will take you, availing yourself to the transportation offered can be just as important to you as to the next guy.
I would certainly advocate for a remix of The Dallas Accord in the near future. For those unfamiliar with this rewrite of the Libertarian Party Statement of Principle, it happened at the LP Convention of 1974 in an effort to recognize that a significant contingency within the party preferred abolishing government over shrinking government and adjusted the terminology to not exclude those holding to this idea. Much of the effort was negated at the 2006 national convention in Portland Oregon.
While I think reverting back to a more inclusive statement of principle is a great first step, I also believe we have to go farther than just ink on paper, or its digital equivalent. The future direction of the party depends on the true advocates of a minimal government and advocates for elimination of government to join forces in word and deed. If we want to put forth the best possible candidate in future elections, from POTUS all the way down to the bottom of the ballot, we cannot continue to fence off our camps from each other while those who are simply throwing the term “libertarian” around because “it’s what the kids are doing, these days” seize the opportunity created by our severe division.
It can be difficult to abandon a candidate who is your “policy soulmate” and rally behind a different candidate that has better mass appeal yet stays true to principle, as he or she sees it. However, I think it is a must in some situations. I’ve come to know many who are far more radical than I but would have my support because they are intelligent and can command an audience like no other.
It should be easier for minarchists and anarchists to lock arms than it is for any other differing political groups to do so. After all, we can celebrate together after every tax cut, every removal of regulatory legislation, every victimless crime stricken from the books. Any step towards getting government out of our way should be a victory for both minarchists and anarchists.
If we ever hope to live up to our own tagline “the Party of Principle”, those who hold steadfast to those principles can and must lay aside our differences and work together.
Anarchists, I might not be pure enough in your eyes. You probably even consider me a statist. But you have to admit that if I and my fellow minarchists ever see the entirety our goals come to fruition, it will be a place that is significantly better and freer. And once that happens, many of us will be right there with you fighting for more.
We can and must work together!
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