LISTEN TO TLR’S LATEST PODCAST:
Written by Aaron Mathis
Follow him on Twitter @The_Real_Mathis
*This article is an opinion piece and the opinions may or may not represent the staff or owners of Liberty Viral*
Three days ago the Libertarian Party sent out a plea to it’s supporters: “Help choose theme for 2018 convention!”
The link lead to a website soliciting monetary donations in return for voting for a theme. Most of the themes were innocuous, but three in particular stood out: “Free Lives Matter” which could be considered a slight to the “Black Lives Mater” campaign, “Building Bridges, Not Walls” a clear hit against Trump supporters, and “Pro Choice on everything.”
As a proponent of ending abortion, I found “Pro-Choice on everything” most inflaming.
The abortion debate has been hotly discussed for years within the LP. While the GOP and DNC are polar opposites on the issue, the LP, recognizing that there are people who embrace freedom who see it differently, states in it’s platform.
Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration.”
But that hasn’t stopped the pro-life movement within the LP with people like Ron Paul being a staunch pro-lifer, and most recently Austin Petersen, a pro-life agnostic who ran for the party’s presidential nomination in 2016, but lost to Gary Johnson, who, while pro-choice on abortion, is not pro-choice when forcing business owners to violate their consciences. Despite my dislike of Johnson’s view I did vote for him, both in 2016 and in 2012. After all, we were doing it to support the party and increase ballot access.
Today Daniel Hayes a Libertarian National Committee at large member, posted that “Pro-Choice on everything” was in the lead which caused a stir among pro-life 2018 potential delegates on Facebook.
Accusations on the conversation thread ranged from staging a controversy, to manipulation, to buying the party message. The problem is that all of these accusations are correct.
The Convention Oversight Committee who thought it was a good idea did not think of the ramifications or division this comment would cause. In their defense, they did have over 600 submissions, but while coming up with the finalists they allowed the “Pro-Choice on everything” to still stand. In my opinion it is a poor choice of words at minimum, and at it’s worse is a clear attack on pro-lifers within the party.
The question has to be asked, is the LP actually “Pro-choice on everything?” Does the LP want to allow drugs to be sold to children? Does the LP want to allow pedophilia? Does the LP want to give absolute discretion on every issue to the individual?
I would argue that this comment even violates the Non Aggression Principle, which LP members hold near and dear.
Of the LP members, it is estimated that nearly a quarter to half are pro-life, and of potential new LP members most of them have come over from the more conservative sides of both the GOP and Democratic Parties. Not only did the LP alienate at least a quarter of it’s members, it also alienated a huge potential voting block. This should not be a surprise though. In 2016 at the demand of Gary Johnson, his mentor centrist Republican and Democratic sympathizer William Weld was picked as the VP candidate. Susan Bigknife joked that “Bill Weld could buy “We Vouch for Hillary” …again,” stemming from his comments during the 2016 campaign.
And what about those without money to “donate?” Does their voice not get heard? Do they not get a choice because they can’t afford to “vote?” When challenged, Dan Hayes, commented that if we wanted to change the message, people have to donate.
This is pure manipulation to gain funds.
What I’ve learned today is that the message and core principles of the Libertarian Party can be purchased. Weld was picked at Gary Johnson’s demand because Gary claimed that with Weld, the money would flow. We laughed it off, but with the revelation of the last few days, it is apparent that if you want your message at the top, you just need to pay enough.
Again I feel like a man without a party. While I’ve considered myself a libertarian for years after being abandoned by the GOP, and I threw my efforts behind it full force this past year and was considering a run at public office under the Libertarian Party. But it seems like again, I am a man without a party. I refuse to associate with a party that forces me to purchase a message.
So much for the “Party of Principle.” The LP would rather sell out the highest bidder. Like Zach Garretson proposed, maybe “Irrelevant Forever” would be a better slogan.