> I'm an even bigger-tent Libertarian -- I want to rewrite the pledge so as to include anyone who agrees with our desire for significant changes to the status quo, if not necessarily with our direction or our destination! OK, maybe that's not such a great idea. <SC
Right. When hitch-hiking, you don't get into a vehicle that's pointed in the wrong direction.
A better analogy here is not Libertarians hitching a ride, but who's going to get into *our* car. Are we picking up people who are liable to run the LP car off the road when they reach their destination, or refuse to allow enough gas to be put into the tank to get us where we want to go? They should be welcome to hitch a ride and get off whenever they like, so long as they don't try to impede the car's reaching its ultimate destination or take down the sign in the window that says "Freedom or Bust!"
> But maybe watering down our principles to accommodate people who aren't libertarians, but only want a bit less government than there is now, isn't such a hot idea either. <SC
This proposal is about getting more horses under harness, and doesn't necessarily involve changing the destination one iota. As it happens, I think that the party has already watered down its libertarianism with anarchism and AmericaFirstItarianism, but that's a separate debate.
Either the anarchists and other folks you disagree with are "extremists" (as you call them in your blog) or they are "watering down the libertarian message" (as you say here). I think the latter position would be pretty hard to defend, but that's your call. Regardless, you can't very well have it both ways. When have you ever heard of "watered-down extremism?" It's an oxymoron.
> We can still work in concert with those folks as fellow travelers without them being in the party, <SC
If someone wants more liberty and less government on every issue, the only possible reason to exclude him is if you value your badge of ideological purity/nonconformity more than you value your political effectiveness.
Please show me someone who wants more liberty and less government on *every issue*, and yet is *not* a hardcore libertarian, because they only want to move a *little ways* toward freedom on each issue. Do such individuals exist at all, let alone in any significant numbers?
Since a rational self-interested person would not work in the LP only for the political influence that the party is achieving, I don't deny that there is any value to personal identification with the LP's principles. But it's pretty clear that the LP is too much an insular self-congratulatory society for mutual ideological auditing than it is an effective force for political change.
> or if they do join the party, without re-scripting the party to conform to their less-libertarian beliefs. <SC
The idea is that they would pledge to never try to make the party advocate less liberty and more government than the status quo on any issue.
So if, five years from now, the U.S. government's "PATRIOT Act" has been expanded to be even worse than it is now, you would welcome someone as a full-fledged Libertarian who advocated *as their ideal* the "PATRIOT Act" as it existed in 2005?
For example, I work within the party to change the platform toward liberty-maximizing minarchism and away from coercion-abstaining anarchism. If America ever achieved my libertopian minarchist ideal and started moving beyond it toward full anarchism, the revised pledge would then require me to quit trying to cure the LP of its anarchist delusions. HURT ME with the problem of protecting a libertopian minarchy in America from the anarchists of the LP!
As a general rule, I would recommend not using the term "libertopia." It makes it sound like libertarians are seeking something utopian and unrealistic.
Which helps the cause of liberty more: me splitting from the LP now because of my differences over the final stages of a hypothetical libertarian revolution, or me and all other liberty-lovers working together in the LP and each dropping out only when America enjoys the amount of liberty he personally desires? "Fellow traveling" is not a recipe for political effectiveness. If it were, the Democrats and Republicans would fracture into a dozen different groups each.
There's nothing stopping anyone from dropping out of the LP or the libertarian movement when it has achieved the amount of liberty that he or she personally desires. But this does not require any revision of the party's pledge.
Yours in liberty,
<<< Starchild >>>