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who wants to be a libertarian?

Sex, Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll
Libertarians have more fun--and make more sense.

I could sure use some sex, drugs and rock and roll to go with my ideals of less government and free trade.

So, is it true? Should I change my voter registration? Can you guarantee that I'll start having more fun? Is anyone willing to be my Libertarian sponsor?

More importantly, what are the initiation rites? Is that where the sex, drugs and rock and roll comes in?


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A banner day for Libertarians (kind of) first the Opinion Journal somewhat praises Libertarianism and then even the legendary Queen [Read More]

A banner day for Libertarians (kind of) first the Opinion Journal somewhat praises Libertarianism and then even the legendary Queen [Read More]

» Why Libertarianism Rocks from dcthornton.blog
Thanks to the OpinionJournal (via Michele) for making my day:Libertarianism is simplicity itself. It proceeds from a single, quite beautiful, [Read More]


My libertarian buddy at work browsed your site about 6 months ago and concluded that you were libertarian then. Simply on the beliefs regarding individual responsibility, you appear firmly in this camp. It's a nice, reconcilable mix of left and right that ensures you will be a political pariah the rest of your life. The advantage is that, at parties, nobody will understand where you fit and you avoid (in part) witless political banter.

My husband has been Libertarian for years. He laughed when I registered as Republican. Said I was the most F***ed up Republican he has ever known. That alone is about enough to be Libertarian:)
I worked for the Libertarian Party this past summer and although I am still a registered Republican on paper, I am a true Libertarian at heart. Just gotta look out for the wackos, but all parties have them. Ours are just more colorful!

I can't recall much, but it involved spanking, peanut oil, and a large Russian woman named Olga.

Just beware of calling yourself libertarian. In my experience, they fight more over teeny tiny points of doctrine than the communists did in Lenin's time.

Although legalizing both drugs and guns would make things interesting for a little while.

The problem with Libertarians is that they can't seem to find any candidates that aren't total whack jobs. I agree with at least 90% of what their platform is (as opposed to about 30% of the Dem and 40% of the GOP platforms), but they've never found a respectible person to carry the message.

Here's the way I look at it: the United States of America needs to concentrate on a libertarian interpretation of the United States Constitution.

That said, I only use the Libertarian Party as a default vote. Most of the elections around here have a Libertarian running for offices I know nothing about and don't care about. So I give the party a little boost.

My problem with actually being a Libertarian is their position on the draft.

It's a nice, reconcilable mix of left and right that ensures you will be a political pariah the rest of your life.

Ah, how true...

...and it's the Wacko Factor that keeps me from formally joining the Libertarian party (that and the fact that I like interstate highways). So, for now, I remain - humbly yours - an independent.

For those of us a bit past the sex, drugs, and rock n roll (a little Viagra and Johnny Rivers on the stereo aside), the Libertarian advantage is being able to sleep at night. I was at perfect peace throughout and after the 2000 election.

As for our wackos: they hardly measure up to, say, a Pat Robertson or an Al Sharpton, John Ashcroft or anybody in A.N.S.W.E.R.

I was a registered Republican for 26 years, until 1998. I found the transition painless as my values had not changed - it was the Republican party that had changed.

While it is a fact that the Libertarian party isn't having much success in placing winning candidates for political office, we are have an astonsihing influence on the political debate and on people's views.

Consider how many people actually refer to themselves as (small-L) libertarians.

I was a registered Libertarian for a few years. Even voted for Andre Marrou in 1992. If I hadn't voted for Marrou, I probably would have voted for Perot. Or Clinton. Never Bush.

I really like Bush 43, however. So there you go.

I long ago concluded that politics is always about compromise. The big parties do find a mashmash of positions that fit a broad middle road that leans one way or the other. THIS IS A HEALTHY THING, NOT A BAD THING. It's a large part of what's made us so successful as a nation.

Third parties exist to bring new ideas into politics, and to act as a protest vote.

But at some point I realized, hey, it's not about finding the perfect candidate I agree with 99% with. It's finding the right mix of ideas I can live with.

I voted for George W. in 2000 feeling quite confident about my choice, and I know I'll probably vote for him in 2004 (95% likely). I'll sleep well with that choice.

If you must have the perfect candidate, vote libertarian, or Green, or whatever. If you believe politics is about compromise, however, you'll eventually wind up voting either Democratic or Republican, realizing that our political system makes two party rule inescapable.

There's only one really good reason to become a Libertarian: so you can vote without voting for a dirty statist. Then when your socialist/democratic friends (Dem and Republicans who believe in voting as a sacred ritual) ask you, Did you vote? You can say, Yes.

Then you tell 'em who you voted for, and they look all confused, But I thought there were only two choices allowed! That's a little fun.

Then you tell them that in all your years of voting, you've never voted for a winning candidate. They get a really funny look, How is that possible? Then you tell 'em what's wrong with democracy. It's two wolves and a lamb, voting on what's for dinner. And you tell 'em, You're the wolf. I'm the lamb. Please stop it.

That's good, at least on liberals. They hate being the wolf. They so want to be a victim that it blows their little minds.

Conservatives don't care if you vote or not. To get to them you have to outflank 'em on guns and taxes. But you don't need to register L to do that.

Oh I do hope you are being serious in considering this because we do need more intelligent people desperately in this party-- in my opinion-- that are more interested in bigger and better issues rather than just the legalization of pot (as our reputation seems to be portrayed). On paper I myself am still a registered Republican--but like Seki posted some time ago-- and dare I attempt to  rephrase--we should be more moderate in this country and decide on issues by the issue instead of so quickly labeling everything either left or right and then reacting or structuring or views by how "our" party leads us to do so. Independent/Libertarian types seem to offer that correct ideology to me--now all we need is some credible candidates and more widespread intelligence in our "punditry" and beliefs (bloggers could help greatly IMHO).

Awhile back you were exposed via a makeshift checklist as a closet gothic --maybe it is time you run your views through the libertarian party checklist and see where you come out according to their gospel.

I do think most libertarians are atheists (just a hunch) but it is a free country to believe as we wish and as a Christian I am all for that! Most libertarians also believe as you somewhat stated in preserving freedom --individual liberty and personal responsibility, a foreign policy of non-intervention, peace, and free trade,
a free-market economy of abundance and prosperity, limited government, and a guarded stance against an all right or all-left (wrong) position/view on life or way of living and deciding on issues that our country faces. Oh and don't worry~~we take a certain pleasure in correcting Christian right (which seems to like to trample all over everyone's rights even though they so desperately cling to the right of freedom of religion as they do so) as well as the insanely liberal left (anti-gun, anti-suv, anti-clothing, big govt etc...) wherever necessary and whenever they step out of line in accordance to the Libertarian principles and core beliefs.

One potential caveat though is that we seem a bit leery of a "war-hawkish" administration that spent most of their time of their youth dodging war themselves--but they/we might just need more viable education on this. Maybe you can enlighten us in this area. Many libertarians tend to believe that past administrational political transgressions and foreign policies gone horribly wrong (or being horribly "double-standardish") have caused us to be bitterly despised by a good majority of the world which currently might have us forced to use our military to defend ourselves in the present. We do believe in protecting ourselves, what we do not seem to believe is fiddling so much with the rest of the world to the point where we just make ourselves public enemy number one and then have to be forced to do so. Or maybe that is just my opinion. This is where the non-intervention foreign policy stance seems to appeal to me. If France wants us to leave them alone we should do so and leave them to fend for themselves when they need help--same with Germany, Puerto Rico, South Korea, Belgium or whomever tends to thank our past military, economic and other types of support by turning a cold shoulder on us when we ask for a little support on something of our own. I think the majority of Libertarians would say we should just wash our hands of them, the UN, and maybe even NATO all together forget them. We should bring all our forces out of these countries and let them police their own sections of the world and let them learn just how fun it can be to be big boys and girls all on their own. We should additionally kill all economic support or other types of support programs to them and just let them know that if they don't like us or want us around--we won't be. There is no picking and choosing where they want us involved and where they wish for us to mind our own business. Or maybe that too is just my view. It may sound extreme, but I think it would serve a good lesson--particularly to the French or South Koreans who have so depended on us in the past. (Puerto Rico should just shut up). Otherwise, I feel we face a vicious cylce of sending money and maybe even arms to countries that are friendly with us only to have them one day feel like they are above us and turn those very weapons against us as well (sound familiar?)

Anyway...hope you are serious in your consideration of this. As a Republican who has felt more and more betrayed by the current Republican regime...I feel it is worth everyone's while to at least look into and consider.

steps off soapbox

I started in the Republican Party back with the Barry Goldwater for President campaign, and the party has gone downhill pretty consistently since then (Reagan being the bright spot along the slope.) I left a while ago (although they just sent me a new membership card, again.)

Most people probably think I'm a libertarian, maybe I am. I call myself a "rational anarchist", after RAH's description in The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress.

The Libertarian Party is no more filled with fruitcakes than the big parties (as a percentage it's probably smaller), it's just that you don't have the impulse to treat them seriously, and so it's easy to notice that they've no clothes, and say so.

Partys are better, booze is tastier, people usually handle their firearms safely, and they're not into telling you how to live your life -- unless you ask!


ps. hope the I'm not smoking today campaign is going well for you.

Dear Michele,

I am a former New York State Libertarian Party Chairman, now disaffiliated from the party, and I'm here to tell you why, but first a disclaimer.

I am still a libertarian. More precisely, a libertarian-conservative, who believes he has found where the absolutist individual-rights doctrine must give way to a somewhat more community-oriented vein of reasoning. In 99% of human affairs, I still believe that individual freedom is unquestionably right and necessary.

But I have no further use for the LP. It's become a gathering place for the most quarrelsome and socially unacceptable people that ever believed in freedom. In many ways, it is the enemy of the liberty movement.

Psychologists and social analysts talk of "the halo effect": the tendency of people to award Smith's convictions extra points if they approve of him as a person, and the reverse tendency as well. The LP is now completely under the sway of people who are willing to say and do the most outrageous things, both to non-libertarians and to each other, to "win arguments" or get media attention. I think you can see how that works out for the cause of freedom and minimum government.

No, the Republican Party isn't perfect -- and there are Republican officeholders and candidates I wouldn't be caught dead with. But at least it has some prospect of persuading people of the desirability of reductions in government. Politically, I feel it's the more constructive route to try to "liberate" it still further.

Anyone interested in pursuing this conversation, drop me a note. Or check out The Conservative-Libertarian Schism for the further exploration of these ideas.

Freedom, Wealth, and Peace,
Francis W. Porretto

As a long time registered Libertarian I do tend to agree we do attract some single issue wackos that don't reflect well on the party. (Please tell me of a party that doesn't have any of these.) However, I believe that most of us are really Objectivists but aren't quite ready to further split the party. I suggest that anyone that has some problems with the high-visibility wackos take a look at http://www.objectivistcenter.org/ to see if they agree with the way I believe most of us Libertarians really think.

That was one of the worst libertarian articles I've ever read. The writer should go back and actually read some Hayek, instead of just quoting the Cliff Notes version of "Road To Serfdom." Hayek speaks extensively about the need for morality as an organizing prinicple of a society, and admits that it is often arbitrary, but argues that it's necessary nonetheless. In particular, see "Fatal Conceit," the chapter on "Between Instinct and Reason."

As a reader of Hayek and lover of liberty, I have to pass along one of my favorite quotes about libertarianism, from PJ O'Rourke, only slightly paraphrased: "You start getting into libertarianism, and it all sounds good, the economic freedom and individual responsibility and all. But you get more involved and you eventually find yourself talking to some crazy math teacher who wants to privatize the sidewalks."

I have to point something out here -- Susan Lee wasn't talking about the Libertarian Party, she was talking about "libertarians" as a political classificiation. The overwhelming majority of libertarians in the United States, I would suspect, are either independents or "moderate" Republicans/Democrats.

The problem with Libertarians is that they can't seem to find any candidates that aren't total whack jobs

If you're sane, libertarian, and want to hold elected office, you run as a Republican or Democrat and hope to work "within the system". Running as a Libertarian candidate is more about making a statement than it is about winning elections.

Hmmm... let's see...

Am I a libertarian?

Does it really matter? I guess you could call me one, even though I don't think it's very important what school of thought I fall under, because as long as the donks and the hose-noses are both afraid of me, I'm happy.

How did our country get delegated to a bunch of dumb animals, anyway?

Peat... I wish you wouldn't read my mind, but I can overlook that transgression if you type out my thoughts like that again.

Thanks, either way.

Love libretarians, vote Republican.

Politics is about getting the ideas you feel are best for you and your country enacted into law. Getting some of them is better than getting none of them.

Despite any claims to the contrary, and personal feelings aside, voting for a third fourth or fifth party is, except in one's mind, throwing your vote away

Unless. Unless a third party manages to break through. It can be done. Ignore national races and fill every city coiuncil, every school board, every board of selectmen with libretarians. Severe grassroots work Once that's done start aiming for mayoralties. That's when the buzz will start.

But it won't happen easily--if at all. The LP is like a herd of cats.

and I'd like to say thanks to htom, for showing me that I'm not alone TAANSTAAFL!

I have a brass cannon.

The problem with Libertarians is that they can't seem to find any candidates that aren't total whack jobs.

Actually, the problem is that we Libertarians cannot get our whack jobs elected like the Dems and Repubs do.

As for initiation rites, Michele, remember 'Thank you Sir, can I have another.' is the appropriate response when you're being paddled.

I blathered at length here about why I'm a little-l libertarian who's given up on the Libertarian Party. In a nutshell, to win elections and effect policy through the legislative process, the LP is a completely ineffective vehicle with no realistic hopes of getting any better. I've arrived at the conclusion that it'd be far more effective to bring the GOP back to the Goldwater tradition that a lot of contemporary GOPers profess to share (even if its observance is sometimes more in the breach than regularly).

If you want to be a libertarian purist, send money to the Institute for Justice and Cato. If you want to elect people who support a libertarian agenda, look for GOP and Dem primary candidates who're on board and back them. There's no need to be part of the LP to advance libertarianism. (But, I don't agree that the LP is counterproductive so much as it is ineffective. The LP has never cost anyone an election; rather, Republicans have lost elections by not being libertarian enough.)

As with Andy, I have problems with the Libertarian Party on issues and choices in their candidates. I'm a registered independent -- but I consider myself a libertarian.

So far, being a member of the International Liberty Conspiracy is tres cool. Having that individual freedom/individual responsibility balance is nice, too.

As for the initiation rites, I must've missed out on the sex/drugs/rock 'n roll part, but I did receive a 21-gun salute at the shooting range, followed by an all-SUV motorcade. :-)

I got to pin the elephant nose on the donkey....

That was pretty cool.

As a long-time card-carrying Libertarian, I must agree with a few of the arguments about infighting. Outsiders might think we are the Anarchy Party, based on some of the extremist viewpoints.

However many the faults, I can must vote this way. I'm being true to myself and the LP orgies are worth it.

check out the constitutionalist party which is alot like the libertarian party but had this to say...

"The Libertarians have the right principles, but are at cross-purposes figuring out what they truly stand for and how to get there. The LP today encompasses all groups interested in human freedom, from the extremists (anarchists) to the more moderate. The problem is that they are overrun by hard-liners who are more interested in sticking 100% to their principles and never compromising, which results in the Party's refusal to do anything that is necessary towards actually changing America. In fact, many Libertarians abhor the concept of one of their own actually gaining a public office, since that would mean compromising on something and "playing within the system". The Libertarian Party has also not come forth strongly in support of the Constitution, which remains the most successful form of modern government today, since they are more interested in sticking to their theories about human societal freedom rather than building upon working and fixable structures."