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Can Libertarian Party Learn to Make a Real Difference?

Does Mary Ruwart have it right? Yes and No!

In an article on "Third Party Watch," Dr. Mary Ruwart argues the Libertarian Party would be wise to refrain from nominating a presidential candidate who has not thoroughly done his or her liberty homework and therefore doesn't really believe in liberty.

Most libertarians would agree. But let's look deeper.

As her leading example, Dr. Ruwart argues that she would not like to see an LP candidate back off the LP's historic stance against the War on Drugs, and she proceeds to lay out all the logical reasons why the LP's stance against the War on Drugs is pure libertarianism.

Unfortunately, she misses the most important point of all: loudly campaigning against the War on Drugs guarantees electoral defeat, because the vast majority of voters, mistaken or not, equate the War on Drugs with good. Almost everyone these days knows somebody whose life, or family's lives, or friend's lives have gone through almost unendurable suffering because of some one's drug use. People feel all this pain and vote their gut reaction: ban drugs. Voters don't vote based on drawn out logical reasoning from premise to conclusion (a lesson libertarians MUST learn).

Dr. Ruwart is correct in her statement of a pure libertarian position. She is incorrect in her implications if libertarians are interested in long range success. Long range success depends on emphasizing libertarian positions which are popular with a huge majority of voters.

In her second example, libertarian campaigns against gun bans, Dr. Ruwart's logic is equally exemplary, and this time she is in rapport with the vast majority of voters. Campaigning to get governments out of the business of banning guns is a winning libertarian campaign position because millions of people see the value of having a gun and don't want governments taking their guns away. In addition, this position gains tremendous support from people who have no guns but do not want government changing the intent of the U.S. Constitution.

But then being the well-integrated libertarian she is, Dr. Ruwart quickly regresses to arguing against bans on pornography, another election losing guarantee.

So while Mary Ruwart is correct in her positions on all these issues, she is incorrect in her overall understanding of how to "win friends and influence people" through political action.

Now Mary would surely argue that she is not interested in "winning friends" at the expense of violating her principles. She argues that the LP must not stop being the Party of Principle and become the Party of Expediency. But this argument is invalid because these are not the only two alternatives. In politics, you do not have to violate your principles in order to only talk about the positions you hold which are also popular with a vast majority of voters, and you are not violating your principles by remaining silent on issues which are guaranteed to lose elections. Quite the contrary. You serve your principles by winning elections and finding yourself in elected offices where the media will pay more attention to you and help spread your underlying premises.

Quite the opposite of loudly proclaiming all their unpopular positions, unless libertarians start emphasizing those of their positions which appeal to the vast majority of voters, they are not going to influence many people, which is their purpose for engaging in political activity in the first place.

Dr. Ruwart is correct when she implies libertarians will only sabotage themselves with candidates who are not thorough libertarians. But she is incorrect when she implies that LP candidates must continue to operate as they have in the past. Because in the past all libertarians have done is sabotage themselves anyway.

If you are a freedom lover interested in winning politics be sure to study: Course in Political Miracles

For a great discussion on Christianity vs. State Socialism see: Christianity vs. State Socialism

“I did not understand what made me free, nor what my freedom is, nor where to look to find it. Father, I have searched in vain until I heard Your Voice directing me. Now I would guide myself no more. For I have neither made nor understood the way to find my freedom. But I trust in You. You Who endowed me with my freedom as Your holy Son will not be lost to me. Your Voice directs me." (Prayer from A Course in Miracles)

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