Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Camel's Back is Broken.

Well, December 18 has come, the meeting is over, and now I can say what I decided weeks ago.

The following letter will go out on the morrow to various Libertarian officers in Texas:

I have, for the past few years, been a reluctant member of the Libertarian Party, seeking to reform the party from within to make it a viable mechanism for change in the American political system. Despite the active antipathy of many within the party, and despite serious concerns about the control exercised by anarchists within the party, I nonetheless felt the Libertarian Party represented my political beliefs better than any other option available to me.

Events of the past two weeks have changed my mind. First I received a letter from Wes Benedict asking for candidates to run as Libertarians… in part, the letter said, as a means to support Ron Paul in his Republican run for President. Then, on December 9, 2007, the national leadership of the Libertarian Party voted unanimously to ask Ron Paul to seek the Libertarian Party nomination for President. It then voted, again unanimously, to commit Libertarian Party resources to help Ron Paul win the New Hampshire Republican primary election.

These actions disturbed me greatly. First, Ron Paul differs significantly from Libertarian Party positions on several key issues, most notably on immigration. Second, Ron Paul has associated in the past with white supremacists and has pointedly refused to reject white supremacist support in his current campaign for President. Third, Ron Paul is a believer in conspiracy theory, including the notion that the United States government faked the September 11, 2001 attacks as a pretext for its attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq.

Fourth, and more important than any of the previous points, Ron Paul has worked since his return to Congress as a Republican to undermine the Libertarian Party and to convert its members into Republicans. He has used invitations to Libertarian Party events to try to persuade Libertarians that they belong in the Republican Party. He has repeatedly rejected the label “libertarian,” defining himself as a conservative. He has stated repeatedly in the press and in public events that he believes third-party efforts are doomed and without effect in our political system. The best that can be said about Ron Paul is that he cynically uses the Libertarian Party for his own purposes.

Finally, and most important of all, the actions by the Libertarian Party leadership to support a Republican candidate for President over and above loyal Libertarian Party candidates is a sign that the Libertarian Party has no interest in actually acting as an independent political party. Rather than act as a viable alternative to two hopelessly corrupt and untrustworthy political parties, the Libertarian leadership has declared itself willing to marry itself to whichever major party parrots enough buzzwords or empty promises to give the illusion of support for Libertarian positions.

I joined the Libertarian Party in 1999 because I wanted something different from the Democratic and Republican Parties. I wanted to join an organization determined to support its own candidates for election against both Democrats and Republicans. If the Libertarian Party is not willing to do this, then in my opinion it has rejected its very meaning for existence. A political party which supports members of other parties for public office in preference to its own candidates for that same office can no longer be considered an independent political party.

Without the will to act as an independent political party, and without the loyalty to support the candidates within the party in preference to those without, the Libertarian Party can no longer be considered a viable force in American politics. Indeed, it is my belief that if the Libertarian Party nominates Ron Paul in 2008, or somehow manages to get Ron Paul nominated by the Republicans and withholds its nomination for President, the result will be a loss of support, of organization, and of ballot access as Libertarians bolt the party to join the Republican Party in support of Ron Paul. After this election cycle there will no longer be anything of value to reform… if there ever was.

For these reasons I hereby announce my resignation from the Libertarian Party. I hereby stand down from any and all positions of trust within the Libertarian Party. I have closed out all unfinished business I have with the party, including any official duties, debts, or pledges I have with the Party or its affiliates and subsidiaries.

If the Libertarian Party demonstrates that it can be a viable and independent political party, by electing a governor, a Congressman, or a substantial number of state legislators in multiple states, I may consider rejoining that party. Otherwise I shall be politically independent for the 2008 election season, and after that shall seek either to join or help build a new political party to fulfill the role that, in my opinion, the Libertarian Party has not only abandoned but emphatically rejected.

To my knowledge I speak for no one else but myself in this; however, I strongly encourage all who read this statement to reconsider whether or not the Libertarian Party, by supporting a candidate of a party that has worked to destroy freedom, can still be considered a means of preserving and expanding freedom. For my part it cannot—and for that reason I have chosen to withdraw my support.

I'm all but certain now that Ron Paul will get the Libertarian nomination, or else the Libertarians will not have a nominee at all in 2008 for President. Not only is there loud and substantial support from below, but there's absolute unanimous support from above. Even the purists in the party, who would run off anyone else who differed with the anarchist party line as Ron Paul does, have gone whole hog for him.

I just can't support a party- any party- so hypocritical as to proclaim itself the Party of Principle, to fight tooth and nail any attempt to moderate that principle, and then to throw all its support behind a candidate of ANOTHER PARTY who doesn't even believe in that principle. Just as I could not support the Democrats or Republicans in 1999, I cannot support the Libertarians now.

What this means in the short term is, for one thing, an end to Corn Flake Friday posts. I see no reason to embarrass Libertarians into facing reality when I'm no longer trying to reform that party. (Incidentally, "reform" is an anagram of "former," and vice versa.)

In the next couple days I'm going to take a very serious look at the Democratic candidates for President, and a reluctant look at the Republicans to be fair. I'm not going to bother with the Greens (Cynthia Anti-Semite McKinney or Ralph Untrue-at-Any-Speed Nader? No thanks) or the Constitution Party (the would-be Christian Taliban). Nor am I interested in Michael Bloomberg, should he run; having seen what he's done to civil liberties in New York City as mayor, I believe he'd be an even worse dictator than Bush should he come to power. But I have to support someone, because there's no None of the Above option.

After that, I'm going to start looking for a label for my kind of politics, and to see if there are any people like me. I think I've got a good name in mind, but I need to flesh out the ideas before I go further. In the meantime, keep watching this blog...