07 November 2010

Libertarian Politics

It's funny: (h/t Isegoria)

The Country Club Republicans put up most of the money and provided meeting places. Important.

The religeous right provided a lot of work. It was they that walked precincts and they that worked phone banks. Very important.

The libertarians talked. The libertarians also complained. They were always too busy talking and complaining to do any work.

... but I don't think it represents a personal failing on the part of the libertarians this politician attempted to work with. Rather, it exposes the fundamental flaw with libertarian politics. The other groups were important because they had bought into the idea of politics — they had picked their side and were prepared to work to make it win, effectively obtaining what power they could, and trading it with their allies to get help on the few issues they particularly cared about.

For a libertarian, this is fundamentally illegitimate. Libertarians are not comfortable seeking power outside of the specific policy changes they want to make. That makes them, in political terms, useless.

There isn't a way around this. For a libertarian to accept that he needs to fully engage in the political process, he has to accept that there is more to politics than policy — that who has power is an important thing in its own right. Once you believe that, you are no longer a libertarian.

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