Which Libertarian Are You?

Originally posted at BrettBittner.com and UnitedLiberty.org. Republished with permission.

As the libertarian philosophy gains popularity in response to the repeated failures of government, we need to define which type of libertarians we want to be. Our numbers are growing, and as we reach critical mass, we need to start to specialize our political activities. In my mind, there are three kinds of libertarians in politics: the candidates, the party or cause leadership, and the activists.

You should recognize this specialization as the division of labor. Previously, libertarians had to “wear many hats,” because of how few our numbers were. Today, that is not the case.

Have you ever waved signs at a rally or a busy intersection for your favorite candidate or “pet” issue? Have you ever made statements to the press, defining an organization’s position on an issue? Have you ever run for office?

Chances are, most libertarians can answer “yes” to the first two questions, with a slightly smaller number answering affirmatively about the third one. I am among those who can say yes to all three.

Those days are, hopefully, coming to an end.

Activists [Read more...]

Why Libertarians Lose

This was originally published on BrettBittner.com before being re-published at United Liberty.

“Libertarians will never win.”  “Why don’t you just join the Republican Party?”  I’ve heard all the reasons I’m “doing it wrong” from people outside the Libertarian Party.  “We don’t have ballot access.”  “We aren’t able to raise money, because we aren’t bought by special interests.”  I’ve heard every excuse inside the Libertarian Party about why we do not win elections.  Aside from the ballot access issue and joining the Republican Party, what you’re about to read is also valid for “small L” libertarians, grassroots campaigns of either the Democratic or Republican variety, and nearly any recently “off the couch” activist-turned-candidate.  There are obvious exceptions in the case of independently wealthy individuals or celebrities or athletes cashing in on their fame, but these are generally the “rules.”  Also, there are “wins” that can be achieved without actually having more votes than the others running, but that is for another day.

The “mistakes” I outline below are not the fault of the candidate, their staff or their volunteers.  It is my opinion that they are just unaware of the “mistakes.”  The first and most devastating mistake that Libertarians make is that they are not involved in government until they are ready to run for office.  They have not attended a single City Council, County Commission meeting, or visited their state legislature to watch them in action, let alone been involved enough to know the players or the game.  At the local level, there are many opportunities to get involved without winning an election.  This mistake hurts potential candidates for two reasons: no one knows who they are, and they do not have any record on which to run. [Read more...]