The Libertarian Convention Was An Epic Failure
This election could have been a great opportunity for the Libertarian Party. People are upset with the mainstream, and interested in exploring different philosophies. With national attention finally focused on the Libertarian convention like never before, the party could have shown the country how it is done. They could have chosen a true champion of libertarian values to articulate the message on a national stage.
Instead it was a total circus. James Weeks, a late entry candidate for party chair, got naked on stage, probably after spending too much time hanging out with John McAfee. By the end of the day, the establishment Republican-lite pothead and a man who is basically the polar opposite of a libertarian were chosen for the party ticket. They will continue to sell the libertarian message as “fiscally conservative and socially liberal” instead of the true creed of liberty “don’t hurt people and don’t take their stuff”.
I have no problem with Gary Johnson selling pot. In fact, I own stock in his company. I fully support his efforts in that area. However, I am tired of him warping and misrepresenting libertarian philosophy to the voting public. At this point I can’t even disagree with most of the mainstream criticisms of libertarianism because they are based on things that Johnson has said. Yes, I agree that it is inconsistent to force a Jewish baker to bake a Nazi wedding cake. I agree that an open borders policy under our current welfare state and centrally controlled economy is not a good idea. No, I don’t think that doctors should decide who should have their gun rights taken away without due process.
Bill Weld, Johnson’s running mate, expanded government and passed gun regulations as governor of Massachusetts, and supported Kasich for the Republican nomination. He also supported both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama at various times. All three of these individuals should be repugnant to any true libertarian, especially Kasich who tried to block ballot access for libertarian candidates. The Libertarian Party should know better than to select candidates who they have to constantly apologize for. Leave that to the Democrats and Republicans.
Ron Paul and Andrew Napolitano are probably still the only guys able to get on TV who actually articulate the libertarian philosophy with any accuracy. They can’t carry the torch forever, though. At some point the party needs to let younger voices like Darryl Perry and Austin Petersen take over. I may not completely agree with either Perry or Petersen, but they are both well read and articulate, and represent to two fundamental branches of the party. Johnson and Weld are both relative newcomers from the Republican party who have never read Rothbard or Mises.
Of course, the party has gone completely downhill since the exodus of the Mises crowd. They may still have the popular support of the party, as evidenced by Ron Paul’s continued reverence. Leadership within the party, however, appears to no longer encourage reading Rothbard or Mises. While the occasional reference to Hayek or Milton Friedman is still made, the soul of the party has been compromised by the Cato-types. While the fringe anarchist element is still on display, they are more of a sideshow circus act than the Rothbardian intellectual juggernauts of a few years ago.
The Washington think-tank big money crowd are clearly running the show at this point. I was expecting a Johnson nomination, but pairing him with Weld was a terrible choice, and the undignified spectacle of the convention was a total failure. These Republican party rejects were irrelevant and out of touch in the major leagues, and will only drag the Libertarian party into the dustbin of history with them. If the Libertarians want to draw attention and votes away from the red vs. blue dichotomy, they should put people into the spotlight who can actually stand up against the heavy hitters.