Libertarians Don’t Get Reality

libertarians are crazyI was recently involved in a discussion about which American third-party had the best chance to go mainstream and what might happen if they did.  Of course, the whole discussion is based on an irrational idea, the whole reason that third parties aren’t mainstream is because they don’t appeal to a sizable number of American voters and the only way to appeal to a sizable number of American voters is to change their platform to such a degree that they’d no longer be that third-party.  Since the majority of third parties in America are very similar to either the Democrats or the Republicans, except for one or two points that they go to extremes on, scaring away the majority of American voters, the only way to become more mainstream is to remove those extreme points, at which time they are virtually indistinguishable from the Democrats or Republicans.

But of course, it wasn’t long until the crazy libertarians showed up, as they always do, and started making absurd claims that show they just don’t comprehend reality.  In this case, one came by and said that tons and tons and tons of people actually supported the Libertarian Party, although it was a conspiracy of sorts why that support never came out in the elections, where the Libertarians have failed, for more than 40 years, to garner even 5% of the electorate to their cause.  So I and a couple of other people started asking questions.  First off, we all know that there are huge swaths of people who wear the libertarian label who are single-issue voters.  They want drugs legalized or they want to own guns or they want to end borders, etc.  They care only about their issue and only vote libertarian because the party supports that issue.  Our libertarian friend agreed that this is an issue and that just because you call yourself a libertarian, that doesn’t mean you actually are one, you have to embrace the “libertarian philosophy”. Great, we agreed that the Libertarian Party is even worse off than one might think  because the majority of it’s support comes from people who don’t drink the Kool-Ade and  don’t buy into the platform, they just want to sponge off of some of the side issues.

This, of course, brings us around to our second point, she then said that she’s been to a lot of libertarian “meetings”.  Not rallies, meetings.  She was very specific on that.  She said that everyone that goes to these meetings buys into the libertarian philosophy hook, line and sinker and that proves that most libertarians are really serious about the platform.  I immediately pointed out that this is a self-selection fallacy.  Very few people  go to these meetings out of the whole of registered libertarians and the ones that do attend will be the ones who accept the ideas that the libertarian leadership is preaching, after all, they are attending these meetings specifically to hear what the leadership has to say.  Those who don’t care are very unlikely to attend.  Therefore, the fact that these meetings are made up of people for whom these meetings are put together proves nothing about the overall makeup of the party or the people likely to vote for libertarian candidates and she just couldn’t get this very simple fact through her head.

There seems to be a very small group at the core of the Libertarian Party that are extremely cultish, they worship the “libertarian philosophy” and declare that anyone who doesn’t structure their entire lives around it “isn’t a real libertarian”.  Yes, those were her exact words.  How is this any different than a religion?  Yet these same people are the ones that are the most vocal, evangelizing the “libertarian gospel” to anyone who will listen and insulting anyone who will not.  The Libertarians are a third party for a reason, their message does not resonate with the majority of American voters and it’s not getting better, their influence is not growing, even after 40 years, their poll numbers aren’t getting higher and their candidates are stagnating at less than 3% of the voting public, often much less.  Yet these people, in election after election, continue to vote for candidates that have no chance in hell of winning and then whining about the majority of Americans who won’t take a chance on their piss-poor political platform.  When most libertarians don’t even take the platform seriously, why should anyone else?

Oh yeah, they have no grasp on reality!

4 thoughts on “Libertarians Don’t Get Reality

  1. "Of course, the whole discussion is based on an irrational idea, the whole reason that third parties aren’t mainstream is because they don’t appeal to a sizable number of American voters and the only way to appeal to a sizable number of American voters is to change their platform to such a degree that they’d no longer be that third-party."

    Please clarify. Where in here is the irrational idea you speak of and in what way is it irrational?

    Irrational: not logical or reasonable.

    In what way is a discussion about the possibility of a third party going mainstream irrational? And the party changing its platform is not the only possible way for this to happen. The American public could shift its political views enough to make one of these parties mainstream. It is admittedly not very probable. But it is not impossible.

    "Since the majority of third parties in America are very similar to either the Democrats or the Republicans, except for one or two points that they go to extremes on, scaring away the majority of American voters, the only way to become more mainstream is to remove those extreme points, at which time they are virtually indistinguishable from the Democrats or Republicans."

    Please support this claim with an analysis of the party platform of all the political parties. I am doubtful that a majority of them differ from the Democratic or Republican parties by only one or two positions. But if you are going to state they are as a factual assertion then please write a post analyzing the differences and similarities between the various third parties and the two major political parties. Here is a link to a list of all non-mainstream parties. (https://mail.google.com/mail/?js=RAW&maximize=true&hide=true&position=absolute&hl=en-GB&emailsLink=true&sk=true&titleBar=false&border=NONE&eventCallback=ParentStub1277142299567&zx=imv0xvp0h9i&shva=1#inbox/1456e87d862fb3d7) Click on the name of each to get a look at their party platform. Now if your assertion is only a opinion based not on an analysis of the political positions of each of these parties but rather on just your gut feeling then please say so and we'll move on. It is you who recently said on another blog site that opinions carry little weight. You set the standard that evidence must be provided for any claim. So live up to your own standard and provide the evidence for your claim.

    "First off, we all know that there are huge swaths of people who wear the libertarian label who are single-issue voters."

    We all know this? Huh? Funny how I never got the memo that it is something I know. I'd be interested to see the data set or evidence that leads you to this assertion, as well as how it is that you know that we all know it to be true. I have met quite a few libertarians in my lifetime and not one them has been a single-issue libertarian. Now of course this is somewhat anecdotal, for I haven't met every libertarian, so I suppose there could be some single-issue libertarians. (But then you don't even provide any anecdotal data for your assertion.) But a "huge swath" of them. Though this is rather ambiguous, it does sound as though you mean a lot. Is it somewhere between 30% and 50%? Whatever the percentage may be, I am still curious as what evidence or survey data you are relying upon to make the claim that it is a "huge swath." (By the way, I am not a libertarian. I have no more fondness for the libertarian view than do you. But I am so very tired of you frequently making assertions as though they are factual without providing the evidence for the assertion.)

  2. "Very few people go to these meetings out of the whole of registered libertarians and the ones that do attend will be the ones who accept the ideas that the libertarian leadership is preaching,…."

    True. But nothing you said establishes the opposite point you are attempting to make. Fact is that until you provide actual survey data, we must conclude that you don't have a clue whether of not there is a "huge swath" of libertarians who are single-issue libertarians.

    "Those who don’t care are very unlikely to attend."

    True. But why do you appear to be assuming that this is the only reason libertarians don't attend these meetings? There may be, and likely is, a whole host of reasons having nothing to do with the degree of commitment to the libertarian philosophy as to why more libertarians don't attend libertarian meetings. Perhaps there a many who simply can't afford the cost, or can't take the time off work, or have other commitments that conflict with the times of these libertarian meetings, just to name a few.

    "Therefore, the fact that these meetings are made up of people for whom these meetings are put together proves nothing about the overall makeup of the party or the people likely to vote for libertarian candidates…"

    Agreed. But then nothing you have said in this post supports your claim that a "huge swath" of libertarians are single-issue libertarians. Nothing you have said gives us any insight into the "overall makeup" of the libertarian party, as well as no insight into the degree to which any part of the membership of this party is committed to the Libertarian Party philosophy or platform. You should stop implying that you know things you do not in fact know.
    The Libertarian Party has more than 325,000 registered voters.(Source: http://www.politifact.com/florida/statements/2013…. There were at least 600 registered delegates to the 2012 National Convention. Probably 1000 or more actually in attendance. I doubt, if you were to attend a Libertarian Party Convention, you'd find any single-issue voters in this crowd. Again, this is admittedly a self-selected crowd. But again you provide no data to support your claim that there is a "huge swath" of libertarians who are single-issue libertarians.

    Freedom Fest, billed as the "World's Largest Gathering of Free Minds", is a conference held every year in July in Las Vegas. It is attended largely by libertarians. Michael Shermer and Penn Jillette, both well-known libertarians, are regular attendees at this conference. Shermer is to be one of the speakers at the 2014 conference. (Oddly enough, this conference is held at the same time as The Amazing Meeting (TAM) Conference in Las Vegas, the world's largest gathering of skeptics. Shermer and Jillette are also regulars at this conference as well.) Why do I bring this up? Well, this conference drew about 2,500 people in 2013. Again, many if not most of these attendees are almost certainly libertarians. The founder of Freedom Fest, Mark Skousen, is a frequent speaker at Libertarian Party conferences and gatherings, at least according to his own website. This, I think, implies that he is most likely is a supporter of the Libertarian Party. If you examine their speaker's list, there is a very decided libertarian theme. I doubt you'd find one of the libertarian attendees at this conference who is a single-issue libertarian. Again, I know that this too is a self-selected group. But again, while the numbers I offer here don't establish that there are no single-issue libertarians, they do provide, I think, sufficient reason to question your assertion that there is a "huge swath" of single-issue libertarians, especially given that you have provided not a single piece of evidence to support the claim, not even a single anecdotal piece of evidence.

    "When most libertarians don’t even take the platform seriously, why should anyone else?

    Once again, how the hell do you know this? Have you done a survey of libertarians? Are you relying upon some survey data you are not sharing with us? If so, please share it now.

  3. While I agree that you picked the least educated Libertarians for your examples… Please elaborate on your stance without the hoodwinked people you reference. Anyone can do that with any party… Waht I don't understand is how Democrats are logical by believing in gay marriage and Republicans are logical by being against gay marriage. Democrats are logical by believing in gun control and Republicans are logical by being against gun control. Yet Libertarians are illogical because they believe in gay marriage and they are against gun control? I still don't get what my marriage has to do with the population's gun control, but somehow that makes me illogical?

    1. Please point out any educated Libertarians who differ from what I've said. You ask how Democrats can be logical believing that gay people should be able to get married and Republicans can be logical believing that gay people shouldn't be able to get married, when a large percentage of Libertarians think that we ought to get rid of marriage entirely. Is that logical? Seems no more or less so than any of the other positions. In fact, gay marriage is based on the idea, as presented in the founding documents of this country, that all people are "created" equal and all deserve equal rights. It's about equality, not religion.

      I have no clue where you got the idea that gay marriage and gun control and marriage have anything to do with each other, any more than they have anything to do with each other in the platforms of the other parties. It isn't the conflation of the positions that makes many Libertarians illogical, but the positions themselves. Maybe you ought to do something about your less intelligent and educated members, Start with the anarcho-capitalists, those people need to rent a serious clue.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Optionally add an image (JPG only)