27 votes

Starting the Libertarian Party was a Huge Strategic Mistake

When I met Nolan here at the 2010 ISIL convention I found a moment to ask him.... "Upon reflection, now that some 40 years has past, was it a strategic mistake to start the Libertarian Party?" I believe he just looked at me like I was crazy or his mind was spinning on the puzzling thought.

So I added, "Back in 1970, coming out of the 1960's, there were two general social movements, one that held a big concern for the earth, plants and animals and that all folded under the "Environmental movement".

"The other social movement were the the various liberty-self determination movements: ie. liberty-self determination for black Americans in the workplace, social life, and home-life, (Google Malcolm x).... liberty-self determination for women in the workplace, social life, and home-life, (Google Betty Friedan) ....liberty-self determination for Indian Americans in the workplace, social life, and home-life (Google Russel Means and watch the cult hit movie "Billy Jack"), .....liberty-self determination for Mexican Americans in the workplace, social life, and home-life (Google Cesar Chavez) ....liberty-self determination for Gay & Lesbian Americans in the workplace, social life, and home-life... and these movements were also "anti-Vietnam war" movements.

Here is my point, the Environmental movement was able to capture all the various interests under one banner, even the health movement fell under its large umbrella. And they stayed as a social movement, and never became a party at the time. They then were able to work BOTH PARTIES. They even got lots of major legislation done for them as a political movement that did not become a party.

But the libertarian movement that came out of the 1960's was also anti-Vietnam war and it was pro-gold, pro-free market. By breaking free of the GOP, free marketers wanted liberty-self determination for all Americans. As a movement, the libertarian movement could have captured all the other liberty-self determination movements across the spectrum. But instead, it quickly formed a political party and went no where fast. It did not grow. It chose a gay California philosophy professor, Mr. John Hospers as its first Presidential candidate and Ms. Tonie Nathan as the first woman VP in 1972 but it failed to attract the both woman and gay American who desperately wanted liberty & self determination.

Throughout the 1970's the Environmentalist movement grew wide and broad and deep. If a republican or democrat pushed their issue, it did not matter. And they gained huge social acceptance for their ideas. By the end of the 1970's "everybody cares about the environment" was a real success. It was a moral high ground that meant that politically you could not be seen as Not PRO-Environment.

Meanwhile, the various liberty-self determination groups were absorbed into the liberal progressive socialist democratic fold. While each group aspired to liberty & self determination, their "friendly" liberal-socialist was there to tell them that to get it, you need government favors, grants, and 'special rights'.

And during the 1970's the LP went nowhere, FAST. In the 1970's it was a debate society that brought together the philosophy of Ayn Rand, the economics of Milton Friedman and Murray Rothbard, and it hung out with the anti-communists because they were the only ones who would listen to boring free market economics. In the 1980's it was a refuge for those who did not buy into the PC sweeping the country. By the 1990's it was a computer geekdom refuge.

My point is, by becoming a political party in 1971, Nolan and Rothbard single offhandedly killed the chance to use the libertarian philosophy to shelter and home the various self-determination groups that came out of the 1960s.

Today the R3VOLution is not a Party. Thank gawd for that. It can grow. It can breathe. Notice that in the 2000 the Environmental movement died. Do you know what killed it? It became a political party, the GREEN PARTY. Most of all, to do that, it adopted socialist progressive economic assumptions and thus churns out those "solutions". This has resulted in the very people who love wildlife, killing it. See 60 minutes here: http://www.dailypaul.com/209683/exterminate-liberal-thought-...

The R3VOlution has a real chance in bringing lots of various groups back to the liberty-self determination fold. The problem is that in the last 30 years these groups have swallowed a lot of Political Correctness, "educated themselves" about the virtues of "democratic socialism", and have created a sub-political culture that has not only its own style, its own coolness, its own hip, but also created its own "mating network". As any sociobiologist can tell you, once you have females selecting males upon this criteria, you have a future movement.

Well we in the R3VOlution are not so mature, we are just 5 years old if that. We are just now gaining a culture, gaining a style, and most of all gaining females who select us as "any friend of Ron Paul is a friend of mine". With females comes a future. Notice that in the 1970's, 80's and 90's and even today, the LP is 90% men. Yes, its a dead party, a dead movement. We on the other hand, are a real MOVEMENT. The R3VOLution is alive and well. It is diverse, from country to rapp to punkrock, to folk, we are alive. We are about liberty and self determination, or have I repeated myself?

This is not to say that the environmental progressive left is not unbreakable. Science itself is doing the breaking, from Sociobiology, to free market "voluntarist economics", yes we have our in-roads to the left. We need to be in these circles.

So, keeping the R3VOLution outside of the GOP and DNC, means we mingle with all the rest, from the 99%'rs to the Greens to the Constitutionalists, to the Birthers, to the John Birchers, to the Gold Bugs, to the LGBT community, to the Gun Rights to the what have you.... The R3VOLution can incorporate it all because freedom and liberty and self-determination are common popular values. We come from the point of view that COMMUNITY is something voluntary "3VOL", a bottom up creation, and its a good thing. We also come from the point that top down govt controls can and does kill community. "Farmers markets are free markets" - Now that is a bumper sticker that gets an environmentalist to thinking.


Trending on the Web

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

My post on feminism is in

the works! thanks for responding

Christians should not be warmongers! http://www.lewrockwell.com/vance/vance87.html

They may have been UNaware of this


oh yeah..Big Brother is out there!

"Beyond the blackened skyline, beyond the smoky rain, dreams never turned to ashes up until.........
...Everything CHANGED !!


One thing that bothers me is that there were so many libertarians this election that didn't get involved in the republican primary for Dr. Paul.

Something else that is annoying is Ron Paul supporters who attack others because they don't support Ron Paul yet they themselves didn't get involved in the primary for Ron Paul.

Excellent post

Excellent indeed

Treg, once again an excellent post

You are so correct, if the liberty movement stays independent, it has much more leverage getting liberty candidates elected. Since elections are won by the relatively few independents or swing voters, it gives the liberty candidates much more leverage. If split off into another party, or consumed by an existing party, that vote could be easily taken for granted. That's why we need to stick together and stay independent.

The stick together part is key and why you should reconsider

agreeing with Treg.

But, Who Could I Vote For?

If the LP hadn't been there, who could I have voted for in various offices up and down the ballot all these years?

I am able to sleep at night because I am able to vote for someone with the right ideas, even if they don't win the election.

The LP takes votes away from both dominant parties, equally, and has caused both dominant parties to form caucuses within them to support liberty. If it weren't for the threat of members leaving for the LP, they wouldn't have allowed that to happen.

Meanwhile, we're the most successful alternative party, and we're ready and waiting for whichever dominant party self-destructs first.

What do you think? http://consequeries.com/

Good observations

clearly stated. Agree!


How does one claim said

How does one claim said female?

Quote of the Day


I am one of the co-founders of the Christian game design studio Renewal Corporation. For our philosophy and upcoming product updates, please see our blog: http://renewalcorp.blogspot.com

Billy Jack?

Why bother people with watching that insipid nonsense?

There's good science behind the validity of third party movements, as there also is solid fact.

Before he died Norman Thomas was able to point out that a great many of the original goals of the Socialist Party largely were achieved although the party itself had sunk into a tiny shell of its former self.

That party advocated things like unemployment insurance, social security, medicare...you name it. That stuff got adopted as law and as cultural value due to their preaching to the public and the public buying the goals of the party.

The Libertarian Party began with advocacy of non-intervention, opposition to taxation (abolish the FED, end the Income Tax, etc)and opposition to intrusions on civil liberties, like the Drug War.

You still find none of these in either major party platform

Basically, when one looks at small parties it's necessary to look at the history of the nation, not at a few recent small parties. Change comes via generational shifts, not in the course of a few years.

And, change isn't effected by parties themselves, just as it isn't brought about due to principled legislators.

Change comes because a significant sector of society demands it.

Parties are one avenue of activism, hardly the only avenue.

Perhaps the biggest problem with the Original Post is the implicit suggestion that all who support the R3volution must now channel efforts into one avenue of change, whether it be one party or whatever.

That's incorrect.

Parties exist as one viable option for some due to ballot access and campaign finance laws. IF one wishes to engage electorally, one must comply with existing law, as simple as that.

If parties aren't your bag at all, fine, there are plenty of other ways to reach out to gain new adherents to liberty.

And please save yourselves the time and excruciating boredom of watching something like Billy Jack.

John P Slevin --- I am in agreement with much of your reply

The point of Billy Jack is simply because these young Ron Paul Patriots perhaps have seen nothing like that and contrast it with films of the time in how they showed Indians. Billy Jack was a film of a renegade tribal Indian seeking self respect and fighting the white-man bigotry around him, and most of all winning. "insipid"? Hardly. Again out of the 60s came a desire for liberty & self determination, which Billy Jack does nicely. Notice that most other films went like Coogan's Bluff, where the big bad Clint Eastwood sheriff puts the hapless Arizona Indian back in his place on the reservation or the many films that have the white man killing and winning against the redface http://red-face.us/. It took 2009 for a more realistic Geronimo to give us some sense of the real history and what the reservation did. Russel Means, now 72, came out of the 60's with the Wounded Knew "incident" of 1973 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wounded_Knee_Incident), again an example of the desire for liberty and self determination that came out of the 1960's.

Mr. Slevin you write that there is good science behind 3rd party movements, which is true. And you bring up the success of the Socialist Party in getting its ideas and goals adopted, which is also true. I first became aware of this when reading Milton Friedman's FREE TO CHOOSE.

But what does the science say? How did the Socialist get their ideas adopted? It was NOT because the 3rd party Socialists was successful at the ballot box. It was NOT because the 3rd party worked then for the socialist and its NOT working now for the LP.

No the science, as you call it, shows that what worked was the ideas to stay outside of a 3rd party to become a PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENT in which those ideas were picked up, like basketball players in a draft, to go inside the Democratic Party and to the Republican Party when needed to "win". That is, socialist goals where delivered inside the 2 party duopoly.

That is exactly what we are doing now John. See here: Re-branding Liberty Inside the 2 Party Duopoly http://www.dailypaul.com/217383/go-libertarian-or-go-freedom...

But I agree with most of your comments.

However this comment "Perhaps the biggest problem with the Original Post is the implicit suggestion that all who support the R3volution must now channel efforts into one avenue of change, whether it be one party or whatever."

If that was my implicit suggestion, please forgive me. I mean to suggest no such thing. I agree with you, we need to make this a movement outside of the 2 parties and at the same time, take liberty deep inside the 2 party duopoly.

But what about my DIRECT suggestion, not your perceived implicit one? That back in 1972, it was a mistake to take all that liberty & self determination energy coming from so many groups, and lock them out by creating a narrowly focused 3rd party, the LP? It was a strategic mistake, I think. The effect was that these liberty-self determination groups were absorbed in the old 1920's Progressive movement, thus keeping that movement on life-support to this day. I hope you can agree.

And most of all, I hope that you can agree that the R3VOLution should stay outside any political party, and most of all, pull out of the Progressive Left those groups which are in fact, liberty-self determination groups. Wendy McElroy has done a great job of staking out Individualist Feminism (vs socialist feminism). The Progressives will fight us with all they can. But they do know that one thing is dead, and that is Karl Marx. Most of all, we may have surprise for them, our acceptance of evolutionary science among our young R3VOLutionaries. Science is more a friend of liberty than of collectivism, but that is for another post.


Yes, please BUY this wonderful libertarian BOOK! We all must know the History of Freedom! Buy it today!

"The System of Liberty: Themes in the History of Classical Liberalism" ...by author George Smith --
Buy it Here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/05211820

the duopoly is not the way

There is no one route.

Certainly, embracing the corrruption which is the GOP always has been a horrifically bad strategy...so, if you wish to question party strategies, begin with that one.

Ron Paul, who never has accomplished the feat of passing one significant piece of legislation and only gained one subcommittee chairmanship is the guy whose strategy I'm supposed to accept wholeheartedly?

There's never been any sense in that.

And look at that subcommittee chairmanship: an important one? hardly--- it's an obscure thing, that no one pays any real attention to anyway and RP only got that in his dotage. And, has he made it more visible? Again, no. His Mr. Milquetoast proceedings have done literally nothing to move significant numbers of voters to support an audit let alone an end to the FED.

Yeah, he's the guy who's going to tell me to go GOP?

Remember, after the last presidential cycle Ron Paul agreed to publicly embrace the entire GOP congressional ticket in Texas. After that election, the gave him the subcommittee. And, he's done basically zip with it.

Ron Paul will retire having spent less time in that obscure subcommittee chairman's post than he spent defending his GOP congressional seat against leaders of his own party trying to oust him and in the end made a deal with them to get recognition of his seniority claim on that obscure post.

Basically, he's honed a message of working within the system to the exclusion of other possibilities.

I choose not to knock those working within the system; it's just that I won't knock those who choose other avenues.

That Ron Paul "strategy" of go along, is that what I want to follow? Nope.

That might make sense to others, and for what they can accomplish there, good, I wish them luck. Maybe they'll accomplish what Ron Paul never has accomplished and that's to pass or defeat one significant piece of legislation.

I don't embrace the notion of first joining Al Capone's mob in order to clean up corruption in Chicago.

That's exactly the strategy being suggested by those urging freedom lovers to go GOP.

I'm not saying don't be involved in parties and I'm not knocking those who choose one party.

I am saying that there are real severe limits on what can be accomplished and if I was going to pick any party I'd begin with one far less corrupt that the GOP.

the one the most corrupt is the challange

It's not about Ron Paul. It's about Ron Paul's message. It's about individulas who are above bigotry, above the corruption, beyond MSM BS, truth seekers uniting to end corruption and transform the message to reality.

The GOP can afford us that opportunity becasue they have power the LP has never had.

It seems to me, as a Republican, the Neocons are now wanting to abandon the GOP, close shop, wanting rather a party that will beacon the UN, and maybe this is where the GOP leaders are going with "Tean Nevada"?

They will get there before your LP does anything besides make great speaches about cannabis and the good old days of Harry Brown.

Bob Barr and Gary Johnson are your sign: THE LP IS CORRUPT.

I'm sorry your conscious doesn't allow it to get your hands dirty cleaning up the GOP with the rEVOLutionairies, after all, we are the future.

I'm not saying joing the LP either

I'm saying understand that following ANYONE is damned foolish.

It's the opposite of working toward Liberty. It's saying "hey, Messiah" just tell us what to do.

Ron Paul is not ANYONE

I think it is foolish to try to reinvent the wheel when we have the opportunity to take one that is available. Or maybe I should say, It's foolish to not have a leader or a guide when going where one has not gone before. Most of us NEVER dreamed we would be in the GOP, thanks to Ron Paul, not only are we in the GOP, but wishing we had joined sooner... then again, it probably was so broken. If we don't take it, I see a NWO party replacing it. I don't see the duopoly ending in our lifetime, unless the Borg actually land.

What a disgusting comment.

the duopoly is not the way

The duopoly is fact. Per game theory, it is the unavoidable conclusion of our general election voting system. Until that voting system is changed, taking over one or both of the existing parties is the only strategy that gives any chance to a minority (which is what the liberty movement is at this point).

There is no one route.

You just got done ruling out the only strategy that works with your title. You then immediately follow it up with this to try to justify following a losing strategy?

embracing the corrruption which is the GOP always has been a horrifically bad strategy

We're not taking over the GOP to embrace corruption, but to put an end to it. You don't end corruption in the GOP or Democratic parties by going off and playing in your own little sandbox, so choosing to go off and play by yourself is choosing to allow the corruption to continue.

Ron Paul, who never has accomplished the feat of passing one significant piece of legislation

That's one hell of a low propagandist blow that I've only seen used by liberty's enemies. Ron Paul has one vote in congress. If that's the only liberty vote in congress that is not Ron Paul's fault, that is the fault of the American people.

His Mr. Milquetoast proceedings have done literally nothing to move significant numbers of voters to support an audit let alone an end to the FED.

Now you're just flat-out lying. Ron Paul has single-handedly convinced lots of people that the Fed should be audited. His attempts to get the Fed audited have gone from being pretty much completely ignored by everyone in congress to where we are now where the number of cosponsors for his bill, not just votes but cosponsors, is at 227.

Yeah, he's the guy who's going to tell me to go GOP?

Ron Paul tells the truth. You, not so much. I'll listen to him over you.

I don't embrace the notion of first joining Al Capone's mob in order to clean up corruption in Chicago. That's exactly the strategy being suggested by those urging freedom lovers to go GOP.

Your logic is crap. The real mob, the real power, and the real corruption here is the federal government. The only way to clean it up is to take it over. But by your logic we shouldn't do that. We should just let the federal government remain corrupt and go start another government and hope the new government can take over.

I'm not knocking those who choose one party

There you go lying again. You just got done knocking Ron Paul repeatedly for going the GOP route.

either you are very young...

That you knew nothing about the FED before Ron Paul is a fact of being very young or very stupid.

It's not exactly a secret.

I'm all for effective, actual activists working in whatever way they feel is good...and that includes within an party, existing and/or otherwise.

The parties are not separate from the federal government.


I must be "very young or very stupid" because you don't know how to read. (/sarc)

Clue for you: I never said I "knew nothing about the FED before Ron Paul".

"I'm all for effective, actual activists working in whatever way they feel is good...and that includes within an party, existing and/or otherwise."

No, you're not. What you are for is calling people names when they don't do/say what you think they should, like in the below post where you tell tdd4ron that "you betray your most profound stupidity by suggesting there is ANY merit whatsover in sticking with the GOP". With that one statement you insult not only tdd4ron, but every member of the liberty movement who is working hard to give liberty a voice via the GOP.

"The parties are not separate from the federal government."

1. Wrong.
2. Even if it were true, it would still not be a rebuttal to my "Your logic is crap" paragraph. Your logic is still crap. The only way to get rid of the corruption, whether in the GOP or the federal government, is to get liberty people in and kick the tyrants out.

Stop positing drunk...

Is Paul's strategy "to go alone" or "to go with the GOP" You have claimed it both ways in your comment. You are not so wise... else you would realize we have two party system... any other party has no chance in this country... not as it is today... Ron Paul has pulled the curtain on the Federal Reserve and accomplished way more than you ever will... now find another place to spread your trash...


There is a duopoly, not any multiparty system.

In saying "no other party has a chance" you first mischaracterize what I said.

I don't oppose those who seek to be effective in any party. I made that clear.

Secondly, you betray your most profound stupidity by suggesting there is ANY merit whatsover in sticking with the GOP.

The obstacles to effective participation by minor parties and independents are because of those you seek to call allies...the GOP and Democratic Party powers. They are the criminals.

You don't clean up the system by getting in bed with the crooks.

Joining with crooks so as to be effective in achieving good plainly is a very stupid policy.

Those who suggest in any manner that they can take over or achieve positions of power within the GOP and achieve good results naively think those electors now registered in the GOP would stick around.

Why would they? The overwhelming majority (damn near every last one) of the current GOP opposes Ron Paul's positions. Always have.

The Federal Reserve has be opposed since before the Act establishing it...Ron Paul discovered as did others alive at the same time this fact from the teachings of others.

He's not some unworldly teacher except perhaps for those too stupid to try and learn what he has to teach.

In explaining his congressional effectiveness you seek to see something where in fact there is nothing.

That's not a slight on the man; the system itself conspires to deliver that result.

Those who seek to establish wild, foolhardly and just plain stupid results where there have been none do a great disservice to the cause they claim to uphold.

You know nothing.

So Mr. Negative....

You are great at criticizing The Doctor and telling everyone the errors of our ways yet You fail to offer us a cure. So exactly what should the Doctor do (have done)? Run third party? The press blacked him out while in the GOP. Can you imagine a third party bid from the start? We would have never seen him in a debate or any other time if he ran third party. So what is your answer since the Doctor is so wrong to have used the GOP platform. Now I don't know that a third party bid would be so bad if Tampa doesn't work out. He used the GOP for all it was worth at that point. The Doctor didn't build the system but, has done a grand job of using it. He has won states... More than any other Liberty Candidate can say. We have the GOP to thank for that.

Maybe the parties are much like this country... They will never be defeated from the outside. Something to ponder.

P.S. call it a duopoly or anything you want. If you want a chance to win the highest office in the country you have two party choices Democrat or Republican. Just the way it is. Paint it any way you please... Now if we could do something to fix the electronic voting machines so they can not be gamed.

John P Slevin YRU Here?

..can't put my finger on it John, maybe you can.
You contradict yourself in many ways..far too many to be mentioned in this reply/comment.
You did a great job posting the pics & vids for all to see..thanks for sharing...and then you insult by your language those in open discussion with you...especially when your self-inflated opinions, like yourself whizz around the room as a baloon pricked by a pin.
You even go as far as to question what Dr Paul has done all these years....he has been solitary in his pursuits...but today is different...you've seen the crowds..Dr Paul IS advancing ...finally.
Can you make the same claim?

"Beyond the blackened skyline, beyond the smoky rain, dreams never turned to ashes up until.........
...Everything CHANGED !!

I've done the vids and reporting

for the same reason I make these comments.

I work to advance Liberty, not to advance Ron Paul as god.

And when's the last time Ron Paul was seen in public?

He hasn't held a speech since Austin.

Just after that, just after the crowds, his campaign manager issued 2 statements on the same day saying the campaign was kaput and relishing working with Romney.

Quite obviously, there's no good reason to sit around at home in Texas doing literally nothing. It makes no good sense.

A whole lot of people have done much to put these ideas out there; it wasn't the campaign...the campaign staff didn't achieve what's been achieved. That was done by what most understand as "the grassroots".

I prefer the message and couldn't care less about which messenger delivers it.

The crowds were exciting, so maybe there were too many people attending and that upset some people?

There's no good reason to sit and do nothing just as there's no good explanation for the fact the during a year of campaigning this campaign made far, far fewer public appearances than any of the main candidates...in fact, it's not even close.

You can stick to what's driven this nation into a society of sheep, witless sheep, which is to follow after individuals rather than standing on hind legs as individuals.

I'll stick to Liberty. I'll stick to speaking my mind, not quoting someone else.

I'll keep saying what I've always been saying.

Thanks for the history lesson

and the reminder of why I'm not a libertarian.

And just for giggles, can you tell us why you are not

a libertarian? How do you define your beliefs?


Yes, please BUY this wonderful libertarian BOOK! We all must know the History of Freedom! Buy it today!

"The System of Liberty: Themes in the History of Classical Liberalism" ...by author George Smith --
Buy it Here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/05211820

Your mistake is...

Thinking that the LP was ever a political organization as opposed to an educational one.

Without the LP over the past 40 years, for better or worse, it was instrumental in educating and sustaining these ideas until such time as it was possible to compete on cost. The cost structure for political activism and communication has fallen dramatically and that has given us the platform to truly capitalize on the current crisis.

The LP was never going to 'win' anything for the same reason Ron Paul was never going to be the nominee. TPTB still control the access and the narrative... but not as much as they used to.

Basically, tl;dr and another person who does not understand that major shifts in public sentiment only happen after many years of invisible groundwork was laid and who effectively shits all over the work of those that have been there and came before us.

Environmentalism was seeded 20 years before the fall of the Soviet Union for a reason. It was the only way to sustain socialism intellectually.


Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under. -- H.L. Mencken

Blog: The Present in Plain Text
Listen to The Myo-Tonics on YouTube

If it was intended to be just educational...

why did they go to all the trouble and expense of gaining ballot access? Not logical.

It is quite possible that the LP will morph into something more mainstream. This has happened before.


The LP is all about self-rule

and it's no wonder it has been so marginalized, not only here, but by the bought off mainstream parties.

I was a Republican when I cast my first presidential vote, then became disillusioned by the corruption of the GOP and went Libertarian (only to change parties temporarily for Ron) for the rest of my time as a registered voter.

Don't be so eager to dump on Libertarians. Without libertarianism, where else would Ron have been so influenced? Possibly from individual authors or speakers, but Libertarianism provided a "clearinghouse" of intellectual activity that sharpened a generation. On the 'minus' side, we have trolls like Bob Barr and Glenn Beck to battle, but it has been worth it regardless.

I didn't think I was dumping on the LP.

I have a lot of respect for their platform, ideals, and many candidates. They run a slate here in NH and they usually get my votes. I think they have a great future.