Mr. Dove, at least at the time of writing this letter, tells Carl that he’s not quite as anti-party as Carl. He believes that he owes a lot to the LP because it did introduce him to libertarianism.
I’ve noticed that people who say this often refer to various discussions they had with other individuals they met through the party. It appears that the benefit of finding the LP, from those who end up leaving it, is not about participating in the political process itself; it’s about finding people who helped them further develop their understanding of the philosophy.
Maybe the Libertarian Party is kind of like a bar where people can go to meet libertarians. But it’s dangerous because in a bar, you have to be careful about who you meet. You might meet someone who only wants to use you.
Just like a bar might not be the best place to find people if you are interested in long-term fulfilling relationships more than the excitement of short-term sex, the LP might not be the place to find people if you are interested in long-term societal change, rather than the excitement of short-term political gains.
Mr. Dove says he enjoyed participating when the goal was education and when the purpose was to “utilize the political forum to spread libertarian ideas.” but was disappointed as the party moved towards thinking the purpose is “to elect people to office.”
I wish I could have a dollar (no wait, make that a piece of gold) for every time someone said or wrote that to me whenever I questioned an action in the LP. This has become the standard line to any criticism and I guess it’s true. But it also shuts down any real discussion of libertarian thought and how, or if, it can apply in the political realm.
In his letter, Dove admits that based on that new purpose, the Alaska LP did have success by electing a fellow named Dick Randolph to the State House. But then he goes on to explain a few things Randolph did that, according to Dove, were in no way libertarian.
Here’s what Mr. Dove says in his letter after detailing some history of what Randolph did:
“Gone are the long philosophical discussions of a society without the state. Gone from the Party are all the radicals who created it. All that's left is a bunch of chamber of commerce types, empty rhetoric, and expensively purchased advertising hoopla.”
I looked up Randolph and discovered something that bothered me because I see a pattern whenever a state proclaims a big libertarian electoral success: he had already held office as a Republican. To me, this is not someone who is elected as a Libertarian. It’s just someone who uses the libertarian party to continue in politics.
It appears the state is still battling this sort of thing. I saw lots of news hits around a Republican Senator who lost in the primary and might possibly be running on the Libertarian ticket. A state Libertarian committee voted this idea down, but once again it shows how people want to use the LP doesn’t it?
Bob Barr is another example. Politicians gain their notoriety by using the Republican Party and then move to Libertarian Party when it suits their purposes. When they get mad, the LP provides them a place to go.
It’s even happened in Indiana with a city councilman. He was a Republican who just changed parties because the Republicans aren’t doing what he thinks Republicans should be doing.
This has nothing to do with consistent libertarian thought and I don’t consider these people to be elected libertarians. Just political hacks doing whatever they can to have some power.
I’ve decided I don’t want to be used anymore and am no longer hanging around the political bars. I now understand that I’ll have more success finding people who match my goals if I start looking in places where people are not constantly drunk and addicted to political power.