Friday, September 12, 2008

LP's Third Party Philosophy

The following text is an excellent explanation of why Bob Barr's actions this week regarding aligning a libertarian message with rival political organizations was necessary.

If Bob Barr's efforts in dealing with Ron Paul's staff have ruffled your feathers, ask yourself, "Would I support Cynthia McKinney or Ralph Nader for President of the United States?" My answer is a resounding "No." We must remember that our libertarian message is not anti-establishment, rather pro-libertarian.

Given a chance to lead, we have shown we lead well. Good for Barr for standing up for our principles, no matter the political fallout.

(Dan Drexler's thoughts -- not necessarily those of Mark Rutherford... remember, he's in Europe and gave me the keys to his online castle. If you disagree with my take, go easy on Mark when he returns....he clearly didn't know what he was getting into letting me post here. )

Open letter from Andrew Davis at LP Headquarters:

Perhaps it is the acrimonious environment of a two-party system, or simply a "strength in numbers" struggle that makes strange bedfellows among third-party candidates in today's politics. Whatever the cause, third-party candidates often reach out to others for support and assistance in the mutual struggle against the tyranny of the duopoly. Be it in pooling resources, or simply an extra hand in meeting ballot access requirements: Third-parties are a band of political outcasts struggling for a right to compete for the votes of American people, the same as Republicans and Democrats.

This semblance of unity, of overcoming political differences in the pursuit of greater competition in elections, is certainly something to appreciate and encourage. Third-parties alike face the monstrosities of corrupt ballot access requirements in their attempt to place candidates on the ballot, and it is only natural for de facto alliances to spring up in this pursuit.

In many cases, these political competitors can even find common ground in their political positions, such was the case with the recent Libertarian, Green, Constitution, and independent party endorsements of a quartet of issues compiled by Republican Congressman Ron Paul. Such a consensus is rare in partisan politics, and the willingness of these candidates to come together represents a refreshing change of pace from the refusal of Republican and Democrats to address the issues that Americans face.

Though a positive step in politics, there is a hidden danger in attributing too much worth to this showing of solidarity among political parties that differ so greatly. An oppressive two-party system presents a clear need for reform and change, but a mutual agreement on issues between political parties is not necessarily indicative of an overall similarity or compromise between parties.

There are very real, and very diametric differences between the Libertarian Party and all of its other political competitors. Agree as they may on issues like civil liberties, war and economic reform, the philosophy of each political party is distinct and unbending. While the Libertarian Party certainly claims no absolute monarchy on all the avenues to freedom, we believe our platform and positions are most consistent with that of the true meaning of liberty in the United States.

This is the philosophy of liberty.

To dismiss this philosophy in the pursuit of consensus is a dangerous trend that third parties must avoid at all costs. To do so, for whatever reason, is to abandon the very core identity of the political party. Just as the soul is the essence of a person, the political philosophy of a political party is the foundation on which its platform is built. While the platforms of different political parties may overlap on some issues, the quintessential philosophy of each is wholly unique.


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