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Is the Libertarian Party Doomed to Fail?

In its current state, the Libertarian Party will soon run into the problems that have corrupted all political parties.

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By Michael Sutherland | United States

In America, those hoping to get rid of government overreach and tyranny have few ways to. Trying to do so using the two major parties, for example, has been an absolute failure. So, the next idea was a third party: the Libertarian Party. While this attempt has been ambitious and relatively successful despite low electoral progress, there has been an emergence of the political plagues that ruined all previous parties. The Libertarian Party is on a track such that, should it ever gain success, it will become just as corrupt as the two major parties.

The Past of Politics

Political corruption is not a result of an undereducated voting base or minute problems. Rather, it is a natural byproduct of government itself. This is especially true in a democratic nation, where demagoguery and populism can run rampant.

With all political parties, the desire to win elections comes before all else. This is why politicians sacrifice principles to gain votes; only with votes can they win and rule. In order to gain votes from the majority, politicians attempt to appeal to the irrational fears of the majority. If they don’t appeal to the mob, then the mob will vote for the other candidate that does, and that candidate will win. It’s no wonder why modern American politics is so full of polarization and mudslinging: democracies reward that.

This is why political parties will always, by their own design, stray from their principles. After all, they need to, in order to win. Take a look at the two major parties; there is endless fighting over inflated non-issues and insults, but a lack of principle. The two parties stay in power because they appeal to the destructive populism of the mob. The only way the Libertarian Party can gain major success is to do the same: give into the mob rule and abandon libertarian principles. A political party does not stray from principle because of corrupt politicians or internal bureaucracies, but because political parties require must in order to survive.

The Libertarian Party in the Present

Even in its small and mostly unsuccessful state, the Libertarian Party is showing signs of its own downfall. As the party grows, so too does its internal bureaucracy. As it gains more support, it becomes less of the beacon of liberty it was founded to be. All the while, it becomes just another political party bound to follow in the footsteps of its predecessors.

Moreover, the party is facing a weakening of libertarian ideals. Just like neoconservatism destroyed the old Republican Party by replacing limited government conservatism with an interventionist and fiscally irresponsible platform, the new, moderate, Gary Johnson-esque libertarian platform will destroy the Libertarian Party from the inside.

In time, the desperation to win votes and elections surpasses the desire to apply libertarian principles. As a result, moderate messages and compromises are bound to corrupt the Libertarian Party. Radical freedom simply does not sell to the mob when populists offer free handouts. In the eyes of the majority, libertarianism is dead in the water.

The Future of Liberty

From here, we can speculate what will happen if the Libertarian Party does gain control. Like those before it, the LP will probably create a political shake-up during its initial rise. Possibly, a major party could fall, or alternatively, three could survive. But then, populism, moderatism, and political schemes will corrupt the party until it is a twisted shell of what it once stood for. Such is the fate of all major political parties that came before it.

In the end, instead of fixing the two-party system, the Libertarian Party will either replace a party or create a tyrannical three-party system. Our political system exists to follow the emotional whims of the majority. Consistency to principle, thus, cannot be kept for very long, and the Libertarian Party is no exception to this rule.

Alternative Solutions

Despite the flaws mentioned earlier, supporting the Libertarian Party is not necessarily a bad thing. Admittedly, the end goal of shrinking government is very difficult. Some would even go as far as to call it unobtainable. However, supporting Libertarians comes with important side benefits.

In order to sway the public towards supporting real freedom, education and a paradigm shift are necessities. Supporting libertarian ideals by supporting Libertarian candidates can help educate the general public that there’s more to politics than the two parties. The false dichotomy of the two parties needs to break first in order to spread the liberty movement. Without a doubt, education through alternative political candidates is a useful tool for that.

Nonetheless, non-political actions are more effective methods of spreading the ideals of liberty. As mentioned earlier, education is key, and all forms of ideologies needs active voices in order to gain traction. From speeches to literature to media to even simple blogs, spreading the message is what each of us can and should do to make real progress.

However, in politics, actions often speak louder than words. Many actions can occur outside the Libertarian Party to spread libertarianism. Looking at recent decades, people of action have done more than any politician. From the agorists and hacktivists of the internet to libertarian podcasts/speakers, influence and action surpass all. In order to spread liberty, we must take the responsibility upon ourselves and finally take action.


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