Tag: libertarians on abortion

Libertarian Ideals: Unintentional Self-Destruction

Mark West | United States

All Libertarian Party candidates have experienced this at one point or another. Laying an enormous weight on every chance post and idle utterance, this grueling beast can eviscerate a campaign in a matter of moments. Yet, battling for balance with this monstrosity wearies every candidate and stalls campaigns in the malicious mire of friendly fire.

“You’re not libertarian enough!” “A real libertarian doesn’t…” “You’re not pure at all!”

Usually, purists more interested in spreading ideas than helping candidates win sing this raucous refrain. At the same time, those who magnify the importance of winning an election over spreading pure ideals would attack from the other side saying:

“You can’t win elections with purist libertarian ideals!”

Unfortunately, neither statement actually helps candidates. Yet, both statements serve the self-destructive purpose of deflating campaigns and diminishing returns.

At the heart of these conversations is the growing divide on the purpose for the existence of the Libertarian Party. Do we exist to spread libertarian ideals or to win elections? The implication seems to be that we can’t do both.

My Painful Experiences Spreading Libertarian Ideals

Admittedly, our candidates struggle to express the nuances of policies aimed at transforming government. How can we best explain our plans to transition governance from authoritarian structures into libertarian ones? On this note, I’m interested in seeing the process that Adam Kokesh promises is going to become clear in his upcoming book. Aptly named “American Freedom”, this book is going to detail Kokesh’ process for the dissolution of the Federal Government.

I’ve run two campaigns for office as a Libertarian. In 2016, I was the Libertarian Party candidate for U.S. House District 1 in Arkansas. I received 23.7% of the vote (57,181 votes) in a two-way race. In 2018, I was the Libertarian Party candidate for Arkansas Governor. I received 2.9% of the vote (25,885 votes) which was 0.1% shy of securing ballot access for 2020. I missed it by 860 votes!

As different as the two races were from a policy standpoint, one similarity was striking. In both, I felt like Thanos trying to balance his knife as an allegory for balancing the universe. My biggest struggle was balancing the libertarian ideal in proposals dealing with authoritarian structures and problems.

If my solutions leaned too far libertarian, I was suddenly a purist whose ideas wouldn’t win elections. But if my solutions leaned too far authoritarian, fellow party members told me I wasn’t libertarian enough and that I wouldn’t get support or votes. Both sides treated me as an enemy to the libertarian ideal.

Death by a Thousand Distractions

I found it rewarding to take the opportunity for publicly sharing libertarian-leaning solutions through my campaigns. In reality, my audiences had been force-fed authoritarianism, which left many shocked and confused. They struggled to grasp a candidate offering solutions that didn’t include government interference or intervention. When I needed time and opportunity to engage and explain, other libertarians dragged me into battles over philosophy.

Essentially, a thousand distractions cursed my campaigns to death. I’m still emotionally spent. I’ve lost the desire to run for office and am deliberately avoiding the ballot in 2020. Why?

In one example, I received the most visceral responses from my party brethren when I proclaimed myself pro-life. I believe libertarians desperately need a salient solution on this issue. Caryn Ann Harlos’ column about the issue serves such a purpose for my own philosophy.

In Arkansas, the Libertarian Party platform on abortion is a death sentence for libertarian candidates. I would have been better served with more time to explain the nuances of the issue with non-libertarians. But instead, I had to play defense against other libertarians calling me fake and unworthy.

I am a libertarian because of the influence of Rodger Paxton, host of The Lava Flow and owner of Pax Libertas Productions. My political philosophy almost mirrors his and I have been a member of the Libertarian Party Radical Caucus. Therefore, others labeling me a fake for suggesting transitional proposals to authoritarian problems was disheartening. My proposals always maintain an eye to a more voluntaryist society, even if it comes in stages.

No Good Answers

Of course, I don’t claim to know the right answer in this debate. So, I will not push one. However, I do want to use the insight from my campaign experiences to end our self-destructive habits.

So, when you see a libertarian candidate, give them the benefit of the doubt. Unless the candidate is blatantly non-libertarian and violating the Statement of Principles and Platform on issue after issue, give them a break. After all, they sure need one.

Can we ask candidates to be honest about stances that diverge from our Platform and Statement of Principles? Should we let our convention decisions be the last word on nominations so that only rallying and support follows the candidates afterward?

I’m not certain we really have good answers for those questions. But, I am certain that our candidates deserve better than our most self-destructive habits. After, they are willingly fighting for our place on the political stage on the local, state, and national levels.


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Abortion: Keeping the Status Quo

By Benjamin Olsen | United States

Abortion is a topic that many feel a male, including myself, should have no business talking about. However, I think good debate requires anyone and everyone to share their opinions in order to form a more perfect perspective. A disagreement witnessed in the Libertarian Party and beyond is whether or not abortion should be regulated by the U.S. government or if it should be legalized and left as such. The leading argument for the legalization side is “the best government is the government that governs least” and the argument that, like with the war on drugs, there will still be ways to get the service. The argument on the other side, that to protect “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” we must protect all life, even if that means Government intervention.

Legalised abortion is, safe to say, where you will find the majority of libertarians. The case for such a stance is simple and could be summed up in as few as 6 words. “It is not the government’s job.” It is not the government’s job whether at the state or federal level to dictate to its citizens how they should treat their bodies. However, the other side of the argument takes issue with this, because they abide by the NAP. The NAP is a principle discussed by many libertarian scholars. It means that one should not seek to forcibly interfere with another’s life or property. Hence, strict followers of the NAP would see abortion as a violation, ending a life.

From a purely scientific perspective, there are several theories on when life begins. Leading theories include at conception, when there is a heartbeat, or at viability. When we look at the each of these arguments, all we will find is more disagreement. Therefore, it is safe to conclude that science has not found conclusively when an abortion crosses the line from procedure to murder. With reason to doubt that only one life is involved, should we allow the Federal Government to legalize murder for all? Or should we stick to what has already been decided, such as the limitations set forth in Roe v. Wade? However, if we take abortion as murder, then a violation of the NAP has been committed. If the NAP has been violated then a crime has been committed and it is the government’s duty to provide Justice through our court system.

The government’s job is not to govern us but to rather provide protection from violations against our life, liberty, and property and as such the government should regulate abortion to protect not only the lives of the unborn but the lives of mothers. The problem with imprisoning every woman who has an abortion is that we would have several women in jail that had no choice left to them except abortion. Abortion, with limitations, is the ultimate solution. A solution that has been outlined in Roe v. Wade, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Ultimately the Abortion laws that are currently on the books in many states are what should be sought after.

The answer is not more laws or fewer laws, but to leave the topic alone. This is an issue that is being handled by the states and that is how it should be left. It is not up to the Federal Government to rule from afar the daily aspects of life, rather do as the 10th Amendment prescribes and leave the governing to the states. The unborn are protected by laws that require parental consent if the mother is a minor or require ultrasounds. The mother’s rights are protected by giving her the ability to carry on with an abortion if she so chooses and if it does not infringe on the rights of the unborn. The states should do as little as possible, while also preserving the rights of the mother and the unborn.


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