This morning I was watching Reason Magazine’s recent interview with Las Vegas magician–and outspoken libertarian–Penn Jillette. The interview covered lots of topics including the current electoral climate, weight loss, and Gary Johnson.
The topic that most piqued my interest was Jillette’s assertion that the rise of Trump–and the subsequent fracturing of the Republican Party–is the best thing that ever happened for the Libertarian movement. This sentiment has been echoed across the broader, more mainstream libertarian movement since Bernie Sanders sold out and Gary Johnson began to garner significant media attention.
Although I have tremendous respect for Penn Jillette (I am a big fan of his show Bullshit!) I have to disagree here.
Recently, the Libertarian Party (LP) has experienced an explosion of growth, with the growth, it has also experienced significant dilution for mass-appeal.
It is a GREAT thing that the message of liberty is getting so much attention at this time–but we must keep in mind that the LP is supposed to be the party of principle. We have our own unique message that is NOT “fiscally conservative and socially liberal.” We should not apologize for that.
Personally, I do not even believe that LP’s main main focus should be winning elections. Dr. Mary Ruart (candidate for the LP nomination) makes a great case for this point in episode 530 at [24:35] of the Tom Wood’s Show. Although it is great to get party votes from outside the LP, our main focus should be issue-based activism.
Since most of us are libertarians, I won’t explain the process of how politicians and government are easily corrupted. With this in mind, why do libertarians think that once we get “Our Guy” into office, our problems will be solved? The reality is, even if we get “Our Guy” into office, he will turn into “That Guy.”
Remember, the problems with government are inherent to government. They cannot be fixed unless, to loosely quote Penn Jillette: “Politicians [The President] should have so little power that it doesn’t matter who they are instead of having so much power that it doesn’t matter who they are.”
Before becoming drunk with power over all this new media attention (don’t worry, it is unique to this election cycle), don’t be a Bernie Sanders and sell us all out to the biggest voting demographic.
Thanks for reading, and if you think I’m wrong, let’s talk about it! I had this conversation a few times at Freedom Fest.
Have a great weekend.