Sep 17

The Rise of the Libertarians

rand machine use this one

The Rise of the Libertarians

By Andrew Genesius

What is Causing the Two-Party System to Fall

Like another Terminator sequel, they keep coming back more powerful than before, but has the time finally arrived? Have we reached the Rise of the Libertarians? After every election loss, they claim “I’ll be back,” but is it time to say “hasta la vista baby” to the two-party system in the United States?

For years, the two political parties in the United States have been arguing like cats and dogs. Many believe the two parties are more at odds than ever before, but in many ways they are more similar. One party wants to end all suffering in the United States by having the government provide an ever expanding array of social programs, while the other party wants to do away with any person in the world who might one day pose even a teeny-weeny threat to the United States. These sound like contrasting goals, but they share a basic idea, the Federal Government must make sure that no harm, injury, or inconvenience ever causes a citizen to experience any discomfort. The only difference between the two parties is what programs they spend money on to achieve this goal.

Usually, no one would be opposed to the Federal Government keeping us safe from the big bad world, but libertarian objections to the status quo are increasing, because people object to what they have to sacrifice for this increase in “safety”. For the good of all, the Federal Government has done away with online privacy, attempted to regulate every action a person can engage in, taken cookies away from little kids school lunches, determined what healthcare services are necessary for a person, deemed it necessary to invade an ever increasing number of countries, and increased taxes to pay for all of the additional “protection”. The Federal Government has turned into a smothering parent that will not let you leave the house on a sunny day without putting on a ton of sunscreen, a giant floppy hat, and an array of other uncool adornments.

What is Fueling the Rise of Libertarians

The more people become turned off by the big government of both parties, the more people are turned on to libertarian ideas. People are no longer comfortable with sacrificing personal freedom for the illusion of protection from every conceivable threat. At the same time, Americans are more comfortable with tolerance. From infancy, those in their 20s and 30s have been told we should respect what others are doing, and if they are doing no harm, people should be allowed to do what they wish. While liberals are usually talking about homosexuality, feminism, and other social issues when they speak of tolerance, this message is also a very libertarian message. The message of tolerance and the failings of large government programs, like the war on poverty, drugs, and terror, have convinced large numbers that libertarians are right. People should be allowed to do what they wish, as long as they do not harm others, and government should mind its own business by staying out of mine.

What Needs to Occur For Libertarians to Rule

Will the messages of tolerance and desire for less government lead to a libertarian moment or age remains to be seen. It is unclear whether the libertarian movement will be more like rap music, completely changing the music industry, or neo-swing, forgotten within a few years. Rap became popular because of purchasing power. A small minority of ardent fans strongly supported rappers by buying their music and turning out for concerts. When the music industry noticed this, mainstream artists started incorporating rap into their music, like Blondie’s “Rapture” and Rodney Dangerfield’s “Rappin’ Rodney”, to attract rap supporters. Eventually, enough of the mainstream culture was exposed to rap that it became formally established in the music industry. At this point, performers from this previously unknown community became stars in their own right, like LL Cool J, Snoop Dog, and Eminem.

If Libertarians want to enter the political mainstream, instead of remaining an interesting sub-genre, they need to follow the same path as rap music. They first need to come together and unite as organized supporters of libertarian causes. Unfortunately for Libertarians, one of their greatest strengths, love of personal liberty and independence, is also one of their greatest hindrances. Holders of libertarian beliefs often prefer to remain isolated, when they need to come together and form organizations that will allow them to have an impact. Libertarians have had some success with the Free State Project in New Hampshire, but they need to grow much larger into a national organization that can influence local, state, and national elections with money, manpower, and votes. They must move beyond playing the spoiler with Libertarian Party candidates and help to elect libertarian leaning candidates in the two established parties. Once establishment politicians notice that libertarian supporters provide money and votes, they will increasingly adopt more aspects of the libertarian message. Eventually, after the mainstream voters have heard enough libertarian ideas, they will be willing to support a more libertarian candidate. In all likelihood, this will not result in a third party in the United States; rather, the libertarian caucus in both parties will increase in size and influence.

How Libertarians Could Win the White House

At this moment, Sen. Rand Paul has emerged from the sub-genre of libertarians to the U.S. Senate and is poised to become the next President of the United States. What will largely determine the near-term fate of the libertarian movement is the success of Sen. Paul. If he becomes President of the United States, the libertarian caucus could grow to dominate his party.

The determining factor to his success or failure is whether or not individuals with libertarian views can come together and actively campaign for Sen. Paul. Registered Independents, Libertarians, Democrats, and Republicans need to unite behind him. If a national Rand Paul organization could create a place where members of all political parties were welcome, the libertarian movement could coalesce and multiply. The influence created by such a group would lead to the political elites taking notice and changing their tune to a more libertarian melody.



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