A Fork in My Path of Political Activism
by Steve Gresh
On Sunday, November 17, 2002, after analyzing much information about this year's election results and considering my options, I decided to join the Republican Liberty Caucus (www.RLC.org). This was not an easy decision for me. I did not make it lightly.
I've been an active member of the Libertarian Party for almost three and a half years. I served as the media director for the LP of El Paso County. I was the campaign manager for three Libertarian county commissioner candidates in 2000. I ran for the District 20 school board on a libertarian separation of school and state platform in 2001. I was the Libertarian candidate for CO state representative, HD 20 this year.
I've received two Minuteman awards from the LP of CO. I was recognized by the Advocates for Self-Government as a Lights of Liberty award winner in 2000 and 2001. I attended the LP of CO convention each of the past three years and the LP national convention in 2000 and 2002.
I know many Libertarians. I consider many of them to be good friends. I hope my decision to join the RLC doesn't affect any of my friendships adversely. I intend to continue supporting the LP as a dues-paying member while also participating in the RLC as a dues-paying member and as a registered Republican. I changed my voter registration back to Republican shortly after joining the RLC.
Although I could provide a long list of reasons why I decided to take this fork in my path of political activism, I have no desire to provoke a debate with others about my analysis or the conclusion that I reached. This is my personal decision. I am not advocating that all, or even most, Libertarians make the same decision. I also want to emphasize that none of the turmoil over any matters related to any of our candidates, no disagreements with other Libertarians about anything, and no personality conflicts had any bearing on my decision to join the RLC. "We must all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately" is a fundamental precept guiding my relationships with other libertarians, even if some of us disagree about the appropriateness of calling for our opponents to be hanged as a political remedy.
Simply put, I perceive the RLC, which consists primarily of former Libertarians, to be a more realistic vehicle for me to abet the election of libertarian candidates to serve in public offices.
I'll conclude my announcement by quoting from Ari Armstrong's article, "A Libertarian Analysis of the 2002 Colorado Elections," (www.freecolorado.com/2002/11/analysis2002.html) that he wrote on November 10, 2002. Under the subtitle, "Other Strategies," Ari expresses the essential thoughts that I considered to arrive at my decision to join the RLC.
"Others have suggested libertarians disband the LP and work within one of the old parties. It's interesting to speculate what might have happened had the LP never been formed and libertarians had tried to change the Republican Party from within. The modern libertarian movement existed for decades prior to the formation of the LP, and the LP was formed largely in reaction to Nixon's anti-market policies.
"What's certain is that libertarians shouldn't treat the LP as if it were a religion. It's a political strategy, nothing more. Nor should people remain attached to the LP because of its social functions. If the LP were disbanded, a libertarian community could still thrive. Libertarians could form something like the 'Liberty Club,' an organized movement that works within the older parties. In fact, Ron Paul and Penn Pfiffner have been involved in relatively pro-liberty sub-groups of Republicans." [Editor's note: Readers are encouraged to link to the article and read the comments in context.]
My decision to join the Republican Liberty Caucus is nothing more than a political strategy that I believe is right for me at this time. To the greatest extent possible, I shall endeavor to mesh the political strategy that I have chosen with the political strategies that other libertarians have chosen. I shall stay in contact with all libertarians who desire to pursue our mutual interests.