Libertarians Should Compete in Political Marketplace
[Following is Clark R. Marley's February 26 reply to John K. Berntson's article, Selection Day.]
Dear Mr. Armstrong,
Mr. Berntson's piece on "Selection Day" needs a reply...
When I served as a Regional Chair for the California Libertarian Party, a Committee resolution was passed to officially support "proportional representation"... a switch to a Parliamentary system of government. There was a special meeting convened, and the proposal was handily reversed by the assembled Chairs. Allow me to list my reasons for voting to defeat this.
We have an election system in this country that works well, despite the failures of those elected -- which has led to the current lack of participation by voters. As Libertarians, we can all point to governmental failures, from city councils to United States Senate, to the White House and Supreme Court. However, these problems are not the fault of process, but by those elected during the process.
My firm belief is this: As a Libertarian, it is my intent to compete in the marketplace AS IT IS, not to change the rules of society and business to favor my position first. Socialists will always do the opposite, and therefore have the most to gain by changing election rules. We already have too many statists and socialists in public office and in hired staff positions. Proportional representation may get a few of our Libertarian brethren into public office, but our message would be drowned in a sea of "government uber alles" operatives, many even more destructive than the clowns ruling us now.
Case in point: When looking at parliamentary governments overseas, are any showing a more Libertarian bent than our own current system? If so, then I'll admit to ignorance. However, socialism is the rule of the day in most European Nations. In order to compete with us on the world markets, they felt the need to "unionize" and sink further into a failed economic pattern of doing business. Multinational socialism won't work any better than a socialist town hall.
Working toward reversing the role of government in our lives is indeed an admirable calling. Why not go for reforms of a greater appeal, such as repealing the 16th and 17th amendments to the U.S. Constitution? Getting rid of federal income taxes and the corruption caused by the popular election of Senators would begin to make us champions of the common voter, and therefore get our candidates noticed. Election success would follow, because practical good would be done beforehand that expresses our superior political ethics.
If we can't compete in the marketplace of political elections after 30 years of organization, then perhaps the hardest look at Libertarian elections failure needs to be internal. Why did Travis Nicks lose this recent election so badly, to the extent that a write-in candidate threatened to gain more votes? Why is it that our most successful Libertarian presidential candidate, Dr. John Hospers -- the only Libertarian Candidate to ever receive an electoral vote -- is completely unknown outside of our own small circle?
The sad fact of the matter is that Libertarian organizations can't decide whether to be debating societies or political parties. Unless and until the LP -- at every level -- commits to seeing our candidates actually elected to public office, instead of debating how many Ayn Rands can dance on the head of a pin, nothing will ever change.
This is why I'm no longer a member of either the Colorado LP, or the National, after many years of successful activism in California. Ethically, I'm as Libertarian as they come. But if you can't bring a guy like me back into the fold, how do you propose to convert new members?
I'd really love to hear from those who disagree. Honestly!
Clark R. Marley