The Brophy Debacle
by Jeff Wright
[For more material about Mark Brophy's Libertarian nomination for the Colorado legislature, along with commentary about the Liberatrian Party of Colorado, please see Mark Brophy Updates.]
June 2, 2004
Not having attended the convention this year (thank goodness for small insights -- I don't think my blood pressure could have stood it), I have watched the Brophy debacle and debate from afar.
For a variety of reasons, the last 2-3 years I have stepped back from overt activism and attendance at most LP functions. At this point, I am stepping OUT completely. One reason, I don't have the time or energy to step back in to pick up an oar and attempt to outrow the loose minds now engaged more directly in the Party than me. You can't "train the untrainable" as my longtime business partner, Larry, used to say. Secondly, I am now convinced, with the breakdown of reason that I've seen, cognitive dissonance is completely evident in the Party at all levels. Actually, generally, I think it's worse than that.
I recently read an article (by a mainstream Republican) that stated the Republican Party is "about to have a nervous breakdown." I believe at this point all political parties and much of our society in general is about to have a "nervous breakdown." Just an opinion and observation. The mighty machine is being driven right into the wall at 120 mph. So I, for one, am going to stand back and watch the crash dummies catapult through the windshield and all the vehicle parts distribute themselves in slow motion on the replay video across the impact area. There is no point to having oneself caught up in such a test.
I originally said four years ago I would be running for office and funding more activities of the Party by 2004. Indeed, up until the end of 2003, I still thought I would like to. I don't think that's going to happen now. My hope was that the party would have matured, lessons would've been learned and events would have begun to turn attention towards the LP to the point that such investment had a hope for building on and with success the LP itself was beginning to achieve. HA! Fat chance. Man, do I continue to be naive, or what?!
The trouble most Libertarians have with the rest of the "sheeple" in our society is usually stated as their inability to think and reason, debate and deal properly with facts as facts. Most folks just can't seem to be logical and objective. Instead, with the sheeple it's all emotion and irrationality.
After 20-odd years (yes, I guess I'm slow!) in this party I have come to realize two things. Libertarians either overthink and underact in moving their philosophy forward or overthink and over-react to inconsequential BS which does nothing to move their agenda forward. For people that behave that way (some would say O-C), pointing out the obvious always leads to more overthinking, over-reacting and still not much actualizing. There are either "angels-dancing-on-the head-of-a-pin" arguments or gross debacles such as the Mike Brophy/Rick Stanley ones. And there are a few out there who really don't think or do anything but still call themselves libertarians. They're just useless.
Anyway, for the last decade, I thought it was fixable. This year, I've realized it's not (remember, I SAID I was slow). For those that remember, I always tried to be on the "wrong" side (hey! Remember the NOTA ploy at the Stanley nomination, among many others?) of the debate and issue. I would attempt to figure out if there was a way to grow the Party through triangulation and persuade the non-thinking, doers to adopt full Libertarian understanding, while getting the non-doing, thinkers to lighten up. There isn't. Can't train the untrainable, duh!
Most paid-up Libertarians are just thinkers and not doers, period. Doers are usually not overactive thinkers (at least not good enough as thinkers for the TRUE thinkers). So the two meet and clash at once and always. It's hard to find that right mix in an organization known as a 'party.' It likely can't be done in this one. It would seem more than 30 years of trying makes that evident even to the very stubborn, like me.
Every other party adopts some form of collectivist behavior, because that's what a party does. Even this one has tried it off and on over the years. However, the LP can't ever really do that -- almost by definition. It's all about "herding cats" as I first heard Pat Lilly say (or maybe he wrote it) so many years ago. The very few thinker/doer folks there are in this party simply cannot achieve critical mass against the others. As one of the best examples of a doer/thinker, David Aitken has always stood out, along with David Bryant. There are several more but most folks reading this know or can figure out who they are.
What the Party needs is properly grounded libertarian pragmatists. Some may see pragmatism as inconsistent with the LP. If so, be gone (or so I could only hope)! Those that can't understand the difference between maintaining principle in a practical manner and true violation of principle are useless to the Party. However I believe, useless is what we're going to get from this point forward. We either have the pin-dancing angels or those that couldn't tell a principle from a principal even if a principal smacked 'em around for 1/2 an hour reciting a principle to their face.
So unless a miracle occurs at this point I believe, folks like me, are outta here. It would be the definition of insanity to stay, I'd say.
For what it's worth(probably not much)logically and objectively in the instant event, Ari is right. Lloyd Sweeny was almost completely right. Rand Fanshier, I think, seems to be trying to cut a compromise somewhere and winds up looking totally out-to-lunch with his position. I don't know what to say about Richard C. Randall. Or Mark Brophy for that matter. Except maybe he and John Kerry seem to have a lot in common and neither of them belongs in the LP unless one of them understands the simplest things about the issue of self-defense and gun control. That one principle is not ROCKET SCIENCE. Bottom line is the Party is about to evaporate. Maybe it should.
I'm sure that last comment will create some arm-waving and shouting and a couple of insults in my direction. All the folks doing it ought to consider at what point the doers need to do more thinking and the thinkers need to do more doing. Otherwise, maybe the LPCO should simply die a natural death as the Party of Irrelevance it continues to be due to the thinking and inaction of its too-principled (watch, someone will argue that point) and non-principled members.