Principles or Party?

And how, with the sudden windfall of relevance now offered to the libertarians, should we conduct ourselves?

Faced with tangible political success, we must do a bit of soul-searching.  It is especially important that we have a good solid footing.  It seems that the anti-party party is adopting many practices of established political parties.  Where do our priorities stand, as a group?  In advancing the party, or retaining (and advancing) the principles which so attracted current libertarians in the first place?

In the discourse lately, it seems to be one or the other.  Should we put some unpopular stances on the backburner, to have appeal?  Or should we stubbornly stand by them?

From my perspective, any mainstream traction we are now experiencing is not due to the legitimacy of the party itself (admittedly, we still have a fair bit of growing up to do) but because of the illegitimacy of the other two parties.   That being said, I think we need not worry about changing our platform or stances to become more palatable.

Not that the libertarian stances are at all unreasonable, but they may appear so.  In this case it does not matter.

On the other hand, the conduct of some libertarians, especially regarding interactions with persons on other parts of the political spectrum, is reprehensible.

Calling names is not a sure way of growing an ideology.  Standing on a philosophical high ground with an air of arrogance is not a sure way of growing an ideology.  Giving off holier-than-thou vibes is not a sure way of growing an ideology.  Libertarians can, and very often are, quite guilty of this.

I don’t mean compromise our principles.  But what we should do, to ensure honest growth of the ideology, is become a bit more diplomatic. 

It goes without saying that one does not need to consider themselves libertarians to vote for libertarian candidates in general elections.  One does not need to adopt the ideology to vote for Gary Johnson in November.  But our goal, our work, should be for a larger purpose: growing the ideology.  

That will never happen if we repel people away with the aforementioned attitudes.   No, rather, we should be welcoming to our conservative and liberal brethren, and treat their opinions with respect.  But this does not require compromising our own.


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