Monthly Archives: November 2018

Thoughts on a Libertarian Schism

Tribalism, whether based on nationality, religion, race, gender, or any other divisive categorization one can imagine, is among the most serious threats facing our nation and our world.

It is the primary reason for Trumpism, fascism, fear of immigrants, and bigotry of all kinds, including calls to class warfare and mistrust of any and all “others”.

Irrationally and inexplicably, tribalism has also reared its ugly head within the libertarian movement in general and the Libertarian Party in particular, replacing concepts like liberty and individual responsibility with long-discredited catch phrases such as “blood and soil”. The center of this movement appears to be the mysteriously misnamed Mises Caucus, with any number of ancillary satellite groups supporting and sometimes tugging it to an even more extreme form.

That tribalism is morally bankrupt as well as corrupting is relatively evident to even casual observers of modern politics. As far as the Libertarian Party is concerned it is also a guaranteed losing strategy.

While the LP has grown modestly in conjunction with the shriveling of the two old parties, by far the greatest increase has been seen among those who describe themselves as “Independents”, or non-partisans. It is therefore with these voters, not the bigoted populists of the right nor the creeping Communists of the left, that we have the most in common and to whom we should be appealing.

These voters are neither religious conservatives nor anti-immigrant. They are not anti-science nor misogynous. For them the Civil War is a chapter in history books, not a cause to be fought over and over. Their concerns are decent jobs, safe streets, schools that work, fair taxes and competent yet unobtrusive government. They are neither anarchists nor alt-right Dixiecrats. They are looking for unitors, not further dividers.

As Libertarians, to be successful we must be offering constructive solutions rather than appealing to our fellow citizens’ worst angels. We must be shining light on free markets and individual liberties, not pandering to people’s worst instincts. And we and our moral precepts must become a shining beacon to and for all.

America’s future is decidedly not tribalism, and we must not fall prey to its temporary though beguiling call.

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