Archives for category: Party Push and Pull

Though the Libertarian Party runs candidates for public office, almost never do they get elected to major positions. Sure, one fairly recent presidential ticket pulled in a few million votes more than in previous runnings, and Libertarian candidates around the country do sometimes poll in high enough numbers that they might seem they make the difference between the winner and loser major party candidates; but other than that, the “LP’s” effect on the general direction of American political life seems negligible.

Many argue that the Libertarian Party is a failure.

This weekend, at the party’s 50th anniversary national convention in Reno, Nevada, a major change took place. A group called “the Mises Caucus,” inspired by popular podcasters Dave Smith (a comedian) and Tom Woods (an historian), wrested control of the party from the previous cadre of activists.

There has been both jubilation and anguish about all this.

Basically, the LP, like the libertarian movement generally, is split into two major cultural groups, each with a range of opinion on matters of strategy. On “the left” we find Cato Institute types and the old mainstream of LP activists; on “the right” we find Mises Institute types and the new caucus named after the great Austrian economist and liberal social theorist, Ludwig von Mises, who died way back in the party’s second year.

I was active in the Libertarian Party from 1980 to 1982, but learned some lessons fast. I was studying economics at that time, and Public Choice arguments seemed persuasive: the LP could not easily gain a foothold in first-past-the-post electoral systems like America’s. Also, the Libertarians’ perennial hope for a “breakthrough” candidate when times seem ripe for a “third party candidate” proves illusory, for other, non-libertarian candidates also notice such opportunities and enter the fray. That happened in 1980, actually, with John Anderson, a liberal Republican, going rogue and “stealing” Ed Clark’s thunder.

Further, I reasoned that Americans not unreasonably give an upstart party a limited number of runs until they relegate the party to permanent also-ran status. Certainly, no presidential candidate after Ed Clark’s 1980 run did anything even marginally impressive until Gary Johnson’s 2012 run, where in percentage terms he put himself in Clark’s ballpark. Johnson’s second run, in 2016, was more impressive, but it seemed to me that it was lackluster compared to its potential, considering that the two major parties ran two extremely hated candidates. But getting over 3 percent of the vote was something like an achievement. For the LP. But the next outing, in 2020, saw the Jorgensen/Cohen ticket receive less than 2,000,000 votes for another pitiful low-percentage (1.18) result.

My general conclusion is that Libertarians over-estimate the libertarian tendencies of Americans, and too often fail to realize just how small a minority they constitute. Libertarians have a long row to hoe, especially if they think they have to construct a free world rather than a more humble and limited libertarian enclave. Or a vital and responsible mutual-aid libertarian network.

The LP is stuck. It has been stuck for some time.

How stuck?

Well, activists are hobbled at the starting line: I have never heard a good response from one of its candidates about “the wasted vote” argument — though such a response does exist. But it would take intellectual courage and cleverness to make it. It would take some lateral thinking and a different campaign tack. And Libertarians appear to be astoundingly unimaginative. Especially for such clever people — the average IQ of libertarians is much higher than the general populace, and higher even than “progressives.’”

But, as we all have reason to suspect, general intelligence g is not the same as robust rationality r or wisdom w.

I have believed for quite some time that the Libertarian Party should be dissolved for the good of the libertarian movement — or at least radically re-conceived. Maybe the Mises Caucus folks will apply some new intelligence to the problem of pushing liberty in a statist and servile society. But I doubt they will succeed. I guess I hope that they do.

The losers in the recent power struggle are of course calling the Mises folk “fascists/fascist adjacent,” which I regard as a stretch and an unnecessarily nasty calumny, and appears to be largely a result of that old Koch-Crane/Rothbard (Cato/Mises) split, an ugliness that I probably should avoid. Nevertheless, I got into it on Twitter over the weekend. The gulf between the “two cultures” is real, and it is strange to find myself closer to the Mises group, especially considering that I have never found reason to change my mind over my initial (and quite early) opposition to the “paleo” turn of Rothbard and Rockwell immediately after the disastrous Ron Paul campaign of 1987-8, and that movement is the historical forerunner to the current Mises Caucus. Yet here I am, feeling more at home with them. In part because, like them, I recognize that the Libertarian Party has been an embarrassment to the libertarian movement in recent times. And beyond that, we have our agreements and disagreements.

Unlike the losers in the takeover, I see little reason to prophesy disaster. Unlike the winners, I’ll refrain from huzzahs until real-world improvements become clear. 

twv

The Smell Test is one of the most basic and reliable tools we have to evaluate political action. But you need to develop a “nose” independent of the familiar scent of one’s own tribe.

Today, when propaganda is everywhere and ”the news” works chiefly to hide the truth, like a the Smell Test repudiates nearly everything the Democrats are saying right now.

Example? They blame inflation on “corporate greed.” You shouldn’t need a degree in economics — or, like me, a lifelong obsession with the classics of the subject — to know this to be idiotic and a lie. Democrats have been pushing higher gas prices for decades now. The current boob of a president began his administration by nixing supply line development for fossil fuels, and since that day, drilling rights have been declined and left un-renewed all over the U.S. — by this administration. It’s a concerted set of moves to drive up prices. We should wonder whether the American response to Russia’s Ukraine incursion was chosen not for its diplomatic efficacy (an almost unimaginable standard in American foreign policy) but for its deleterious effect to both global food and petroleum markets.

Why? Why would Democrats wish to do this? Well, you could assume they are doing precisely what they have said they have wanted to do for decades. And the president has confirmed this recently. Did you listen to what he said? Specifically regarding fuel prices, he said that “we’re going through an incredible transition” and that, ”God willing, when it’s over, we’ll be stronger and the world will be stronger, and less reliant on fossil fuels.” But he admitted ”this is going to be a haul, this is gonna take some time.”

What this is is a confession. It has long been apparent that his paymasters/controllers are zealots for the Great Reset, and “Green Energy” is the way they hope to do it. But since ”Green Energy” is more expensive and generally less efficient than the burning of fossil fuels, fossil fuels must be made more expensive to allow for the ”flourishing” of ”Green Energy.”

Democrats didn’t need to pass the bill Ocasio-Cortez pushed. All they had to do was precipitate a series of crises, and by getting one of the most corrupt politicians in American history into the White House they made sure no crisis went to waste. Putative plutocrat Donald Trump was often maligned for his greed, but somehow under his aegis greedy petroleum could only manage to increase production and decrease prices. That was the opposite of what leftists and enviro-fascists want. They much prefer decreases in output growth and increases in prices.

So, blaming rising fossil fuel prices on corporate greed doesn’t pass the smell test because Democrats have repeatedly

  • demonstrated their motive,
  • reveled in their intent, and
  • striven for the opportunity,

to raise fossil fuel prices. Democrats stand above graphs of rising prices blaming corporations, but they hold in their hands a smoking gun. We smell the burnt powder.

Why would they lie? Aren’t they proud of what they are doing? Well, the Democrats need to shield themselves from the group of Americans they have hurt most, “the working class.” Democrats have prided themselves on their working class defense for generations, but that is all in the past. They haven’t been for “the workers” in a long time. But they must keep up the illusion of love for as long as possible. Their disgust for workers and small business is palpable. The party is proletarian no more, and instead provides cover for plutocrats, and is made up of carefully groomed ideologues in the cognitive elite (academic and corporate media), the functionary class (bureaucrats; public school teachers), bankers (whose Federal Reserve keeps the confidence game chugging along), multinational corporations and other recipients of taxpayer-derived funds — and then most peominently, as innocent shields, the “marginalized” groups who have been courted openly and with brazen effrontery since the Civil Rights Era.

Increasingly, Americans have sniffed out Democratic perfidy — along with that of the establishment GOP. That is why Trump had his brief period atop the dungheap: increasingly, Americans hate what has become of insider power, and the outsiders have been betrayed by each of their champions, from Reagan to Bernie Sanders. But to apply the Smell Test to politics, you have to remember what was said a week ago, a month ago, a year ago, a decade ago. You cannot just let yourself be corralled by corporate news sources, which serve as little more than propaganda mills for the Democratic Party (exempting Fox, which tries to steer us to the witless players in the GOP). You have to keep your nose clean — so when a familiar champion changes sides — like Trump did during the pandemic — you can detect the new aroma.

This is not democratic behavior, by the way. The Democrats’ advancement of The Great Reset and allied policies — especially their campaign against fossil fuels — completely scuttles public debate. The Democrats’ environmental and industrial policies are wildly unpopular in America — which is one reason why their advocates increasingly express their loathing for normal Americans, especially for ”flyover country.” This whole work-around meshes very well with similar techniques, like the Cloward-Piven Strategy and anarcho-tyranny — both designed to increase the power of the State while fooling the populace into grudging compliance. They are anti-democratic maneuvers, making the Democratic Party specifically, and the far- and center-left generally, the faction of corporatist fascism.

The thing you should learn by applying the Smell Test consistently is: politics stinks.

twv

Scat, filtered.

What do you find the most annoying about other libertarians/the movement in general?

…as answered on Quota….

Most annoying? The common assumption that the movement is ready to offer solutions for the world at large. The movement is still in its infancy — well, toddler status. And so libertarians are not yet ready to “govern” a mere devolution of power, much less “take over” any major government.

At best, libertarians might be able to stake out one area — say, New Hampshire — and build a freer society.

But consider: libertarians have barely explored the idea of putting failed states — and most states are failing — through a kind of formal bankruptcy. The idea of putting governments under receivership is rarely talked about. Instead, you have think tankers arguing about what the capital gains tax rate should be, or activists urging folks to “vote Libertarian.” Talk about unimaginative, as bold as a soggy dishrag.

Libertarians have a lot of good ideas, don’t get me wrong. But libertarians have not sorted them through very well, and most do not really comprehend how illiberal, “unlibertarian,” our social world is. Most people do not have a hankering for freedom. Not a strong hankering, anyway. They are insecure, fearful, frustrated, confused, envious, greedy, resentful, dogmatic — all things libertarians tend not to be (except for the dogmatic charge). And libertarians don’t really know what to do with these people. Libertarians are about 5% of the American population, and the “libertarian-leaning” make up at most about a fifth of the population. Everyone else is a statist or outright criminal. So, what can they do?

Libertarians need to take this challenge more seriously.

twv

Dinesh D’Souza has a new documentary out called 2000 Mules. It alleges to prove what many of us has suspected: massive vote fraud in the 2020 election by the Democrats.

It must surely be watched.

Those of us who suspected massive vote fraud had a number of reasons, the most obvious being: a tight cadre of leftists in America who believed that TRUMP IS HITLER allowed this belief to justify illegality in voting to secure “Hitler’s” overthrow. After all, TRUMP’S HITLER! The motive? Obvious; the excuse was lying there on the surface. The opportunity? Well, Americans’ unwillingness to talk rationally about election security meant that they probably could get away with it — and the lack of security in American voting systems has been well known for decades, and was exacerbated by the pandemic over-reaction. So of course the Democratic Party’s loose conspiracy of centrists leveraged gullible leftists’ belief to steal an election. To regain a latch on power.

And the vote counts were awfully suspicious. Tales abounded. But good data?

Well, a frustrating element of the case for election fraud quickly came to dominate all discussion of the election. Immediately, the Consensus threw its weight around . . . to throw out evidence and not consider reasonable cases on grounds that always seemed, to me, quite suspicious themselves. Over and over this scenario played out: A plausible case is put forward for election fraud in a voting district or at a ballot counting center only to immediately be said not to be definitive, and thus not worth further investigation — or even much reported upon.

The demand was always for hard proof, but the method of consideration appeared, to me, always to deny that such proof could be found, so not worth pushing.

A loftily high standard was allowed to strangle each investigation at or before birth.

The case for Democratic electoral fraud was regarded as by definition Trumpian and therefore Evil.

And it sure looks like hard proof, which is, indeed, what we want, was precisely what was being prevented from being presented.

But hard proof looks like what D’Souza is showing in his movie. It behooves us to watch it.

Seek it out:

Indeed, we should watch it despite the fact that D’Souza used numerals instead of spelling out the number in his title, as would be proper. When you start a sentence with a number, spell it out. That’s the rule: no numerals in such cases. And this applies to titles, too. After all, it is, technically, Nineteen Eighty-Four as the title of Orwell’s novel (see the original publication), not 1984.

Apt example, since it is Democrats who are hell-bent on setting up a 1984-ish political order — in no small part because they’ve allowed themselves to be programmed by CIA-controlled news media propagandists. And a stolen election is a “good start.”

twv

How is the Libertarian Party different from the Democratic Party in America?

…as answered on Quora….

The Democratic Party is the oldest organized political faction in the United States. It has been wildly successful.

The Libertarian Party is the oldest minor party in the country to have maintained an active and culturally significant presence on the margins of politics. By major party standards, it has been wildly unsuccessful, but by minor party standards, it has been bizarrely persistent. On the face of it, it is a testament to a segment of Americans desperately trying to bear witness to the possibility that freedom, and not “equality” or “security” or “nationalism,” might matter most.

Yet, ideologically, the Libertarian Party has some fascinating historical links with early Democratic Party ideology.

Libertarians sport more similarities to the ideas of Thomas Jefferson’s Democratic-Republican Clubs than to the nationalist ideas of the so-called Federalists. Libertarians are anti-nationalist, free-trade, limited-government activists, not Big Bank-supporting, big-business-subsidizing protectionists in the manner of the mercantilist Alexander Hamilton, the chief theorist of the early Federalist Party.

In the 1830s, an anti-establishment faction grew out of the Democratic Party, greatly influencing (if for a brief time) the Jacksonians. The faction was active in many northern states, especially in New York where its activists, led by newspaper editorialist William Leggett, set up a minor party, the Equal Rights Party. While the party was short-lived, the movement was quite influential, and a challenge to the establishment. In a memorable incident where these “workingmen” partisans attempted to gain control of the New York Democratic Party, the establishment turned off the lights to prevent the political change. Yes, deplatforming, 1830s-style. The Equal Rights activists who had gathered en masse were not to be dissuaded, though. They struck their matches — a new self-igniting device sold as the “Loco-Foco” — and lit their candles and carried on with the election of officers decidedly not in line with the insiders of Tammany.

The New York Times mocked them, called them “Loco-Focos.” The monicker stuck. And for a brief time — the time in which Alexis de Tocqueville was poking around in the States — the Loco-Focos dominated political discussion. Ultimately, they mainly affected corporate law, taking away the overtly political and favoritist aspect to gaining corporate status, but also had a huge impact in Rhode Island and a few other states. Nevertheless, their general anti-government stance was not appreciated by ambitious men. And then when they moved to abolitionism, they were successfully marginalized forever.

Modern libertarians are indeed echoes of that Loco-Foco Moment, as Brian Doherty mentioned in his book on the modern libertarian movement’s most successful politician, Dr. Ron Paul:

The particular combination of beliefs that animates Paul and his fans has not been prominent on the American scene since the Locofocos. You don’t remember them, but they were the New York–based, radically laissez-faire wing of the Jacksonian Democrat coalition during the President Martin Van Buren era of the 1830s–’40s. Like Paul, for them, the separation of government from banking was their primary goal (as well as the elimination of non-hard money). But aspects of Paul and Paulism appear and reappear across our nation’s history, like ghosts haunting the battlefield where the American dream has been slaughtered in slow motion since shortly after it was born.

Though modern libertarians may find some commonality in 19th century leaders like Van Buren and Grover Cleveland, they see little of value in the party from the racist, progressivist warmonger Woodrow Wilson onwards. The modern Democratic Party has utterly betrayed its Jeffersonian and Loco-Foco roots. Most of the current crop of the Democracy’s presidential contenders are pimping for socialism, of all things, which to a libertarian appears just as bad (or even worse) than imperialistKu Kluxer, or Nazi.

William Leggett, chief theorist of the Locofocos.

Brian Doherty, Ron Paul’s rEVOLution (2012)

Brion McClanahan, How Alexander Hamilton Screwed Up America (2017), with a foreword by Ron Paul

Anthony Comegna, “The Loco-Foco Movement: A Lost Chapter in the History of Liberalism, Part One” (2016)

Thomas C. Leonard, Illiberal Reformers: Race, Eugenics, and American Economics in the Progressive Era (2016)

. . . republished from March 23, 2010. . . .

The passing of the Democrats’ medical institution reform package, by clever and opaque political maneuvering, has angered many people. Though all ancient sages unite to advise us not to lose composure about things we cannot change, I, too, have been a bit angry about the recent events regarding what is popularly (and nauseatingly) called “health care reform.”

But what interests me at the moment is how risky the Democrats’ maneuvers are. We often say that politicians can’t accomplish much. Washington is riddled with gridlock; its prime movers are not merely dishonest and petty, but unable to take stands.

Here, however, regarding the nationalization of medicine in the United States of America, the Democrats have taken a daring stand. They are bucking the growing incredulity amongst Americans that government can solve our problems by taking control. For the past few decades, the long-term trend has been towards skepticism about large-scale government efficacy.

But this long-term trend has had its set-backs. The three biggest counter-trends to growing anti-statist opinion have pertained to

  1. War — There was a lot of support, early on, for the conquest of Iraq;
  2. Anthropogenic Global Warming Catastrophe — There was a huge surge, in recent years, in the belief that there had been recent global warming, that this was in some sense unique, that human civilization had caused it, that this would only grow more dangerous, and that government could (and mustsolve it; and
  3. “Health Care” — A rising number of people had begun to see rising costs and spotty insurance for medical care as a problem requiring a national solution.

In each of these three counter-trends to the rising general incredulity over government efficacy, the wave of pro-government sentiment has recently waned. Spectacularly.

Regarding the advisability of conquering Iraq, the widespread support for this had ended before the end of George W. Bush’s final term in office. Even Republican legislators, today, are almost unanimous in realizing that the war was a mistake. The general consensus, now? War and conquest and remaking other polities is tough work, and we should always be super-cautious about engaging in such action.

AGW catastrophism hit its peak popularity in 2008, and is now in steep decline. The leaked emails from Britain were in no small part responsible for this. Careful criticism also had an influence. And, finally, the silly folk sayings confirming global warming itself probably did the most to undermine the position. People can only speak risible nonsense so long before laughing. (Al Gore and media folk were largely responsible for encouraging the idea that every storm, every heat wave, and every exceptional weather event provided “more evidence” that global warming was happening. Record-breaking cold spells and blizzards heralded as signs of “global warming” became a popular folk joke in 2009 and 2010.) The hard rhetorical barrage Americans had been hit with for years — from scientist-advocates, media folk, popular entertainers trying to look serious, and Al Gore — appeared to toughen them up, not convince them.

Finally, support for new national programs for medical insurance peaked last year. By the beginning of this year, popular support had dropped to below 40 percent.

And here’s where courage comes in. It is now risky for Democrats to unite around an unpopular issue.

What could they be thinking? I mean, we expect politicians to rally around popular causes, not unpopular ones. Politicians have demonstrated a rather consistent desire to get re-elected. So what gives? What do they hope for?

I can think of a few possibilities:

  1. Democrats hope that, like Social Security, the new program package will grow in popularity over its first 20 years after implementation. Social Security became the infamous “third rail” of politics, which one dare not be seen to criticize, from the ’60s though the ’80s and beyond. They hope for a similar effect with health care regulation and nationalization.
  2. Democrats know that they have only a limited time in majority, in united government, and feel they have to do what their core constituency really wants, before they lose control. They are hoping that it will be harder to repeal the medical reform package than it was to pass. (It is harder, in America, to repeal programs than it is to create them. This is fairly well established.) Think of it as their “Final Solution.”
  3. They know that it will likely be struck down in courts, and that this will rally their supporters to take on a new, bigger fight, which they can make hay over for years.
  4. They really are (or, perhaps more likely, want to be seen as) ideologues, to appeal to their core supporters in the government unions, people who by their nature think that government is the key to all progress (the sole sense in which they can be called “progressives” . . . that is, they believe only in the eternal progress of increasing size, scope, and efficacy of political and bureaucratic governance).

In these four scenarios, they come out as risk-takers. People of courage.

But, when you look at the hodge-podge of proposals that make up the reform package, they come off as something else again. I’ll let the reader name that “something else.”

Republicans have a huge opportunity for a comeback, here, but only if they stick to the theme that nurtures Americans’ justified incredulity. And the only way to make this stick is to attack the package not for such things as Death Panels and Abortion support — proof positive that Republicans tend to be a rather brain-dead group, so off-point are most of these issues — but for its long-term and wide-spread negative consequences.

This is hard work. I have not done it here. We have only just begun. Thinking “beyond Stage One” (as Thomas Sowell puts its), identifying the “unseen” as well as “the seen” (as Frédéric Bastiat put it), striving to discover the long-term effects as well as the near-term effects (as Henry Hazlitt put it) — these critical modes of thought aren’t easy. They require effort. They rub against the grain of enthusiasm. They seem treasonous to people who demand symbolic action, and identify themselves chiefly by the “good deeds” they do by merely supporting a political party.

Ah, and there’s why we don’t see Republicans normally taking to this agenda. The technique of honest and thorough social thought cuts both ways. It cuts against the right as against the left. It makes hash of simplistic arguments for war as it does against simplistic arguments for government handouts and regulations.

But there is one thing we, who try to practice economic criticism, can take solace in: Our agenda may not be the mainstream political agenda, but it does fit in, very nicely, with the common sense of the American people. Americans’ native skepticism over government may be superficial, but it is strong, and it is growing.

By applying economic thinking, and publicizing this thought, we strengthen the growing incredulity to statism in American culture, and prepare the way, perhaps, even for an eventual political success.

twv, The Lesson Applied

When will Republicans do something about so many Americans being shot, wounded and killed by other Americans? Nine killed in Atlanta and then several shot in Colorado in two shootings in the past 24 hours.

…as answered on Quora….

Odd question. Why focus on Republicans? And why mention two much-publicized shooting events and not the overwhelming number of shootings and murders in inner cities (such as Chicago) which is ongoing and dwarfs the body count of spree murders?

Take this seriously, why focus on Republicans? Democrats are in control of both houses of Congress and the presidency — and the cities where most of the routine criminality occurs. And that latter fact is even more important. Why? Crime-fighting is properly a local matter.

It is almost as if the questioner has no real interest in crime reduction but … merely seeks to ply a tired and false agenda for “gun control.”

More entertainingly, when we ask somebody to “do something” about a problem, we ask the somebody with direct connection to the problem, in this case crime. While Republicans are generally thought of as “tough on crime,” Democrats are regarded as weak and lenient — so consider, for a moment, the obvious question of responsibility: Democrats commit most of the violent crime. A supermajority of convicted criminals are registered Democrats, not Republicans.

So, the question should become when are Democrats going to do something about violence in their ranks?

But aha! They won’t. Because violence sure looks like part of a strategy.

The Democracy is now the party of anarcho-tyranny, where the plan is to go easy on violent and property crime, and then criminalize civil matters like environmental issues, business competition, socializing sans masks. The idea here is to make peaceful people the subject of police power and ultra-coercion, while letting the mob (whether antifa or looters) and criminal gangs and habitual criminals thrash about, endangering peaceful people. This ramps up demand for increasing State power and (especially) wealth redistribution, and amounts to engaging in terrorism as a means to consolidate authority behind a cult-backed group of ruthless insiders.

I am not a Republican. I have an instinctive dislike for a party that runs on a sort of inertial piety and extreme tolerance for dumb-assery. But Democrats sure seem to be pushing me into the GOP. Please, no, Democrats. No. Give up on idiotic panaceas like “gun control” and evil practices like anarcho-tyranny.

twv

In the Summer of 2016, I answered a question on Quora that does not look very good in retrospect, “Will we ever see a Libertarian president in the USA?”

Until this crazy year, 2016, I said “no.”

Now, after all these years, it appears that the Johnson-Weld team might pull off something astounding. The intellectual death of the two major parties, instantiated in their terrible candidates for office, Hillary and the Donald, might send desperate voters left and right and center into the LP camp.

The Johnson-Weld team did not pull off something impressive. The vote totals, while better than for any other LP ticket in the party’s now long history, were not all that impressive, considering the terrible candidates of the major parties. Surely they could have done better.

One reason that the team did not do better was obvious from almost the first day. When asked about Hillary Clinton, Bill Weld — apparently leading the team — and Gary Johnson, the ostensible Presidential candidate, said she was a good kid, basically, a good and faithful public servant.

If a Libertarian candidate cannot come out swinging against a statist like Clinton, he (or she) is not even a little libertarian.

This milquetoast anti-provocationism could be seen in 2020, too, where Jorgensen-Cohen spent more energy courting the SJW anti-racist vote than the anti-lockdowner vote. It was almost as if the mask-wearing pair didn’t really believe their alleged ideology.

But the problem with the LP remains. Its membership is too radical to succeed in a big way. Their choice of two marginal-to-the-movement candidates suggest the membership’s recognition that the old PlumbLine stance will get them nowhere.

While in 2016 I wrote, above, that Libertarians are “too radical,” the most obvious problem with the candidates since Harry Browne has been that they are not radical enough.

But mainly, the candidates and their supporters in the party do not seem to understand their place in history. They do not understand what they are up against.

So, in that, they are very much like Donald Trump.

They do not see the American union as highly unstable, constitutionally — having lost most of its original federal character — and dangerously over-stable — being run as a nation-state-cum-empire, fed on sectoral greed and guided by Deep State psy-op.

Libertarians do not seem able to grok the most important fact of contemporary partisan electoral politics: the two parties are driving each other insane, ratcheting up their levels of ridiculousness, as can be seen easiest in the fact that Americans just swapped one allegedly corrupt billionaire of erratic temperament and dubious moral character for a super-corrupt, senescent puppet of DNC/Deep State hacks. Libertarians have no sense of story. They do not seem to understand the roles they are playing.

And before you can succeed, you must first understand what you are doing.

Libertarian Party members do not understand what they are doing. They do not understand why they are losers. In 2016, I at least had a clue:

The even bigger problem is that the party has the stink of death about it. Americans give political upstarts a fairly narrow window to show their mettle. (Because of how votes are counted, only two parties can remain viable for long, simultaneously. See the work of Condorcet; view FairVote.org. This systemic two-party bias nudges voters to accept a challenger parties only when there is immediate hope of displacing one of the current major parties.) The LP lost in 1980, with the Clark campaign, and hasn’t had a significant chance until now. Americans see it as a party of losers. The brief time in the early 1980s, when there were several Libertarian state representatives in the Alaska legislature, has long passed. No significant wins have occurred since. Each presidential outing an irrational hope bubbles up, for one candidate or other. I remember economist Murray N. Rothbard’s insistence that Ron Paul could win over social conservatives for new life for the party, in 1987. The 1988 Paul campaign was an embarrassing bust. My colleagues claimed Harry Browne as the breakout hope several elections later. As good a speaker as he was, he received few votes. Candidates Michael Badnarik and former Rep. Bob Barr likewise fizzled.

I’ve been saying for 28 years: the party should fold, and reorganize as several vital activist groups, none of them running presidential candidates — though running deliberate mockery runs, a là Pat Paulsen, might be worth a shot.

But I underestimated the Libertarians’ predicament, here. Libertarians are not serious. They are merely earnest. No Libertarian candidate challenges Libertarians to actually make a difference. No Libertarian candidate dares take the bull by the horns and acknowledge, as a bedrock truth, the party’s always also-ran status, and therefore cannot overcome the Wasted Vote argument — an easy argument to destroy, logically, but Libertarians haven’t the wit to see that their only hope is to face it head on and rub Americans’ noses in the inherently scammy nature of electoral politics, of pretending that democracy can rule an empire.

In other words, Libertarians are intellectual cowards. They have been staring down the Wasted Vote argument since the beginning. Somehow, it never occurs to them to give a good answer. I say that a good answer is to be found, but running with it would be honest and therefore dangerous.

Libertarians would get further by pushing initiative and referendum measures, lobbying Congress and state houses, protesting bureaucracies, etc.

Some day, forming a less radical, explicitly Libertarian Lite party might make sense, a Liberist Party, or, more entertaining and useful, a Receivership Party to fold a bankrupt federal government and form new unions in its place, might make sense.

The idea of a Receivership Party still makes sense, but a Libertarian Lite party is a bad idea. That is what the Libertarian Party is right now. What Libertarians need is not lite, but enlightenment.

But for now, let us see if Johnson-Weld can at least send the 2016 presidential election into the House of Representatives! (Or win?) Right now the campaign’s strategy is to offend as few people as possible, capitalize on their experience, and create whimsical, light-hearted tugs at our heartstrings, hoping to grab NeverHillary and NeverTrump voters, along with disaffected independents, to really send the system into an epochal change.

Best of luck. It is a long shot. But no one else is worth voting for. So why not vote for them?

Yeah, that was dumb. There was no hope. Not with two former Republican governors.

And while the Libertarians’ pathetic hope for respectability, seen in choosing such candidates, may merely parallel the ratcheting-up of ridiculousness by the major parties — all part of the Law of Nemesis that we should (were we paying attention) understood as well now as our ancestors did in ancient times, when memes were myth — take a breath: something more nefarious may be afoot.

Libertarians should ask themselves: are they being played?

Specifically, by the Deep State.

The CIA and NSA and other behind-the-scenes manipulators of public opinion have had a huge hand in politics from the JFK assassination on. The FBI’s James Comey tried to blackmail Trump, after all, and the hidden hand was in plain sight in trying to remove the outsider prez from office for his first three years. In the last year, we must wonder, did the Deep State go back to being professional, bringing out the Big Guns to take down Trump?

For remember, prior to the pandemic, Trump was set for reëlection, the Democratic presidential candidates being so horrifically unimpressive and all, and the economy doing surprisingly well. But in comes the Wuhan bug, and Trump crumbles. While he resisted going as authoritarian as Democrats demand (and that was funny, I admit) the way he handled Fauci and pushed “vaccination” meant that he was doomed. The Democrats worked mightily both behind the scenes and in plain sight (as Time so niftily explained) to ensure that the pixillated puppet, Joe Biden, got more votes than Trump. It was an astounding thing to watch.

Libertarians should wonder whether they have also been manipulated. By infiltrators into their ranks (like, say, former Libertarian National Committee chairs and former state governors as candidates) and by strategically placed temptations.

We should speculate and inquire: what has the Deep State been thinking about us?

Wonder, especially, what to make of Brennan’s new direction, of placing libertarians under direct investigation — “even libertarians”!

I suspect that libertarians are the group in America that the Deep State most fears — intellectually. Because libertarianism has such a strong connection with the tradition of American independence — the United States began as a secessionist revolution spouting ideas of liberty! — libertarian ideas are potentially the most destabilizing for the Deep State’s mission of managed politics. So, Libertarians have been managed. For a very long time.

But with Brennan’s floated idea of treating libertarians as open enemies of the State, libertarians might want to now rethink their insignificance.

Could we be insignificant by design?

And if we made ourselves significant, by confronting reality as it is, not reality merely theorized and dreamed about, would we survive?

The question then becomes, are libertarians brave enough to take the next steps? So far, bravery has been associated with dunderheaded stupidity, as in the whole Tea Party movement and Trump moment. But for actual libertarians, the bravery will become necessary after the stupidity is foresworn. Do libertarians have the necessary courage?

I doubt it.

As far as I can tell, witlessly pushing the LP rock up Sisyphus’ hill is what libertarians want to do, over and over, forever.

Scant savvy and no courage required for that.

twv

Trump Remains a Former President!

The ‘most bipartisan impeachment verdict in American history’ serves as an important marker for how bipartisan would be the opposition to any fundamental change away from the main drift of American politics. While it was a technical win for the president — in that Trump was ‘acquitted’ — as well as for common sense, the strength of the opposition to him serves as a warning to all who seek to oppose the technocratic/plutocratic advance of the Democratic Party and of a large segment of the Republican political elite.

A majority of senators voted to remove a former president from office. The absurdity of that marks the real significance of the event.

Our political class is ruling scared. They are deathly afraid of opposition. In their panic they have driven themselves crazy.

And so lightly provoked! Were I to get my way, they wouldn’t be ruling scared, they would be running.

twv

Addendum: The inane defiance, during the Trump years, of those American Democrats — the kind of people who would shout “not my president!’ — went witless in this second impeachment. I am reminded of Chevy Chase’s oft-repeated quip, ‘Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.’ Had the House Democrats succeeded in the Senate, Donald John Trump would have remained a former president. Their former president, presumably, so insanely attached to the presidency are these flaccid noodle-brains.

No president is my president. For the United States President is not the People’s — what is presided over is the union of states, not us, the citizenry. If you think of a president as “yours,” I sadly shake my head at your inverted values and political mindset.

The funny thing about Impeachment 2 is that it smacks so strongly of anti-democracy.

I know, I know. Folks are talking about the payoff being the Senate forbidding Trump (if removed) from ever holding office again. Seems a tad personal. Not anti-democratic.

And hey: doing this to Trump after a miserable, humiliating failure of it a year ago is so embarrassingly petty that I shake my head. So the personal animus must be high. Were they humiliated by Trump? I suppose that could be what galls them so.

But I think it is something else.

Of course, I do find it funny how under their skin he got — and it is hilarious to witness Democrats talk about how awful a president he is, but when you probe them they almost always mean BECAUSE HE SAYS ICKY THINGS not because he’s murdered people (like LBJ) or started wars (like Bush and Clinton and Bush and Obama), or even because he WASN’T DICTATORIAL ENOUGH about COVID (my favorite Intellectual Death Knell of the Democracy ploy). But, behind the whole circus, what seems pretty obvious is this: he gave voice to the people Democrats hate most, “the Deplorables.”

Who now number over 70,000,000 strong, and are getting quite fed up with Democrats.

These Deplorables wanted to “Drain the Swamp,” but, until Trump, none of their respectable Republican champions could dare take it seriously. So the Deplorables went “another direction.” And that man fought hard for them. True, he accomplished little swamp-wise — the Swamp’s gotten bigger and nastier — but he did something they didn’t think they needed: he drew out the swamp creatures, into the light beyond Swamp cover, for all to see, and the Deplorables looked at the creatures, red in tooth and communism, and said, “at least we can understand Trump’s problems — these people seem malevolent and dangerous.” They stuck with their man.

And Democrats went bonkers, for five years.

And now a second impeachment! I mean, suppressing nearly half of the electorate because you disapprove of their political attitudes is quite anti-democratic. That is the next worst thing to one-party-statism — that is, fascism/communism/tyranny. And, amusingly, it sure smacks of “voter suppression”: it isn’t against Trump so much as the people he’s given a voice to that Democrats have it in for. Those people must not have power!

But mainly, the left’s hatred for the right isn’t really ideological. It may be the old the-political-is-the-personal. But what is that, though, really? Sexual loathing, class-based revulsion. Add on the racism and sexism against white males, and maybe you can see what I mean. Trump the billionaire personifies what leftists think Deplorables are. Or: Trump is the perfect champion for Deplorables’ deplorableness.

But it is worse: the Democrats are the Swamp! Maybe the reason Democrats hate Deplorables so much is that each side now knows and hates the other for what the other is. Deplorables know Democrats’ secret, that the Democratic Party is a Deep State creature, the ultimate Swamp Thing; and Democrats know the Deplorables’ secret, that they are weak and demoralized without a leader who pushes fantasy above reality.

So I’m trying to get in the spirit of the whole affair to cheer on the divisiveness.

Why applaud rather than leave it at a sneer? Well, I think it would be good for the United States to split up — and the Pentagon be dissolved, above all else. If ideological and partisan division can get the union dissolved on more workable lines, so be it!

Let’s go for it. Go, Democrats! Let’s do Civil War! (You morons.)

twv

P.S. Or it is just the humiliation Trump gave them that sticks in their craw. Why, they’d love Trump’s Deplorables so long as they bowed down to everything they said and be good little . . . well, you know.