Libertarian

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Description

You like your government very, very small—or none at all. You are a real libertarian. Want to run for Congress? State legislature? You might want to join the Libertarian Party and they'll put you on the ballot. Put in some effort and you could be state chair in a couple of years. Whether this effort is worthwhile is debatable. Back when I was a party member I wrote these Essays on World Liberation in the hope of turning the LP into a real political party. Though I have mellowed out since those days, and focus on higher-probability strategies, I still find I cannot resist the temptation to write on libertarian strategy, but be forewarned: some of the lessons I have learned are rather hard.

Actually, now is a great time to be an active libertarian. Ron Paul ran a truly visible campaign this year. Maybe that momentum could be transferred to Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson. If he gets enough support this time around, he might run again in 2016 with are more significant chance of winning.


Political Campaigns, Parties and Related Organizations

Gary Johnson for President

For decades, Libertarians have been drooling at the possibility of getting their presidential candidate into the national debates. Well, now is the time. The LP presidential nominee is for real: a successful former governor with an interesting life story. Meanwhile, many a libertarian has been activated by Ron Paul's runs for the Republican nomination. It's a perfect storm situation.

OK, so he doesn't pass the Rothbard Purity Test, and his speaking skills could use some work.

Deal with it. Get behind this guy or don't complain about biased media or big government. This is your big chance.

Campaign for Liberty

Free State Project

Your views are frankly outside the mainstream. If you don't have the patience to wait until the mainstream adopts your views, you could move to a small state where other radical libertarians are congregating: New Hampshire. The Free State Project has not achieved its original goal of getting 20,000 libertarians to commit to moving, but many libertarians have moved anyway.


Libertarian Sites

Cato Institute Individual Liberty, Limited Government, Free Markets, and Peace. Good research site.

Lew Rockwell


Political Strategy

The Leadership Institute

The Leadership Institute. Provides quality training in "political technology" for conservatives and libertarians.

Essays on World Liberation. Once upon a time, I was a hardcore activist in the Libertarian Party, going so far to sit on the National Committee and be on the Strategic Planning Team (SPT). These essays are an outgrowth of said experiences and my experiments in the field. Since then, I have concluded that the Libertarian Party is not the optimical vehicle for liberty; it is too radical to win many elections. Furthermore, I have mellowed over time and have become more sensitive to issues other than liberty and the size of government. So I am no longer an LP member, but if you are (or become one) some of these essays may prove useful.

Take Back Your Government, by Robert A. Heinlein. A handbook for grassroots political activism from the days before professional consultants and television. Dated, but still useful.

Dedication and Leadership by Douglass Hyde. An inside look at how the Communist movement was so successful in advancing its radical agenda. Many of the ideas are apropos for building up the political movements in general. Must reading for anyone doing third party politics.


The Hard Questions

Many members of the axiomatic school of libertarianism often overlook certain hard questions/edge conditions, and thereby lose debates. Here are some readings (including a couple by an anarchist) that should prove helpful.

The Machinery of Freedom, by David Friedman. This book looks at the economics of government itself. What are the incentives of those who govern? To what degree are they motivated to promote the general welfare?

The answer: not very much. For this reason Dr. Friedman is an anarchist. But you don't have to be in order to benefit from this book. Indeed, knowing the inherent difficulties in making government behave is more important for those who like government big than for those who like it small.

Law's Order, by David Friedman. OK, so you believe in property rights, right? So where does your property begin and mine end? Do I have the right to turn on the lights or do the photons that hit your property constitute tresspass? What if those photons come from a high powered laser?

OK, that was an extreme example, but there are many real world examples where the simplistic view of property rights fails. Dr. Friedman gives them a hard look. People will take your ideas more seriously if you do too.

Simple Rules for a Complex World, by Richard Epstein. It would be nice to simply say that private property is good and that initiation of force is bad and build a legal system based on this dictum. Alas, the real world is not so simple. Legal scholar Richard Epstein points out the holes and suggests additional axioms to make a complete legal system for a free society.

Fuzzy Thinking, by Bart Kosko. Fuzzy Logic is one of the biggest advancements in philosophy to come around in a long time. It deals with the imperfect mapping between words and reality. Must reading for the philosophically inclined, especially followers of Ayn Rand or Murray Rothbard.

A Perfect Mess by Eric Abrahamson and David H. Freedman. Does your office have a clean desk policy? Does it try to document all processes in the name of efficiency? Are planners trying to remake your home city? Do you think that the laws should be based upon a clean axiomatic framework? This book provides a powerful antidote to such thinking. Reality is multi-dimensional, and the results can be...messy.

Holistic Politics

Freedom, equality, morality, nature,...these are all good things. All to often, political debate rages over which is more important. Synergies get overlooked. There is a better way, holistic politics. By looking at multiple values at the same time, it is possible to come up with creative solutions for the world's problems, solutions that make all the factions more happy.

The Free Liberal

How do we get back to sound money and a stable economy? How do we replace ridiculous financial regulations with accountability? Read Finance and Freedom to find out. You will also find some fun potshots at Keynesian Economics and the Paradox of Thrift. To the Krugmobile! Finance and Freedom