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by Gary Cruse
Wednesday, May. 28, 2003 at 9:04 AM
"Being a libertarian may be a step in the direction of conservatism, but being a Libertarian puts me in the pocket of people out to kill me."
Gary Cruse, The Washington Dispatch, May 27, 2003
Should the Libertarian Party, a party that barely shows up on political radar as it is, be further split? Has the LP written itself out of post 9/11 America? In a country moving perceptibly to the right, does a retrenched, leftist Democratic Party open up middle ground for its own replacement to the right?
As a small 'l' libertarian, I increasingly find myself at greater odds with the LP than I am with conservatives. When social conservatism is replacing the Tenth Amendment (the powers not delegated to the United States ...are reserved to the States) with any number of Commandments, a party of individual liberty and responsibility should be highly visible. The Democratic party has been equally contemptuous of the Tenth when that party has been in power. Are the pieces there for assembling a real party of Liberty?
The Libertarian Party might be poised to make such a run, but not in its present incarnation. A couple of planks in the party platform are serious anachronisms and must be dealt with first.
Completely out of step with America today,a 'foreign policy of non-intervention and peace' sticks out and resonates with recent anti-Iraqi war sentiments. Isolationism was almost a necessity when the oceans made dealing with the rest of the world more nuisance than blessing, but not any more. Anti-terrorism cannot be a winning hand without the cooperation of nations capable of harboring future Osamas. As to an announced policy of peace, let the lambs be silenced. There is an insidious, woolly-headed thinking among the naifs of society who are willing to settle for lack of conflict, for now, and call it peace, without regard to the wolfy machinations on their doorstep.
France and England had a treaty with Poland to come to each other's aid if attacked. When Germany invaded Poland, the treaty was enforced to the extent that war was declared but nothing else was done, bringing about the Phony War that allowed Hitler to gobble up someone else (it's always someone else who needs to sacrifice for the common good) while Poland's friends worked to restore the 'peace.' We used to call that appeasement, but now it's peacekeeping. The subtle shift in emphasis from defending what is worthwhile to redefining 'necessary' as 'expendable' isn't negotiating, it is surrender. Well, maybe it's negotiating. "I'll give you everything you want, but that's my final offer," might be dressed up enough to dance with, if you're that desperate.
As road maps go, expecting Israel to give up the Golan Heights, a strategic sacrifice of elephantine proportion, for useless promises of peace from those who unfailingly call for her extinction, secures a peace that passes understanding, not to mention overtaking credulity. The Libertarian Party's notion of peace is appeasement in Birkenstocks.
The other disconnect I have with the LP platform is the elimination of all restrictions on immigration, which, coming from the Libertarian Party of Texas is a 'kick me' sign I wouldn't want to wear around the Alamo. I'd still be laughing at that if I didn't know they were serious as a front yard fiesta del tercer mundo.
Can the Libertarian Party even coexist with War on Terrorism? The party platform seems singularly incapable of keeping suicide killers out of the country or doing anything pre-emptively to stop the creation of terrorist cadres not already here. The primary mandate of sovereignty is survival, a principle easily translated into libertarianism's recognition of the individual, with his full complement of rights and responsibilities. At the national level, this is vaporized without border control and amounts to shattering the individual writ large.
That's why I got the 'L' out of Libertarian in favor of raising a little 'l' of my own. Being a libertarian may be a step in the direction of conservatism, but being a Libertarian puts me in the pocket of people out to kill me.
As constituted, the LP will remain off the political radar, and small 'l'ers will agonize over how far down the ticket the silliness has to be before one can safely vote for it. So far, dog catcher is not far from the ceiling. A party rethought without these suicide clauses might do well as the major parties peel away from each other. The Republicans look to have a lock on 2004, so there's plenty of time to get a new dog ready. This one won't hunt.
Gary Cruse is a steely-eyed photofinisher living in Texas.
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