Richard Lowe has written today why he believes Libertarians should join political parties. Actually its not really why Richard believes it, it is why Murray Rothbard, the Father of Anarcho Capitalism believes it. I have long advocated Libertarians joining political parties. What better way to promote freedom than by getting those who believe in the pro liberty platform to hold the levers of power? However, this support has to come with some caveats:
Some libertarians need to join genuinely liberally minded parties, or parties that are going in that direction. What counts as liberally minded is open to interpretation, we all have our lines in the sand. Parties that go out of their way to actively promote, stir up and attract those who hold social conservative values I would say are not liberally minded.
However, the political route is not the best one for all. There are other ways Libertarians can and should be influencing the political agenda. Sam Bowman advances the line that Libertarians should push politicians to vote along libertarian lines, either through effort from think tanks to promote libertarian policy as the best solution or libertarians flirting with party politics, encouraging parties to appeal to them.
One of the key areas that shouldn’t be forgotten is spreading the message of liberty far and wide. Ron Paul used the political process to do this, while he may have been a politician Paul’s focus was always education. It is not enough to get libertarians into power, or to every now and then push politicians to be liberty minded, if we want to really change things then libertarianism needs to be made popular, and for that to happen it needs to be known.
Finally there needs to be a strong libertarian voice creating the intellectual space for the mainstream to move into. The voices at the fringe fighting the unwinnable fights so that the moderates can sweep in behind them (and seem sane in comparison). This can be done with think tanks, pushing more extreme policies like heavy tax cuts, to open up the debate and cause the space for more moderate policies to move into. It can also be done individually, through social media and the internet.
Where individual libertarians seem themselves is up to them, your preferences are your own. What I would say is crucial is not to compromise. By changing the message, by toning down what you believe then your letting the opposition win. For some, possibly myself included, that means screaming into the fringe. For others it may be being an outspoken voice in a party, a radical view in a think tank or an educator online. There is no one solution or path to take. So long as you stay true to what you believe there are a plethora of ways to fight for libertarianism