Saturday, April 9, 2016

Libertarians can make their ideas matter in 2016

Stossel Debate Offers Libertarians a Way to Make Their Ideas Matter - Hit & Run : - Ed Krajewski:

April 8, 2016 - "There are at least a dozen candidates running for the Libertarian party [presidential nomination], but only [Gary] Johnson has any prior political experience.

"In an election season defined largely by 'anti-establishment' feeling and where Donald Trump is the Republican front runner, that's not necessarily as much of a bonus as it might have been previously. Yet Johnson rejected the Republican Party an entire presidential election cycle before it found itself in its current mess, something that ought to earn him some credibility.

"Johnson is, to say the least, an imperfect candidate in an imperfect Libertarian field.... And yet the field nonetheless offers something refreshing this election cycle. That's because libertarianism, capital-L or not, isn't about individual politicians but individual liberties.

"Libertarians can offer a compelling narrative to an electorate on the verge of facing two major party candidates — Trump and Hillary Clinton — who both have unfavorable ratings north of 50 percent. The unlikeability of the Democratic and Republican nominee could make voters, and maybe even millions of horrified non-voters, more receptive to looking to third parties for articulate ideas and not just cults of personality.

"From police and criminal justice reform to education, immigration, and foreign policy, libertarian ideas offer a path outside of often intractable, and always insufferable, partisan scuffles. Trump and Clinton represent the culmination of a years-long atrophy of both parties, fueled by cronyism, an aversion to critical thinking and, above all, an unquestioning belief that government can work given the correct agenda and helmed by the correct people, even as the outcomes tend to expose the ridiculousness of that belief.

"So libertarians have a chance this election cycle to make their ideas matter. It's unfortunate that there aren't more high profile Libertarian politicians, but also unsurprising. After all, the ideology is averse to government as a desirable career path. If the candidates focus on educating voters about the ideas behind libertarianism and the role government plays in the social ills driving their fears, rather than triangulating (or incoherently rambling) on issues like gay wedding cakes and Sharia law or creating a cult of personality-like sideshow, perhaps they can be successful in contributing to the momentum of libertarian ideas on the policy and cultural front even absent electoral success."

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