More Signs of a Libertarian Revival
I maintain some scepticism regarding the ultimate effectivess of politics as a tool for libertarians. However, there are definitely some advantages to this approach, mainly by providing media access with which we can inform the public of our views. The very obvious current example of this is how Ron Paul used his candidacy to explain to millions of young Americans that there was a genuinely radical, peaceful, free market alternative to George Bush’s leviathan welfare-warfare state.
As has been remarked elsewhere, it’s been a long time since the idea of a sound, commodity-backed currency was raised in a US presidential debate. Ron Paul brought these ideas into the mainstream media in a way that would not have been possible in modern times without the vehicle of a presidential candidacy. He achieved some necessary first steps, acting as a vanguard to reframe discussions around libertarian themes, so that those following after him should have considerably less work to do explaining basic principles.
Given this, I can only wish the best of luck to the nascent UK Libertarian Party, which looks certain to act as a foil to the conservatism of UKIP on the British libertarian right. And as with UKIP, I think the success of the Libertarian Party should be measured less in terms of seats won, but more in terms of their ability to generate interest in their ideas. From my own perspective, it seems unlikely to me that there can be any quick fix to decades of statist encroachment over the hearts and minds of so many people in the West. Short-term concrete victories are extraordinarily rare. The odds may be stacked against them, but I think people behind the UK Libertarian Party are another manifestation of the massive grassroots interest in liberty, they have some great potential to influence the debate, and I wish them the very best.