Irish Liberty Forum

More Signs of a Libertarian Revival

with 3 comments

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.


Written by Graham

March 17, 2008 at 5:56 pm

Posted in politics, strategy, UK, USA

3 Responses

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  1. I am sorry to comment on such an old blog. I just wanted to say ,while Ron Paul may have gotten international attention, the Libertarian Party has been in it’s current form since 1971 and is the 3rd largest party (200,000+ ‘registered’ members which is not inclusive of all members) in the United States. Unfortunately The Republicans and Democrats are able to ensure no other parties can get on most ballots (Though Libertarians are on the ballot in 48 states this time) or media attention. It does not mean Libertarians have not had a strong presence here all this time.


    August 23, 2008 at 2:06 am

  2. Thanks for the comment. And I’m sure that you’re completely correct, of course. There’s been a lot of hard work over many years to help get the freedom philosophy into the mainstream. I’m basically apolitical myself, but I really respect all the work done by the LP and I know you’ve had a big impact.


    September 4, 2008 at 1:15 am

  3. Back to this old post to complain a moment.

    Sadly this election has proven once again Libertarians are far too disorganized and split. Only about 500,000 votes will go to Barr. Ron Paul will get a quite a few as a write in and those theocratic zealots (Baldwin) that Paul supported for some reason will get some. McCain will get the rest… 4 candidates vying for our votes and we wonder why we are never heard. United we rise, divided we fall is a lesson we may never learn.


    November 5, 2008 at 4:42 am

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