Saturday, October 3, 2009

On Challenging the Two-Party System

Last week's talking point at The Humble Libertarian was a question of how we of a libertarian mindset should approach politics. Should we work to reform the Republican Party from the inside-out, should we focus on a third party, or should we eschew parties altogether and focus on education? A very thought-provoking discussion ensues in the comments, including my own response, which turned out much longer than I thought it would, and so I am re-posting it here.

I might suggest we look to history and the demise of the Whig Party, which was replaced by the Republican Party. The Whigs were torn apart from within over slavery when the anti-slavery faction actually stopped the renomination of its own party's incumbent President. The party fractured and most of the base went to the Republican party.

I think we are very much seeing candidates begin to come to the forefront who have more libertarian ideals than we have seen in some time. Peter Schiff and Rand Paul obviously immediately come to mind at the forefront.

Even at the state and local levels, the energy in politics is altogether different than I can recall in my (albeit short) lifetime.

Overall we seem to have an issue at hand that is nearly every bit as divisive as was slavery. And that is the Economy.

If we recognize that neither the Republican Party or the Democrat Party have been stewards of honest money and a sound economy, but have rather taken turns expanding their preferred areas of big government (military on the right, social welfare on the left), then we find the wedge to drive into the fissure in the Republican Party.

GOP faithful are still incredibly belligerent to the idea that one might ever suggest decreasing military operations. It's a debate worth having, without even concerning the middle east at all. We still have tens of thousands of troops each in Germany, Korea and Japan, and who knows where else. Many of them could easily have been reallocated to the middle east, thereby reducing demand for new troops and new expenses. It could still be done as a way of reducing military expenses.

At some point, we have to be able to acknowledge that, while unfunded liabilities in Social Security and Medicare are without question the biggest strains on our federal government's purse strings, War is the next biggest item. Every dime of all things beyond normal operations is funded by borrowing and monetizing the debt through the Federal Reserve.

There is the fissure. There will be Republicans who continue on ignoring the issue of a sound economy, and there will be libertarians in the Republican Party who do not. Ultimately, the survival of the Republican Party is going to depend on how many libertarian-minded people end up in it. Otherwise, I feel they will by default fall by the wayside as did the Whigs, and the voter base will go to the Libertarian Party.

Understanding that, I think it is important that we take a lesson from the progressives' "long, slow march" through the educational system. We all complain that nobody understands or has been taught libertarian ideas, much less things like Austrian Economics. Well it's because nobody teaches it. We need a long, slow march of our own, not only through the educational systems, but through the political systems. Libertarian thought resonates with a lot of people, because it is all about common sense freedom.

I see no reason that we cannot infiltrate BOTH parties, WHILE growing a third party that stands ready to inherit the crumbling pieces of a failing major party.

1 comment:

  1. One of the major problems with the infiltration strategy is that it fails to address the problem which is the two-party system and the duopoly system of government. The Republican and Democratic Parties are no longer vehicles for effective political representation but rather obstacles to effective political representation, of the people that is. The Democratic-Republican Party is quite an effective vehicle for the representation of its own interests and those of its corporate paymasters. Ideally, a multiplicity of parties should be developed to properly represent the diversity of interests of the people of the United States, which are multipolar, not bipolar, rather than continuing to pretend that the false choice between the Democrats and the Republicans is a choice at all. The Democratic and Republican Parties exist first and foremost to represent themselves and to maintain and reproduce their hold on political power in the United States. The argument in favor of infiltration presupposes that the Democratic and Republican Parties can be "fixed", indeed many seem to believe that this can be done over the course of one or two election cycles. And then they call third party and independent activists utopians! The solution to the problem which is the Democratic-Republican Party is to cease voting for Republicans and Democrats, imo.