First, war. War is the antithesis of the libertarian philosophy of
consent, voluntarism and trade. With every war in American history
Leviathan has grown larger and our liberties have withered. War is the
health of the state. And now, fulfilling the dreams of Big Brother, we are
in a perpetual war.
A country cannot long combine unlimited government abroad and limited
government at home. The Republican party
has become the party of war and thus the party of unlimited government.
With war has come FEAR, magnified many times over by the governing party. Fear is pulling Americans into the arms of
the state. If only we were better at
resisting. Alas, we Americans say that
we love liberty but we are fair-weather lovers. Liberty will flourish only with peace.
Have libertarians gained on other margins in the past eight years? Not at all. Under the Republicans we have been sailing due South-West on the Nolan
Chart – fewer civil liberties and more government, including the largest new
government program in a generation, the Medicare prescription drug plan, and
the biggest nationalization since the Great Depression. Tax cuts, the summum bonum of Republican
economic policy, are a sham. The only
way to cut taxes is to cut spending and that has not happened.
The libertarian voice has not been listened to in Republican politics for a
long time. The Republicans take the libertarian wing of the party for granted
and with phony rhetoric and empty phrases have bought our support on the
cheap. Thus – since voice has failed – it is time for exit. Remember that if
a political party can count on you then you cannot count on it.
Exit is the right strategy because if there is any hope for reform it is by
casting the Republicans out of power and into the wilderness where they may
relearn virtue. Libertarians understand better
than anyone that power corrupts. The
Republican party illustrates. Lack of
power is no guarantee of virtue but Republicans are a far better – more libertarian –
party out-of-power than they are in power. When in the wilderness, Republicans turn naturally to a critique of
power and they ratchet up libertarian rhetoric about free trade, free
enterprise, abuse of government power and even the defense of civil liberties. We can hope that new leaders will arise in
this libertarian milieu.