Nick writes, “What we’ve seen since the Republicans took control of Washington is appalling. What we’ve seen from the Democrats in this Cato Unbound debate (and on the campaign trail so far) is uninspiring. That suggests to me that libertarian voters will remain an underutilized resource in American politics.”
Isn’t that the story of modern-day politics? Isn’t that the dilemma most voters face, having to choose between the lesser of two evils? Everyone is looking to be inspired. More often than not, we have to abandon that wish and choose the candidate that least offends, or the person we think will cause the least amount of damage.
Nick wants the perfect candidate and wants to be inspired? He can get in line. We’re all looking for the same thing.
Yet while my backyard (California) offers little to inspire, this Libertarian Democrat is truly inspired and excited with the new crop of Western libertarian-tinged Democrats. Whether they remain a regional oddity (like the southern Democrat), or whether their brand of liberty-inspired liberalism spreads remains to be seen. There will be many like me who will fight for their increased influence within the Democratic Party caucus. And yes, there will always be conflict between this wing of the Democratic Party and its other wings. It’s a big-tent party, as any two-party system necessarily is. But our brand of libertarianism is ascendant in our party, while the Republican brand of libertarianism has been squashed to a bloody pulp. And to add insult to injury, Republicans continue to pretend they’re something that they’re not (in favor of small government and liberty), assuming that their naked pandering will continue to earn the votes of libertarians they’d rather take for granted.
You aren’t inspired? Identify new leaders to take up your cause. Fight for them. Promote them. Help them win elections. That’s what I’m doing, and it’s certainly something someone like Nick — with a magazine at his disposal — can do. It’s easy to complain that no one inspires. I did that for decades before I decided to build my little soapbox of a blog to advocate for the kind of Democrats I wanted to see elected. And shockingly, I found an eager and motivated audience that sought out the same.
Ultimately, compromises have to be made. There are plenty of Democrats in the caucus that are the polar opposite of what a Libertarian Democrat is all about, that will happily vote for gay marriage bans and violations of our personal and civil liberties. But just as anti-abortion Democrats see their position marginalized in an overwhelmingly pro-choice party, so can authoritarian Democrats be marginalized in a party that grows into a potent force for protecting our personal liberties.
And if this Democratic Party is still too much in favor of a safety net, or too opposed to corporate intrusions into our personal liberties for the tastes of traditional libertarians, then so be it. They can look across the aisle and determine whether the authoritarian and war-obsessed Republicans are any better.
Don’t sit back and expect to be pandered to. Action and results will always trump empty rhetoric.