Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The key word is "principled"

The Libertarian Party Radical Caucus's Key Point #3:

Principled Populism -- The Libertarian Party should be a mass-participation party operating in the electoral arena and elsewhere, devoted to consistent libertarian principle, and committed to liberty and justice for all. The Libertarian Party should trust in and rely on individuals to welcome a program of liberty and justice and should always aim to convince people of the soundness of libertarian principles. Simply repeating our basic principles and not proposing transition measures is ineffective in the short run because only a small part of the populace is interested in liberty in the abstract, and hiding or abandoning our principled positions is ineffective in the long run because it fails to sustain us as a movement and attract and retain new Libertarians.

As the economic crisis continues to develop in a way that calls for -- nay, demands -- a "principled populist" approach, it's worth pausing for a moment to mourn the monstrous screwups of the last year or so with respect to the premise.

First the Paul campaign got publicly pantsed over Paul's previous Rothbard/Rockwell-inspired attempts to hook into the "populist" racist right.

Then the Libertarian Party nominated Bob Barr, a candidate whose admirers, for the love of Pete, are now tagging him with a "populist" label ... and attaching the other end of that label to George Wallace.

Principled populism pits the productive class against the political class, the awakening masses against the power elites -- not the white middle class against the black underclass or some mythical proud parochialism against some equally mythical indiscrete cosmopolitanism.

To put it a different way, any "principled populism" of a libertarian variety is going to have to weigh on the left, not the right, side of the political dichotomy as traditionally understood if it's going to be successful or if success is even to be a meaningful term with respect to libertarian goals.

The mission of the libertarian movement is not to make the world safe for a return to Jim Crow or the maintenance of marriage apartheid by shilling for "states' rights."

The mission of the libertarian movement is to win freedom for people. In America, that means from sea to shining sea, brother ... and for those of you who want to export it, more power to you once we have it to export. You'll know we're there when you buy the bayonets you're so eager to see the revolution carried abroad on with a voluntary subscription check instead of a mandatory tax return.

Make no mistake about it: The economic defecation is in a state of intersection with the oscillating political blades. We've already seen how "right-wing populism" fares against New Dealism. "Right-wing populism" = fail. The only way -- if there is one -- to beat Franklin Delano OBushma in the upcoming fight will be to hit him, and hard, from the left.

On the political side, key tactics might include things like agitating for repudiation of US government debt to other governments and central banks (as well as banning deficit spending), revoking corporate "personhood" and state-granted liability evasion, etc. On the anti-political side, cultivating the emergence of gray and black markets, barter and alternative currency schemes, etc. can loosen the political class's grip on the economy's throat.

It's time and past time for libertarians to seize the populist hammer -- we're the only ones rightly entitled to wield it in any case -- from the Dixiecrat pretenders and start smashing the state with it.

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