Monday, March 30, 2015

Should Libertarian Party members support Rand Paul?

Should members of the Libertarian Party support Rand Paul this election season?  It’s a question making its rounds among Libertarians and libertarian Republicans.  The answer to that question depends on a person’s conscience.

If you want an answer from me, folks, I’d say yes.  It’s my opinion that Libertarians should stand with our brothers and sisters in the Republican Liberty Caucus, for the simple reason that Rand Paul’s message will advance the libertarian cause.  For me, this is above Party loyalty—I left the Republican Party because “Party loyalty” doesn’t fly with me.

Not everybody in the LP will agrees with me on this, and I’m at peace with that.  I understand the Party will run its own presidential candidate or risk irreparable weakness of the organization.  Party members and other alienated voters will vote for that candidate, and they have every right to do so.

My personal strategy walks the line between the LP and RLC. I’ve been a dues-paying LP member since March of 2014, but I’m still registered to vote as a Republican.  I’ll hold onto my GOP registration (and hold my nose in the meantime) so I can vote for Rand in the primary election.  The minute my vote is cast, I’m changing my voter registration to Libertarian.

Regardless of Rand making it to the general election (God willing he does), I’m changing my registration the minute my primary vote is cast or the minute he ceases to be a presidential candidate—whichever comes first.

Yes, I understand that Rand Paul is not libertarian.  He never claimed to be—we just wanted him to be.  But his old-school brand of Goldwater conservatism contains enough libertarianism that his presidential candidacy would be an asset to the liberty movement.

Who else filibustered for 13 hours over the government assassinating American citizens?  Who keeps introducing Audit the Fed into the Senate?  How many ranking Republicans have been saying that national defense probably shouldn’t involve going to war just for the hell of it?

Even his most recent stunt calling for increased defense spending, paired with budget cuts of equal weight, was a successful effort to troll neoconservatives into looking like the liberal spenders they really are.

By the end of his campaigning, more Americans will be “conservatarian,” guaranteed.  Making people less neoconservative and more conservatarian is not a failure to make them libertarian.

I, Zach Foster, never would have become libertarian or a student of Murray Rothbard if it wasn’t for the breathing room I had being a conservatarian in my transition away from being a young neocon.

Not everyone who votes for Rand Paul will be libertarian.  I understand that.  Rand will have to look more and more Republican as Super Tuesday draws near.  I understand that, too.  He has to play the game, and is playing it a lot better than his father did.

Some neocons turned paleoconservative will require more time to become conservatarian, and still more time to become full-out libertarian, but every step forward is one step closer to a freer society.

I believe that more people will be libertarian after Rand Paul’s candidacy.  Many Party members will join me in campaigning for Rand, and I think that’s wonderful.

Other LP members have no room for Republicans in their vision of the ideal liberty movement.  There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as they work on building up the Libertarian Party instead of tearing down libertarian Republicans.

For me, the Rand Paul campaign is about living free by helping others to see that they have an equal right to live free and can’t terminate my right to do the same.


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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Urgent Message to Rand Paul Supporters

Brothers and sisters in liberty,

This will be one hell of a tough 19 months between now and November 2016.  If you thought the 2012 elections were a nightmare, you'll want to back out of this now.

But I don't think any of you will back out.  Many of you reading this stood shoulder to shoulder with me across the country in 2011 and 2012.  There are even more of you nearly 4 years later.  You're all men and women of iron.

Rand Paul hasn't formally declared his candidacy yet, but we all know the smooth game he's playing.

If we've learned anything from the last go-round for Ron Paul, we've learned that our collective behavior can attach itself to our candidate and affect public perceptions of him or her.

There are going to be quite a few Democrats and Republicans with ego-maniacal complexes trying to be POTUS, and the media will love some and hate others.  Fox News has been kind to Rand Paul, but maybe we've just been lucky so far.  The left is already being conditioned to hate him, so you'd best believe our work's cut out for us.

I'll say this the best way I know how: DON'T GET CAUGHT UP IN DRAMA.  Let the other campaigns tear each other apart.

Remember that people support certain candidates because they need that deep-down confirmation that their worldview right, that they're making good decisions with their lives, and everybody else is simply wrong.  DON'T TAKE THAT AWAY FROM THEM.  It's just too cruel.

Instead of telling them why they're "wrong" and we're "right," explain why the grass would be greener under President Paul than under President Cruz, or whomever they support.

Remember, both Ron and Rand Paul campaigned to get Ted Cruz in office.  So let's not all of a sudden act like Senator Cruz is the devil incarnate.

We need to politely RESPECT people who support other candidates.  I won't be telling anyone why their candidate is bad, just why I think my candidate is better.

The truth doesn't need apologists or public relations agents.  If we conduct ourselves as proper libertarians and conservatives, we'll respect the worldviews of those who agree with us.  We'll treat those people with respect and kindness.  We'll discuss instead of debate.

Judd Weiss said it best: If we're sharing the TRUTH with people, we need to do so with respect, kindness, and courtesy.  If we attack people with the truth, even verbally bullying them, then those people's automatic reactions will be to DEFEND themselves against the truth.  They'll shut us out.

So don't give people a hard time for supporting the candidate they do.  Instead of bashing their guy, remind them that there's plenty of room for them in the Rand camp.

Instead of the public remembering us libertarians as jerks and trolls, let them remember us as respectful, intelligent people who demonstrate strong character and high integrity.  These are the qualities in politics that people most desire.

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Rand Paul 2016 banner courtesy of the Rand-Paul-4-President Tumblr blog.  Rand Paul and Ted Cruz photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore and obtained from Wikimedia Commons.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Overcoming the Myth of a Divided Libertarian Party

I'm keeping up on current [California] bylaws shenanigans to the best of my ability so I can be a well informed Libertarian Party member and a worthy ambassador between the Party and the general public.

I'm aware of several "faction wars" in the LP, but  I whole-heartedly REJECT this narrative. Every one of these "faction wars" boils down to personality conflicts, and most of those are between people I like!

There are lots of different dreams and ambitions for how wonderful the LP could be.  Frankly, if you're really libertarian about it, there's room for all of it.

My focus is on being one kickass libertarian who maintains positivity and knows that there's room for lots of people and projects in our Party.  We NEED the shirt-and-tie people just like we need the tye-dye crowd. Compromises are possible without torpedoing the Party or its operations.

Every time I walk into a room full of LP members, I know that all of us agree on more than 90% of the issues and philosophies we hold dearest.  That's all I need to know, and the rest is small change.

From now on, the only narrative I'll engage is one of a Party united. We are all Libertarian.