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An Open Letter To Libertarian Non-Voters

If you’ve not heard of this movement, let me explain. You see, many Libertarians and libertarians (the capital can make all the difference, I’m not just being a joker) are very dissatisfied with both major political parties in the United States. Not surprising, really, and I’m sure many folks of all political stripes are fairly dissatisfied with both parties for all sorts of reasons. But, you see, what sets some Libertarians apart is that they make a big hairy deal out of it and, on-principle, decide to stay home because they don’t like the platform of any of the candidates. They vote by not voting, refusing to lend credence to either party. Now, I suppose I can understand this in theory, but I don’t think it has the same practical effect that they might want. Of course, it’s within your rights to not vote, go right ahead, I can’t make you. But, let me suggest a better way to get libertarian ideals out there: Vote instead.

More importantly, register as one of the major parties and vote in their damn primary. Some states don’t require party registration, but I know many do. Oregon does, but its primary is so late as to not matter. I’d suggest the GOP because it seems more likely to be moved substantially in a libertarian direction by a large enough influx, but if you get organized something similar would work for the Democrats. The reason I suggest the GOP is that the younger elements of the party are already moving that way (Arnold, Guiliani, Franks, Rice, Pataki, &c.), and I think it’d be easy to help push that along more expediently. You see, by doing this, you can get libertarian ideas into government again instead of staying at home and complaining about the state of American politics.

It’s true that there’s not a small government party in the US anymore, and that makes me very sad, but it’s not going to change so long as others like me who believe in small government principles stay at home and let others make decisions. I know it’s very un-libertarian of me to suggest a course of action to others because I think it would be better for them than what they’re doing [and let me emphasize again, are more than welcome to keep doing if they feel like it], but if the goal is smaller government, more individual responsibility, and less involvement of the state in people’s lives, we’re going ot have to make some steps. So dammit, libertarians and Libertarians, go out there and start influencing primaries and local elections, this is the way to win back a small-government platform because it’s obvious that the rest of the population who is, you know, voting every election doesn’t want that. And that’s fine, they can think that, but it’s not my idea of good leadership and I think there are enough non-voting-libertarians out there to have a major effect on the outcome. Maybe I’m wrong, but I just thought I’d let y’all know.

  1. Sho says:

    If the previous comment is in fact comment spam, it’s the strangest one I’ve seen. The link just goes to a Google search for “Trevor.”

    (A Google sponsor ad states that there is “Trevor for sale” on the UK eBay site.)

  2. Trevor says:

    Happy Halloween – love Trev.

  3. Olly says:

    I wish you’d stop spreading these scurrilous rumours.

  4. Timothy says:

    Olly: It’s not my fault you’re a felon…I told you to stay away from the chicken in the clown suit, but did you listen? No, so you shouldn’t come crying to me when it all ends in pain.

  5. Olly says:

    Tim, you’re right. On the other hand, complaining is so much fun! Who was it that said “Withdrawal in disgust is not the same as apathy”? Or “Those who vote have no excuse for complaining”? It’s hard to argue with a zippy one-liner.

    I’m a non-voter for reasons other than mere disillusionment, but I think I’d probably end up going for the lesser of two evils were I in a position to do so. Of course, Tim, you and I disagree on who the lesser of two evils is.

  6. Thanks Timothy for the passionate commentary. I think you make a very strong argument that voting being uninvolved makes less of a statement that being involved. I haven’t had much exposure to Libertarian ideology so your description is enlightening for me. I wrote a few days ago about the detrimental effect of not voting for those that have an opinion, but don’t believe in the election or in their affect on the election. The critical point I was trying to make is that IF you have an opinion on the outcome and COULD vote, then NOT voting is equivalent to casting half a vote for the opposite position. I can see that this may be particularly relevant to libertarians as your entry points out what strong opinions and ideology many of them must have. Thanks again.

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