Last Saturday I was the luncheon speaker at the Libertarian Party’s national convention. You had to be a Gold or Silver ticket holder to get in, so my talk wasn’t addressed to the entire convention. But there were hundreds in the room.
I noted a few things:
- We don’t take a little from the left and a little from the right. Our ideas come from libertarian first principles. We are neither wannabe conservatives nor wannabe liberals.
- We are certainly not “fiscally conservative and socially liberal.” That sleep-inducing formula that only a think-tank president could love is an insult to the libertarian tradition.
- It’s wrong to position ourselves as people who play the game 30% differently from Democrats and Republicans. We don’t play that game, period.
- We aren’t just people who’d like less government (who wouldn’t?), or who approve of the present system but who just want it smaller.
- Ann Coulter was right: libertarians are pansies (she used a different word). They can’t say enough about legalizing pot, a position that won’t exactly get them in hot water with the New York Times. But freedom of association? The chic libertarian think-tanks and magazines can’t run away from that one fast enough.
There’s a lot more in the talk, but that’s a start.
I did catch the last portion of the presidential debate. Not blown away by anyone’s performance, but I could not get over how lackluster Gary Johnson was.
I can already hear the outrage. “Woods, you’re a perfectionist! You wouldn’t vote for anyone who isn’t Rothbard incarnate!”
I can’t have an intelligent conversation with someone who argues like that. My point is: why are people so gung-ho about such a dull, ponderous, and unimpressive guy?
Where is his intellectual curiosity? Where is his growth since last time? Where is his knowledge of libertarian ideas?
Oh, Woods, we don’t need your scholarly nagging. We need a man of action!
So it’s all right that when asked if the U.S. should have entered the world wars, his answer was “I don’t know”?
His supporters cheered, by the way. At least he didn’t lie to us, they said.
Can’t we have slightly higher standards than that?
He would have signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, he said in a one-word answer. Governor Johnson, you have time left. Would you like to explain your answer?
Can you think of a time when Ron Paul, who was all about ideas, didn’t jump at the chance to elaborate on an answer?
Governor Johnson, 83% of law professors are Democrats. Can you think of any potential problems that might cause?
He couldn’t think of one.
How deep is this guy’s understanding of what we are facing?
There’s a lot more where that came from, and I have a lot more to say about it. I’ll say it in tomorrow’s episode.
For now, here’s what I told the convention: