Open Letter to Libertarians
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by David Chanley

I have been a Libertarian since I first heard of the Libertarian Party in the mid-1970s. In the past, after elections, the Libertarian Party would celebrate their moral victories. They would say things like, "The Libertarian Party received more than ten times the number of votes per dollar than the major Parties received. By getting more votes per dollar it was indicative of the Libertarians' better management and the people's support of Libertarianism."

Despite spending more money and having more media coverage this past election the Libertarian ticket still only received about one half of one percent of the vote. The Libertarian Party in the past got that much of the vote with much less money and media coverage. We must be honest and not fool ourselves with the spin of those who look at the results through rose-colored glasses. Despite spending more money and getting more media coverage the Libertarian Party has not received a significantly higher percentage of the votes. Next election if the trend continues the Libertarians will receive fewer votes per dollar than the major parties.

Over the years our "votes per dollar" ratio has declined. Today we have fallen back to only getting the same number of votes per dollar as the other major parties. Has our management gotten worse? Do the people no longer support Libertarianism as they used to?

I do not trust Libertarians who are satisfied with the results and moral victories of the Libertarian Party. There have been opportunities to make significant gains. The Libertarian Party has missed all of these opportunities. Those satisfied with the Libertarian Party's campaign results must not recognize the opportunities that have been missed. With the last two elections the Libertarian Party has slipped from third place to fifth place in percent of vote received. How could the Reform Party and the Green Party show up relatively recently and get more votes than the Libertarian Party?

The Reform Party, with the initial money and business management of Ross Perot, can be excused. They capitalized on the dissatisfaction of the electorate. Money, and the appearance of rational management, can explain their acquisition of almost 20% of the vote in their first election. Half the people who voted for Ross Perot the first time went back to the dissatisfaction of the major Parties. They did not vote Libertarian! The Green Party was not even on the ballot in many states yet they still received a higher percentage of the national vote than the Libertarian Party, which was on the ballot in all 50 states.

Should we allow the people who did not recognize, and missed, the opportunities of the past to continue leading us? Should we hold to the same vision that missed the opportunities of the past? Should we continue to be led by the same people who say that we should be satisfied with the same low percentage of the vote, even though we had more money, more media attention, and a more dissatisfied electorate? Should we continue suffering deeper national debt and more interest payments because the Libertarian Party leaders are satisfied with less than one percent of the vote?

Why did the Libertarian Party miss the opportunities of the past elections? Who went to the polling places and talked to the voters? I did! Who discovered why most people were not voting Libertarian even though they knew about us and liked most of the platform? I did! Who is trying to get the Libertarian Party to recognize why the people did not vote Libertarian? I am! Many people knew about the Libertarians and their platform. In fact, 95% of the people in my area who knew of the Libertarians and their platform did not vote Libertarian. Spending more to reach more voters will not appreciably improve our election results!

How come the people who knew about the Libertarians, and their platform, did not vote Libertarian? Here are the reasons:

  1. First, and foremost, they saw the Libertarians as being reckless. They would rather be in a car going the wrong way than in a car driven by a reckless driver. The sudden drastic changes proposed by the Libertarian Party would be too great of a shock. Many of the changes may also not produce the desired, and projected, effect. You should test the waters before you dive into them head-first.
  2. The people have also been brainwashed against drugs. Stick to medical marijuana as a first step. The average voter has a hard time trying to swallow every new idea at once. Only try to take one step at a time. Proposing more of a change than the voter can fathom will not win you his vote.
  3. The "open borders" philosophy also turned away many voters. When campaigning, only tell them what they want to hear. Ignore the rest. How do you think the Republicans and Democrats both could run such expensive campaigns and not say anything? America has always had some form of immigration guidelines going back to the charters of the original colonies. Open, uncontrolled borders will allow a flood of immigration that would not balance out until the standard of living of Americans was as low as that of the rest of the world. Modify the rules as a first step to the ultimate solution. Voters do not believe that the final solution is also the first step in solving the problem.
  4. Utopia does not exist. Voters know utopia does not exist. The philosophical approach to perfection is a pipe dream. It is an illusion that does not exist in the real world. People who argue the philosophical perfection of Libertarian philosophy are telling the average voter that they do not have a clue about how to manage the real world.
  5. Another voter turnoff is the perception of gay rights. The average voter sees gay rights as special dispensations for gays. We should say we do not support special dispensation for anyone. We support liberty and justice for all. Liberty and justice for all include gays and everybody else.

We must stop turning off voters. We must stop missing opportunities. More of the same will only turn off more voters and miss more opportunities. If we ever are going to succeed we must recognize our mistakes, admit our mistakes, and learn from our mistakes. We must not keep repeating our mistakes. To get better we must replace the leaders who are satisfied repeating the same mistakes that we have made in the past.

If we can recognize and learn from our mistakes, then there is hope for the Libertarian Party in the future. If we do not recognize our mistakes, or learn from them, the only hope left will be found in other political parties.

Those people who are satisfied with the progress and presentation of the Libertarian Party are only fooling themselves. They are not fooling me. For the sake of the future do not support politicians who are satisfied with the inadequate results of the past.


This page was last updated 07/02/00 01:50 PM