Libertarian Party (United States)

From Mises Wiki, the global repository of classical-liberal thought
Jump to: navigation, search

The United States Libertarian Party is a minor political party in the United States. It was founded in 1971 in Colorado.[citation needed]


Murray Rothbard said at the the first convention of the party:[1]

A political party, as everyone concedes, can educate a public who will only listen to political ideas during an electoral campaign: and it will be aided in this by the equal time that the media grant to political candidates. But public education is only one of the vital functions that a Libertarian Partv can perfrom. It can eventually have real political influence, and even elect people to office. Only one or two congressman, for example, could have great political influence and leverage by serving as a ginger group, a vanguard for the repeal of oppressive legislation, the whittling down of crippling taxes, and for the general rollback of the State apparatus. We can organize mass public pressure from below against State tyranny.

For we must ask ourselves the vital question: how else can we roll back the oppressive State apparatus? How else can we repeal despotic laws and crippling taxes? How else than by pressuring the legislature to repeal them, and what better way than by electing persons dedicated to such repeal? To pressure Congress from below, to lobby, is fine, but scarcely enough. What better organizer of State-rollback than people who are part of a functioning, growing, and dedicated Libertarian Party?

The vital point is that our anti-Party libertarians can offer no alternative solution to the problem of repealing and rolling back the State. Libertarian education is great, but scarcely enough; we cannot place any strategic reliance on our rulers reading our books and pamphlets and then saying: "By God, they're right. I resign." Violent revolution, as the New Left demonstrated, is absurd in the American context. Mass civil disobedience, as in the case of Prohibition, is great, but is historically only sporadic and fitful; besides, even repeal of Prohibition required Congressmen willing to vote to end the horrors of Prohibition — a vote that would have been greatly speeded up by some Libertarians in their midst.

The main short-term goal of the U.S. LP has generally been to launch educational electoral campaigns. Lew Rockwell argued, "Many good people have run for office, and many activists have performed heroically. The problems for the LP come about when the people running the party begin to think of themselves as vying for power as versus being an educational organization that uses the structure of elections as a venue."[2] Rockwell described the party's platform in 2006 as "tiny, vague, rhetorically slippery, accommodating, friendlier to the state, and non-threatening to mainstream opinion."[3]

The pary's platform at one time took neither an anarchist nor minarchist stance, but the Party has since embraced an explicitly minarchist stance.[citation needed]


There is a radical faction within the libertarian party that pushes for what Murray Rothbard called "plumb-line libertarianism."[4] The LPRadicals caucus holds, "Our language should inspire by reflecting our goals, not the compromises we may have to accept on the way to gaining them."[5]


External links