By John Hargenrader and Tim Keirnan
The elements of the Libertarian Party platform have been well-established since it was founded in 1971. Our guiding principles of individual liberty, personal responsibility, economic freedom, property rights, and non-intervention in other countries’ conflicts have gained traction in the mainstream of political awareness.
As candidates from other parties and grass-roots issue groups claim to have become concerned about our government’s erosion of our constitutional liberties, they have incorporated some of the ideals of libertarianism to rally the masses. Some even use the word “libertarian” as a buzzword to gain Libertarian voter support at the polls, but all too often then fail to advance those Libertarian principles if they are elected—the old “bait and switch” game. The phrase “libertarian leanings” is often mis-appropriated by candidates from other parties to position their political message campaigns, normally aimed at aiding the same old party candidates and special interests who got us into our current mess. They are NOT Libertarians unless their actions align with the Libertarian Party platform and their support falls upon registered Libertarian candidates running for public office.
For candidates to describe themselves as “libertarian leaning”, I think their “leaning” should include their name being listed on the Libertarian ticket, not the opposition’s ticket. There is nothing less dignified than borrowing someone else’s identity. Identity theft of libertarianism is the most common form of political plagiarism today. There is nothing more distressing to musicians than for their music to be misappropriated to sell products or even a political message they do not advocate. Libertarians have similar concerns.
There is unique value in being a Libertarian party member. To be nominated to run as a Libertarian candidate is an honor. There is a commitment by Libertarian candidates that is not taken lightly that party affiliation has longevity, and is not used for temporary political convenience. We are not a homogeneous group, nor seek to be by defining what is right for one or for all of society. This excerpt from the preamble of the Libertarian Platform sums it up best:
“We hold that all individuals have the right to exercise sole dominion over their own lives, and have the right to live in whatever manner they choose, so long as they do not forcibly interfere with the equal right of others to live in whatever manner they choose.
Further we maintain that no government, political party or any societal group ever has the right to impede those individual freedoms by statute, force, taxation, coercion, marginalization or oppression.
For those who value the Bill of Rights, and believe they are to be applied broadly, you are commended for being a libertarian free thinker. If you support libertarianism as a guiding philosophy for fixing our local, state, and national problems of egregious debt, perpetual wars, eroding civil liberties, and increasing taxation, please vote for the real Libertarians on your ballot– not the imposters.
As Libertarians, we are different from all other political parties big and small. We acknowledge that individuals have unique preferences and paradigms from culture, environment, family upbringing, personal desires, and life experience. The desire to respect our neighbors’ differences and live free in our personal and economic lives not only gives us peace of mind, but also makes us lively debaters, and a most entertaining crowd to socialize with. We openly invite those who lean libertarian, or who are just curious, to please come and see for yourselves. Join us at a local Libertarian Party social meeting where you can be heard and make a difference.