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Liberty Revealed Episode 13 Show Summary
Mike makes the case for why he sees the Libertarian Party as more of a political cult than anything else.
Listen to Liberty Revealed Episode 13
Liberty Revealed Episode 13 Show Notes
Welcome back to another episode of Liberty Revealed with me, your host, Mike Mahony.
Today I want to talk to you about a realization I’ve had. In recent episodes, we discussed the leadership issues I see with Libertarians. Today's topic is an extension of that topic. Today I ask the question “Is the Libertarian Party just a big political cult?” Allow me to delve into this so you can understand where I am coming from.
To my way of thinking, the purpose of a political party should be to get candidates into office who mostly agree with the party’s ideology. The goal shouldn’t be to find someone who matches our particular personal ideology. I don’t believe any one person agrees completely with the party they belong to. Show me a Democrat, Republican or Libertarian who claim to agree 100% with their party and I will show you a liar.
There are many reasons people choose to belong to a particular party. If you have a litmus test for them that involves them agreeing completely with you on the issues, you’re litmus test is flawed. You should be seeking people who mostly agree with you.
Recently I was told that I do not sound the least bit Libertarian. The person telling me this has some extreme views. His proclamation came during a discussion we had about immigration and who has the right to make laws regarding immigration. Now, in the past I’ve had discussions with members of religious cults. The approach they use is to appear o sources sympathetic to their cause while ignoring very clear evidence to the contrary. In fact, they prefer the sympathetic source to the documents that created their religion in the first place (ie. The Bible as one example).
The Libertarian I was discussing immigration with did this very thing. He did not approach the discussion with the attitude that he was going to listen to what I said. His goal was to convince me I was wrong. Despite my presenting him with text from the Constitution, Declaration of Independence and Articles of Confederation, he preferred to stick to writings that were sympathetic to his position. I’m not sure about you, but when I see the original of a document and I read it and later I see an interpretation of that document that ignores the actual text, I am skeptical. To me the original document contains the most correct ideas. This is part of the science of hermeneutics. By breaking down a long text and looking at all the places it addresses a subject, one can come to a solid interpretation by seeing what the most clear portion of the text says on an issue.
As an example, if I release a book about marketing and I mention social media 25 times and in one of those mentions I say social media is a tough place to market and the other 24 times I make it clear that I love social media for marketing, you, the reader must interpret my meaning with the most consistent commentary. Perhaps I mean social media marketing is tough because it requires patience? However, clearly I’ve said you should use social media for marketing purposes. The point is you interpret the weaker or less transparent issues in light of the more clear issues.
When you approach a text in this manner you won’t be mislead by the alternate interpretations of others. We, as humans, love to listen to those who agree with us. This is the exact reason I despise people who go on social media and block anyone who disagrees with them. It creates a dangerous side effect of not hearing what the other side is saying.
This brings me back to my discussion with the Libertarian friend. He had chosen to listen to the interpretations of others. Perhaps those interpretations made the most sense to him. Meanwhile, he labeled me as “not very Libertarian sounding” because I held a different opinion.
Religious cults will tell you they are the only true religion. They are quite dogmatic about the issues. The same can be said for many Libertarians. Rather than work hard to get a Libertarian elected, they would rather argue about who currently has the right to pass immigration laws. Thy prefer to dissect every issue and make an attempt to get everyone to agree with their opinion on the issues. Until this stops, the Libertarian Party will never be more than just a political cult.
Michael Lind wrote an article called “The Question Libertarians Can’t Answer” in which he asked why there are no Libertarian countries if it is a viable system. In his follow up article, “Libertarians: Still a Cult”, he States:
“The weak logic and bad scholarship that suffuse libertarian responses to my article tend to reinforce me in my view that, if they were not paid so well to churn out anti-government propaganda by plutocrats like the Koch brothers and various self-interested corporations, libertarians would play no greater role in public debate than do the followers of Lyndon LaRouche or L. Ron Hubbard.”
While I partially agree, I see solutions to this problem. The solutions lie within the party itself.
We Libertarians need to stop the dogmatic approach and be willing to compromise to get elected. The numbers prove this. There are 5,411 lower house seats in the United States. The Libertarians hold just 3 of those seats. There are 1,972 upper house seats in the country. The Libertarians hold 1. As of this year there are exactly 174 Libertarians holding any sort of office. The story comes into greater focus upon hearing these numbers.
We Libertarians need to stop with litmus tests. If you meet a Libertarian candidate who you think isn’t “Libertarian enough” ask them questions. It is quite possible you’ve misinterpreted their words. Give them the courtesy of allowing a response to any questions you have. Only make up your mind about them Ayer hearing the answers they give.
We Libertarians need a system of candidate support in place to help Libertarians get elected. We fail to donate financially to campaigns. We don’t volunteer for campaigns. We prefer to debate small issues rather than working together to get our candidates elected. With no system of support in place, Libertarian candidates are on their own against both Democrats and Republicans who have a massive localized presence to help their candidates.
These are my own personal thoughts after meeting many Libertarians while on the campaign trail. I feel that we will not be taken seriously until we stop acting like a political cult. We have to be willing to work with other members of society in ways they are comfortable as well. Until we realize this we are going to have a hard time winning elections.
I recently saw a comment that all campaigns need name recognition, a message, and a plan. The person making this comment stated he has yet to see a Libertarian candidate who had more than 2 of those 3 items. I feel that the message and plan need to resonate with the public or they won’t vote for you no matter how much name recognition you garner.
My advice to aspiring Libertarian candidates is as follows:
- Understand the district you are running in (the issues, the unique economic situation, small issues, etc.)
- Speak to as many constituents as possible before you run.
- Craft a message that addresses the concerns of the constituents, yet holds true to your own ideology.
- Lead by example (meaning get out there and do things for your community)
- Document (via photos and video) what you are doing to be a productive member of the community.
Let’s stop acting like a cult and start acting like a force to be reckoned with.
That’s all for today’s episode. .If you like what you’ve heard, please rate us 5 stars on Apple Podcasts and Google Play. If you’d like to learn more about personal liberty, grab your free copy of my book “Liberty Revealed” by heading over to http://yogispodcastnetwork.com/libertyrevealed. Until next time…stay free!