Thursday, October 25, 2007

Have the libertarians gone loon?

The swerve to Ron Paul, who attracts genuine, principled followers, also rests on the likes of extremists who call into question events surronding 9/11. It also calls into question some oddball attractions. Barry Manilow is a Ron Paul man -- contibuting a small but tidy sum that's largely based on the Texas Congressman's opposition to the Iraq War. I wonder what the sonorous liberal thinks of Paul's strict constitutionalism. The eminent blogger, Steve Green will have none of this anymore. He's now a former card-carrying member of the Libertarian Party (I know Paul who ran in 1988 as a LPer is now a Republican candidate for President. But what's the difference. There's now talk about Paul running as the LP candidate next year.
In 2000, I changed my party registration back to Republican for one reason, and one good Libertarian reason only: To vote against John McCain (and his statist threats of campaign finance reform) in the primary. I fully intended to switch back before the next general election.

Then we all woke up one morning to learn that airliners had crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and into the wooded hills of Pennsylvania. “Well, here’s a war even a good Libertarian like me can support.” We’d been attacked, directly, and we knew who the culprits were and where their protectors and sponsors were. We would go after them with such righteous fury that no one would dare strike New York City ever again.

Boy, was I wrong.

The angry folks at Liberty were mad at most everybody but Islamic terrorists. One even went so far as to denounce the Afghan War as “racist.” It was all imperialism this, and blowback that, and without a care in the world for protecting American lives, commerce, or, well, liberty. Then Postrel turned over Reason to Nick Gillespie, who seemed more interested in presenting libertarianism as something hip, arch, fun — and ultimately unserious. Such should have been no surprise, coming from the former editor of a magazine called Suck.

I felt abandoned, betrayed, by my comrades. By my former comrades.

If Libertarians couldn’t agree about the clear-cut case for war in Afghanistan, you can imagine how Iraq must have divided us. I had to stop reading Liberty months before my subscription finally, mercifully, ran out. Blogger friends of mine stopped emailing me. Ron Paul, whose name once graced the back of my first car, started sounding to me, less like a principled defender of American liberty, and more like a suited-up reject from the Summer of Love.

I stopped voting Libertarian for local candidates, leaving lots of blanks on my ballot. Next year, I’m not sure which party I’ll support for President, much less which candidate. From here, it looks as if the Republicans have become wrong and corrupt, the Democrats are stupid and corrupt, and the Libertarians have gone plain crazy.

It was easy tearing up my LP membership card. It’s quite a bit harder to find something to replace it. But I know this much: There’s no going back. Maybe there’s just too little room for principle in such a violent world.

Then again, maybe leaving the Libertarians is like leaving the mob. Somewhere in the back of my mind there are echoes of Al Pacino. “Just when I thought that I was out, they pull me back in!”

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