Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A strange encounter in Denver.

A strange encounter took place at the LP convention that I wanted to mention. My impression of the Reform Caucus has not been very high. I was sympathetic with some efforts to reform how libertarian ideas are presented. I am not sympathetic with the presentation of non-libertarian ideas no matter how successful that may be. Nor am I sympathetic with any libertarian who explicitly endorses measures which expand the role of the state or diminish individual liberty in any way.

My impression from Denver was that a lot of the so-called “Reformers” were merely Republicans wanting to strip away anything that was likely to offend conservatives. They weren’t trying to change how libertarian ideas were presented but trying to replace libertarian views with conservative ones.

But I assumed they were basically Republican-lite types, anxious to be no more radical than a moderately conservative GOP congressman. And that is why my discussion with the individual who was running the Reform Caucus booth was such a surprise.

As we chatted, rather amiably I should add, he revealed that he is not just a member of the Libertarian Party but also a member of the extremist Constitution Party. This party is openly theocratic. He claims that some of them are working to make it less so for the same reasons that they wish to make the LP less libertarian.

For sometime I have seen various comments on different sites by certain activists pushing the idea of a merger between these two parties. And when Stephen Gordon, the sleazy manipulator for Bob Barr within the LP, opened his “Third Party Watch” site it was heavy with coverage of the Constitution Party. Certain paleolibertarian sites have also been pushing the Constitution Party.

Exactly how would such a merger be possible? Each party would have to abandon what makes it unique. The Constitutionalists would have to abandon their theocratic tendencies and the Libertarians would have to abandon their social liberalism. They could keep their free market tendencies and their non-interventionism. But the LP would have to cease being libertarian. What this would mean is that the LP would be converted into a paleoconservative party.

I don’t think the Reformers and the paleolibertarians are necessarily working in concert. Nor do I think they necessarily share one another’s goals. Certainly some Reformers would be horrified by the Barr/Root ticket as would some paleolibertarians. But as I see it, as the Reformers have removed the “radical” planks they disliked from the platform, they have made it easier and easier for the radical Right to stage precisely the sort of coup that was witnessed in Denver.