Friday, April 8, 2011

Can't we all just not get along?

I was watching a recent episode of "Stossel" where he and CATO's David Boaz joined a meeting of college libertarians to speak about liberty and politics. For most of the show, Stossel proposed a topic, and then students asked questions of him and Boaz.

It is said that getting libertarians to agree is like herding cats. At a recent US Libertarian Party convention, former LP presidential candidate Michael Badnarik gave a speech urging his fellow libertarians to stop arguing with one another over the few things they disagree about, and to work together towards defeating the candidates with whom libertarians have much to disagree about.

I like Michael Badnarik, but I just couldn't disagree with him more. I think that the one advantage we libertarians have over people of other political persuasions is that we are grounded in philosophy. We're consistent from issue to issue, where other groups and parties waver, compromise, contradict. In the old days, "liberals" were people who believed in private property, individual liberty and limited government. Nowadays, that description could only be applied to liberals if it were printed in MAD Magazine or The Onion. I don't want that to happen to the term 'libertarian'. I want us to continue to force the issues on which we disagree and to pursue a more perfect philosophy that can convince us all to finally agree with one another. The same way libertarians believe that competition in industry produces the best outcomes for production, we ought to believe that the same is true in the realm of intellectualism.

So, if I had been at the microphone to ask a question of the two noted libertarians on stage I would have asked, "Am I crazy, or should we not continue the bickering and in-fighting in order to preserve our intellectual integrity and philosophical superiority over opposing political groups?"