Is political activism a total waste of time in today’s context, or is there something that reasonable, liberty-loving, reality-oriented people can do that might actually make a difference in the political realm?
Minor-party politics in today’s context is a total waste of time. You’d be better off doing practically anything else than squandering resources on minor-party activism.
So what is my alternative? First, let me point out that political activism is not a mandatory activity. It’s far more important to educate people about individual rights and free markets than to engage in partisan politics. That said, I do think it’s possible to accomplish real and significant political goals and to use party politics as an educational tool.
I loathe today’s Republican Party—which is why I’ve recently rejoined it. I am sick and tired of theocratic conservatives and immigrant-hating, anti-market nativists ruining what used to be the party of Lincoln.
A big part of why the GOP has degenerated in recent decades is that many liberty advocates have abandoned it. Some joined the Libertarian Party (as I did), which is worse than useless, and some left politics altogether.
In today’s context, I think there’s really only one feasible political strategy for moving the country in a freer direction: Rejoin the Republican Party and turn it into the party of individual rights and free markets. No, this is not an easy task. But do not offer as an “alternative” a pie-in-the-sky fantasy that cannot possibly work (such as starting a new party without any resources or support by major political figures). There is no silver bullet. There is only hard work and countless hours of advocacy.
The alternative to my approach is to do nothing—or worse, to do nothing while pretending to do something. We are past the point in this country when self-delusion is an excusable political stance. We need to get serious, and we need to get serious now.
What I now call myself, having recently rejoined the Republican Party, is a “Reason and Rights Republican.” I think that name aptly captures the essentials of my political position. I hope you will join me. We’ve got work to do.
May 27, 2016, Update: Originally, before the phrase “minor party politics,” I had included the sentence, “Recently I’ve been made aware of the so-called American Capitalist Party, which, so far as I can tell, is like the Libertarian Party in purpose except even more hopelessly inept and inconsequential.” I included this note at bottom: “I’m aware that the Capitalist Party has a different ideological stance than the Libertarian Party, but the purpose is the same in terms of its basic political strategy of trying to create an alternative to the GOP.” But I was wrong in my characterization of this effort. Through Twitter exchanges with one of its cofounders (Mark Pellegrino), I gleaned that it’s more like a “model party,” not with the purpose of running candidates or drawing liberty activists out of the Republican Party (at least at this point), but of helping to educate people about the nature of capitalism. That’s an effort I can totally get behind; read about it online.
See also my follow-up articles “Why Liberty Advocates Should Join the Republican Party, Not Abandon It, Despite Trump” and “When and How to Be a Political Activist for Liberty.”
Image: Bernard Dupont