The Libertarian Party suffers the stigma of consisting of people wearing tin foil hats and believing aliens shot JFK. This is a tough and inaccurate image to overcome. In fact, many people say this hurdle is insurmountable; that the United States will never have a third party become a major player in politics. Luckily for us, this is not the case.
The Republican Party was a minor third party until Abraham Lincoln brought it into the spotlight. As an aside, if I were Republican the idea of Lincoln as the grandfather of my party would be rather depressing. The point is that even minor parties can become major players when the mainstream ignores the populace. This is obviously the point at which we are today but the question remains why most people seem to simply remove themselves from politics rather than align themselves in a contrary position? I believe the answer lies with organization.
If you were to poll Americans purely by issue while leaving political identification completely out, you would likely find that a majority of Americans agree most completely with the Libertarian Party. The most important philosophy of the Libertarian Party is that of individualism. In essence, all individuals hold sovereign rights in day to day life and we should rarely be affected by governmental decree. Logically, a coexistent theme with individualism is limited central authority. This limited authority is both a boon and a bane to the Libertarian Party.
Coming back to our question, we find that the Libertarian Party experiences such a low percentage of the popular vote for a few key reasons. First, the organization is extremely loose and conflicting throughout various regions. This lack of organization gives the appearance of illegitimacy and inferiority. Second, there exists a fallacious theory of “throwing away” votes. The idea is that a vote for a third party is a vote for your “opponent” or not a vote at all. This is an idea promoted by the established parties (Demoblicans) due to the fact that it ultimately helps their position. Lastly, there are many people to whom the political process is a failure and simply refuse to participate.
In regards to the latter two, if the vast majority of Americans actually troubled themselves to vote and then to vote authentically for the candidate most agreeable as opposed to the “safe” candidate, the Libertarian Party would almost immediately become an enormously powerful and popular party. The problem ultimately comes down to encouraging people to vote honestly. Which brings us back to the first problem.
There are countless organizations throughout America which espouse the same – or extremely similar – views and end goals. A common goal of all these groups is to limit the power and scope of an encroaching government. It is in the interest of all these associations to collude in some strategic manner in order to educate, persuade, and organize the masses into a powerful party. It is up to us all to spread the fires of liberty, whichever its form or organization, to all of our friends and colleagues. The following is a short list of the most important associations which have influenced me and which I heartily recommend to all lovers of liberty.