Earlier this year, Libertarian party presidential candidate and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson filed suit against the Commission on Presidential Debates for excluding him and other third-party candidates from the debates. Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, was arrested outside of one of the debates after attempting to enter the debate hall. Needless to say, members of third-parties are enraged that their candidates are not allowed to debate the Democrat or Republican candidates.
Third-party candidates should not be allowed to debate. No consistent libertarian can succeed in electoral politics and it is a fantasy to believe a multiparty system would somehow benefit those who wish to reduce the state.
Libertarianism advocates for the maximum liberty possible. In the case of speech, libertarians are not only in favor of being allowed to speak, say or think whatever one wishes without restriction by the state, but also believe that people have the liberty not to speak. It follows then that no serious libertarian can demand speech from Mitt Romney or Barrack Obama.
Libertarianism also advocates for the full freedom of association. This is why Libertarians, regardless of their moral view on the subject, believe that the state has no role in defining marriage.
I am sad that too many Libertarians forget this principle of free association when discussing political parties. These Libertarians believe that Republicans and Democrats should be forced to associate with third parties during the debates. Political parties are associations of people with similar political goals; they should not be forced to associate with anyone nor should they be disallowed from associating with others. Johnson should be mocked for trying to use the law to force others to associate with him whilst running as a Libertarian.
Suppose though that the two major parties did want to allow the third parties to join them in the debates. Should we rejoice and see this as the end of the two-party system and the start of a more perfect multiparty system? If you are a Green, then yes, but a Libertarian should be saddened at this.
It is true that this would increase competition between politicians, but we must recall that politicians do not produce anything. They merely redistribute the wealth of others. Competition between politicians then is always about increasing the amount of wealth being redistributed (i.e. increasing taxes) and getting as much of that to one’s constituents.
Libertarians are alone in believing that government should not redistribute the wealth of producers. Democrats and Republicans do not debate whether the state should redistribute. but only in how and to whom it should redistribute. If the Greens managed to win seats in Congress, little would change except in where wealth is being redistributed. In fact, we should expect wealth redistribution to increase as the parties compete with one another.
It is true that libertarian Congressman Ron Paul has had tremendous success in introducing libertarianism to others, but he has had no true success in electoral politics. His “End the Fed” movement has been watered down to “audit the fed.” His success has been in education, and it is still up to debate how successful he has been there. It may be that the liberty movement could gain from having another Paul or two in Congress for the purpose of reaching out to people, but it is less clear that much more can be won in electoral battles.
We should abandon electoral politics to pass a grand reform. We should certainly not strive to create a multiparty system in the hopes of reform.
We should be content that we need only listen to two idiots “debate” one another every four years. Things would hardly be better if we had three or four idiots “debate” instead. The adoption of an elective monarchy should be seriously considered if for no other reason that we might spare ourselves the sound of these idiots to only once or twice in our lifetimes.
– Michelangelo Landgrave is President of the CSUN Libertarian Club, an illegal alien from Mexico, a Whovian and a student of Economics.