The Libertarian Party: Cause for Hope or Trojan Horse?
Three Views: Toole, Samuel Edward Konkin III, and Edward H. Crane III
Invaders from the State
By Samuel Edward Konkin III
The Libertarian Party is the vehicle of an invasion from the State into the ranks of the libertarian movement. Its defenders, true to the State’s need for mysticism and contradiction, cry the LP is the practical strategy for obtaining the free society; failing that, it is another tactic, to be tried and tested with other tactics; failing that, it is an educational tool, to lure converts as a step to hardcore counter-economic activism.
The LP is None of the Above. It is a vicious instrument of the State. For libertarians, it is immoral, impractical, uneconomic, strategically unsound, and praxeologically debilitating.
The foundation of statism is deliberate mysticism, calculated to gain the acquiescence of the oppressed or “the sanction of the victim.” In order, to obtain this “authority,” or legitimization of immoral actions, it creates meaningless forms to bedazzle the masses—big juju! Such was the divine rule of kings, such was nationalism, such were the emperors and czars restoring the dead glory of Rome. Such, too,is the game of democracy. The rule is to withhold violence but jockey for the use of acceptable, legitimized violence. Those who disputed over the reins of power were called, in Hanoverian England, parties to the dispute.
A political party, then, is a collective whose overriding purpose and reason for being is to seize control of the State for plunder and coercion for its cause. (Restraint of short-term plunder—liberalism—is one possibility.) All claims to the contrary are buncombe and cant.
A “Libertarian Party” is a pure contradiction—if libertarian means anticoercion and thus anti-State. Those who openly join it proclaim their allegiance to a “secret gang of murderers and thieves”—dropping the secrecy. And so proclaim themselves immoral.
Most North Americans have an inarticulate understanding that politics is a nauseating power grab. Five out of every eight eligible rejected their vote in 1974, preferring not to soil themselves in the game. These people respond positively to an image of libertarianism as a vehicle to a Society Without Politics, and they get confused by and hostile to urgings to register and vote for a position that believes in neither registration nor voting.
Moreover, many voters are browbeaten and intimidated into voting by State-enforced propaganda laying unwarranted guilt trips on the reluctant voter. The same pleas as justify conscription are heard: “Duty! Honor! Country! Save Democracy!” An attack upon this cant relieves such people and causes them to look favorably on the movement not requiring such petty self-sacrifice.
The LP turns away the vast majority hungering for a consistent libertarian position. It is thus an exceedingly potent, practical weapon—for the State!
Hundreds of thousands of dollars are wasted by libertarians who donate time and treasure to the bloated coffers of the LP. Not even Nelson Rockefeller could afford the lavish $6.50 per vote squandered by the Tuccille for Governor Campaign of New York’s Free Libertarian Party in 1974. And Rockefeller hires his campaign workers.
As a shining example of market efficiency, the Libertarian Party is a great argument for bureaucracy.
The last stand of LP defenders is to claim that at least politicians can use the party as a stepping stone outward. But in fact, the LP obtains such people only as they see the party approaching power. The professional Machiavellians do not care to whom their allegiance is due, only who can pay off.
Nearly all the ranks of the LP are made up of idealists unaware of alternative activist opportunities, and the vast majority of new converts would not vote if the LP did not snow them into it. The turnover is large (nearly 50 percent a year in New York, for example) and most of the ex-members “Browne-Out,” rejecting politics and often more fruitful forms of activism.
Thus the LP either remystifies the statist process or neutralizes the State’s opponents. Again, a most winning strategy—for the State.
Recent researches reviewed in Laissez Faire Review, Libertarian Forum, and Libertarian Review have pointed out the psychological necessity of conditioning submissive responses to authority as a prerequisite to power holding sway. The LP teaches the “libertarian” to submit his will to the collective and execute decisions he opposes for the “will of the majority” and the “good of the party.” Parliamentary procedure teaches him frustration, wheel-spinning, and abandonment of market-organization. Backroom deals, backstabbing, and power blocs teach him survival—in a State. None of the party activities are calculated to reward initiative, individualism, or risk for profit. And the LP needs a monopoly, for if it is to win—the overriding necessity—it cannot tolerate a split. Thus is collectivism reborn.
And thus, when all is summed, would the State remain triumphant should the party thrive. Already the LP discards its idealists for the Machiavellian backs in its leadership, in preparation for its role. The Libertarian Party stands five-fold condemned as an invader from the State, a Trojan Horse, a Saruman, a Judas.
Until we free ourselves, we cannot preach the freeing of others without rightfully gaining their mocking laughter.
The Libertarian Party must go—now!
Samuel Edward Konkin III is creator and editor of New Libertarian weekly. He has been an active member of four political parties—including the LP—in Canada and the United States.
Volume 5 Number 2 / March-April 1976