The Minority

Despite the lyrics of the Green Day song, I doubt that very many people “want to be the minority”.  Now today’s discussion of minority has nothing to do about race, but rather ideology.  However, as I’ve said in the past, it makes no sense to rectify past discrimination of certain races by promoting racist policies toward another group.  Is the only solution to ending racism by enacting discriminatory laws?  But I digress…

In politics, to be in the minority often means a lack of power, prestige, and respect.  Who cares to join a movement that cannot ever affect policy?  Not many people.  From my experiences, that one point is the greatest failing of the Libertarian Party.  Many active Libertarians I have met seem perfectly willing to maintain their minority status.  Without reaching out to a broader base, all that they will ever be is a discussion group, pontificating about their vision of a perfect society, but never taking the necessary steps toward making their dreams a reality.

The same could hold true for limited government conservatives in the Republican Party.  There exist factions of the Republican Party (the so-called moderates, the neo-conservatives, and the blind party loyalists) who don’t want to see us succeed.  They have either embraced the notion of big government or refuse to take a stand on the important issues of the day.  Like so many facets of life, the easiest path in politics is to accomplish nothing.  If a politician or party doesn’t either pass or promote legislation, then no one will rise in opposition to them and they can hold power for a long period of time, generating kickbacks for themselves and their faithful supporters.  Except for the whole kickbacks thing, the American political system was intentionally designed to slow and outright prevent new laws.  The founders of this nation developed a system of governance and Constitution that they liked and didn’t want the next generation to radically rock the boat.  For the most part, this system worked until politicians and parties fell down on their duty to defend the nation and it’s Constitution from all enemies.  While big government liberals actively continued repeatedly to press for the expansion of the federal government, conservatives, for the most part, have quietly acquiesced or, even worse, joined in, looking to gain benefits for their constituents.

Although some people are enamored with the prospect of a third party (and I’ve written about the topic a bit), unless such a party supplants and replaces one of the two major parties, it will always be the minority and thus ignored.  Names do change, but realistically in the whole history of American politics, the only party to achieve such success was the Republican Party, who formed after the splitting of the Whigs.  Most Americans really do not give 2¢ about politics and so, in truth, all political movements are minority movements; still, of those who are politically active and influential, I do not want to be part of the minority.  I honestly believe that the only realistic path to success is to push the Republican Party and Republican politicians (kicking and screaming if necessary) back to the principles of limited government conservatism that they claim to hold.  Should politicians or leaders balk or act contrary, we must withdraw our support and find new candidates to replace them.  To use a plant analogy:  although some of the branches are rotten and in need of pruning, the solid roots of the modern Republican Party alone make it worth retaining.  We must not be afraid consistently and ardently to champion our values and compel our representatives to do likewise.  Otherwise, be prepared to remain the minority.

2 Replies to “The Minority”

  1. In politics, to be in the minority often means a lack of power, prestige, and respect.

    Yep. It also means that sometimes, like Galileo, you’re also just right. When in the minority, one must ask oneself if the goal is power, prestige, and respect — or liberty.

    Who cares to join a movement that cannot ever affect policy?

    You mean like the early Christians for the first few hundred years? Or even the 1/3 of the populace that was pro-independence during the Revolutionary War?

    Not many people. From my experiences, that one point is the greatest failing of the Libertarian Party. Many active Libertarians I have met seem perfectly willing to maintain their minority status.

    That’s funny. I haven’t met any who are “willing” to maintain minority status. Many of us work rather tirelessly towards bringing more people into our “minority” so that one day we won’t be the minority any more.

    I have to admit I am somewhat confused, because first you say, about Libertarians:

    Without reaching out to a broader base, all that they will ever be is a discussion group, pontificating about their vision of a perfect society, but never taking the necessary steps toward making their dreams a reality.

    But then, about Republicans, you say:

    I honestly believe that the only realistic path to success is to push the Republican Party and Republican politicians (kicking and screaming if necessary) back to the principles of limited government conservatism that they claim to hold. Should politicians or leaders balk or act contrary, we must withdraw our support and find new candidates to replace them… We must not be afraid consistently and ardently to champion our values and compel our representatives to do likewise.

    In other words, it’s appropriate for Republicans to expect their candidates and elected officials to adhere to your agenda, but it’s not OK for Libertarians to expect Libertarian candidates and elected officials to adhere to a Libertarian agenda.

    I don’t agree. If Libertarians generally advocate eliminating government interference in life and the markets, but then add a list of exceptions, then there’s simply not much point in working via a third party. I wish minarchists would really look hard at the absolutely proven rule, that “small government plus one exception equals big government”.

    Socialism is a violent rape and knifepoint murder of Lady Liberty — and compromise is the enabler. Once you compromise away some of your beliefs, you have given up the moral high ground; you’ve sharpened the edge of the government’s blade.

    I have little interest in compromising my beliefs in order to come to agreement with the statists. Instead, I want them to compromise away their beliefs in the hopes of mollifying me — and then next week I will begin demanding even more. I don’t want to move towards them; I want them to move towards me!

    Protecting liberty will always be a thankless, frustrating, and eternal job. Socialists have been hammering away at American liberties since the ink was dry on the Articles of Confederation (which, IMO, was a better arrangement than the Constitution has proven to be). They have forced **us** to compromise away liberty; and they haven’t stopped (nor will they ever stop) demanding even more than they’ve already won.

    For the most part, this system worked until politicians and parties fell down on their duty to defend the nation and it’s Constitution from all enemies.

    I think it assumes too much to think that any government officials have ever felt that was their duty. The few and far between Ron Pauls of this world notwithstanding.

    1. Good evening sir.

      I fear that you may miss my meaning by a bit of what I said. I do not hate the Libertarian agenda. Certainly I have far more in common with Libertarians than Liberals. When it comes to the federal government, often times the Libertarian argument trumps the Conservative one, not only for constitutional reasons, but because the federal government has a poor track record of efficiently or effectively doing anything. Believe me, I often draw flak from fellow Republicans for suggesting these ideas (the so-called War in Iraq and the Patriot Act spring readily to mind). I agree that Libertarians should always push their agenda and expect their leaders to do likewise. You should never sell out yourself or your philosophy. Incrementalism is the tool by which just about every change is made. The question often becomes, do you bend…or does your opponent?

      The problem I see presently with the Libertarians I have met is that they have ideas, which they are passionate about, but never seem to translate that passion into true electoral success. Republicans and Democrats have the opposite problem. They succeed often in elections without any real ideas or substance. Once they win, they disregard the supposed values and “little” people who got them power. I would like a marriage of both principle and power, but perhaps such a dream is a fool’s paradise.

      As stated, I do expect my representatives to uphold and defend the Constitution. For example, both Representative Bob Goodlatte, and State Senator Obenshain often speak about the proper role of government. Are they 100% perfect? Of course they aren’t. But if even half the politicians in Washington and Richmond had the same understanding as these two, then I think we would take the first steps toward the reclamation of liberty and the reduction in government. We must work to remove the Socialist and Statists from government, regardless of party. I don’t know if I will ever have a chance to put these words into action, but should I ever gain office, I would expect to be held to such a standard and quickly removed should I fail to do so.

      Thank you for your comments. I hope I have addressed at least some your issues. I hope you continue the fight for freedom and liberty for many years to come.

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