One must also account for burn out amongst some libertarians.
It can't be very heartening to consistently see the LP fail.
If one is eager to see a libertarian society in their
lifetime, then success via party politics probably isn't the
key to such an occurrence. The libertarian movement could be
in danger of losing libertarians if the LP continues to
secure poor returns in elections. This is probably one major reason for the emergence of schemes like the
State Project. Some libertarians are starting to realise
that more direct action is needed in order to institute
libertarian values in the near future.
As long as society is "against" us, then the cause of
libertarian party politics will be futile.
If party politics is not showing any evident signs of
working, then what is the alternative? In my mind, the
solution is consistent outreach, grassroots activism and
even civil disobedience.
The Advocates for Self-Government have proven to be
successful in attracting new libertarians and spreading the
message of liberty. This has been accomplished with the
Operation Politically Homeless campaign and the
Smallest Political Quiz. With organisations like the
Advocates, we don't really need the LP to act as a means of
recruiting new libertarians. With more concerted efforts of
outreach, we would bring the message of liberty to a greater
number and help secure the next generation of libertarians.
In relation to
grassroots activism, this approach may produce similar
results to outreach. Protesting at your local council
regarding tax increases and other anti-liberty measures may
persuade those who possess a distrust of the state to become
a principled libertarian. At the least, it would direct some
publicity to the libertarian cause. After all, it is said, "any
publicity is good publicity."
Civil disobedience, again, would succeed in attracting
publicity to the libertarian movement. Granted, some may not
welcome the prospect of prosecution or even imprisonment.
Still, for those who are willing to take that risk, the
likelihood of potential "martyrdom" may arise. Such acts
could inspire other libertarians to oppose the oppressive
and coercive nature of government.
Libertarian party politics evidently is not only conducted
in the USA. However, the only successful libertarian
political party is in
Costa Rica (see "Winds
of Change From Central America," le QL, no 153).
No major Western liberal democracy has ever possessed an
electorally successful libertarian party, whether this is
Zealand or any other country with an active libertarian
party. If we are honest, libertarians must accept that party
politics won't work, given the statist mentality of the man
in the street. It is up to us, as a movement, to create
viable alternatives for spreading liberty and achieving a
completely voluntary and free society.