FREEDOMMay 20, 2017Rob Loggia
(Author's Note: This was originally a Facebook post, but I felt the subject was important enough to warrant greater attention. The original post has been expanded to give some of the backstory for readers that do not follow the progress of the Libertarian party.)
Aside from the rising and setting of the sun, there is another way to mark the passage of time these days. This is by tracking the controversies in the Libertarian Party. Evidently, when you talk to old-timers in the party, this has always been the case to some extent. The din since the 2016 election cycle, however, has fast been approaching the volume level of a professional wrestling broadcast. The latest raging controversy to darken the door of the Libertarian Party involves controversial comments made by sitting Vice Chair Armin Vohra, comments that were offensive to a lot of people. Leaving aside the relative merits of Mr. Vohra's remarks, and his decision to give them public voice, the controversy has also brought to the surface the more general question of approach and strategy. What is the function of the Libertarian Party, and how should it operate?
Libertarian Party activist and thought leader Larry Sharpe, Libertarian has stated that he opposes the concept of having bomb throwers or radical activists in the leadership positions of a political party, or having any visible role in politics proper. This, after the most successful bomb thrower of our time has just been elected President. While I personally don't believe that all bombs are equally justified or dignified, and certainly not all goals equally laudable, I dispute in particular the notion that the political arm of the Liberty movement can only function as a traditional, tame and vanilla political organization with politically minded operatives at the helm.
It is well to consider and speak of strategy, but the world has changed and so have the rules. For 50 years the Libertarian Party membership has been presented with evidence that the goal of approaching politics with the same attitude as participants from the R-D Party Machine is not achievable. To act as if there as no difference in position or status; as if the deck wasn't stacked against anything being accomplished by a 3rd party. But it was at least arguable, and the effort could be somewhat justified.
Now even the power parties are faced with the reality of how quickly the game is changing. They are realizing - often in a very public fashion - that the old ways and means are not going to work as effectively anymore. And still obviously intelligent and reasonable people like Mr. Sharpe believe they will suddenly begin to work for the LP. This is alarming and unfortunate. Can you imagine what the nation might look like today had that same energy, that same boldness and that same disregard for establishment rules that propelled Mr. Trump to the White House had instead been leveraged in the cause of Freedom?
Much light has been made of the fact that Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson may consider running for President in 2020. Reading comments across different spectra in Facebookland, I see plenty of derision as well as lamentation. The lamentation may be justified, but the derision is not. And to so lose oneself in lament as to play the ostrich and hide in the sand is also not justified. To do so is to take the road to irrelevance.
Mr. Johnson sees an opening, and the opening is a reality. Wishing to all of our might that the electoral process as it exists today is a sober, reflective process based on an objective weighing of the reasonableness of available candidates does not make it true. I will certainly join you in wishing this were the case, but when I consider the soundness of strategy I must consider what Is, not what Should Be.
I suggest that if this Mr. Johnson does in fact run for President in 2020, he will get far more votes than the erstwhile Libertarian candidate of the same name. Celebrity, and the platform that affords, along with a willingness to shed the traditional chains imposed by classical politics have achieved the potential, in our outlandish society, to be powerful political weapons.
I admit that this may offend some people's sensibilities, or sense of what Should Be, and I'm sorry for that. The only rational course, however, is to wake up to it. I'd like to see Freedom in our time, so I really hope this happens.