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I am a libertarian, not a Libertarian

By Scott Tibbs, August 26, 2003

I have been involved in politics for a long time. I believe in limited government, lower taxes, less regulations and less government spending. I believe the federal government's role should be dramatically reduced, leaving most of what it does to state and local governments. My philosophy on limited government is one that could be described as libertarian.

Note the lack of capitalization in the word libertarian. That is because, while I am a libertarian, I am not a Libertarian. While the Libertarian Party's stance on issues is one I favor, I realize that, to actually make an impact on the political system, you have to be in one of the two major parties.

Libertarians, for the most part, do not win elections. U.S. Rep Ron Paul ran for President as a Libertarian in 1988, but did not make a dent in the election. Now, he represents a conservative district in Texas as a Republican. If Representative Paul stayed with the Libertarian Party, do you think he would be as well known today as a defender of individual liberty and an advocate for limited government? Would he be able to influence legislation for libertarian principles?

The best a Libertarian candidate can hope for is to act as a spoiler for the Republican candidate. If a Libertarian gets enough votes, he will ensure that the least libertarian candidate (the Democratic candidate) wins the election and goes on to push for more government: higher taxes, more regulation and more spending.

A Libertarian will say that the Republican Party has abdicated its responsibility to serve as an advocate for limited government. Voting Republican will simply install Democrat Lite into government. In too many cases, this is unfortunately true. But splitting the conservative vote won't solve that problem. Libertarians would serve their cause more effectively if they would join with Republicans who favor limited government to nominate candidates who share those views.