Repeal and Replace the Democratic Party

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In my previous essay, I made a suggestion that would once have been unthinkable. I said that the country would be better off if the Democratic Party were bumped down to minor league status and replaced on the top tier by the Libertarian Party.

Since then, I’ve taken an informal poll of the people in my social sphere. Almost unanimously, the Republicans think it’s a fine idea. I doubt that this comes as any bigger surprise to our readers than it has to me. What would have been surprising to Americans just a few short years ago is that even an overwhelming number of the independents I polled also expressed a desire to see this big shift happen. Independents now outnumber those in either “major” party by a significant margin. Almost nobody who isn’t a Democrat can stand the donkey party anymore. That a huge swath of the population at least hates the GOP less than the Democrats became evident this past November.

I was almost tempted to peek out my window at the night sky to see if the planets were in some weird new alignment.

Even some Democrats can’t stand the Democratic Party. As I was writing my notes for this essay, I was talking on the phone with a very liberal friend who lamented his party’s takeover by the blowhards, crybabies, and troublemakers of the social justice warrior set. He actually spoke favorably of a novella by Ayn Rand. I was almost tempted to peek out my window at the night sky to see if the planets were in some weird new alignment. The political planets are realigning, indeed.

My reasons for hoping that a realignment might happen go beyond simply wanting big-league status for the Libertarians. Though I was a Democrat for most of my adult life, I have since moved considerably to the right. Despite the buffooneries of the GOP, it is the “major” party to which I’m ideologically closer. A rivalry between that party and ours would likely do less harm to the country than the current rivalry between it and the Democrats.

A good friend in our local chapter of the gay organization Outright Libertarians appears to see himself as something of an evangelist to the Left. He toils mightily to persuade his fellow progressives to love liberty. I wish him a lot of luck, but for the sake of my mental health, I had to abandon that mission. I’m afraid it’s a lost cause, because most leftists strike me as impervious to reason. When they lose an argument (and against us, this happens constantly), they tend to be as petulant and abusive as three-year-olds being dragged away from the toy aisle at Target.

A very large part of the reason I left the Left was that I felt it had become a fraud.

What would a big-league rivalry between Libertarians and Republicans look like? Quite contrary to my Outright friend, I would hate to see our party become a standard-bearer for the Left. But I think the dynamics of the American political scene would drastically change. Very likely the entire left-right paradigm would be shaken apart. Instead, the conflict would probably be between liberty and authority.

Would a head-to-head match between Libertarians and Republicans improve the GOP, or bring out the worst in it? I don’t claim to know. It might be taken over by the neocons, theocons, and crony capitalists to a far greater degree than it already has been. Or it could possibly be motivated to lay down the weapon of government force and engage us in the arena of ideas. Most likely it would have the former effect on some and the latter on others.

As far as I have traveled from the statist left, I still care about some of the causes it claims to espouse. I’m a woman, a bisexual, and a member of the working class, so I have a stake in several of those groups’ concerns. A very large part of the reason I left the Left was that I felt it had become a fraud. Progressives used to say that the end justified the means — now they very much appear to see the means as an end in themselves.

The Libertarian Party might change the game. If the game were played by our rules, perhaps the American people would finally win.

They push people around, threaten them, deceive them, steal from them, and try to shut them up for the sake of their supposedly holy causes; and they do these things simply because they can. In fact, they give every indication that doing them is far more important than achieving the objectives for whose sake they’re allegedly being done. To much of the Left, making noise and trouble has become a bigger priority than making sense. The only genuine good they ever did was to persuade people that their causes were right and just. Now, however, they’ve given up on making sense, thereby abandoning nearly all attempts at rational persuasion.

And Democrats bring out the worst in Republicans. As the latter become more like the former, they increasingly see their scheming, lying, self-indulgently emoting identity politicking and moral panicking as necessary. These grievous faults — in which so much of the statist impulse is rooted — are rationalized as merely the rules of the game. The Libertarian Party might change the game. We operate by a completely different set of rules, and if the game were played by our rules, perhaps the American people would finally win.

Conservatives talk as if all that’s needed to save the country is a complete repeal of progressivism. Obamacare — the Left’s prized pet, which has morphed into a monster — certainly should be repealed, and with no replacement. But I believe there are certain crucial tasks conservatives simply cannot perform. Every healthy society must have progressives as well as conservatives, just as every functioning vehicle needs both a gas pedal and a brake. Under the proper conditions, those motivated to advocate what once were considered progressive causes might arise in both parties, and many former independents might very well choose to join them.

Instead of being reduced to political footballs, issues could then be debated on their own merits. Reason might take the place of aggression. Even if the lion can’t be persuaded to lie down with the lamb, perhaps it can be kept from killing it.


Editor's Note: The author is interested in hearing readers' comments, after which she will continue this essay in a second part.



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Comments

Visitor

I think that you're in most respects very close. I was active in the LP for 13 years, country chairman for two and speechwriter for Jo Jorgensen for VP back in 1992. The establishment democrats and republicans are going to do everything that they can legally and illegally to keep us from major party status because they are really two sides of the same coin. One is hard core crazy socialist and the other is socialist lite. That is the only choices that they want to give you.
However the entire economy is about to blow up in the government's face. 20 trillion dollars plus whatever the unfunded liabilities are means that this money is never going to be paid off and that the American people will have to pay the interest on it for as long as this country is in existence.
With a crumbling tax base and 50% or more of people out of work the state governors are going to decide to split up the USA into about 10 or so new countries. Some like the Northeast USA will be hostile to freedom but others like Montana, Wyoming and Idaho will relish it and will put into place laws similar to what the LP would do if it were in control there. More Libertarians will move there and begin the process of having a country like the founding fathers envisioned. My name for this new country would be the "Jefferson Republic".

Scott Robinson

Dear Lori,

Good article. Your opinions reflect why so many people now favor being registered as independents instead of either major party. It is like how I was upset when the Republicans took over in 2000 and it was Contract with America be damned. The fear mongers (also known as main stream media) use the excuse of 9/11 as the reason that the libertarian leaning Republicans went big government. This proves the saying by Benjamin Franklin correct, "Those who sacrifice liberty in exchange for security achieve neither."
I know that my following rationale is just bitter vengefulness, but I think that all members of the Democratic party should be lynched. This would be reparations for all of the black people who they lynched from 1900-1950, just like affirmative action is racism that repairs racism of our country's past. If you disagree that the Democratic party is the same thing as the KKK, look at Nathaniel Bedford Forrest, and if you were elected to political office in Alabama back in 1950, you were a member of the Democratic party.
Unfortunately, I wouldn't hold my breath for good things to come. Once Libertarians get power, they will prove the saying that, "power corrupts" true. This is what replace should be understood to mean. It's not out with the bad and in with the good, it's just replace one bad with another bad. I guess the point is that my choice is to acquiesce or stand my ground and fight.

Don't Quit,
Scott

milfordj

Lori, I hope you're not giving me a hope that will never happen. I support your comments 100% and hope you're right. At least you've written things that make me feel a little better about the possibility of a transition that will finally give the Libertarian Party the recognition we so need. I have my doubts thought after the recent Presidential election when I was "dreaming" that the country might finally realize the value of the Libertarian Party and cast their votes to show their belief in the ideas we espouse. Thank you again; I really enjoy your articles. milfordj

Michael Morrison

Not only do I agree with almost every word she has written here, I absolutely love the way she has written. She is a real treasure, as a writer and as a thinker.
Her having "left the Left" tickles me. I think as a child I was a conservative, but only because that position seemed closer to what I believed, which is that Liberty Is The Only Moral And Practical Condition for human beings.
Lori is, to repeat, a treasure. Thank you for publishing her work.

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