For those Libertarians who joined the Libertarian Party, the last few months have been an unpleasant disappointing and sometimes stressful period. We joined to help build the Party up, to help make real changes in the country but instead the Party imploded. Yet, like a dying star, the Party has left a cold hard core behind, the fate of which is little understood, difficult to observe and highly uncertain.
This does not mean the heat death of libertarianism. Indeed it may be the beginning of a bright new era – one of the first tasks of this blog will be to facilitate some open discussion of the Webb-Andronichuk proposal – but whether or not there is a Party going forward the underlying objective remains unclaimed. We are not living in a libertarian country; far less an Anarcho-capitalist or Objectivist one. Indeed, since this started we’ve seen assassinations condoned, continuing unaffordable wars, attempts to censor the internet, the innocent imprisoned and finally freed, and it turns out Labour knew along they were being reckless with our money. The bad guys have not stopped being wrong and we cannot afford to stop either, so it is shameful that internal strife has stopped our aspiring politicians from involving themselves in debate about the issues.
Rightly, for now, the Libertarian Party website is focused on repair and renewal, and because discussion became increasingly robust that too was closed down to avoid litigation and, I fear, to create a public image. The libertarian movement values transparency, and it was my hope that a Libertarian Party would not be shy about that kind of discussion; that the whole group would choose to act consistently in private and in public and not be ashamed of strong tempers and harsh words in the pursuit of truth and progress. It seems likely that the party will instead choose to add a professional veneer and hide away robust discussion in a private social space.
The most disappointing consequence is that one of our brightest stars, Richard Garner, who I did not have the privilege to know, has passed unremembered by the Party. The Party that should be at the centre of our political community. This is the kind of oversight that shows that truly times are bad.
So, to finally set out my stall, I think there is gap left by the closure of the LPUK blog and the cessation of commentary over there. I am prepared to invest some of my time in plugging that gap. I have a little to say for myself, but I hope that by opening up a space dedicated to practical politics with a consistently pro-freedom agenda I can fill some of those short time needs.
In the long term, I see this website acting as a watchdog, sounding board, and an unofficial forum for relaxed and honest discussion amongst the grassroots and non-partisan activists. By activist, I mean specifically those who want to do something more than discuss theory. That might mean discussing strategy; helping to form achievable policies; sharing doorstep tactics; technical instructions; or running, participating and giving feedback on organised events.
Unfortunately, I will not able to allow the kind of robust comments that ended up on LPUK.org as I have just two hands and a few minutes each day to spare for moderation, and little taste for litigation. For that reason, I have installed some brakes to help the conversation go faster. A “report abuse” button is provided which will enable readers, acting in concert, to push published comments back into moderation and help to share the burden of fair and useful moderation. If this ends up being too authoritarian, or too liberal, it will be because the readers decided that should happen.
I hope to be joined by others with a consistently pro-freedom outlook and an interest in practical political action who are invited to submit articles. There will be an “editorial position”, a certain flavor of articles I will pursue and encourage and that will lie in the same policy space as the Libertarian Party. It will be somewhat Objectivist, because I am such, and sympathetic to anarcho-capitalists, because simply, they have a point don’t they? Yet it will be more moderate than, say, some of Libertarian Alliances’ positions. I hope also to achieve variety and inclusiveness, in particular from those who feel the envelope must be expanded, or contracted.