The national Libertarian Party was back in the news late last week, with a dispute over whether the LP had refused to allow Ron Paul — probably the nation’s best-known libertarian — and Judge Andrew Napolitano to speak at the party’s 2018 convention. The convention’s coordinator, Daniel Hayes, said Paul “has no idea what the LP represents.”
Apparently, the Mises Caucus, a faction of the LP, had expressed interest in Paul appearing at the convention, but Paul typically has a speaking fee of $35,000. Hayes has denied that Paul would not be allowed to speak; rather, Hayes said, Paul could speak, if the honorariums for Paul and Napolitano (which would have totaled $70,000) were paid by someone other than the LP — though a question arose about whether an outside group can actually pay for a speaker at a political party event, under federal campaign laws.
While the Libertarian Party may not have actually rejected Paul from speaking at the event, it is quite clear that the LP has moved to the left in recent years, and Paul's libertarianism is no longer the accepted brand any more among the more socially liberal leadership of the Libertarian Party.
Incredibly, the LP leadership has even compared Ron and Rand Paul to the Bushes and the Clintons. LP Chairman Nicholas Serwark attacked the Ludwing von Mises Institute, comparing it to a Nazi organization. And while the Mises Institute has become somewhat controversial within the LP, the party does make room in its circle for a Socialist Caucus!
Apparently, the Libertarian Party no longer represents the libertarian principles that Paul popularized in his 2008 and 2012 bids for the Republican Party nomination. Paul was the Libertarian’s 1988 presidential candidate.
Paul, for his part, expressed disappointment at the leftward drift of the party. “It used to be that they would ask me, you know, quite frequently.” He added that he believed the LP has abandoned its principles, especially with its nomination of Gary Johnson and William Weld to head the ticket in 2016. “When you look at the leadership, so often you see that they melted away.”
Paul lamented that the LP “failed to live up to what should have been its role as an ideological alterntive to Washington’s one-party system. As was quite obvious in the 2016 presidential election, the Libertarians yielded to prevailing attitudes on war, welfare, the Federal Reserve, and more. In believing that winning was more important than standing for something, they ended up achieving neither.”
Liberty Hangout remarked on what they called the rejection of Paul: “If one rejects someone like Ron Paul, it is safe to assume that they are not libertarians by any stretch of the imagination.”
It would appear that the Libertarian Party has opted to cast itself in such a way so as to appeal to secularists, globalists, and social liberals, and to play down what one would think are libertarian positions, such as limited government.
For example, while the LP no longer thinks Ron Paul lives up to its standard of someone who should speak to its national convention, it chose in 2016 to nominate as its party’s vice-presidential candidate former Massachusetts Governor William Weld, long known as a liberal Republican.
Weld is a globalist liberal, not a libertarian. In 2004, a WorldNetDaily article outlined a plan to virtually eliminate the borders of North America: The scheme envisioned a continent-wide, customs-free zone with a common approach to trade, energy, immigration, law enforcement, and security. The model for this effort to integrate the United States with Canada and Mexico was the European Union. Under this plan, for example, illegal immigration among these three nations would end, because all such movement of people would be legal. The 2004 panel pushing the plan, the Independent Task Force on North America — a project of the Council on Foreign Relations, of which Weld is a long-time member — was co-chaired by William Weld.
WorldNetDaily labeled the plan “NAFTA on steroids.”
Weld supports continued U.S. membership in the United Nations, and was a “vocal proponent of the Iraq War,” according to the Liberty Conservative. In 2005, Weld signed a letter in support of the Patriot Act. This is libertarianism? Support for the Iraq War, globalism, and the anti-civil liberties Patriot Act?
In addition, Weld has a long reputation as a supporter of more gun control.
The 2016 LP nominee for president, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, hardly qualifies as a limited-government candidate himself. He opposes the abolition of the Federal Reserve System, and supports the Environmental Protection Agency, despite there being no authorization in the Constitution for either one. Of course, many new “Libertarians” often discount the importance of fidelity to the Constitution and concepts such as federalism.
More important, apparently, is support for same-sex "marriage." Johnson infamously dismissed concerns about forcing bakers to celebrate same-sex marriages, by saying, “I just see religious freedom, as a category, as just being a black hole.” Johnson dismissed religious freedom laws as “just a way to discriminate against gay individuals, the LGBT community. That’s what they are about.”
During a debate in 2016 with another Libertarian presidential hopeful, Austin Petersen, Petersen offered the analogy that a Jewish baker should not be forced to bake a Nazi cake. Johnson, however, took the position that the government should compel a baker to bake wedding cakes for same-sex couples, and dodged a question as to whether priests should be forced to participate in same-sex weddings. Hardly a liberty position, but it does fit in well with a political party that has opted to line up against liberty — just so long as it is religious liberty that is being restricted.
Republican Liberty Caucus Chairman Matt Nye lamented, “No other individual in recent memory has done more to advance the cause of liberty than Dr. Paul."
Liberty is apparently no longer the principle driving the Libertarian Party.
Photo of Ron Paul: David Carlyon