Why are there no mainstream libertarian parties?

 Pages 1 2 3 4 5 6 NEXT
 

I am not even talking about any country in particular, but in the west in general.

And I am not even talking about hardcore "reduce government to nothing" libertarianism, every ideology has extremes, but it seems there are no mainstream moderate libertarians either. It just genuinely seems like in most western countries you get the following types of parties
________________________________________________________________________________________
socially liberal / economically socialist - these are modern socialist and center left parties

socially conservative / economically conservative - these are your modern conservative and center right parties

socially conservative / economically socialist / controlling - not necessarily "socialist" these are more statist parties that may be more controlling in both social and economic spheres (many of Europe's far right parties, especially anti immigrant ones may fall into this sphere)
_________________________________________________________________________________________

Obviously this is just a quick summary and in no way covers the whole spectrum of parties, but my point remains, there seems to be a distinct absence of mainstream socially liberal / economically conservative parties. The reason this bothers me, is because although I do not hate government, it feels like the world's governments are like insatiable beasts. They keep getting bigger and bigger, and even in times of supposed austerity, I still see government meddling in things that seem like huge wastes of money / none of their business.

I generally hold my nose and vote for conservative parties, because although I am a libertarian (I prefer classical liberal), I care about conservative economics more than I care about social liberalism.

Do you think libertarianism will ever become more mainstream, even in moderate forms? Or will we only see the expansion of governments / the welfare state, and more government social / economic meddling?

What about the Libertarian Party in the US? Aren't they the third biggest party there?

EDIT: Ok they're not that big

Libertarianism covers a huge range of ideologies. Any political ideology outside of pure authoritarianism has elements of libertarianism. The degree is open to interpretation but the fact is that every partly likely has its own highly libertarian sub-group within it.

As for the idea of a large scale pure libertarian party coming into existence the answer is unlikely. The ideology is so broad that it could encompass anything. The only reason the American Libertarian Party functions is because the members put aside differences but most people cannot seem to do that.

Hazy992:
What about the Libertarian Party in the US? Aren't they the third biggest party there?

That's like having the third largest penis in a group when #1 and #2 are 11 inches and you're 2 inches.

LetalisK:

Hazy992:
What about the Libertarian Party in the US? Aren't they the third biggest party there?

That's like having the third largest penis in a group when #1 and #2 are 11 inches and you're 2 inches.

I know they're not huge but they're about as mainstream as you're gonna get for a libertarian party.

Hazy992:
What about the Libertarian Party in the US? Aren't they the third biggest party there?

Yeah, like a shed between two apartment complexes. Not really "mainstream".

LetalisK:

Hazy992:
What about the Libertarian Party in the US? Aren't they the third biggest party there?

That's like having the third largest penis in a group when #1 and #2 are 11 inches and you're 2 inches.

I'd say that is a pretty good analogy. When the two main parties are so big, there is zero chance of the libertarian party having any hold in the election process. Heck, independents can't even get votes, let alone libertarians. The problem is that many people when they hear libertarian they think zero government and everything is private. While some propose that, there are others who are more moderate and not as radical. Rand Paul is a pretty good example of a more moderate libertarian. Also, most people have grown up with it being either democrat or republican and most have most likely cemented themselves in some category, whether it's D, R, or I. People don't like to change their political views so getting more libertarians is hard. It also doesn't help that there are those libertarians who are like "yeah legal weed, man" and "I can be a dick legally".

farson135:
Libertarianism covers a huge range of ideologies. Any political ideology outside of pure authoritarianism has elements of libertarianism. The degree is open to interpretation but the fact is that every partly likely has its own highly libertarian sub-group within it.

As for the idea of a large scale pure libertarian party coming into existence the answer is unlikely. The ideology is so broad that it could encompass anything. The only reason the American Libertarian Party functions is because the members put aside differences but most people cannot seem to do that.

Well to be fair liberalism / conservatism / socialism are all very broad as well.

what I mean by libertarianism is simply a government that is economically conservative and socially liberal. That is to say a government that is committed to minimal interference in the lives of citizens and the free-market, while still providing the minimum necessary regulation to protect said citizens and markets

The problem as I see it is that
A) governments are self interested, and as a consequence, do not want to reduce their own power nor their own size. Governments will likely continue to grow and centralize.

B) Economical conservatism is demonized as "favoring the rich" or "allowing corporations to run amok". Despite the fact that a government is essentially as self interested as a corporation, in a democracy, the electorate comes to expect more and more services from the government. Over time, these self interested governments require more money to fulfill their election promises, so most government slowly slide towards socialism / larger government.

Although people are happy to receive new services, people are not happy to see services taken away. This makes the transition from classical liberal economic theory to modern socialist theory an easy one, but the reversal much harder (see France / Greece)

This is my take on it at least. Social conservatism will always exist in one form or another, but it feels like economic conservatism / libertarianism is doomed.

Champthrax:
Well to be fair liberalism / conservatism / socialism are all very broad as well.

Not as broad as libertarianism. The three "ideologies" above can all contain libertarianism and can be a specific sub-group of libertarians.

what I mean by libertarianism is simply a government that is economically conservative and socially liberal.

In those vague terms yes you will see a few here and there. It will not be pure but it will sort of be there.

That is to say a government that is committed to minimal interference in the lives of citizens and the free-market, while still providing the minimum necessary regulation to protect said citizens and markets.

The thing you are missing is that many socialists view their interference as the minimal necessary to protect the citizens and markets.

Once again libertarianism is so broad that it is difficult to even say what it is nevertheless build a party around it.

Champthrax:
Snip

The Libertarian party in the US is arguably the third biggest party in terms of membership in the US, neck to neck with the Green party. However, the current political scene and how the elections are done has made it so there is, currently only one single person of the Libertarian party anywhere in the United States Government. Not the Senate, or the House, not even a state senate, but one person in a state "lower house."

Of course the only parties in the entire nation that any amount of elected seats are the political parties in the territories like Puerto Rico, which for some reason the Democrats nor Republicans actually set up shop their. :/

However, hope is on the horizon for Libertarians! Their has been a push by Libertarians to move in mass to one state and start to change state policy to follow our weird political beliefs, New Hampsure being the chosen state. There is also a pushing to create a floating island, and create a sort of Libertarian nation in international waters.

Because libertarianism is more of a recurring trend than an established ideology and there's probably no money in it for the people in charge.

Because we live in a sad, sad world where diametric politics are the norm and moderation is strictly forbidden, even if you actually are a moderate.

What about Ron Paul?

Zachary Tarlow:
What about Ron Paul?

What about Ron Paul? He's a constitutionalist, not a libertarian.

Stagnant:

Zachary Tarlow:
What about Ron Paul?

What about Ron Paul? He's a constitutionalist, not a libertarian.

WHOOOAAAAHHH whats this, someone on the internet aware of the real Ron Paul. More people need to know that Ron Paul is a psuedo-libertarian. I for one am sick of the pot smoking hippies declaring him as god because he wants to legalize pot....when he does not actually want to legalize pot.

The only libertarian I would vote for is Ron Swanson.

Stagnant:

Zachary Tarlow:
What about Ron Paul?

What about Ron Paul? He's a constitutionalist, not a libertarian.

He's better suited to be president of the Confederacy than the U.S. It's astounding actually.

The problem I see with libertarianism is that the goverment would never want to throw away power, only responsibility. As they gained power their responsibilities have followed with, they can remove this without giving away power. And then you will end up with some stupid dictatorship by the end. Who gives next to nothing, only takes.

InquisitorGeneral:

Hazy992:
What about the Libertarian Party in the US? Aren't they the third biggest party there?

Yeah, like a shed between two apartment complexes. Not really "mainstream".

Of course the rest of the third parties are the smelly shacks made out of the best cardboard a homeless man can afford.

Not G. Ivingname:
Of course the rest of the third parties are the smelly shacks made out of the best cardboard a homeless man can afford.

Yaaay, the Libertarian party isn't quite as irrelevant as the other third parties! Let's open the champagne bottle...!

subtlefuge:

Stagnant:

Zachary Tarlow:
What about Ron Paul?

What about Ron Paul? He's a constitutionalist, not a libertarian.

He's better suited to be president of the Confederacy than the U.S. It's astounding actually.

I'm going to have to steal that line to piss off Ron Paul supporters elsewhere. It's golden.

Skeleon:

Not G. Ivingname:
Of course the rest of the third parties are the smelly shacks made out of the best cardboard a homeless man can afford.

Yaaay, the Libertarian party isn't quite as irrelevant as the other third parties! Let's open the champagne bottle...!

i guess people are forgetting that the green party over took the libertarian party in popularity.

keiskay:
i guess people are forgetting that the green party over took the libertarian party in popularity.

Yay. The Libertarian party isn't quite as irrelevant as most other third parties. Let's open a beer...!

EDIT: Seriously, though, I think the USA have a real problem considering their (in practice) two-party system.

Because they're REDUNDANT. In the US, the Libertarians are basically the Baja Republican party, where the heavy-duty anti-regulation fanatics float ideas like privatizing the Army.

Noahopinion:
To those of us outside the movement, the fact that libertarians are a proxy army has always been painfully obvious. The key piece of evidence was always the set of issues that libertarians chose to emphasize. Most Americans share the belief that civil liberties are good, war is to be avoided, and high taxes are bad. But the fact that our country's libertarian movement spent so much time fighting high taxes and so little time fighting the encroaching authoritarianism of conservative presidential administrations was a clear sign that some priorities were seriously out of place. Should we really be more afraid of turning into Sweden than turning into Singapore? The contrast between libertarians' continual jeremiads against taxes and their muted, intermittent criticism of things like warrantless wiretaps, executive detention, and torture was a huge tip-off that the movement was really just some kind of intellectual front for America's right wing.

Yes, yes, MAYBE they'd be OK with not putting as many hippies in prison or allowing sodomites to marry instead of going to jail, but the money-men who fund the GOP don't actually care about that stuff except as a way to keep the rubes voting for their team, anyway. The Libertarians might say they want freedom and equal rights and liberty, but they act like they want TAX CUTS a whole lot more.

Champthrax:
I am not even talking about any country in particular, but in the west in general.

And I am not even talking about hardcore "reduce government to nothing" libertarianism, every ideology has extremes, but it seems there are no mainstream moderate libertarians either. It just genuinely seems like in most western countries you get the following types of parties

The simplest answer is that there are no mainstream libertarian parties because libertarians are too small a proportion of the population of any Western country to qualify them as mainstream.

Agema:

The simplest answer is that there are no mainstream libertarian parties because libertarians are too small a proportion of the population of any Western country to qualify them as mainstream.

But why is this?

On paper, small government that is socially liberal and economically conservative sounds attractive to me.

Instead all we get are socially liberal socialists, and fiscally conservative parties that get highjacked by religion / social conservatism (see tea party)

Well, if you look at it... Libertarianism cannot be moderate. It is, by definition, an extremely conservative viewpoint, because it aims to have the government involved in as little as possible, even when such things would be legalization, through inaction, of gay marriage, abortion, and voluntary euthanasia. Even drugs would be legalized, though it is unclear how far many people would go to full legalization. They feel that religion should definitively not be a part of government, and that government should provide for defense, possibly roadways, but very little aside from legislating the basics code of society.

Champthrax:
But why is this?

I can't readily answer why millions (billions) of people make the decisions they do.

The obvious answer would be that people may reject libertarianism because they rationally consider that it would be likely to be dysfunctional or morally unpalatable. (That doesn't mean they are right - it's just what they think).

There may be forms of inherent or institutional obstacles. A tendency for people to stick with tried and trusted cultural values (like conservatism/liberalism) that is hard to erode. People tend to the moderate, and libertarian is an extreme ideology. Many people may be insufficiently aware of it to support it - potentially other more popular/ powerful ideologies suppress it. It may even be psychological, that many people have personality traits that predispose them against it.

But I'd stress again these are possibilities, I don't claim to know.

Champthrax:

Agema:

The simplest answer is that there are no mainstream libertarian parties because libertarians are too small a proportion of the population of any Western country to qualify them as mainstream.

But why is this?

On paper, small government that is socially liberal and economically conservative sounds attractive to me.

Instead all we get are socially liberal socialists, and fiscally conservative parties that get highjacked by religion / social conservatism (see tea party)

It might have something to do with how economic conservatism, outside the US, is quite unpopular. When shit happens, people expect their government to do something, whether it is being invaded, a fire breaks out, or an economic crisis. There's also a lot more skepticism towards private corporations (particularly large ones) acting in the community's best interest. If anything, the 2008 crisis heavily reinforced those views, and the subsequent years of austerity measures have been discrediting economic conservatism as a solution.

The Gentleman:
It might have something to do with how economic conservatism, outside the US, is quite unpopular. When shit happens, people expect their government to do something, whether it is being invaded, a fire breaks out, or an economic crisis. There's also a lot more skepticism towards private corporations (particularly large ones) acting in the community's best interest. If anything, the 2008 crisis heavily reinforced those views, and the subsequent years of austerity measures have been discrediting economic conservatism as a solution.

Indeed. It's no coincidence that our economically liberal party here in Germany is failing so badly right now. It has a lot to do with the economic crisis in addition to the increased push of the party towards tax cuts for the rich and multinational corporations and similar policies, which are not perceived favorably by the public. On the contrary, many people think (and I'd agree) that the more laissez-faire policies are in large part to blame for the economic crisis and that more of it is exactly the opposite of what we need.

Pfheonix:
Well, if you look at it... Libertarianism cannot be moderate. It is, by definition, an extremely conservative viewpoint, because it aims to have the government involved in as little as possible, even when such things would be legalization, through inaction, of gay marriage, abortion, and voluntary euthanasia. Even drugs would be legalized, though it is unclear how far many people would go to full legalization. They feel that religion should definitively not be a part of government, and that government should provide for defense, possibly roadways, but very little aside from legislating the basics code of society.

Or an extremely left wing viewpoint. As far as I know its only in the last 50 years (and only in america) that libertarianism has referred to anything right wing. in most countries its synonymous with left wing anarchism

ChairmanFluffy:

Or an extremely left wing viewpoint. As far as I know its only in the last 50 years (and only in america) that libertarianism has referred to anything right wing. in most countries its synonymous with left wing anarchism

Indeed. There were effectively no right-wing libertarians to promote the message or hang the definition on in my country. Anyone from my country you talked about politics to who mentioned libertarians meant left-wing anarchists, and that was the case until less than ten years ago.

The internet and the vast cultural weight of the USA have completely altered that.

Agema:

ChairmanFluffy:

Or an extremely left wing viewpoint. As far as I know its only in the last 50 years (and only in america) that libertarianism has referred to anything right wing. in most countries its synonymous with left wing anarchism

Indeed. There were effectively no right-wing libertarians to promote the message or hang the definition on in my country. Anyone from my country you talked about politics to who mentioned libertarians meant left-wing anarchists, and that was the case until less than ten years ago.

The internet and the vast cultural weight of the USA have completely altered that.

Yeah. Where I am from an american libertarian would be called a liberal. Why dont americans differentiate between social liberalism and classic liberalism?

Well the whole meaning of liberal and liberalism can become confusing since how its meaning has changed so drastically over time

For example, a social liberal and social conservative are dead opposites, but I believe (could be mistaken) that an economic liberal and economic conservative are basically the same (I guess it depends what kind of "liberal" you are talking about).

And isn't a classical liberal basically a libertarian ?

Champthrax:
Well the whole meaning of liberal and liberalism can become confusing since how its meaning has changed so drastically over time

For example, a social liberal and social conservative are dead opposites, but I believe (could be mistaken) that an economic liberal and economic conservative are basically the same (I guess it depends what kind of "liberal" you are talking about).

And isn't a classical liberal basically a libertarian ?

Well you could reasonably say:

A social Liberal believes that the government should be less involved in people's home lives. They want to change things. This makes them liberal. Small l.

A social conservative believes that the government is involved just the right amount in people's home lives. They want to keep it that way.

A social authoritarian believes that the government isn't involved enough in people's home lives. They want to change things. This makes them liberal. Small l.

I don't know when 'conservative' started to mean 'less government involvement in'. Everywhere, except the USA, it's meant 'more government involvement in'.

Perhaps because most places started from positions of dictatorship while the USA started from a position of lawlessness. When viewed this way, it is reasonable to see why peeps everywhere else see retaining the status quo or going backwards as a trend towards authoritarianism, and why US peeps think the opposite.

Basically, though, the others are right. This was all very clear cut until the USA started renaming things and flooding the airwaves with these new terms.

 Pages 1 2 3 4 5 6 NEXT

Reply to Thread

This thread is locked