Saturday, January 2, 2016

Third Party Problems

NOTE: I am reproducing a number of essays from my defunct blog because either (1) they are cited in the essay "Reconsidering My Earlier Justifications of the Death Penalty" which I decided to reproduce first, or (2) they are cited in one of the other essays cited in that essay. Though I am only fixing the links in "Reconsidering My Earlier Justifications of the Death Penalty" and not the additional essays, at least not at this time, I think it best to try to ensure as many essays as possible are reproduced so, when I do decide to fix all those links, the essays are available.

With the loss of McCain I am once again seeing many talk of abandoning the Republican party to find a home in the Constitution or Libertarian parties. Now, I think this is a massive tactical error, as it will take less time and effort to move the existing Republican party tot he right than it would to build up either of those parties into a viable competitor, butt hat is a topic I have covered before.

So, instead, let me explain why I find it difficult to find a home in either of those parties.

My problem is one of platform.The Republican Party may have been pushed tot he left, may have absorbed too many left-leaning Republicans, and it may have lost its way to some degree, but the core of the party, the party platform, is still viable and one I can endorse. There may be some planks that I find disagreeable form time to time, they may sometimes adopt a policy out of political expediency, but they are still a mature party with a valid outlook.

Both the Constitution and Libertarian parties disturb me in that they have party platforms that include paranoid and immature policies as essential parts of their doctrine. Both have embraced the paranoid suspicion of government as an organizing principle, choosing not to see government as a tool, as did the founders, and instead to see it as an enemy which should be feared. That is an inherently immature view. If government truly is evil, then logically anarchy is the ideal. That is the attitude of foolish idealists and children. Government is not a necessary evil, government is a tool through which we achieve certain ends. Adults realize this.

The third parties have also adopted the paranoid fear of "neocons" often talking of imperial wars and embracing the idea that we should never fight a war until enemy troops are on our soil. Again, that is a fine position for theorists and ideologues, but the reality doe snot allow for that. Would England have not been better off had they raised some additional troops and stopped Hitler's advance in France in 1940? But according to the libertarian types, they should not have sent event the troops they did, much less more. Instead they should have accepted Hitler's peace proposals and just let him conquer Europe, as he wasn't attacking England. You can see how suicidal this view can be.

Beyond that there are a host of other problems. Just as the Ron Paul campaign was too willing to embrace the support of dubious groups, such as white supremacists, the libertarians have opened their big tent to far too many lunatic groups. In their fear of government they have embraced those who want to free Mumia or Peltier, who want Bush to stand trial for war crimes, or want to cede the southwest to Mexico. They have a bad track record of accepting any set of beliefs, no matter how bizarre, provided it has an anti-government slant. Admittedly, groups like the Cato Institute have managed to keep themselves a bit more respectable and limit their focus a little better, but the Libertarian Party as a whole has been quite thoroughly infiltrated by groups with which I could never in good conscience associate. 

So, until we have a mature third party, which accepts that government can be a force for good, when properly designed, and that understands that using military force in self defense can still involve non-reactive wars where the enemy is not on our doorstep, I am not going to embrace any third parties. Even then, I am skeptical of the wisdom of surrendering a party which is 80 or 90% correct for one with so much less to offer, but at least I will consider it. As it stands now, the third parties are simply too juvenile, and too willing to embrace insane theories, for me to join them.

Originally posted in Random Notes on 2008/11/07.


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