You are confusing libertarianism with the Libertarian Party (actually I know you know there sadly is a big difference). Rothbard turned out to be right. Those behind the Libertarian Party in 1971 were trying to use the tools of the state against the state. It actually worked well in some states, and even nationally for a time. Real progress was made in spreading the ideas and ideals of libertarianism. But the statists have risen in the ranks because it is in their nature to do so. And it is in our nature to let them...we reject the ring of power [and at least in my case because it is so much easier to let someone else take the reins].
I am a late comer to the Libertarian Party (LP). I was very fortunate to be in Phoenix, Arizona and getting my first deep introduction to the LP through the county party at the time. I was favored by fortune to be there in 2000 to witness the national LP (NLP) toss out the Arizona LP for their hand picked replacement. I got to witness first hand the slimy politics done by the Libertarian National Committee (LNC). I meant to capitalize SLIMY. And underline and boldface it too. With few exceptions, they still are. It has been a long, wonderful trip.
Because I got to meet some of the leading characters in the freedom movement, and I still do meet legends. And there are new legends popping up all the time. I am responding to one of them right now.
[I got to meet some of the biggest snakes in the LP too. First hand, and in some cases smiling, slap on the back first name. uuuuuhhhggg!]
I can tell you the LP nationwide (note I did not say national) is chock full of such wonderful freedom lovers. They are out there operating at the state, county and local level where it matters. Many have since received the "Arizona treatment" by the snakes at National. And do you know what? They survived.
I still remember something our then State Party Chairwoman, Liz Andreason told me at the time when I was depressed awaiting a Superior Court decision over whom would control the Arizona LP expected in a few days--and I was (incorrectly) very pessimistic at our chances: She asked me "if we lose, what would you be doing different tomorrow, that you are doing today?" She gave me a gestalt moment. The LP at any level is JUST a tool. It is useful. When it is not, we stop using it. But that does not mean we stop putting our freedom message forward.
I was there in Denver this year siting dead center, three rows back from the podium with the rest of the Arizona delegation. I got to watch first hand as the LNC/ Barr campaign brilliantly manipulated yet again the CONvention to pick their anointed candidate. And this time I was delighted that their anointed Vice President was chosen too. The Barr/ Root ticket.
With apologies to Mary and Steve, I could not hope for a better ticket! For it exposes the NLP and the LNC (Libertarian National Committee) for what they are. They finally have the ticket they have sought, begged and demanded for over two decades promising to dramatically increase the prominence, influence and wealth of the Libertarian Party. This is it, the moment where they get to prove their claims. The moment where I get to watch them choke on it, and stammer their excuses.
The same excuses the Washington Party is using to explain the failing wars, the loss of global influence, the loss of jobs, the loss of the value of the dollar, the necessity to monitor and control our every action, to demand we seek prior permission before acting ... it all boils down to the people in charge stammering 'we are NOT responsible.' And you know, they are right. We are responsible. And we will pay the price.
And the first part of that payment is to walk away. The National Libertarian Party may have been useful. It picked a candidate for President every four years whom got some national publicity for five months. Hopefully they used that forum to promote liberty. Often they used it to promote fund raising.
A national party allowed a central point of contact that could have been used to direct an inquiry to their state or local party affiliate. But other than that, National serves no other purpose. And when that is realized, you understand it requires little money, and little resources to carry that agenda out. The NLP however is the ten ton elephant in the room. Eating up all the resources, and demanding and scheming to get ever more. Knocking over the china, and trampling over what lies beneath it.
The LNC has declared itself the center of the Libertarian Party universe. And therefor, its failure is assured. Because there can be no apex of freedom. That implies only a few can be free, or that there is only one path to get there, or that a few can control freedom. A centralized anything is also as greatly vulnerable to attack as it is to control.
But the real power of the LP lies in its state and local affiliates. Some are rolling along delivering on the promise of freedom and are still useful tools. Others are not, and should be abandoned to their masters. Who are and will fade without willing supplicants.