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Liberty in New York: 2010


                            Is Lady Liberty buried in the cold ice ?

Participants in the Libertarian Party often engage in a self flagellation that I’ve always found puzzling. Aside from the completely inane and popular reformer vs. radical dysfunction, wanting success or disavowing traditional notions of it, is a particular twist that frequently surfaces. In my opinion, not enough thought is given to the particular plight of the American third party historically or it's subsequent, seemingly contradictory role. For Libertarians, I would submit that New York has many circumstances that don't apply in the rest of the country. One would hope that New York would be a fine place for the advocates of liberty to act politically.  After all, Texas & California don't have a view of the  actual Statue of Liberty, despite their larger Libertarian affiliates.

While this is fine parlor talk amongst conspirators in between elections, a subject fascinating in itself, it’s discouraging to see it as the all consuming topic at times. Should we reject some principles to gain votes or just be who we are and not expect everyone to agree ?  Likely neither will work and no one will be happy. Forsooth, new elections are always around the bend. In
New York
, Libertarians are bound by a provision of election law which provides for party status by obtaining fifty thousand votes in a gubernatorial election that takes place every four years. Combined with the notion of fusion, the ability to run on different party lines, ‘successful’ third parties typically endorse either a Republican or Democrat in order to guarantee their political survival by getting 50,000 votes for the same candidate on their line, a vote that might not have been cast for the more odiferous main party lines. Once ballot access is achieved, they are free to nominate candidates of their choosing and run them in all other elections. The problem is, they don’t.

While our Libertarian brethren in California and Texas have the opportunity to acheive ballot access through other means tested criteria ( Texas simply collects 80K of signatures to qualify), in New York the Libertarians either have to support a D or an R or find an interested independent with either some standing, as a celebrity or political otherwise, or big bankroll. Not only is it hard to find quality candidates willing to try (mainly because they know they'll just lose - which most successful people don't like to do) the other parasite third parties are all too eager to endorse the big guys and crowd out Liberty's adherents. On a national level the Greens and Libertarians occupy more electoral real estate than the contrived Conservatives, undefinable Independence Party and unflinchingly socialistic Working Families Party do in comparison than in New York. That commitment masks itself as classic American pluralism and is based on the desire to move issues that are important to them. The problem for Libertarians is that we tend to view freedom on a broader level than just what ordinary legislation can satisfactorily supply us. It may be easier to oppose the seatbelt law on a reactive basis, but it's harder to explain why taxation on income is so unjust and to subsequently develop a coherent and popular policy to dismantle the previously passed and now entrenched legislation.

If the Libertarians in New York won't compromise or can't win for various reasons, what should they do ?  In order not compromise the Examiner guidelines and policies, I've put the full version of this article on my personal website. Find out my considerations to run again and what I'm prepared to do about Liberty in New York: 2010. 


  • Kent McManigal- 5 years ago

    Run anyway as an educational endeavor. Anything that works to get the principles out there being discussed can help.