The road to minarchy is a long one, with many twists, turns, hills, and just as minarchy suggests, it is funded privately. Since there are so many definitions of what minarchy actually means, for the purpose of this article, it can be defined as a government whose purpose is restricted to the protection of individuals from aggression, theft, fraud, and breach of contract. That is a very substantial amount of government that would have to be cut away in its current state. So much so that to the vast majority of the public views it like a pipe dream at best and likely considers it a very harsh overreaction to the current state of affairs.
So, while the majority of Libertarians desire minarchy, it is very unlikely to happen anytime in the near future, and may not ever happen at all. Gary Johnson’s numbers are not high enough to get into the debates, and it isn’t looking likely that there is any Libertarian that is going to be elected to national office this cycle. Should the Libertarian Party (LP) throw its collective hands in the air and accept that minarchy is impossible? What is the LP to do?
Minarchy is an extremely long term goal, but it isn’t time to give up all hope and consider that the whole philosophy and its acceptance by the public at large is dead. Minarchy doesn’t happen all at once. It is a chess game of decades in time. It is taken in baby steps of smaller changes that happens and is accepted in pieces and stages. There are many signs that the future holds bright opportunity for Libertarians.
Donald Trump is arguably the least popular candidate ever nominated by the Republican Party, but he does, ironically perhaps, signify good news for Libertarians. Large numbers of people within the Republican Party are rejecting “the establishment”. Libertarians don’t agree with Trump on a great deal of issues, but a large segment of Republicans are obviously looking for better answers and are obviously disillusioned. He will repulse some of them when they see he might not have been what they were looking for, and he will encourage people who do not support him but are still looking for answers straight into the arms of the LP.
Bernie Sanders is a long ways from representing libertarian values, but his popularity and near nomination also represent an attitude of anti-establishment amongst Democrats. A person who buys into the message of socialism isn’t likely to enjoy the message of libertarianism or minarchy, but the mood of anti-establishment works to the favor of the LP as those less partisan voters start to listen a little more closely.
Gary Johnson is a long ways from winning this upcoming election, but he does have the tallest soap box the LP has ever had, thanks to the unpopularity of the other candidates. His voice is being amplified by more interest than the LP has ever had in past elections. Because of this, LP membership has been swelling and funds are being raised at the highest levels in LP history.
Of course, none of this means government will shrink by half its size tomorrow. What it means is that there is hope to gain footing in the psyche of the electorate. Perhaps it is enough to build on to generate interest in other future elections. Perhaps it is enough to lead to at least one Libertarian winning a future seat in Congress that would break in to more possibilities down the road.
It is a long game, but it doesn’t take a whole lot. At times, Congress and the Senate win votes by as little as 1%. Imagine what could happen if Libertarians could gain even 5% of the seats. With as much as 10% of the seats in Congress and/or the Senate, the LP effectively controls the agenda. It is still a long ways away, but with each election, the LP gains new footing. Perhaps it begins with success in even one election that is propelled by the soap box we have today, and then that is enough to break the ice going forward.
Some version of minarchy is in the distant future, but it isn’t in the future at all unless the LP holds to its principles and continues its fight. It isn’t any sort of time to give up hope. This is the best election cycle the LP has ever had, and it is very likely to grow from here. Minarchy might be decades away (or at least some version of something closer to minarchy), but smaller votes that reduce pieces of government are upon us in the very near future. Today’s anti-establishment mood can become the future’s small government mind set. If only there are enough Libertarians to turn votes in the House and/or the Senate, Libertarians can begin a drive down the road they want.
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