On Allies and Enemies
The recent discussion on Jim DeMint got me to thinking. I can’t help but look around at libertarianism, and how far we’ve come in just a few short years. We have become more a part of the political landscape than I thought we would be. We have seen more and more activism for libertarian causes and candidates than I ever thought I would see.
And yet, we still manage to shoot ourselves in the foot. Part of that stems from our choices of enemies and allies, and the idea that someone must be one or the other.
Take, for example, Jim DeMint. Yes, he seems to say he likes libertarians. He generally seems to like fiscal responsibility. He generally seems like he wants small government. We libertarians should love him…
…but a lot of us don’t.
You see, DeMint is not a fan of gay marriage. He is a fan of the Defense of Marriage Act. He also famously said that he didn’t see how you could be a fiscal conservative and not a social conservative.
Yeah, a lot of libertarians don’t like the guy. Others, however, do. Either is really fine with me. I honestly don’t have an opinion on DeMint, though I have opinions on his positions. Maybe, that’s the way libertarians need to start viewing politicians from other parties.
Even though you may not like the guy, can’t we stand with him as an ally on shrinking the national debt? We can then side with someone else on gay marriage. We’re talking politics here, not a long-term romantic relationship. There’s no need to be “faithful” to anyone here.
Some libertarians have argued for single issue alliances versus ideas like fusionism. I’m becoming more and more inclined to side with that idea myself. After all, should we ever get libertarians in Congress, such alliances may actually be sufficient to swing our nation back towards individual liberty while also bringing us back to fiscal sanity.
Each individual politician should be judged not as a whole, but as each issue arises. If the debate is gay marriage, then perhaps the libertarian should side not with someone like DeMint. It’s not rocket science. However, it’s hard for many liberatarians - we are known for being proud of our principles — to look past such behavior.
Unfortunately, without looking past those things and siding with individuals on individual issues, we will not see a lot of “wins” for the libertarian movement. After quite a few losses, individual liberty can’t really afford to not get some wins.