Libertarianism and libertarians . . ., by Eric Peters

It may sound strange and hopelessly old fashioned, but there are people in this world who neither want to tell other people how to live their lives nor be told how to live their own. From Eric Peters at

Part of the problem – as regards libertarianism – is that it’s a philosophy or moral code rather than a political movement. Which it probably can never be – because the libertarian moral system is foundationally anti-political. It does not seek office anymore than a fish seeks the desert.

But that doesn’t mean – should not mean – that libertarians ought to retire from politics. That would be like a fish retiring from water.

We live in an imperfect – a political – world. People are going to vote. If libertarians abstain from voting on the moral principle that it is wrong to participate in a morally imperfect (even a deeply flawed) system, then the votes of people who are not libertarians will count more.

If libertarians abstain from putting themselves – and libertarian ideas – forward as alternatives to ideas (and people seeking office) who are not libertarians, they have helped to ensure that libertarian ideas will not be heard (and possibly listened to) and that people who are decidedly not libertarians – or even “small government conservatives” – will end up holding the political offices that will determine whose ideas guide and determine policy.

The libertarian’s moral dilemma is a thing of his own construction. It is the false dilemma presented in the form of refusing to have anything to do with the imperfect (politically) for the sake of the perfect (which will never be) and which necessarily results in the worse-than-imperfect.

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