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Possible splits in the Libertarian Party?

samsmart

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In this forum, and on the whole in discussing the position of libertarians and the Libertarian Party, I've noticed what may amount to a possible schism in the movement.

Basically, when I read about libertarians, there are two major factions in the LP. I'll name these factions the minarchist faction and the anti-federalist faction.

The minarchist faction is the name that I apply to those libertarians who want to weaken the power of the government as a whole. These are those who want government, local, state, and federal, to only perform those services that are the most necessary for a government to perform (law enforcement, military defense, foreign affairs) and nothing else. They want to limit the extent of government on every level and leave it up to the free market, volunteerism, and personal choices to affect outcomes rather than the government, be it federal, state, or local.

The anti-federalist faction, however, wants to limit the extent of mostly the federal government, but is not so fearful of the extent of powers local and state governments possess. These are those libertarians who promote "states' rights" to curb possible abuses from the federal government. However, they are not nearly as fearful of abuses by state governments. They believe that because state government is more local, they can better govern those within that state, and such a system would be better able to govern a nation as large as the U.S. than one in which the federal government has more centralized power, as it allows a larger gathering of diverse groups to coexist. So with some issues, such as abortion, they don't believe the federal government should take a stance one way or another and instead allow individual states to decide for themselves, despite the state government infringing on "the right to life" or "the right to choose" depending on which side of the issue the state government eventually falls on. Anti-federalists also want to repeal the 17th Amendment that allows direction elections of Senators and regress to election of Senators by the state legislatures to give state governments more influence over the federal government.

So does this idea have any merit? Is there, indeed, a split or possibility of one among those who call themselves libertarians or are members of the Libertarian Party and libertarian movements?
 

Goshin

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Hard to say.

I think it isn't so much that anti-Federalists (if that's really the correct sort of label) favor power-to-the-states, as they favor power-to-the-states as an alternative to the current condition of a massively overpowered central government. Likely, many see states' rights as an intermediate step: first we deal with the behemoth of the Fedgov by restoring the traditional power of the states... THEN we deal with the much smaller several-states and make sure they aren't abusing their authority.

Libertarians are more likely to fracture along the lines of: pro/anti-abortion, foreign policy and border/immigration policy, IMO.
 

FreshlyMinted

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I would agree that there are definitely different subsets of libertarians, but that's the case within every political party. We unite under common banner to increase political clout.
 

Civil1z@tion

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Libertarians aren't going to split until they actually get some political success. Until then our differences aren't important enough to split. I personally agree with Goshin that social issues are the big divide in particular I think that if the Libertarian Party ever got big we'd split on immigration. Hell, both the Democrats and the Republicans split on immigration. It seems to be one issue that just cuts across every party.

As for the anti-federalist/minarchist divide, you're right that it exists but its just different wings of the same movement. Unless Libertarians started implementing the society we'd like to see we wouldn't have enough differences in our policy programs to split up. As things currently stand, the primary divide between anti-federalists and minarchists is rhetoric. Substantial differences wouldn't crop up until the federal government was cut back a lot.
 

VanceMack

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In order for ther eot be a SPLIT there has to actually be some semblance of a PARTY. Its very frustrating to me. There are many (I would say MOST PEOPLE) with basic sound libertarian ideals that all can agree on. But until THAT becomes the foundation of the party there really wont be elected representation within the libertarian party...and thats a shame. Guarantees we get the same pathetic two party reps we have now.
 

Wiseone

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If they get any smaller they'll disappear!
 

Goshin

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If they get any smaller they'll disappear!

The party itself, yes. It is tiny.

The number of people in this country who have libertarian leanings, or who live their lives essentially by libertarian principles even when they don't know what "libertarian" is exactly.... that, IMO, is a LOT of people. A whole unorganized political domain of folks who hate politics-as-usual and whose chief political tenet is "leave me alone and I'll return the favor".


(love the new sig line btw, hilarious.)
 

Civil1z@tion

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The party itself, yes. It is tiny.

The number of people in this country who have libertarian leanings, or who live their lives essentially by libertarian principles even when they don't know what "libertarian" is exactly.... that, IMO, is a LOT of people. A whole unorganized political domain of folks who hate politics-as-usual and whose chief political tenet is "leave me alone and I'll return the favor".


(love the new sig line btw, hilarious.)
While I agree with you on the likely number of people following effectively libertarian ideals, unless they get organized as a coherent political force talking about splits is meaningless. You can't split that which hasn't come together in the first place.
 
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