I believe that the national Libertarian Party is day by day proving itself a hopelessly lost cause for those of us who believe that the cause of limited government, personal liberty, and individual freedom can be furthered at the ballot box.
I have been talking for several weeks about something like a Libertarian Alliance of state parties organizing from the bottom up. But while I think it's a great idea, I keep wondering whether or not it's viable, whether or not anybody will do the necessary legwork to create it.
At least for now, I'm thinking that the Boston Tea Party represents the best vehicle currently available.
Yes, I know the BTP has a checkered organizational past, and that this could be merely another incarnation for dreamers who are not necessarily doers.
The BTP has a simple platform:
The Boston Tea Party supports reducing the size, scope and power of government at all levels and on all issues, and opposes increasing the size, scope and power of government at any level, for any purpose.
I'll be brutally honest: the simplicity and absolutism of this platform put me off for awhile. That for any purpose clause is not one I could swear safely on a lie detector that I embrace.
Yet then I thought: but 95-98% of the time I'd be cool with what that means, and--this is critical--95-98% agreement is higher than my current level of agreement with the Libertarian Party platform.
When I look at this year's program, I'm considerably more comfortable:
1. The Boston Tea Party calls for a complete and unconditional withdrawal of US troops from, and a cessation of US military operations against or within, Iraq.
2. The Boston Tea Party supports repeal of the USA PATRIOT Act.
3. The Boston Tea Party calls for an end to the federal prohibition of marijuana and hemp.
4. The Boston Tea Party calls for the immediate repeal of the REAL ID Act and any and all National ID plans.
5. The Boston Tea Party calls for legislation adopting an annual, regularized increase in the personal exemption to the federal income tax of $1,000 or more, and the additional application of said personal exemption to all FICA/Social Security taxes paid by employees and employers.
I can live with all that.
So while I am not severing my ties with the Libertarian Party, and certainly not with the Libertarian Party of Delaware, I have decided to join friends like Jason Gatties and Tom Knapp in taking out a membership in the Boston Tea Party.
I've always wanted to Party Like It's 1773.
Besides, I'm in early enough that if this thing really does take off, I'll have a membership number lower than 350.