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angels dancing

As a long-time Libertarian Party activist, leader and candidate, I used to be annoyed at outsiders dismissing our philosophical discussions and, thus, the entire political party as “a group of crackpots sitting around debating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.”

When none of the regulars attending party meetings joined me to work for a Constitutional Sheriff in Idaho’s most populous county, I realized I needed to focus my time in groups and with people who understood the importance of, and were willing to put effort into that campaign. Now that I spent half a year on the outside, I see the lack of constructive effort and the dominance of philosophical discussion “we” were accused of, as being quite true.


With my newfound distance, I also gained a better understanding of what was always called “the libertarian purity test”. The most staunch Libertarians would use this against fellow Libertarians who weren’t quite embracing the complete no-government-at-all philosophy. So the purists would disdain and criticize the non-purists thereby dividing the scant resources of the party in half, AND turning away, rejecting in droves, people who were just beginning to realize that Big Government was not right.

The Purists had great arguments for why it was no good to settle for a little bit of GOVERNMENT. As the only significant political home for what is internally called the “Minarchists” and for the “Anarchists”, the Libertarian Party spends far too much of its strength wrestling with itself and scaring off the curious, to ever pose any threat whatsoever to the two-headed Big Government party.

With all that background, I see the “Constitutional Sheriff Purity Test” rearing its head, looking just like the Libertarian Purity Test. If a sheriff doesn’t reject Sheriff’s Office articles of incorporation, or if he doesn’t reject tax funding, or if he doesn’t stop enforcement of EVERY law written since 1778 until modern anti-state law students approve each and every one of those laws, This Sheriff isn’t good enough. He isn’t pure enough. He isn’t Constitutional enough.

Sigh.

If the Sheriff has the moxie, resources and support to get elected and has the intelligence, knowledge and courage to stand up for the people of his county AGAINST all enemies foreign and domestic, he has passed the critical, and I say, the ALL IMPORTANT purity test in the battle that is right in front of our noses.

Today, for me, the philosophers and purists are as valuable as the sheep grazing on the hillside. I am walking on by. I hope everyone with the vision to see the monster we face and the courage to face it walks on by the daisy-contemplators just as fast.

Hopefully the noise of the battle will awaken them to the seriousness of our situation and inspire them to actually DO SOMETHING that really counts. I suspect most of us will be happy to listen intently to the philosophers in the aftermath of our victory. If we don’t win, they can philosophize at our graves … if their masters let them visit.