Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Ideas of Libertarianism

Nolan, along with most Libertarians, had cut his teeth on the writings of Robert A. Heinlein and Ayn Rand. He was one of many who followed that same intellectual path to adulthood, surviving the trauma of the break up between Rand and her First Disciple, Nathaniel Brandon, in New York in 1969 with the closing of NBI, the Nathaniel Brandon Institute. NBI, which taught the ideas of Rand as the philosophy of Objectivism, was named not for her but
for her disciple and lover, a man twenty-five years her

In the mid 70s the Libertarian Party was a hot bed
of activism, excitement, and ideas. The first two

presidential campaigns sent a message of local organizing, educating on the ideas of freedom, and individual cooperation. Volunteers and activists spent their own time and money on projects they devised. It was a spontaneous ordering of energy that would be stifled by the emergence of influences whose attempts to redirect those energies to their own purposes were largely successful.

Political parties are designed to be miniature bureaucracies; the rules and practices imposed by government makes it difficult to avoid the pitfalls of that system and no one really tried because the issue was not raised at the time. There was a vague agreement that freedom was the destination. There was no thought to how freedom for everyone could be achieved in the absence of other, formal means for ordering society. In the early years most activists assumed there was agreement on the mission, never considering how that mission would be accomplished. .

The model for organization adopted within the LP began with local organizing and swiftly moved towards a centralized system of control, enforced by rules and deception. Some few state parties resisted this, for instance Maryland, adopted operating rules that helped keep an internal bureaucracy from developing, but in the 70s this was still far in the future.

The potential for abusing power is the most attractive of nuisances. The egos and personalities who were attracted to the potential for power brought with them assumptions about how organizations must operate that ignored the need to devise real alternatives to those that had been produced by a society that assumed the existence of government at every level.

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