I’m not sure I can answer the question in the headline.
On one hand, a member of the LP, speaking out on any controversial issue, can expect a cacophony of responses to that issue… ranging from how principled and brave he or she is, to a condemnation of his pseudolibertarian statist little black heart.
On the other hand, we are in the ballot in most states, right?
Yet, apparently the campaign organization isn’t quite sure how it’s going to get on the ballot in certain states, and the annual report sent out by the former executive director lost money — rather than raising money for the ballot access effort.
We’re all about freedom and transparency — but when one LNC member started posting snippets of the typical exchanges on the super-secret LNC discussion list, her position gets threatened.
We’re all about bringing freedom to the masses and being a better choice for the average American — yet the vacation plans of an LNC member’s girlfriend are apparently a major consideration in where our upcoming convention is being held.
We claim to be passionate for liberty — yet when one of the LP’s strongest candidates in North Carolina is being unfairly excluded from public debates that were set up for the benefit of the old party candidates, the same legion of folks who have hours to comment on LP blogs couldn’t muster more than two dozen e-mails between them to challenge this state of affairs.
So I guess I’ll settle on this answer. The Libertarian Party is what you make of it. Some people want us to be an effective political force that has a meaningful effect in moving America towards a position of greater liberty through successfully electing candidates and passing ballot initiatives.
Others seem to view us more as a platform for, ummm, “radical self-expression” — regardless of where that takes the organization.
And there’s a third group who just seem to like being the biggest goldfish in a little ol’ fishbowl.
I’d posit that whether we’re in business four or eight years hence will be dependent on which group of people manages to wrestle some degree of influence on the party by showing up at conventions and engaging in meaningful activism as a Libertarian (not a Republican or member of some other party).
It’s your party. It’s up to you, as an individual, to make it real, in the real world.