A party for libertarians


libertarian_snake.jpgAnd not a party in the traditional sense, but in the political. A recent addition to the political landscape (and to some extent a welcome one) is the UK Libertarian Party. It's so newborn that there’s little in the way of policy on their website, but we should be able to safely assume that it will be based on the idea of self-ownership and limited government, and most importantly: freedom! But does the creation of this party mean that the libertarians are moving towards becoming part of the establishment? Or is the establishment becoming more liberal, so that now is the correct time to expose the libertarian ideas to the public on a wider basis?

The most recent exploration of this theme came from the Libertarian Alliance, who've long been at the forefront of libertarianism in Britain. They recently asked the question in the inaugural Chris R. Tame Memorial Prize, "Does Britain need a Libertarian Party?" The winning entry can be read here and the author's answer is that there is no current need for a libertarian party. The author abhors the idea of libertarians becoming involved in the state machinery and argues that rather than squander time becoming part of the problem, libertarians should concentrate their efforts on spreading the ideas of liberty.

The arrival of Nick Clegg and David Cameron to the leadership positions of their respective parties has seen a sprouting of liberal (in its original meaning) ideas, albeit ones still couched in the language of the state. Perhaps a libertarian party can push them towards removing the state from people's everyday lives. It remains to be seen what can be achieved with a libertarian party, since as with any party it will be a mixture of all the creeds of libertarian thought. The problem is assembling policy that is truly libertarian, yet appealing to all within and without.

The surest way to make the state smaller is to explain and champion individual freedom and win the hearts and minds of the many. Hopefully a libertarian party will be able to help in that.