What A Liberty 

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Eagle Eyed

6 June 2024

What A Liberty  

by J.R. Thomas

This election was in the boring phase, but an event last week did liven it up. And the candidate for high office really should have known better.  What a fool to suggests such a thing to such an audience.

No, not Rishi and his national service idea.  That is totally weird, foolish even, the sort of concept that you only float when you have a majority of 80 and want to start a debate to distract from something else.  That’s the youth vote gone, the Tory liberal vote gone; and for what it’s worth, the military vote gone (no army officers or career soldiers want to be distracted by training a bunch of resentful temps).  Maybe it will win over a few social workers who see bigger squads of cheap workers at their disposal, but how many social workers will vote Tory anyway.  At least Rishi has got the old colonel vote sewn up, but he probably had that anyway.

But this is not what we are on about.  What has caused this month’s upset is Mr Trump, making a rare misstep when revving up an audience in Washington DC.  Actually he did not even get a chance to wind the audience up; they did not from the off seem as pleased as Mr Trump’s audiences usually are when The Donald steps before them.  Indeed, the Donald was actually booed by the unappreciative audience who then took to pushing and scuffling between the pro-Trumpers and the anti-Donalds.  Exit the former President, red faced and angry.  Very angry, apparently.    But it becomes less surprising when you realise who the audience was – it was the Washington National Convention of the Libertarian Party.  And what had Mr Trump suggested to the audience?  That they should support him in November and not run their own Presidential nominee; or even nominate him as their own candidate.

 Nothing stops Mr Trump of course but in this gathering he was certainly living dangerously by referring to himself as “an outstanding President”, and going on to cite Mr Biden as the worst President of all times.  Note to Donald for future reference:  do not pause after making such assertions; it enables, as it indeed did, members of the audience to be clearly heard yelling variations on “no, that’s you!”.   (That does suggest a degree of short termism and in particular an ability to overlook Jimmy Carter.)

The Libertarians ought to be looking forward to a strong election challenge; they have the third largest party membership (after of course the Democrats and the GOP) and currently hold nearly 200 elected offices in various assemblies and state functions – none just now in Federal government.  They won over 4 million votes in the 2016 Presidential contest, a record for them and indeed for any third party in modern times.

Quite why Mr Trump thought it was a good idea to address their National Assembly and indeed who thought it was a good idea to invite him are both matters that are unclear, but at least everybody’s Donald position is now clear.  And the Libertarians did finally get their act together (perhaps spurred by the though of nominating Mr Trump) by selecting Mike Oliver as their candidate for this year’s November tussle.  Mr Oliver is 38 – young enough to be the grandson of either of the leading contenders, is from Georgia, and is gay and religiously devout.  He was a Democrat but saw the light after Barrack Obama’s support for the Iraq war.

It used to be easy to describe the core philosophy of this party – it was a classic Manchester Liberal approach of minimal government, low taxation, maximum personal freedom, and suspicion of overseas adventures.  Alas, since the 2016 “triumph”, the party has developed, as do so many parties which edge close to but do not achieve success, a delight in philosophical dispute leading to infighting, with numerous sub groups, factions, and tendencies trying to seize the reins of success.  Indeed this has become even more complex than Marxism in the 1930’s and it would take a whole issue of the Shaw Sheet to describe the many machinations [Not needed, thanks – Editor].  We will thus just say that the selection of Mr Oliver represents a major setback for the Mises Caucus. 

Mr Trump was not happy with his reception by the freedom loving delegates and in any case his misadventures in that New York courtroom have probably taken his mind off capturing the support of minority groups, at least for the time being.  We should mention in passing that an early part of Donald’s speech to the Libertarians suggesting that he was becoming a libertarian because of his “maddening troubles” with the law did not impress the gathered free thinkers who disliked his equating freedom with illegality. In any case a cynic might say, and such are many commentators on this struggle of the dinosaurs, that the more Mr T can present himself as a victim the more votes it appears to be worth to him. 

Mr Biden now has the chance to pull the same stunt; his son Hunter is in court this week on various charges relating to illegal possession of a handgun.  This has been going on since 2018 and is fairly technical stuff; plus the Biden family story is more than a little tragic and the trial is been held in Wilmington, Delaware, hometown Biden, so the outcome may not be too unpleasant for Hunter. Nevertheless, Mr Biden senior, with that remarkable knack of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, has been loudly signalling his support for his only surviving son.

Come on chaps, back to proper politics, policies, dreams, ideals, that sort of stuff.  As they are doing in the UK.  What?  Oh.  No, I am not sure Mr Farage is free until July but he could bring Campaign Liven-Up to the USA then.  Assuming he has not got a bigger job of course.

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