The Republican Liberty Caucus of New York recently discussed whether to support Republican Otis Jennings for Mayor of Syracuse. The Democrat who will oppose him is anti-libertarian. Mr. Jennings voices an interest in budget cutting but is also in favor of education spending. Of the two, Jennings is less likely to increase taxes, but the odds are not enough to make libertarians enthusiastic. In other words, he is probably the lesser of two evils.
One response to this scenario, which is actually preferable to much of what occurs in the socialist Empire State where left-wing Republicans compete with Democrats who are less so, is to sit out the election or vote for an ideologically pure third party candidate. The problem with that strategy is that probably no more than two percent of the population of a rust belt city like Syracuse agree with libertarianism. Therefore, you get to feel good about your choice but have no chance of influencing policy. That is the easy route because you do not need to work hard to influence candidates and incumbents. Rather, you get to have a clear conscience and enjoy a life of leisure because no one pays attention to you.
The harder way is to sully your conscience and support an ideologically impure candidate who is closer to your views by some degree, whether its 10 or 20 percent. Then, work hard to influence that candidate, whether it be through campaigning and voicing your views; contributing and lobbying, or getting onto your county committee and voicing your views there. That way is hard work; stressful; and makes it more difficult to have a clear conscience.
The left has been successful because it has been willing to do the work. Libertarians need to re-think the path of ideological purity.
Mitchell Langbert can be visited at http://www.mitchell-langbert.blogspot.com.