In this week’s episode of Coffee Shop Philosophy, I sat down with Donald Keller to discuss his work with the Libertarian Coalition page and some of what he has been looking to achieve. Previously I have tackled the notion of such cross spectrum libertarian unity to which I saw some considerable benefits to the idea, while also seeing some of the larger downsides to such a movement. Donald, however, has a different approach.
It should be noted that Donald is one of the co-founders of the page in question, and a self-described conservatarian, who is joined by several other prominent libertarians such as Luke Henderson; both of whom had been contributing authors to the collection of essays in Igniting Liberty: Voices for Freedom Around the World.
One of the chief concerns I had regarding the idea of a libertarian coalition was the aforementioned issues with the #bottomunity movement from my bad arguments article. Interestingly, Donald described the difference between the two not only in approach but also in results.
A key component of supporters of bottom unity, at least those that I’ve encountered, is the emphasis on ignoring the differences between the differing ideologies. The logic goes that we shouldn’t care if the politician running under the LP banner is socialist or capitalist, or a supporter of some other mixed or different system, and focus simply on getting supporters of libertarianism elected.
The focus of the Libertarian Coalition seems instead to focus on the education side. The point of the movement isn’t to ignore the differences between the different ideologies, but rather to focus on the similarities and encourage discourse and (civil) debate between the ideas so everyone involved becomes more knowledgeable and better equipped to deal with the various forms of authoritarians that wish to impose their will upon the populace.
Being the fan and supporter of debate and discourse that I am it was quite refreshing to come across this approach. We don’t see any major party, in practically any country for that matter, encouraging its members to focus in on differences and learn about the ones that exist, ideologically at least, amongst their members. Most parties, rather, choose to go the melting pot route. They would rather you hold your tongue on where you differ and, instead, simply vote for the team because they might (though historically don’t) match the bulk of what you want.
I think the efforts of this group will be quite interesting to watch unfold, and, at present at least, they have my support in furthering the education and scope of knowledge within the movement. You can listen to the episode above, and/or visit their page here.
You can read more from Killian Hobbs on Think Liberty here.