Is it time for a ‘second party’?

Gary Johnson at National Libertarian Party Convention in May in Orlando, Fla. (AP photo by John Raoux)

Sometimes you stumble upon a nugget of wisdom in the most unexpected of places.

Today’s eureka moment is found buried inside the pages of the section buried inside the morning newspaper, the section where I usually scan the cover to see if there is anything local worth a second glance before skipping past the pages of syndicated liberal drivel to the Dilbert cartoon.

But the photo of Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson gave me pause. Beneath are a couple of columns labeled “Point” and “Counterpoint,” though I’ve yet to figure out what the point was supposed to be. It was the headline on the “Counterpoint” that brought me up short: “Term ‘third party’ wrongly implies we have more than one.”

This in the Sun section? Oh, the heresy! Surely Greenspun is spinning in apoplexy. Now there’s a pleasing image.

Both columns appeared at something called back at the end of May. How the putative editors at the Sun stumbled upon it at this late date and had the presence of mind or temerity to actually publish it is a mystery for the ages, but the piece by Antony Davies, an associate professor of economics at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, and James Harrigan, director of academic programs at Strata in Logan, Utah, opens with the question: “Is it time for a third party?”

They answer the question by refuting the question in the second paragraph: “The real question to ask now is whether there is a hill of beans’ worth of difference between the two major parties. Maybe what we really need is a viable second party, because from any objective point of view the Republicans and the Democrats care about only one thing: the acquisition of power.”

The writers then lay down brick by brick a solid logical wall.

They note that the parties present themselves to the public and the voters as vastly different, but over the past 60 years both have merely made government larger and more intrusive and smothering. One grows government by taking away civil liberties, while the other grows government by removing economic liberties. Results are the same, only the methods differ.

“And they have done a brilliant job of crowding out any possible dissenting voices. How brilliant?” Harrigan and Davies write. “‘Minor party’ candidates are not even allowed into the presidential debates unless they poll at 15 percent nationally. But their names are not included in the opinion polls that determine who gets in. Who set that system up? Republicans and Democrats.

“Who says they can’t work together?”

In 2015, they point out Congress passed and the president signed only 150 laws, but federal agencies created 3,000 new rules and regulations. “And soon, everything not forbidden will be mandated.”

They conclude that the major parties have deluded the voters into thinking that voting for a minor party candidate is simply a de facto vote for whichever of the two major party candidates you find least palatable.

The piece ends thusly:

So if you vote for Hillary Clinton to keep Donald Trump out of the White House, or the reverse, you have guaranteed a victory for the status quo. And that’s exactly what the Republicans and Democrats want you to do.

It’s time we had a second party.

The column is nowhere to be found on the Sun website.

sun page


22 comments on “Is it time for a ‘second party’?

  1. Patrick says:

    Forgetting entirely that the two parties have many difference in both philosophy and in deed, and going under the incorrect ignorant assumption that they are the same, doesn’t mean the libertarian party is good.

    The authors claims notwithstanding, the libertarians are the worst choice even amongst “two”.

    For one thing, the libertarians don’t seem to grasp the reason why their peculiar type of government has never existed (and can never exist) in any government especially one having any democratic method of choosing a government; people don’t want it.

    Pretty simple.

  2. Anonymous says:

    While disappointing long time Libertarians by nominating Johnson and Weld, the Libertarians are showing their shift away from the more hard core of their positions.
    This is making Libertarians much more interesting to the public at large….if and when they are shown a viable (Libertarian) option exists to the trumpillary republicrat lie.

  3. Steve says:

    Oops, anon is me.

  4. Rincon says:

    It seems likely that the Libertarians and Trump will split the vote, paving the way for Clinton. The present voting system essentially excludes third parties. How else could Republicans and Democrats have maintained their duopoly for so long? Not likely due to voter satisfaction.

  5. Yep…just what the country needs…a pot smoking President who favors totally open borders.

  6. Patrick says:

    And don’t forget about the “natural right” to sell your children into slavery, to bash the fetus against the nearest rock (at any stage of conception) or any other gruesome end you can imagine.

  7. Steve says:

    Patrick and Brien, sittin in a tree….

    It is to laugh!

    Moreover, compared to republicrat nominees, the Libertarian nominees are sensible and sane!

  8. Patrick says:

    Not much in for bumper sticker philosophy but I liked this:

    “If you believe the Johann Wolfgang von Goethe quote “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free,” then libertarians live in a prison of their own ideology.”

    A Nevada perspective on libertarians.

  9. Steve says:

    When one is unable to support ones own preference, go on the attack!

    As liberals LOVE to say…people can EVOLVE….even liberals.

  10. Patrick says:

    Libertarianism has been in the closet so long that people never knew they were there and the ones that did (who weren’t libertarians) didn’t think too much about them but the more people look, the less they see that’s acceptable.

    “Not only are these good people “parasites” in this libertarian view, they are deliberately parasitical (“in motive”). They lack the nobility of character needed to act purely out of self-interest, like the murderer Ayn Rand so admired. As Mark Ames reported in 2012, Rand,

    “became enthralled by a real-life American serial killer, William Edward Hickman, whose gruesome, sadistic dismemberment of a 12-year-old girl named Marion Parker in 1927 shocked the nation. Rand filled her early notebooks with worshipful praise of Hickman. According to biographer Jennifer Burn… Rand was so smitten with Hickman that she modeled her first literary creation… on him.”

    Rand described the child-killer as a “genuinely beautiful soul.” But that aid worker sweating in the Darfur heat, spooning food into a skeletal child’s mouth? Despicable.”

  11. Steve says:

    And Vince Foster was killed by Hillary, so she could give slick willy cover!!!

    Makes just as much sense as the balderdash being posted by the sham king.

    I just love the attacks, they are so entertaining!

  12. Patrick says:

    Relative to say…the universe, man hasn’t been around all that long. But, in all that time, with all the multifarious forms of government that man has used to govern, there’s yet to be a group who decided to choose libertarianism as the form.

    People, well most people, understand that the libertarian ideas are so contrary to human nature, in the same way that communism is, that it can never work. Startlingly, even though halfhearted efforts at communism (kibuttz’, Quakers, others) have been tried, never has there been any real effort to try a libertarian form of government (unless Somalia serves as an example anyway) and no libertarian can tell you why without opening up on their dirty little secret which is that, they KNOW human nature won’t allow it.

  13. The Founders were classic liberals. Classic liberalism equals libertarian.

  14. Patrick says:

    Then I suppose the current version is a bastardization of that ideal.

    Ideas like Rothbards, Mises, Theil, and the rest?

  15. Steve says:

    Salon, AlterNet.
    Could you cough up even more biased sources?

  16. Patrick says:

    By the way Thomas, the guys often refered to as the founding fathers were individuals, with individual ideas about most things, including what our government ought to be. Thomas Paine and Benjamin Franklin both believed that the government ought, and maybe more specifically, was OBLIGATED to the people they governed for actual material stuff. Lke property, money, social security, educations, etc. Heck, Ben even said business, other than farming, was mostly theft. Now if that’s classic liberalism, then….good.

    But, I have my doubts that’s what you meant.

  17. Nyp says:

    They were not “classic liberals,” and “classic liberalism” does not = libertarianism

  18. Winston Smith says:

    “I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I travelled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer. There is no country in the world where so many provisions are established for them; so many hospitals to receive them when they are sick or lame, founded and maintained by voluntary charities; so many alms-houses for the aged of both sexes, together with a solemn general law made by the rich to subject their estates to a heavy tax for the support of the poor. Under all these obligations, are our poor modest, humble, and thankful; and do they use their best endeavours to maintain themselves, and lighten our shoulders of this burthen? On the contrary, I affirm that there is no country in the world in which the poor are more idle, dissolute, drunken, and insolent. The day you passed that act, you took away from before their eyes the greatest of all inducements to industry, frugality, and sobriety, by giving them a dependence on somewhat else than a careful accumulation during youth and health, for support in age or sickness. In short, you offered a premium for the encouragement of idleness, and you should not now wonder that it has had its effect in the increase of poverty.” – Benjamin Franklin

  19. Barbara says:

    I use to believe it mattered who we elected to office. I no longer have that belief. The Democrats would rush us into hard socialism while the Republicans would do so incrementally. Believing we can reverse the course of the country just by electing enough conservative or libertarian Congressmen or Senators is ridiculous.

    I fully support an Article V Convention of States to pass amendments to our existing Constitution. The founders envisioned an all too powerful federal government, so they gave us the ability to restore the people’s rights through an amendment process began by the state legislatures. It is a high hurdle – 2/3 of the states must call for the convention- and then any amendments proposed would have to be passed by 3/4 of the states. Ten states have passed resolutions calling to a convention. We need to pressure our legislators to also get on board.

    I agree with the late Justice Scalia that it doesn’t much matter what amendment(s) are passed. Just getting something passed would show Congress and the Courts that their power is not unlimited.

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