I just returned from the Jackson Tea Party. I'm not sure whether to get excited about the popularity of the Tea Parties or to get depressed. The large attendance at the many tea parties represent an awakening political movement revolting against our high taxation. However, the Tea Parties have been taken over by right wing conservatives. This is the same group who was silent while the Bush Administration pissed all over our rights.
Conservatives are not libertarians of any sort. Conservatives have demanded government intrusions into the privacy of our bedrooms, jailing of those who ingest non mainstream drugs, and want government to control marriage. They often want to stop the human right of free travel demanding more control over legal immigration based on protectionism. They believe in free markets in products, but carve out an exception in the free market when it comes to labor.
They also continually claim that we are a "Christian Nation." Even if we are a nation of mostly Christians, our founders intended our nation to be one of inclusion. Our founders came from mixed religions, most of them were Diests. The goal of our nation's founders was one of religious freedom and tolerance.
One of the promising aspects of the right rediscovering the fight for freedom is that many of the "non-partisan" libertarian groups are getting attention. At the Jackson Tea Party today a woman was giving out Downsize DC flyers. I presume that interest in libertarian organizations like Downsize DC, CATO, the Future of Freedom Foundation, the Ludwig Von Mises Institute, The Advocates, Foundation for Economic Education, the Institute for Humane Studies, and the national Libertarian Party has gone up. I'm happy to say that membership and prospect numbers for the NJ Libertarian Party have increased.
However the party and the libertarian movement are being infiltrated by the right. The National Party leadership has hired many who lean right. The most disturbing example was Donny Ferguson's un-libertarian press release in the name of the LP demanding a crackdown on the border. The formally excellent organization, Bureaucrash, has imploded with the hiring of a new Crasher-in-chief, who leans far right. He kicked off his new job by deleting threads and kicking people off of the website. The result was many 'crashers' leaving and forming the Free Agents Network.
I'm excited over the growth of the freedom movement. We must work on converting conservatives and liberals into libertarians through education and persuasion. We must however resist changing our principles for the sake of growing the party or gaining votes. If we give up on our principles we surely have lost.