by Dr. Roy Cordato
Senior Economist, Emeritas
This Wall Street Journal article by libertarian legal scholar Randy Barnett explains why he believes that, in light of the fact that we do not have a parliamentary system, the formation in 1972 of the Libertarian Party was a mistake. In the main I agree with his analysis in terms of the political process. And Randy’s own journey is very similar to mine. But I do not agree that it was a mistake in the first place. I think the party played a very important role in introducing people to libertarianism that would otherwise have never heard of it. For the most part, the only way people at the time and for a decade afterward would have heard about libertarianism would have been through some college professor. Libertarianism existed exclusively on college campuses, and not a lot of them. To say it was obscure would be a huge overstatement of its popularity. Remember there was no Cato, there was no Reason. In fact, even these organizations may not have come about if the LP had not come first. So while I can no longer support the LP, for a number of reasons besides those put forth by Barnett, I definitely don’t wish that, back in the 70s and early 80s, it didn’t exist.