Other than yourself, I am probably the only active Libertarian still on this forum, so I am hesitant to get in a dispute with someone within my own tribe, but I think some things need to be mentioned regarding the problem with a Libertarian political party given the actual political philosophy of Libertarianism, so let me first address your first remark:
LaDexter wrote:There are plenty of political oxymorons, but that isn't one.
I respectfully disagree; and in doing so I am following the ideas of Edward Konkin in his work "The New Libertarian Manifesto."
and to a lesser (but no less profound) degree, of Hans-Herman Hoppe in his work "Democracy, The God That Failed."
The reason I disagree is because the idea of reducing or eliminating government by becoming one of its machinations is entirely misplaced for several points.
The first point is the idea that the state would/could ever reduce its power, the second one is the presumption that a representative government is even compatible with libertarian ideals in the first place, and the last point is that such a position as you propose invariably pits actual libertarians against "reformist" libertarians in practice in a way that is patently ridiculous. So let me address these one-by-one.
I. The State Will Not Reduce Its Power.
The point is important, and depending on how you respond, we could go in deep to discuss it, but for now it will suffice for me to summarize the main idea; namely, that government will NOT reduce its power given its nature as a human institution (praxeology).
The state as we have it ( a social contract style representative system) is predicated on a lack of private ownership in the governing process itself. The reason this is significant is because such a scenario creates a case where temporarily elected representatives are in charge of major economic decisions for which they themselves are not financially liable.
Under such conditions, you have people who gain power purely by an appeal to the population, serving temporary terms, and having no personal liability for any use of money for the general public. What sort of state of affairs would predictibly obtain given this recipe?
Firstly, it means that in order to gain votes, these politicians will offer what is popular, not what is responsible. So, even though cutting taxes is popular, so is increasing benefits, and since money is currently printed at will by the U.S. government, there is no reason why taxes can't be kept very low while spending remains high; and that is exactly what both parties have generally done. This has nothing to do with their relative platforms, its a matter of what they MUST do given human nature and what it takes to get elected.
Thus, deficit spending and an exponentially increasing debt is not only a winning platform for both parties, but is something they cannot even help, for not only are such actions the only way to get power and stay in power, but none of these representatives are personally liable for these "public funds."
For instance, if I were to personally spend more that I earn, I would lose my home, car, and assets; however, when an elected representative does this, he loses nothing as he is not the personal owner of the government or its assets; rather, he is only a temporary caretaker elected purely on the basis for his ability to be financially irresponsible.
Hence, the idea of a Libertarian Political Party is an oxymoron because the system is entirely predicated on deficit spending and not owning the means of governance. So not only does this doom the economic platform of Libertarianism to marginalization, but even if a Libertarian became elected, he could little to nothing to change this dynamic once in office and would therefore perform little different than your average democrat or republican. II. Representative Government is NOT compatible with Libertarian Principles.
This point is a tough one to swallow for most Americans, but its just a fact. The cardinal principle of Libertarianism is the Non-Aggression Principle (Voluntaryism). This principle is what defines Libertarianism; however, its this very principle that exists in contradiction to the U.S. Constitution and the system of government that stems from it.
For instance, the federal government taxes me at gunpoint, if I don't pay taxes they will make me do so under threat of force. This is a violation of the NAP and therefore invalid. Now, you might object that I can vote and am therefore complicit in this thievery via representation;
however, I never agreed to this arrangement, nor did my father, nor did his father's father. We are born under this obligation and must abide by it against our will or consent.
Indeed, if it were truly voluntary and consistent with the NAP, then we could surrender our privilege to vote in exchange for no longer having to pay taxes; however, we all know what would happen then now don't we?
Everyone would surrender their voting privileges in order to be tax free and the government would entirely collapse.
Next, let me hit the Constitution of the United States specifically on this point; namely the idea that its represents a libertarian document that we ought to use or uphold as a standard; I will now quote Lysander Spooner in refuting this notion:
“But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain - that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case it is unfit to exist.”
-Lysander Spooner, The Constitution of No Authority.
Think about that for a moment; the U.S. constitution either directly authorized the tyrannical regime we have now (that I presume you have serious problems with); or it was powerless to prevent the rise of such a bloated regime. Thus, this constitution is either a doctrine explicitly promoting tyranny, or is an impotent piece of paper.
Thus, from a Libertarian perspective, the U.S. constitution is either a document of tyrants or mere trash that lying politicians pay lip service to in order to dupe the masses who would believe them.
Hence, a Libertarian political party is an oxymoron because the government we have is a contradiction to libertarian ideals and the constitution itself is either anti-libertarian or utterly worthless. III. Libertarian Political Reform Creates Treacherous Stupidity.
Now, lets imagine a libertarian party becoming involved in politics as a viable party and being involved in government. Under such a scenario, you may have libertarian police officers, libertarian home inspectors, libertarian judges, libertarian jailers, etc, etc. These guys are trying to "reform" the system by being "a part of it," and so they have good intentions, no matter how retarded they actually are; now let me show you why such a scenario is retarded.
Imagine that by majority vote, Congress passes into law the continuance of a ban on marijuana and a ban on homeschooling. Now, in this scenario, Libertarians DID try to stop this legislation, but just lacked the votes to get it stopped (in spite having more numbers in Congress than ever before in their history).
So, with this new law being signed into implementation by the President of the United States, you now have a whole governemnt obligated under the Constitution to abide by and enforce this law.
Now, lets say a Libertarian home-inspector (he only became an "inspector" so that he could "reform" the system) is called to a home to check the windows on a cabin being built by an ACTUAL Libertarian named Stan.
Stan finds out that the home-inspector is a Libertarian and so he feels free to complain to the inspector about the evil government and how he is keeping a bunch of unregistered firearms, growing his own marijuana, and homeschooling his ten kids.
After which, the Libertarian home-inspector informs Stan that he now has to report this to the proper authorities given the new law that was passed, and so the libertarian home inspector turns in the libertarian homeowner to the police, but he does tell Stan that he wished he didn't have to do so because he shares his "views."
The police then come, and Stan finds out that the police man who is cuffing him is also a libertarian (he became a police officer to reform the policing system to make it more libertarian). so, actual libertarian Stan is taken into custody for practicing libertarianism by the libertarian cop, but the Libertarian cop tells Stan that "he wished he didn't have to do this, because he shares Stan's views."
At the court, he finds out his judge is also an elected judge from the Libertarian Party, the guy ran to become the local judge because he wanted to reform the system, and so the Judge now condemns the actual libertarian Stan for doing libertarian things and sends him to jail where he is guarded by a libertarian guard. Both the Judge and the guard tell Stan that they "wished they didn't have to do this," because they share his views.
This hypothetical about Stan is also why a Libertarian Political Party is an oxymoron; the NAP is not a token political slogan, its a moral law that supersedes any government, and so to have a libertarian party is to invariably create a group of people claiming to hold that the NAP is true who are obligated to violate that same NAP in order to punish people who do actually live by it.
I am sorry my friend, but that is just as absurd as Christians voluntarily joining a government that kills Christians and working for them in their process to do so. Its plain and simple horseshit, and so is a Libertarian Party.