Practical and principled politics for libertarians

“Of course the game is rigged. Don’t let that stop you – if you don’t play, you can’t win.” – Robert Heinlein

This page provides resources for libertarians who believe — as I do — that it is possible to engage in politicians while remaining true to our principles. This is what I call “practical and principled politics for libertarians.” It is possible for a libertarian to run a principled campaign and present the uncompromising libertarian argument, while using terms and language which resonate with the voting public. Politics is an art, not a science.

I expounded on this concept in “Libertarian ‘wisdom vs. ‘real’ politics.

If you are have even the remotest thought of becoming a Libertarian candidate for anything the first thing you should read is the LP Political Action Manual.

In the introduction, former LP  political director Ron Crickenberger writes directly to potential Libertarian candidates and says:

  • You are not the voter, you are weird.
  • The average person thinks about politics less than five minutes a week.
  • 33% think about politics less than once a month.
  • 25% never think about politics.
  • By the time you get through reading this manual, you will have used up the average person’s quota of political thought for several years. Add to this the fact that as a Libertarian, you are the rarest of rare birds.
  • This is not to say that the average person does not think about issues. But for most people the issues are how am I going to make the car payment and keep the kids safe on the way to school, not who’s in office or some vague concept called liberty. So listen for the music the voters are hearing, not just the song you would like to play for them.

His last sentence describes what I call “practical and principles politics for libertarians.”

The short essay The Six Principles of Political Warfare by ’60s leftist-activist turned neo-con David Horowitz is a good read for understanding how “real politics” works. Just substitute ” Libertarian”  for “Republican.” I don’t agree with everything he writes, but it is a good guide.

Communicating the libertarian message

During my several campaigns since, I’ve compiled a list of web resources that will help candidates in their quest for practical and principled politics. All are excellent sources of updated information and views on issues from a libertarian and non-libertarian perspectives. The best are listed as links on the top of this page.

In addition, it would be well worth it to purchase a copy of “Liberty A to Z” by the late Harry Browne, a two-time Libertarian presidential candidate, best-selling author and premier libertarian communicator, and Dr. Mary Ruwart’s “Short Answers to Tough Questions,” available as a free download from her website. Both will provide you with an excellent compilation of 30-second soundbites and succinct response from the libertarian perspective on just about any subject. Dr. Ruwart also writes a “Short Answers” a column on the Advocates for Self-Government website, and offers a  collection of issue papers (free), tapes and videos on her website.

For North Carolina and local government issues, the John Locke Foundation is an especially useful resource. It has several affiliated groups, called projects, including the Center for Local Innovation for local government issues, and they publish the Carolina Journal. Other favorites are: Grass Roots North Carolina; Americans for Property, and;

Practical guides

Working with the Media

Whether you like it or not, it is important to work with the news media if you are going to be a successful libertarian candidate. Here is a quick guide to help you endure, and even profit, from the ordeal.

Letters the Editor

Another quick guide, to one of the most effective ways you have of promoting libertarian ideas — and your candidacy — is through the local newspapers, particularly the letters to the editor.


A collection of links to libertarian and non-libertarian groups and other campaign resources I’ve accumulated over the years. A great source of information and facts for speeches, press release and issue papers.