Jack Hunter’s political instincts are pretty poor. In the video above, he is seen acting like an obnoxious jerk. More than that, his motivation for ostracizing conspiracy theorists from the liberty movement is shallow and arrogant. While my skepticism of private and political power is not rooting in conspiracies, it’s pretty clear that conspiracists supportive of libertarianism have added more momentum to the spread of libertarian ideas than they have taken away. Liberty is a pluralistic value, and it’s reasonable to be tolerant of people who come to these ideas from different walks of life and perspectives. Demanding that people self-sensor means they will be less engaged, closing them off from the opportunity to develop their understanding of liberty further.
Hunter’s support earlier in the summer for Sen. Rand Paul’s endorsement of Mitt Romney is just as unfounded. Hunter and Paul think libertarians working within the political system need to get into the good graces of Republican activists. But this is not the first time that a minority faction has sought to influence the dominant political parties. Evangelicals and gun enthusiasts have been widely successful in advancing their principles. Today, as opposed to 20 or 30 years ago, their principles are near-ironclad Republican policies. They didn’t do that by voting for the lesser of two evils. Even if it meant short-term setbacks, those electorates would refuse to vote for anyone who did not support them. Politicians couldn’t take those constituencies for granted. For people who want to reduce the scope of government intervention domestically or internationally, that would seem to exclude any support of Romney.
I’d suggest that if libertarians today working within the political system want to make electoral progress, which I’m dubious of, they should think twice before taking Jack Hunter’s advice.