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Choices for NH Libertarians

New Hampshire Libertarians now face several alternatives. None of them are exactly ideal. The starting point is the current libertarian political situation in New Hampshire. Once again, the Libertarian Party failed to gain major party status in New Hampshire.

There is a group “Libertarian Party of New Hampshire”, which the Libertarian National Committee recognizes as its affiliate. From the standpoint of electoral politics, the LPNH is a private club that holds a yearly convention and can support people who wish to run for public office. Private club? To join, you satisfy their rules and pay your dues. Because “Libertarian” is not a New Hampshire major party, you cannot register to vote as a Libertarian. The LPNH has no say in who runs for public office as a Libertarian. To run for office, you satisfy certain state legal requirements, collect signatures on nominating papers, and are on the November ballot.

So what alternatives does a representative New Hampshire libertarian have? First, you can join the LPNH and then work to support the current LPNH-Mises leadership. That means you have associated yourself with their exotic political positions, positions that have brought the LPNH international notoriety.

Second, you can attempt to stage a takeover of the current LPNH group, by showing up at the next LPNH state convention with enough of your libertarian friends and their fellow travelers. Evidence that there are enough libertarians in New Hampshire who are willing to do this is a bit difficult to see. You can also hope that the current Mises-oriented group will tire of what they are doing and fade into the woodwork. I have been listening to the ‘tire’ nonsense for most of a year now, and it is still nonsense. There is currently no sign that the Mises people are going away.

Third, you can organize local Libertarian groups, perhaps groups that do not have public membership paths so they cannot be taken over by troublemakers, and do libertarian things, such as running candidates for office, speaking up for libertarian positions, and the like. You simply ignore the LPNH-Mises group. The problem with this approach is that LPNH-Mises has taken, and likely will continue to take, any number of quaint political positions with which most people would not wish to associate. If you call yourself ‘Libertarian’, you are so associated.

Fourth, you can avoid the word “Libertarian”, because it has been poisoned, and form a political group or groups that advocate for sensible libertarian positions but do not call themselves “Libertarian”. Reusing a political name from days of yore, one that is not controversial, comes to mind as an option. “Whig”, the anti-Federalist Party, comes to mind as a name, but there are others. A single-issue name, e.g., “Legal Pot”, with that as the core issue comes to mind.