Wednesday, 8 February 2006

Liberty lost her principles down in Costa Rica

I mentioned the Costa Rican elections here last week, and you might be wondering how the Costa Rican 'Libertarians' got on. Former Moviemento Libertaro activist Jorge has the news, and plenty of criticism. The MLs went soft in a bid for power over principle ... and the bid failed, and with it went the principles:
[Party leader and Presidential candidate Otto] Guevara and his group expelled the hard core libertarians, or as he called them “radicals”, from the party, saying that they were responsible for the impeding the growth of the party. He said that by becoming “moderate” they would move closer to the Costa Rican people, thereby gaining many more votes.

So, they abandoned ideology, purged the “radicals” from the party, spent 9.5 times what they did before, and came out slightly worse [than last election]. Maybe significantly worse if the seat that is hanging by a thread is lost...

What would have happened if the ML had remained hard core? We will never know the answer to this question, but I will offer a possible scenario.

In September of 2004 I saw the results of an internal poll which said that the entire Libertarian message was very popular with 25% of the population. Many positions were supported by the majority of the people. The main problem seemed to be that the ML had not effectively communicated the message. For example 70% of the population was opposed to government funding of political campaigns. Yet only 15% was aware that the ML did not accept state funds. When speakers would talk to small groups of people, communicating a hard core message, they would get enthusiastic responses, including offers of help. The big challenge was figuring out how to package the message into 30 second TV spots and getting the funds to take it to the people.

There were very creative people in the party. This problem was being addressed. If it had been solved, then a hard core ML would have elected 14 or 15 Diputados and been a significant force in the legislature. Possibly being able to advance Freedom a little bit. Sadly, we will never know.
Says one commenter there, he hopes they "learn the lesson and comeback to the core libertarian principles." Perhaps all libertarians might learn the lesson, huh? If you're trying to change a country in accordance with libertarian principles, there's no way you can do it by abandoning those principles. There are no shortcuts, but there are always plenty of sidetracks.

UPDATE: Some debate and disagreeement on this issue over at Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey's place: Movimiento Libertario abandons principles, gets spanked. (Thanks for the heads up, Jackie.)

Links: ...and they didn't even get the votes - Sunni & the Conspirators
12 seats for Costa Rican Libertarians? - Not PC
Libertarians May Get 20% of Seats (Feb 2nd) - Best Syndication
Moviemento Libertario site

1 comment:

  1. Unfortunately, it may be that the very nature of politics makes the abandonment of principles inevitable with growth. I've blogged about it, and the rest of the Costa Rica election, quite a bit on my own blog if you or your readers are interested.


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