Do non-whites consider Libertarians to be a ‘whites only’ club?

During a discussion on a Libertarian Facebook account I had the following comment was directed towards me. This comment made me wonder, is there a preception by non-whites that The Libertarian Party is a “whites only” group?

Here is the comment (below) – please share your thoughts about this viewpoint and your thoughts about the lack of racial diversity within the members of the Libertarian Party. Do you agree with the writer that black skined Americans do not care about the US Constitution?

“Hey Reid,

How many members of the libertarian party in America are black? Now compare that to their population percentage of 12.4%. Let me know when you are done feeling stupid. How many blacks are members of the Constitution Party? Do the same comparison. Now what percentage of blacks are members of the Democratic (Socialist) Party? I think it is well over 90%. Stop being a coward and admit that the love of our Constitution along with its creation is something uniquely shared by white people. Blacks and browns do not care if it lives or dies and it will die soon because of multicultural America overwhelming traditional America. I was a member of the Libertarian Party for three years and I never read a book, a white paper, an article or an essay written by anyone other than a white gentile. Reject political correctness and remind yourself that you are a man. If other races and ethnicities can be proud of who they are, then so can we.”

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18 Responses to Do non-whites consider Libertarians to be a ‘whites only’ club?

  1. Polling shows that black people test in the libertarian quintile more than white people. The lack of diversity in the LP is the fault of the LP, not of those it fails to appeal to.

    I gather the same is likely to be true of the CP – I’ve met quite a few socially conservative, often small business owning (or aspiring to own small business) black folks, so conceivably the CP could recruit them.

    The statement “I never read a book, a white paper, an article or an essay written by anyone other than a white gentile” is laughable. Either your racist correspondent does not read much, reads very selectively, or has no idea who is a gentile.

    While it is true that non-“whites” are underrepresented in the LP and the libertarian movement as a whole, it is also true that Jews are quite overrepresented (not in the sense of exceeding some desirable limiting quota, but in the sense of comparing to the percentage of Jews in the general population.

    Just a few examples: Murray Rothbard, Milton and David Friedman, Aaron Russo, Ludwig von Mises. There are, of course, many more.

  2. Don Tabor says:

    My two favorite LIVING economist authors (Milton Friedman having passed away last year) are Walter E. Williams and Thomas Sowell. Both could be seen as quite libertarian. Herman Cain, who guest hosted the Boortz show today, likewise is on our side. Last time I looked, all of them are black. So there really is no lack of black libertarian political authors.

    In my dental practice, I get to talk politics with a lot of people of all races, and my experience confirms that blacks are not monolithic in political opinion, but oddly enough, they are very nearly monolithic in political affiliation. Some blacks I talk to are outright populist/socialist in opinion, but many others, especially those who are married, tend more toward libertarian views, and yet they all vote Democrat, much to my consternation.

    I can understand the Populist/Socialists being loyal Democrats, but many of the others, especially those who own businesses, are the very embodiment of libertarian success stories. It is hard to understand why they would continue to support a party that would make their own success stories impossible.

    I think that it may be that in the recent past, and in their family oral histories, BIG GOVERNMENT in the form of Federal marshalls played significant roles as saviors, bringing to them the rights so long denied by local and State governments. They grew up with a mindset that government is their protector and they are drawn to the party of a strong Federal government for that reason, even though that party directly contradicts their own life story.

    I’m not sure how we overcome that, at least not in a single generation. But I do believe we have to do it one person at a time, and not by appealing to blacks as a group. We have to maintain the discourse as individuals, and reach out to individuals in the minority communities linking their own successes and failures to the Liberties they enjoy or which have been denied them.

    We won’t win them all over, but we don’t win over all white people either. Those of all races who are willing to accept the responsibilities of Liberty in order to grasp its rewards will come our way in time, and those who want someone to take care of them will never be Libertarians and doom themselves to the Modern Plantations of the Welfare State.

  3. Britt Howard says:

    It has been a while since we had a black member in the TLP but, we have had a couple. There are definitely people of color who have attended several meetings.

    That said, on all levels I think more effort needs to be made to bring more people of color into the LP. At least we are very successful at bringing in women.

    Although John Moss is a Republican, many Libertarians working on his campaign worked closely with Rev. Joe Flores as he ran for council. I would like to see more of that.

    The key to breaking “Big Government’s” grip on minorities is to persuade them that their unalienable rights as human beings were secured by the Constitution and Bill of Rights and not “Big Government”. Among the white majority that sided with Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., were people vested in human rights. Government, which purpose is to protect the individual from Force and Fraud, was merely the tool with which to protect those rights owned by all people.

    Unlike either of the two dominant parties, the Libertarian Party can honestly say that it was never in power during a time in which people were legally treated as property. That in itself should be a strong argument. Why be a part of a party that once supported slavery and oppression based on race?

  4. Len Rothman says:

    It will be tough to convince the African-American community that their rights were secured by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, because most of the gains they have made were due to the Civil Rights Act in 1965. Before that, de facto segregation in the North, and, more insidiously, the legal segregation in the South denied them full citizenship. So for the first 175 years or so of Constitutional history, the black minorities were either enslaved or suffered second class citizenship.
    The original 10 amendments were added to protect the individual from authoritarian overreaching by a majority, so long as they were white.
    Unfortunately, with the income disparity, dismal inner city school systems, a disproportionate prison population and a dicey family support system in the community, reliance upon “Big Government” for basic needs will continue.

  5. Don Tabor says:

    Len- “Unfortunately, with the income disparity, dismal inner city school systems, a disproportionate prison population and a dicey family support system in the community, reliance upon “Big Government” for basic needs will continue.”

    When people are dependent on government, they are not free, they have merely exchanged a slavery of chains for one of guile.

  6. Len Rothman says:

    I don’t disagree. But if you are an single mother with several children who cannot read or write, then the road to economic freedom may seem out of reach. In the past, the community, the church, and the family would provide support for those who fall behind, but that is no longer a reality for many in the lowest economic rungs of the ladder.

    I don’t think that is a good thing, to be sure. But short of throwing a segment of our society under the bus, I am not sure what can be done to reduce their dependency upon government safety nets.
    Gangs and crime are often the route for those children who are neglected, and that affects all of us.

    We may blame the adults, but the children are really the ones who need the help to avoid repeating the same mistakes.

  7. Britt Howard says:

    Len, you are right. It will be a difficult sell. It shouldn’t be but, it is. However, no Libertarian or third party member is afraid of fighting a tough fight against the odds.

    “Big Government” operates law enforcement, yet “Big Government” gets a pass while they are legally responsible/liable for any enforcement brutality or unfairness in the legal system, or drug war. “Big Government” is responsible for the school systems the poor often suffer with. At least some in poor communities recognize the value in a voucher system. If “Big Government” is the safety net and all is well then I guess go with the status quo. However, your remarks indicate that indeed, that “safety net” is lacking.

    I would agree that as Libertarians, we should encourage church and community organizations to provide the support you describe. The TLP got it’s feet wet with a tiny Komen Race for the Cure effort that unfortunately had to compete with our efforts in the last election. Championing voluntary efforts to cure disease, educate, ease poverty etc., not only allow us to walk the talk but, make for good marketing.

  8. Don Tabor says:

    Len, I’ll have to assume your hypothetical illiterate mom of several children is not a widow or otherwise blameless for her situation, but the existence of such a person is a good example of why the poor are best served by charity instead of government.

    While government entitlement programs cannot make judgments about behavior, private charities can and do. A private charity can condition its assistance on such things as becoming literate, developing job skills, or at the very least, on not continuing to have kids with no committed partner.

    Private charities can also exercise tough love by providing alternate care for the children and not the mother if she will not make changes in the behavior that makes her dependent on others. Those children would be better off in foster care, or even an orphanage, than living with such a role model.

    But no one is served well by facilitating irresponsible behavior. A charity that did so would lose it supporters while the government gives its supporters no choice but to “donate.” So, leave the care of the poor to the good hearts of the people. They temper their charity with wisdom, which government has proven itself incapable of doing.

  9. Len Rothman says:

    Don, you make a lot of very good points. The devil, as always, resides in those nasty details. For example, charities cannot remove children from their mother, only the state can do such a drastic move in order to protect the under aged.

    I agree, you cannot keep feeding a profligate, but it is not just judgment about behavior that is the issue with charities. But charities will also favor those who are the right religion, the right color, the right sexual orientation, the right ethnic group and so on. As such, there will be truly needy cases that do not fit the views of the local charity.

    There are a lot of reasons why folks cannot fend for themselves, including mental illness, and not all are based upon moral weakness. Our streets are full of mentally unbalanced people who have been forgotten or written off as lazy, when they are paranoid or mentally disabled.

    If we did indeed have a system of charity that was effective for the large numbers of poor or unstable, then I think it might work. Is a large government welfare system the best? Of course not, but there is a place for the care of the most troubled whom no one else wants to deal with.

    But, I deviate from the original premise, which is about blacks and their allegiance to the Democratic Party. I think now, the minorities feel they may actually have a seat at the table. And if that is the case, then we may see a push toward greater self reliance which may lead to more support for the conservative parties, particularly regarding business and taxes. But, it will not happen overnight. It took about 350 years to create a dependent minority, it will take some generations to change that. I would like to say “we’ll see”, but I think I am to old to be a witness.

  10. Chad P says:

    Honestly, I didn’t take anything that guy said seriously. He was a complete and utter racist.

  11. Britt Howard says:

    Len, you are right. Some organizations will pick and choose based on a preference. That is their right. However, there will be many that don’t have criteria. Look at the progress we’ve made. There is reason to hope.

    Obama’s election unfortunately will likely further tie people of color to the Democrats, Condoleeza Rice, Clarence Thomas, and Colon Powell being largely ignored. However, when the African-American community realizes that they alone couldn’t have elected Obama and “whites” had to also vote that way, maybe they will realize that they do have a seat at the table. Let’s face it, the Civil Rights era had “white” people in the effort. Let’s not forget those that marched even though they had less pigment and didn’t have to. If blacks see they have a seat at the table, that is a good thing.

    Chad, I saw no racism here. Perhaps you saw comments elsewhere? Regardless, any racism may have been a result of pain and trauma. I can forgive a person for that especially if they start to see that it is ok to stop being racist. My mother and grandparents were active in the Civil Rights era. I heard horrible stories of mutilation (all due to color)that I don’t care to repeat. Having dictated what restaurants you can eat at, which beaches you can visit, which restrooms you can use, where you can sit, where you can live, who you can love, etc. can do great damage to an individual’s psychological health and perception of the world. I can understand anger based on that.

    Then again, I don’t really know anything about him except for what I have seen here. I don’t see how the conversation could hurt.

  12. Len Rothman says:

    Britt, you said “Obama’s election unfortunately will likely further tie people of color to the Democrats”,
    and that may be true. But the Republican Party gained the power it had since Reagan, Bush I and the 94 Congress by catering to the fear of Southern whites to a black resurgence. Look at the ads with Willie Horton and Jesse Helms’ (“I could’ve had that job except for affirmative action”). No, the loyalty to Democrats was there before Obama. After all, Gore and Kerry, both elite whites, got 88% and 89% of the black vote. Obama added about 6% more.
    You don’t win over people with theory or philosophy. You win them over with prosperity first, then comes the shift in political thinking. Libertarian principles rely on economic freedom and property rights; if you have neither, then those debates false on deaf ears.

  13. Britt Howard says:

    Like I said, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Secretaries of State, Defense, and NSA in Condoleeza Rice/Colon Powell will be ignored. Until Obama, what did the Democrats do to show blacks had a seat at the table besides talk? Give Republicans credit that is due. Not that I like defending the Repubs.

    As for Willie Horton, I saw that as a soft on crime issue not the race baiting issue that the Democrat machine made it into after they lost. Sorry, I don’t sympathize there.

    The right does react more to affirmative action, I’ll give you that. That is division but, the Dems practice the politics of division better than anyone. They play on race also. They also engage in pointless class warfare. Not all wealthy people are greedy, some create jobs and go out of their way to make a difference with their resources.

    “Southern Whites”? As a Virginia white guy I disagree with the idea that southern white men are that monolithic and fit that stereotype. We have our subcultures just like the African-American community does. Being soft on crime is a real issue beyond race. I saw a criminal, you saw skin color.

    I agree with your theory/philosphy points however, look around at some of that prosperity out there. Things have changed. Who lives in that mansion? Who drives that car? Who was Governor of Virginia and Mayor of Richmond? Who is that doctor? Lawyer? Chemist? Who owned Godfather’s Pizza? Who was hired by evil Bush? Who is President now? There is prosperity and a seat at the table now and I hope things continue to improve.

    With that prosperity and seat at the table and with a pitiful “Big Government” safety net” maybe perceptions will change.

    Property rights? How about the Housing Authorities “Big Government” uses to evict the poor and Legal counsel deprived? Who defends property rights here in Hampton Roads? Johnson’s Crab Shack in Portsmouth? The Auto parts lot in Norfolk? Fighting successfully to beat the establishment of a Housing & Redevelopment Authority that threatend Burton Station and many other areas? An Amicus Brief to The US Supreme Court during Kelo vs. New London. (Clarence Thomas’s desenting opinion echoed the TLP’s Amicus Brief crafted by our Legal Counsel.) ……..The Tidewater Libertarian Party.

    It will take time, I know. I am optimistic, though.

  14. Britt Howard says:

    Oh, I don’t dispute that the loyalty was there prior to Obama. I just don’t understand it.

  15. reidgreenmun says:

    All good discussion – however – do any of us white Libertarians actually know what non-whites think about the Libertarian Party? I have no idea if there is a preception that being Libertarian is a “whites only” club.

    I would be depressed to learn that such a preception exists. My experience with the Libertarian Party is a party of principle that welcomes anyone with like minded views regarding smaller government and defending presonal liberty and property rights.

    I have never considered those three primary party principles to be tied to only “whites” – but then, I am “white” so i may not have the proper objectivity or life experience to view the Libertarian Party through the eyes of a “non-white”.

  16. Britt Howard says:

    Reid, we could ask that question at the next meeting.

  17. reidgreenmun says:

    I think we need to do more than that. I am going to discuss this with some of my friends within the African-American business community.

  18. Chad P says:

    Britt,

    There was a ton posted elsewhere, yes, much of it racist in nature. I don’t forgive racism easily… with the resources available, intelligent people should be able to overcome those limitations.

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