Robert Bidinotto has posted this Open Letter To Libertarians by the first Libertarian Party presidential candidate, philosophy professor John Hospers.
Hospers makes a passionate call for libertarians to vote for Bush this time. In closing he writes:
When the stakes are not high it is sometimes acceptable, even desirable, to vote for a “minor party” candidate who cannot possibly win, just to “get the word out” and to promote the ideals for which that candidate stands. But when the stakes are high, as they are in this election, it becomes imperative that one should choose, not the candidate one considers philosophically ideal, but the best one available who has the most favorable chance of winning. The forthcoming election will determine whether it is the Republicans or the Democrats that win the presidency. That is an undeniable reality. If the election is as close as it was in 2000, libertarian voters may make the difference as to who wins in various critical “Battle Ground” states and therefore the presidency itself. That is the situation in which we find ourselves in 2004. And that is why I believe voting for George W. Bush is the most libertarian thing we can do. [emphasis mine]
We stand today at an important electoral crossroads for the future of liberty, and as libertarians our first priority is to promote liberty and free markets, which is not necessarily the same as to promote the Libertarian Party. This time, if we vote Libertarian, we may win a tiny rhetorical battle, but lose the larger war.
For what it’s worth, I bit the bullet and voted for Bush (absentee ballot) last night. I urge those of you who wish to express your support for liberty to do the same; and to encourage others to follow suit.
I have many problems with Bush, but I’d rather have those problems than count on Kerry’s consistently worse policies being stopped by gridlock. I’d rather have better policies that we can continue to improve on than horrible policies that we might be able to recover from.