Myth 1. You shouldn’t vote for them because they can’t win.
So what! Your vote is your statement on what kind of government you want. If you vote Libertarian you are making a statement that you are not happy with the way Republicans and Democrats are running our country. You are making a statement that you are REALLY serious about reducing the size of government and removing government interference in the private lives of citizens. If you only vote for Republicans or Democrats these parties have no incentive to change. If one party gets into office they will try to grab as much power as possible both for themselves and for government as a whole. They know that if there are ONLY two choices for voters, even if they lose an election, there will always be another election they can win and return to power. If there is a significant Libertarian vote the Republicans and Democrats may adopt more Libertarian positions to attract those voters.
What is the worst thing that can happen if you vote Libertarian? A Republican or Democrat will win, but the loser will be thinking about how they can get votes from the Libertarians.
What is the worst thing that can happen if you DON’T vote Libertarian? A Democrat or Republican will win and the loser will know that they are the only alternative, they just have to wait a little while until you get sick of the winner, and nothing will change.
Myth 2. If you vote Libertarian the other side will win.
So what! This assumes that voters from only one party are potential Libertarian voters. There are Libertarian issues that attract voters from both Democrats and Republicans.
I am a supporter of Second Amendment rights so I usually read the arguments that if people vote Libertarian they will cause pro-gun Republicans to lose and then the Democrats will pass all kinds of terrible gun control laws. The problem with this argument is that if the choice is ONLY between Republicans and Democrats then the Republicans only have to be SLIGHTLY more pro-gun than the Democrats. The Republicans can still pass many laws restricting second ammendment rights all the while claiming that things would be much worse if the Democrats had been elected. You will still lose your Second Ammendment rights, it will just happen a little slower.
If you vote Libertarian you are making a political statement that you don’t want ANY more laws restricting your Second Amendment (or insert your favorite cause here) rights. Suppose that only 5% of the voters vote Libertarian. Then the smallest margin of victory would be (to tenths of a percent, neglecting other parties) 47.4% to 47.6%. The party that lost has two choices for the next election, they can try to gain voters from the 47.4% that voted for the other party or from the 5% that voted Libertarian. There are many problems with gaining votes from the 47.4%; patronage, habit, family tradition, etc.. These voters will not be swayed by reason. On the other hand the Libertarian voters have indicated that they want government to change, they are not satisfied with the same old style of government. If the losing party tries to gain Libertarian voters they will have to adopt more Libertarian positions. Thus, even though a Libertarian candidate didn’t win a Libertarian vote can influence the direction of BOTH Democrats and Republicans.
Myth 3. Libertarians are crazy.
Unfortunately, from the perspective of many americans, this is true. Libertarians believe in many things that are the complete opposite of policies promoted by the Democrats and Republicans to enlarge the government. Libertarians do not believe in the government taking money from individual tax payers and giving it to businesses. This means that a lot of people who are now getting money from the government would get nothing under a Libertarian government. It is pretty easy to see why these people would oppose Libertarian policies. The problem for Libertarians is that A LOT of people benefit from big government. The list is HUGE!! They like Big Brother. They like getting your money. They DON’T like the Libertarian idea that they should be responsible for themselves and their families. They DON’T like the Libertarian idea that they should compete in the marketplace, on their own merits, without assistance from the government.
A common argument is “the Libertarians would eliminate the USDA, and you’ll eat poison food and die! That’s what will happen if you vote Libertarian!”
The Libertarian response is that the USDA does not inspect every single food item. They set standards and make some inspections to see if anything bad is happening. If there is something bad happening they may give penalties.
Standards and inspections can be done by private companies funded by brands, e.g. “All Krusty Burgers are made from beef inspected by the Harvard School of Agriculture”. If you don’t see an inspection body you trust, don’t buy the product. If the inspection company sees something bad they can withdraw their approval.
None of this relieves the food producer from civil or criminal liability. The consumer will always have the option to sue.
[Aside: You may think that suing a company is futile because of the difficulty in using the courts, and under the current system you would be right. The Democrats and Republicans really don’t want the courts to be accessible to the common citizen. The have manipulated the courts into tools of control over our lives and revenue collection. Under a Libertarian government, where there would be no consensual crimes, 95% of current court cases would cease to exist and access to the courts would be much easier.]
Myth 4. If Libertarians are elected they will do lots of crazy things.
Sure, if EVERY state elected one Libertarian senator, and EVERY state elected a majority of Libertarian Representatives, AND a Libertarian president were elected, there would be radical change. Never going to happen. What WOULD happen if several Libertarian congressmen were elected is they would oppose big government whenever they could. If the Democrats or Republicans wanted to pass something bad enough they would try to get the Libertarians to vote for it. This means they would have to make their bills more Libertarian. More likely, a Libertarian bloc would would join with the Republicans or Democrats to prevent the other party from passing bad laws.
If the Republicans and Democrats just joined together and and voted for each others bills this would at least show people that there is really no difference between the two and they are just after money and power.