I was interested in the dialogue that New York magazine posted the other day between MSNBC's Chris Hayes and Jesse Walker, a Reason magazine editor who often pops up in these pages. I thought the discussion on Walker's libertarian views was particularly interesting, inasmuch as he's trying to explain himself to someone who isn't a libertarian.
I liked this:
Jesse: One thing I've learned from the left is that social movements are ultimately more important than electoral politics. Obviously that isn't an either/or thing. But in the end I'm more interested in building a movement that can pressure politicians who don't agree with me than installing politicians who do agree with me.
Also this exchange:
Jesse: Have you ever voted third party? Not counting fusion votes.
Chris: I have.
Chris: I cast my first vote for president for Ralph Nader in N.Y., in 2000. Had I been in a swing state, I would have voted for Gore.
Jesse: I almost always vote third party. I have voted for the Libertarian Party's nominee in every presidential election of my lifetime, save one. And more often than not, I think they've put up a terrible candidate. You have to hold your nose pretty tight to vote for a guy like Andre Marrou. But I did it anyway, telling myself I was registering a generic protest vote for liberty rather than a specific protest vote for the standard-bearer. So you could make the case that I'm a lesser-evil voter, too.
Chris didn't ask Jesse the obvious follow-up question: Who was the one Libertarian candidate you couldn't bring yourself to vote for? So I wrote Jesse and asked. His answer:
In my first election I voted for Dukakis. While I had my problems with Ron Paul, I prefer him to most of the nominees that I *did* vote for; I just wasn't ready to fully abandon the major parties yet.
This leads me to post another question. Does anyone know if Robert Anton Wilson ever voted for a Libertarian Party candidate for president?