Why aren’t there more Black Libertarians?

Some recent soul searching.

From a theoretical perspective, I always saw the Republican party as idyllically described by the article; small government, strong foreign policy, and religious – for some reason.

I tolerated the religiosity mostly because I believed in the other parts. Although frankly strong foreign policy these days is more about coalition building than who has more aircraft carriers.

But I can’t dismiss, from a practical if even empirical perspective, the role white nationalism plays in the party – especially now. Having soundly rejected Republicanism at this point, some distance is letting me at least entertain the idea that the party is racist at its core. But since I wasn’t racially motivated, nor were any of my conservative friends, it always seemed like a strawman to me to help polemic liberals feel better about themselves.

Frankly, I feel a little bit like Jebediah Springfield discovering completely different motives from a former colleague. We may have voted similarly, but for drastically different reasons.

The article brings up another good point, but one I’m beginning to question more and more. Why don’t black and brown folks find the Libertarian platform as attractive as they do the Democratic platform? Republicans could never really divorce themselves from their ultimately racist roots, but whatever nascent Libertarian party there was in the 60’s couldn’t have been anything but for the civil rights movement. These days, the only thing that comes close to such a widespread recognition of additional individual rights and liberties is gay marriage, which is fantastic but ultimately but a part of the wider civil rights movement started in the 60’s.

There are many more things going on today that people of color should find interesting about Libertarian ideas:

  • They’re for police body cameras
  • They’re against any investigation of a police-related death that isn’t done by a special prosecutor
  • They’re for civilian oversight of the police
  • They’re against the drug war, which has locked up untold numbers of black and latino men unjustly, robbing a generation of their fathers (and perpetuating poverty)
  • They’re against voter ID laws which disenfranchise many minorities

Now, ultimately, the Democrats support many of these notions too, as does the Green Party. However, it’s surprising how much the taint of Republican white nationalism has spread to Libertarians. There is an angle here for outreach to disaffected minorities – unlike the article implies. Many minorities have been harmed by the government: local government. It’s this angle that the Libertarians could play in their appeal for a more diverse, and ultimately electable, constituency.


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