My Party membership expired with the new year, and I don't plan to renew it for a variety of reasons. One, I shouldn't be spending money needlessly at this point and two, as I move toward the pastorate, it's time to leave the fun and games of partisan politics (gradually) behind me. Being a dues-paying, card-carrying member of an actual political party strikes me as crossing a line.
But most of all, because the Party is filled with utter wackos (and I'm saying that about these people). There isn't a place for moderates -- that is, non-anarchists. I don't use the term "anarchist" lightly, but in full reference to the Party leadership and dominant body which advocates a completely stateless society.
Some continue to live in a persistent false narrative whereby most Americans really are libertarian, but have never heard libertarian ideas coherently expressed (if at all) and are just waiting to flood the a halls of Congress and state legislatures with elected Libertarians if only they knew about us -- if only Libertarian candidates could get into electoral debates*. This was the basic message of the last 3 Presidential campaigns, and it is deeply flawed.
The problem is not that the American people don't know that they are libertarian because the message has not been widely spread, but that the American people (in general) understand libertarian political ideology and completely reject it. The problem is us -- we are an ideological minority.
And we always shall be. The Founding Fathers may have been strongly in favor of very reduced government power, but that was 200 years ago, and presently the American electorate holds an opposite view. Most political debate can be described as follows:
Republican candidate: "Issue A is a a very serious problem that people are facing. We need to spend X to resolve it."
Democratic candidate: "That's not enough. If we really care, we must spend 2X on the problem."
And so it goes -- health care, social security, the sniffles, etc. Both major parties, effectively representing the vast majority of the American electorate, see government as the solution to, rather than the cause of, most of the problems of American life. On rare occasions, Republicans may trot out the old Goldwaterian rhetoric of government as a predatory menace, and that it should stay out of people's affairs, but these are only speeches. Talk of an 'ownership society'. Talk of privatizing one-tenth of Social Security. But time passes and government grows ever more intrusive and budgets grow ever larger. There is no libertarian future. Why? Because the American people simply don't want small government.
We can still saddle up and fight the good fight, of course. The blogosphere, which is disproportionately libertarian, is a good place to do it. But the Libertarian Party is now completely in the hands of self-aggandizing idiotarians fighting internally for doctrinal purity instead of putting forward moderates who actually have a chance of getting elected.
*A rhetorical crutch that the LP uses to explain away its own failure -- Democratic and Republican conspiracy prevents Libertarian success. Otherwise, our crackpot candidates would win stunning majorities at the ballot box.