Luckily the LP is not a religion, and has no doctrine of infallibility. What it does is put into practice a suggestion made by Ayn Rand in 1947:
For a practical definition, if men merely agree that no man or number of men have the right to initiate the use of force against any human being (and that includes the forcible seizure of his property), that they have no such right for any purpose whatsoever, at any time whatsoever—that would be all we need, that would achieve a perfect Utopia on earth, that would include all the moral code we need. (LOAR 366)
Did Ayn Rand understand how spoiler votes change laws? Apparently not. Never has she explained how the income tax moved from the Communist Manifesto to the 16th Amendment. In The Fountainhead Dominique clearly opposes Prohibition, but how did it move from the Prohibition Party platform to the 18th Amendment? When asked in 1972 about the Libertarian Party she replied:
I’d rather vote for Bob Hope, the Marx Brothers, or Jerry Lewis—they’re not as funny as John Hospers and the Libertarian Party. If Hospers takes ten votes away from Nixon (which I doubt he’ll do), it would be a moral crime. … (George Wallace is no great thinker—he’s a demagogue, though with some courage—but even he had the sense to stay home this time.) If you want to spread your ideas, do it through education. But don’t run for president—or even dogcatcher—if you’re going to help McGovern. [FHF 72]
Rand’s vote-count error is reminiscent of the socialist “fixed pie” error Peikoff pointed out in a debate. Looters imagine there is only so much wealth, and that if you gain some, it is taken from someone else. Hospers and Nathan’s LP took nearly 4000 votes from parasitical competitors. The result was that the LP platform’s plank on overpopulation was copied almost verbatim into the Roe v Wade decision by the Supreme Court. This stopped Texas and Wallace Dixiecrat states from reviving Comstock laws to again ban all birth control, including abortion. This individual right Ayn Rand defended in keeping with the 14th Amendment.
Nixon’s party, on the other hand, got the “message” that George Wallace’s racial collectivist supporters sent to Washington with their 1968 votes (46 of them electoral votes). The Republicans imported some of Wallace’s planks and rhetoric and again scooped up the Klan vote–as they had in 1928. At 67, Ayn can’t be blamed for not realizing on October 22 that Wallace–in 1972 the leading Democratic contender–“had the sense to stay home” because he was shot May 15. Ayn hardly noticed that Bobby Kennedy (whom she doubtless saw as another heir of the Nazi Papacy) was fatally shot June 6th. When the GOP allowed Goldwater to lose to LBJ, that was NOT the republican endorsement of Jewish values or repudiation of christian naziism the author of “The Fascist New Frontier” had struggled to imagine.
Ayn Rand, born in an autocratic empire turned communist dictatorship, lacked experience with democracy. Like teevee personalities, she saw votes as vectors for hiring politicians, NOT as policy instruments with which individuals directly change laws. The idea of spoiler votes moving policy–as the U.S. Liberal Party votes did when she was 25, or as communist votes changed the U.S. Constitution when she was 8, never occurred to her then, or to most libertarians today. But the religious Prohibition Amendment and communist Income Tax Amendment were championed by parties that averaged under 3% of the vote.
So when a brilliant ethicist opines that “taking ten votes away” from a lying, superstitious, girl-bullying fascist looter the likes of Richard Nixon is “a moral crime”, one has to wonder if philosophy, like science, “advances one funeral at a time.”
Clarity isn’t oversimplification
Ayn Rand’s description of the Crash and Depression in Atlas Shrugged more closely resembles the historical record than prior theories. Republicans have managed to efface Clark Warburton’s “The Economic Results of Prohibition”. Prohibition and the Crash–Cause and Effect in 1929, takes Warburton’s work one step further. Live on Amazon Kindle for the price of a pint.
Prohibition and The Crash, on Amazon Kindle