"Those who stress the importance of ideas in society and politics tend to concentrate solely on the long run, on future generations. All that is true and important and must never be forgotten. But ideas are not only for the ages; they are vitally important in the here-and-now."
"In times of revolutionary ferment in particular, social and political change tends to be sudden and swift."
- Murray N. Rothbard
When elites begin to abandon a regime that can no longer reliably protect their interests, a substitute must be sought, even if it was previously ignored, neglected, ridiculed, patronized, rejected and suppressed. The most obvious and readily available substitutes like dictatorship are known to be dangerous to elite interests as well as everyone else's. In societies with tradition of popular consent and some measure of democratic accountability, the tendency will be to find a substitute which most closely resembles and seems most compatible with those traditions.
In the United States, the libertarian tradition most closely fits that requirement as a substitute and replacement for an abandoned regime. The Libertarian Party has been in existence for a generation. That should make it a contender as a prime elemental partner in a new political system. The LP could be expected to a likely vehicle for elites support. But the elites would likely demand certain modifications from the traditional libertarian ideology. The LP may have sufficient depth in its own elites to withstand such pressures.
In part, this is because the LP and other insurgent parties have been suppressed and denied opportunities to chose and elect officeholders to anchor the LP tradition as a 'legitimized minority' with the credibility to claim popular authority. The elites have allowed this to happen, when they have not encouraged it and the result leaves them trapped without a credible vehicle to exit from a political collapse. The consequence may well be that they will realize too late that they repeated the mistakes which led to the aftermath of the French Revolution.
It does one little good to sit smugly today and say, "Well, they've got it coming!" Societies cannot function without complex divisions of labor culturally and economically. It is not good enough to take a vindictive Marxian position. Elites must be rehabilitated and taught to appreciate the limitations of their role in a free society. The most recent example of elite sociopathy has been the neocons. In cases of blatantly criminal behavior some must be deprived of their freedom, perhaps, for life. Historically, once the lust for blood is in the streets, it is too late for talk of rehabilitation.
I would hope that soon the Libertarian Party will announce its non-negotiable opposition to the death penalty. And that we prepare to stand against all blood-lusting mobs indulging in suicidal vindictive orgies. We cannot let allow the blowback from the Bush Administration's insanity to turn Americans into terrorists against one another. The Libertarians deserve access to the ballot because we are the cultural and economic elites best hope for freedom as well as our own. How much credibility we can build as elected leaders amidst a torrent of corruption and sociopathy remains for us to prove, if we have the opportunity that is ours by right - not permission.