Alex Tabarrok makes the case:
First, war. War is the antithesis of the libertarian philosophy of consent, voluntarism and trade. With every war in American history Leviathan has grown larger and our liberties have withered. War is the health of the state. And now, fulfilling the dreams of Big Brother, we are in a perpetual war.
A country cannot long combine unlimited government abroad and limited government at home. The Republican party has become the party of war and thus the party of unlimited government.
With war has come FEAR, magnified many times over by the governing party. Fear is pulling Americans into the arms of the state. If only we were better at resisting. Alas, we Americans say that we love liberty but we are fair-weather lovers. Liberty will flourish only with peace.
Have libertarians gained on other margins in the past eight years? Not at all. Under the Republicans we have been sailing due South-West on the Nolan Chart – fewer civil liberties and more government, including the largest new government program in a generation, the Medicare prescription drug plan, and the biggest nationalization since the Great Depression. Tax cuts, the summum bonum of Republican economic policy, are a sham. The only way to cut taxes is to cut spending and that has not happened.
The libertarian voice has not been listened to in Republican politics for a long time. The Republicans take the libertarian wing of the party for granted and with phony rhetoric and empty phrases have bought our support on the cheap. Thus - since voice has failed - it is time for exit. Remember that if a political party can count on you then you cannot count on it.
Exit is the right strategy because if there is any hope for reform it is by casting the Republicans out of power and into the wilderness where they may relearn virtue. Libertarians understand better than anyone that power corrupts. The Republican party illustrates. Lack of power is no guarantee of virtue but Republicans are a far better - more libertarian - party out-of-power than they are in power. When in the wilderness, Republicans turn naturally to a critique of power and they ratchet up libertarian rhetoric about free trade, free enterprise, abuse of government power and even the defense of civil liberties. We can hope that new leaders will arise in this libertarian milieu.