RINCON — Do you feel abandoned by America’s two main political parties? There might be a new place for you and your beliefs.
A small group of concerned citizens recently formed the Libertarian Party of Effingham County.
“It started about October of last year,” said Theodore Hamby, who came up with the idea.
Joseph Pilat, recently elected the party’s chairman, helped turn Hamby’s dream into a reality. He was pointed in Hamby’s direction by Laura Owens of the Libertarian Party of Savannah.
“She knew I was a Libertarian so (Theodore) and I got together and just started doing it,” Pilat said.
Hamby, the local party’s vice chairman, and Pilat are strong proponents of individual freedoms and limitations on government. They believe that is a view that many people share.
“There are a lot of Libertarians in Effingham County but they just don’t know they are actually Libertarians,” he said. “One of the goals of forming this party is to spread the word that there is a third alternative to the aging dinosaurs that are the Republican and Democrat parties. We are trying to get rid of this duopoly system.”
Hamby and Pilat hope to heighten the awareness of Libertarian principles. The primary one is that all individuals have the right to exercise sole dominion over their own lives and have the right to live in whatever manner they choose as long as they do not forcibly interfere with the equal right of others to live in whatever manner they choose.
“People only know the Libertarian Party during the (U.S.) presidential election,” Hamby said.
Past Libertarian Party presidential nominees included Ron Paul (1988), Andre Marrou (1992), Harry Browne (1996, 2000), Michael Badnarik (2004), Bob Barr (2008), Gary Johnson (2012, 2016) and Jo Jorgensen (2020).
Hamby, a candidate for the Guyton City Council’s Post 3 seat, said Republicans and Democrats conspire to keep Libertarians and upstart challengers from their own parties off the ballot at the state level.
“I knew our home was with the Libertarian Party because it shares our principles and it is welcoming,” Pilat said. “The state chairman and the state party were welcoming.”
Hamby, a former Republican campaign worker, and Pilat don’t believe the nation is headed in a positive direction in regard to civil liberties.
“We are genuinely scared,” Pilat said. “We are the real party of smaller government. We are the real party of liberty and freedom.”
“The Republicans preach that they are for small government but what do they have to show for it?” Hamby asked. “Look at the policies that they have enacted. It’s big government at its finest.
“Look at the Patriot Act.”
Pilat said Republicans aren’t doing anything to combat “mass surveillance” through the use of cameras and other technology.
Hamby and Pilat believe that Republicans and Democrats place corporate and other interests above individual freedom.
“One of the things that the Libertarian Party of Effingham County will not compromise on is constitutional rights,” Pilat said.
Hamby said government at multiple levels is infringing on rights through COVID-19 restrictions and mandates.
“I think people are worried about safety but I believe that freedom is more important than safety,” Hamby said. “The government should not be able to dictate what we do with our lives.”
“We are against government mask mandates,” Pilat added. “We think a private business should be able to operate any way they see fit. If they require a mask, we have the option to not go in there.”
The Libertarian Party of Effingham County is a a staunch supporter of gun rights and small business owners.
“We would like to see a zero tax rate for small business,” Pilat said.
“One of the things that kills small businesses before they can even start is government intervention,” Hamby interjected. “Get government out of the way and let small businesses thrive.”
The Libertarian Party of Effingham County intends to meet once a month. The schedule will be published in the Effingham Herald.
“What we are trying to bring to Effingham County is transparency, small government and small businesses that thrive,” Pilat said. “We also want accountability. We don’t want elected officials seeking seats to benefit themselves, trying to get retirement packates and health insurance packages.
“We think that’s a public servant and you should do into that with a good heart.”
For more information, email email@example.com or visit https://lpgeorgia.com/. The party also have Facebook and Twitter accounts.