All of this is done with an eye toward the poll numbers. Americans increasingly oppose draconian drug war policies, debt-ridden government, and excessively interventionist foreign policies.

But libertarians would do well to keep in mind a simple lesson of politics: Never trust a party out of power.

Time and time again, the party not occupying the White House and lacking full control of Congress opposes the status quo and hunkers down on purported party creeds, only to contradict those principles when they return to power.

The reality is that holding power brings perverse constraints, incentives, and perspectives on policy, while being out of power incentivizes politicians to exploit public discontent and capitalize on the political winds.