There has been no shortage of reaction among libertarians to Bill Redpath’s list of Libertarian Party promises which he issued upon the occasion of the party’s 37th birthday last week. Earlier, we covered the reaction by Classically Liberal blog.
At Delaware Libertarian, Brian Miller writes Introducing The New and Improved NeoConTarian Party ™:
The list Redpath produces looks like something from FreedomWorks — a right-wing Republican think tank headed up by former congressman Dick Armey (where can I sign up?!?). It’s all about phony “free markets” (which haven’t existed in this country for almost 100 years), some swipes at the UAW (with no swipes at AIG or other companies who have received handouts several orders of magnitude larger than the UAW has demanded in its history.)
Also informative and interesting is what is missing.
The leader of the party founded largely in opposition to the Vietnam War will not oppose foreign wars of occupation. This is not a surprise — Aaron Starr and others on the LNC who pushed Ms. Keaton out the door are outspoken proponents of foreign military interventionism. Keaton’s involvement in AntiWar.com, not her free-spirited banter, were the real “unacceptable situation” to these jokers.
The leader of the party founded largely in defense of individual liberties cannot even be bothered to put in a single line about civil liberties, opposing the USA PATRIOT Act, stopping warrantless wiretaps, halting unreasonable searches and seizures motivated by race, defending the rights of individuals to speak out against the government, nor eliminating the abuse of secrecy laws.
On your individual rights, the chairman of the Libertarian Party couldn’t be bothered to comment on a commitment by his National Committee to work towards the repeal of anti-gay laws, racial preference/discriminatory laws, an end to the War on Some Drugs, an end to the War on Sexual Liberties (howdy Starchild) or even hint at them.
As a national board member of perhaps the largest and most active Libertarian Party organization outside of the party structure itself, Outright Libertarians, I’m utterly mystified to see the degree to which — despite netting positive press and fighting off the media hounds for these jokers — our issues have been completely and utterly ignored.
I personally won’t be making THAT mistake again.
I hate to say I Told You So, but, as in the Ron Paul newsletters and countless other bizarre Libertarian “close your eyes and WISH and we’ll magically win” episodes, this latest incarnation of the LP is not only completely undifferentiated and boring, but it’s not going to succeed. Angry white guys who hate gays and want lower taxes have the GOP. People concerned about vanishing liberties typically value ALL of them, not “just” the economic ones. And the vast majority of non-voters who represent our biggest opportunity for growth tend to be neither white nor male.
The New LP that the Glorious Organization of Republican Ex-members seeks to create is nothing more than the Republican Party with a couple of twists — half the IQ points and twice the waistline.
It’s your party. Do something about it now (and in 2010).
Daniel Grow compares Redpath’s promises with the 2004 Libertarian Party platform, which he prefers:
Principles that haven’t changed in the 37 years? Or so Redpath says… Well, maybe we have just “fine tuned” things a bit. Let’s take a look:
Redpath says the Libertarian Party will never use your money to bailout private corporations.
We used to say, “Taxpayers must never bear the cost of default upon government-guaranteed loans” and “All national, state and local government agencies whose primary function is to guarantee loans —
including the Federal Housing Administration, the Rural Electrification Administration and the Small Business Administration — must be abolished or privatized.”
Redpath says the Libertarian Party will always promote free market alternatives to government action in the economy.
We used to say, “To ensure the economic freedom and enhance the economic well-being of Americans, we support the and the repeal of all controls on wages, prices, rents, profits, production and interest rates, and the elimination of all government impediments to free trade.”
Redpath says the Libertarian Party will always fight for less government intervention in the market.
We used to say, “We oppose all intervention by government into the area of economics and free market should be allowed to function unhindered by government.”
Redpath says the Libertarian Party will never raise your taxes, letting you keep the money that you earn.
We used to say, “We call for the repeal of the income tax, the abolishment of the Internal Revenue Service” and “government activity should not include the forcible collection of money or goods from
individuals in violation of their individual rights.”
Redpath says the Libertarian Party will ensure transparency is included in all government expenditures.
We used to say, “We condemn the government’s use of secret classifications to keep from the public information that it should have” and “government is the servant of the individuals who own this
country; withholding information that the public has a right to know is dishonest, deceptive and a perversion of the proper relationship between government and its employers.”
Redpath says the Libertarian Party will drastically cut the size of government, not increase its size with positions like “Car Czar.”
We used to say, “Current problems in such areas as energy, pollution, health care delivery, decaying cities, and poverty are not solved, but are primarily caused, by government” and that we’d abolish “…all federal programs and services not required under the US Constitution.”
Redpath says the Libertarian Party will protect a free and competitive market, which allocates resources in the most efficient manner—even in times of economic downturn.
We used to know that free markets don’t need protection by political parties, but that instead, “We oppose all intervention by government into the area of economics and free market should be allowed to function unhindered by government.”
Redpath says the Libertarian Party will always oppose all government attempts to redistribute wealth, or to control or manage trade.
We used to say, “Efforts to forcibly redistribute wealth or forcibly manage trade are intolerable” and “government intervention in the economy imperils both the personal freedom and the material prosperity of every American.”
Redpath says the Libertarian Party will fight against government debt, which burdens future generations without their consent.
We used to call for the end of “deficit budgets” and said “government debt forces individuals to assume debt that they did not choose to incur, distorts capital markets and rates, and ruins the economy.” We added “government must not incur debt, nor should it be allowed to hold assets, for these are debts incumbent on and assets taken away from the individuals of this country” and that “governments facing fiscal crises should always default in preference to raising taxes, as default is preferable to raising taxes or perpetual refinancing of growing public debt.”
Redpath says the Libertarian Party will divest government of all functions that can be provided by non-governmental organizations or private individuals.
Again, we used to say, “we’d abolish “…all federal programs and services not required under the US Constitution.” We used to KNOW we didn’t need government and we didn’t ask what “CAN” or “can’t” be provided.
Redpath says the Libertarian Party will oppose government subsidies to business, labor, or any other special interest.
We used to include, “…business, labor, education, agriculture, science, broadcasting, the arts, sports, or any other special interest.”
Redpath says the Libertarian Party will repeal of all laws that impede the ability of any person to find employment.
We used to know that repealing certain laws such as the “…minimum wage laws, so-called “protective” labor legislation for women and children, governmental restrictions on the establishment of private day-care centers, and the National Labor Relations Act.”
Redpath says the Libertarian Party will support the right of free persons to associate or not associate in labor unions, and protect the right of an employer to recognize or refuse to recognize a union.
We used to know, “Government interference in the employer/employee relationship has imposed undue burdens on our economy, destroying the rights of both to contract in the free market.”
Redpath says the Libertarian Party will oppose government interference in bargaining, such as compulsory arbitration or imposing an obligation to bargain.
We used to “…urge repeal of the National Labor Relations Act, and all state right-to-work laws.”
Redpath says the Libertarian Party will repeal all governmental impediments to free trade.
We used to mention the, “abolition of all trade barriers and all government-sponsored export- promotion programs, as well as the U.S. International Trade Commission and the U.S. Court of International Trade” and that “we affirm this as a unilateral policy, independent of the trade policies of other nations.”
Redpath says the Libertarian Party will protect your rights as a taxpayer, businessman or consumer.
We used to know that means we should be, “…unhindered by government regulation, while government should punish fraud, theft, misrepresentation, and contractual breach without exception.”
And in addition to all of that, the LP used to also take a stand on:
the repeal of all taxation and tax amnesty; fiat money, banking, inflation and depression; an independent treasury and the money supply; coercive monopolies and the postal service; takings and
eminent domain; offensive speech; surveillance and private encryption; search and seizure, random stops, census data, consent, and self defense; government aggression and the right to keep and bear
arms; reproductive rights, state funding and mandates, and unwanted pregnancy; child labor laws, compulsory education laws, and curfews; consumer protection, free market, consumer demand,and the regulation of safety; voting and elections; discrimination by governments and anti-discrimination laws; sexuality and gender; insurance, drugs and medicine; indoctrination and compulsory education laws; crime, private security, restitution, deterrence, pardon and threats; denial of due process, seizure of property, and excessive use of force; emergency regulation, government ownership, subsidies and regulation; free market nuclear energy, federal land, unowned resources; property
rights, trespass and nuisance; citizenship and welfare enforcement; native Americans, secession, and political association; military service, draft, involuntary servitude; resisting tyranny and government secrecy; habeas corpus and the Bill of Rights; the Presidential War Powers Act, states of emergency, and secret commitments; non-intervention, entangling alliances, and imperial adventures; foreign investment, international travel, and passports; torture and violations of individual rights; terrorism and world government.
All of the things Dan Grow says the LP “used to say” are in fact still covered by the principles of the 2008 LP Platform, with these major exceptions:
* “government [should not be] allowed to hold assets”
* “default is preferable to raising taxes or perpetual refinancing of growing public debt”
* “repeal of all taxation”
* tax amnesty
and these minor ones: making the census voluntary; private encryption; random stops; curfews; compulsory education; native Americans.
However, note our Omissions plank: “Our silence about any other particular government law, regulation, ordinance, directive, edict, control, regulatory agency, activity, or machination should not be construed to imply approval.” And of course, Dan would surely claim that everything he advocates follows inexorably from these principles in our Platform: “force and fraud must be banished from human relationships […] we defend each person’s right to engage in any activity that is peaceful and honest […] all individuals have the right to exercise sole dominion over their own lives, and have the right to live in whatever manner they choose, so long as they do not forcibly interfere with the equal right of others to live in whatever manner they choose.”
However, even in the context of the current bailout mania, Redpath should indeed have included personal liberties along with economic liberties in his list of LP promises. That’s why the platform is split into Personal Liberty and Economic Liberty sections: to highlight the theme that we are not Left, not Right, but Libertarian.
Miller’s diatribe is reality-challenged. Redpath’s list takes no “swipes at the UAW”, and in fact even-handedly “opposes government subsidies to business, labor, or any other special interest”. Miller calls the list “neocon talking points”, but the signature position of neoconservatism — foreign interventionism — is utterly absent both from Redpath’s list and from all LP statements. Miller of course cannot quote Aaron Starr being an “outspoken proponent of foreign military interventionism”. The event that precipitated the founding of the LP was not the Vietnam War, but Nixon’s closing of the gold window and imposition of wage and price controls. The idea that “people concerned about vanishing liberties typically value ALL of them” is nonsense. ACLU leftists tend not to value economic liberties, and AEI rightists tend not to value personal liberties (unless exercised the way the majority exercises them). As for our growth opportunity among non-voters, I’m not aware of any polling data showing that non-voters make for better libertarian prospects. The one data point I’ve seen on this says that 15% of voters lean libertarian, compared to 13% of Americans overall.
Brian writes: “Aaron Starr and others on the LNC who pushed Ms. Keaton out the door are outspoken proponents of foreign military interventionism. ”
If this is true it would be nice to have the names and details so that we can campaign against these specific people at the next convention.
If you want change, then you run for chair.. you can’t enact much change as an outsider
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