Understanding the History Behind the Current Leadership of the Libertarian Party

An article written by Alan Wallace for The TorchLight, the newsletter of the Knox Area Libertarian Party. Allan Wallace is currently the Secretary of the Knox Area LP and the Tennessee Coordinator for Outright Libertarians.

It began 2 years after Bill Clinton became President. Congress had been controlled by Democrats, and the Republican Party was riding high on the promises of “The Contract With America,” a document of how Republican politicians would return their party and the nation to its principled, freedom-loving roots.

The “contract” was largely libertarian in tone, mostly libertarian in economic matters and was more tolerant on social issues than republican politicians can usually muster. The “contract” echoed the hearts of the basically freedom-loving American public on the right AND in the middle. The Republican Party rode the wave it created back into power in the 1994 elections.

But, gaining a level of power they had not seen in more than 2 decades, they became drunk with that power and promptly discarded the “contract” that got them there and would have reduced or limited the exercise of that power.

Around the time of the election of ’96, republicans who believed in the ideals in the “contract” began to realize that their party had deserted them in favor of holding onto their newly rediscovered power. Some republicans already discovered that the Libertarian Party was very close to their “contract” ideals especially in economics and were telling their republican friends about this third party that espoused some of the same ideals that were important to them.

Since that time, as republicans gave up on their own party, some of them found their way to the Libertarian Party. And even though the liberal side of libertarianism discouraged some of them, many found a new home.

You must understand at this point that very few people ever come to the Libertarian Party or to the movement fully understanding the philosophical underpinnings and applications of libertarianism. It takes time to discover and learn about how freedom can actually work in the real world. Most new libertarians have one or two un-libertarian issues that they hold onto through much of the learning process. But as time goes on and as they understand more about this unique and consistent philosophy, they begin see how freedom will work when given the chance. Libertarians, whether they come from the right or the left tend to move toward the middle of the libertarian spectrum over time as they learn and experience more in life.

Some of the republicans who came into the party in the last 12 years were not just republican voters but were republican activists and politicians as well. They came into the LP recognizing the opportunities that a small and relatively weak but established minor political party could offer. In the 90’s, fearing the possibility of a Republican or Democratic coup type takeover, rules were enacted in most states to prevent a sudden takeover at a state convention. We don’t know if that actually prevented a quick takeover, but those rules could not prevent a concerted and patient takeover.

The former republican activists and politicians knew that with careful planning they could get enough control over our small party to start moving it in a more conservative direction and ultimately to make it what the Republican Party should have been. They have already begun the transformation by altering some of the principles the LP has always stood on, discarding other principles, redefining what the LP really is, trying to remove all specifics from our Platform, and distancing the LP from the greater libertarian movement as much as possible.

These former Republican activists have already accomplished many of their goals. They have effective majorities on the LNC and in many of the most influential states in the LP. They are poised to solidify their hold and to make real changes. They will claim that it is to win votes and make the LP successful in the political arena, and that really is their goal, to win at all costs. But, they do not care if they destroy Libertarian principles and cause a political upheaval in the libertarian movement in the process.

Please don’t misunderstand, centrist and big-tent LP activists welcome any and all disaffected Republicans who want to come over and join us, but we also want disaffected Democrats to join us as well. The LP has always in my experience had a large center and two wings. This party that once was balanced cannot fly nor even survive with only one wing and a cancer eating at the hole where the other wing once was.

The Libertarian Party has been the premier political party of the libertarian movement since its birth, but that status is in question as the party moves rightward and tries to re-center on its right wing. The broad base of support within the libertarian movement is eroding and the LP is in a real danger of becoming a party on the margin of the movement.

I believe we have until the next convention to move the pendulum of leadership in the LP back toward its true center and rebuild the Big-Tent party that we have always tried to be. But, until that time, I am going to work as hard as I can to salvage the party I have loved and worked so hard to build over these last 23 years.

294 thoughts on “Understanding the History Behind the Current Leadership of the Libertarian Party

  1. d.eris

    Like their analogues among the Democrats, many such Republicans, no doubt, will continue to call the destruction of principles ‘pragmatism.’

  2. robert capozzi

    this post begs the question: aside from Bob Barr, who are these former R activists and pols wishing to “take over” the LP? More interesting: why are they doing so? Wouldn’t they just STAY in the GOP, where they can be players?

    I’d note that many of the founders were in YAF.

    For the record, I’ve been L for nearly 30 years, and have never voted R or been associated with the GOP in any form. (Ditto for the Ds.)

  3. Allan Wallace

    Like I tried to explain, the republicans that came to the LP in the last 12 years or so, did so because the RP bigwigs and power mongers threw out the Contract with America and along with it the values and principles it was built on.

    They are now trying to transform the LP into their dream of what the RP should have been.

    As for who they are…
    – They are the people calling for “pragmatism”.
    – They are the people who define libertarianism as “Socially MODERATE, and fiscally Conservative”.
    – They are the ones who kick out other leaders on technicalities when they resist the republicanization of the LP.
    – And, they now have a majority on the LNC and in the ExComms of some of our biggest states.

  4. mdh

    Hey, I was a Republican before joining the LP.

    One thing I really like about this post is that it doesn’t disconnect radical and big-tent. I consider myself a big-tent radical in that you can have people from all walks of life and who vary from the libertarian ideology in a huge variety of ways without the party itself compromising on our core values. I think it’s important to remember that people who disagree with us are not our enemies, and in fact can be our friends and fellow libertarian activists. A lot of people seem to have the mistaken impression that radicals are “purists” who wish to exorcise or turn away anyone who is not 100% ideologically libertarian from the LP. That notion couldn’t be farther from the truth.

  5. a different paul

    I was in the LP a while back, and left after 1) I actually read the platform, 2) realized how easily it could be used against us, if another party ever felt a need to do that.

    If there are people now who are changing it from a splattering of ideological shock statements to an actual political platform, maybe I should take another look at the party.

  6. a different paul

    “- They are the people calling for “pragmatism”.”

    And you don’t understand why a political party ought to pragmatic – in effect, can’t achieve anything without being pragmatic? And you’re a party official?

    Maybe I’ll wait a while longer before giving it a second look.

  7. mdh

    @6 – So true – the Republicans should also dump their anti-abortion statements, should Democrats who are pro-choice ever decide to use it against them. Furthermore, they should remove anything mentioning free markets, as socialists could likely use that against them as well, should they ever feel a need to do that.

    On the other hand, the Democratic platform contains pro-choice rhetoric. This should also be removed immediately, as pro-life Republicans could certainly use it against them, should they ever feel a need to do that.

    I believe that once the Democrats and Republicans have moved to denounce their once potentially-inflammatory platform planks, the LP should quickly jump to follow suit so that we may also glean the successes which those two parties have attained over the years.

  8. robert capozzi

    Allan, if you are going to make an accusation, you should make it. You say the majority of Excomm, yet you don’t say specifically who and how you know of their lineage.

    To my knowledge, Redpath’s been in the LP since the 80s, so it can’t be him. Please present your evidence.

  9. Allan Wallace

    To MDH… Good Point, and well stated satire as well.

    To A Different Paul…

    First, NO ONE except hardcore political junkies ever read ANY party’s platform from start to finish. However, maybe as many as 30% of a party’s members will eventually search the platform to find if they or their issues are covered there.

    While I agree that it should not be a Shock Document, it should be comprehensive. The last two Platform Committees have tried for neither, what they have tried to do is distill it down to about 10 short sentences that actually say nothing about what we believe.

    This does have the advantage of offending no one, because it says NOTHING.

    Again, we don’t need to worry about the people who would read the whole Platform because they are a minute percentage. But, we must have a Platform in which people can see themselves and their favorite issues. And each plank MUST reflect at least the core principles of libertarianism.

  10. Bill Wood

    I like what mdh stated somewhere earlier,”we are looking for libertarians in the two major Parties”. I was a libertarian in the Republican Party because I never heard of the LP until I heard Harry Browne in 2000.
    I go to a lot of Libertarian Party meetings, I know a lot of Libertarians some former Democrat members and some former Republican members and yet I never hear anyone who wishes to abandon the basic “libertarian principles” non aggression, right to life,liberty and happiness. This is just an observation, the libertarians I know who were “left” tend to be strong on civil rights except the 2nd Amendment and they tend to want a lot of Federal Government programs like National Health Care, Welfare etc. The libertarians from the “right” that I know tend to be strong on civil liberties and they want to reduce the size of the Federal Gov’t to what the Founders wanted it to be. Does this ring true in your areas?

  11. Allan Wallace

    To robert capozzi…

    I’m not trying to “accuse” anyone of any crime, therefore “evidence” is not required nor needed.

    Whether it is some of the people who came from the right or people seduced by the lure of “pragmatic” success, they are leading the LP away from its core principles and values.

    My Point is that people are moving the party to the far Right and that is no crime but it does have consequences.

    I have pointed out what has been happening in the party and tried to explain why. We don’t need to start a witch hunt, we simply need to move our party back to its center and move on from there.

    The enemy is our own complacency and unwillingness to act. It has allowed (mostly) well meaning people to move the LP to the right because they seem to believe that they must destroy what the party is to save it. And if we do not stand up and take action to move our party back to its center, then we are more guilty than those who moved it away from center in the first place.

  12. paulie

    When you find that justice is not pragmatic, you can do two things – stick with principle and work on a long term plan of making it more pragmatic over time (including short term pragmatic moves), or change your principles to adapt to what is pragmatic in the short term.

    I think “pragmatic” here refers to the latter.

  13. paulie

    There are many big tent Libertarians who want to attract and convert disaffected Democrats too.

    Great! I hope these big tent Libertarians help us with efforts to do left-oriented outreach as well as focus more on youth recruitment, and with moving to a field organizing based model for party growth.

    I hope they will also help us produce and distribute materials in various formats which emphasize the peace and civil liberties/social freedom aspects of libertarianism, as well as a bottom-up sales pitch for free market economics (that is emphasizing how free markets help poor folks and small businesses, rather than entrench the power of the elite as many think would happen).

  14. paulie

    Wouldn’t they just STAY in the GOP, where they can be players?

    Perhaps due to inability to become players in the GOP?

  15. paulie

    By the way, I went to the Tea Party yesterday, despite the organizers stressing a broader right wing cultural agenda that I do not agree with. I notice that the LP heavily promoted these tea parties.

    Likewise, the organizers at antiwar and migrants rights rallies promote a broad economic agenda that libertarians disagree with, and the LP has not promoted the peace and migrants rights rallies at all.

    Marijuana legalization and gay pride marches don’t generally promote much of an agenda beyond their single issues, as far as I know; and they bring out huge crowds organizing around issues with which libertarians broadly agree.

    I would hope that the many broad tent libertarians who want to attract and convert disaffected Democrats, Greens and left/libertarian independents would use their influence to make the LP promote all these events in the same way that it did the tea parties.

  16. robert capozzi

    Allan, evidence is not just a jurisprudential notion. It does seem you are making a blanket accusation, and are now refusing to back that up. So be it.

    I’m an advocate of L centrism, yet I challenge your premise. Ls have long come across as hard rightists, advocating extreme positions on economic and 2A issues, especially. This is nothing new, and can’t be attributed to current leadership.

  17. paulie

    Hey, I was a Republican before joining the LP.

    I was a Democrat. Probably would have been a Green if they were more active then.

    One thing I really like about this post is that it doesn’t disconnect radical and big-tent. I consider myself a big-tent radical in that you can have people from all walks of life and who vary from the libertarian ideology in a huge variety of ways without the party itself compromising on our core values.

    I agree – I’m the same way.

    I think it’s important to remember that people who disagree with us are not our enemies, and in fact can be our friends and fellow libertarian activists. A lot of people seem to have the mistaken impression that radicals are “purists” who wish to exorcise or turn away anyone who is not 100% ideologically libertarian from the LP. That notion couldn’t be farther from the truth.

    Exactly!

  18. Allan Wallace

    To Bill Wood:

    It sounds like you are describing NEW Libertarians regardless of coming from the right or the left.

    I was weird 23 years ago when I came to Libertarianism. My beliefs were more on the left but I voted more often for people on the right. So I saw in both some things I liked, but as time went on and I learned more about this wonderful philosophy, I realized how freedom could actually work to solve the ills of society. In other words, moved toward the center as time when on.

    The people you see who hold onto statist issues will learn if given a chance and move toward the center too. But how can they learn as I did if the LP always points out only the Right viewpoint?

    I still have my favorite issues, but my view of them are much more centrist libertarian now.

  19. paulie

    I never hear anyone who wishes to abandon the basic “libertarian principles” non aggression, right to life,liberty and happiness.

    Quite a few LP members oppose the non-initiation of coercion principle.

  20. Brian Holtz

    Only in comment 9 does Senator Joe McWallace even come close to giving us any specifics behind his I-have-a-secret-list-of-Republican-infiltrators fear-mongering. And when he does, he gets his facts wildly wrong. The gutting of the Platform in 2006 was not a recommendation of the 2006 PlatCom, or even of a PlatCom minority report. The gutting was in fact effected by a majority vote of the 300 delegates in Portland, and then was confirmed by a 2/3 vote of the 600 delegates in Denver. Thus Wallace apparently has hundreds of names on his secret list of Republican infiltrators.

    Wallace is simply ignorant if he thinks that the idea of Platform reform was imported to the LP after the failure of the Gingrich revolution. He should read up in the LP News archives about how close the Committee For A Libertarian Majority came to reforming the Pledge, Platform, and Statement of Principles in 1992-1993. My understanding is that SoP reform missed the 7/8 requirement by one vote, so that adds several hundred more Republican infiltrators to the secret list.

    For anybody interested in actual facts related to LP history, the most comprehensive resource I’ve seen is at http://marketliberal.org/LP/history.html

    Paulie, for left outreach I’m working on this: http://marketliberal.org/RackCardLP.pdf

  21. mdh

    Brian,
    The RackCardLP.pdf looks great. I think that would work well for outreach anywhere, any time.
    Thanks for working on it.

  22. paulie

    Much as I oppose the existence of any tax monopoly, I agree – it’s a good effort, and we need more like it.

    I like Brian’s youtube videos and cartoons, too.

    We need more outreach using those methods, music, etc….not just text and logic alone.

  23. Allan Wallace

    Holtz;

    No one is keeping a list or lying in wait to exact justice as you seem to accuse.

    I have always said and in many venues that we need a Big-Tent Libertarianism instead of a party that only has a middle and right side tent because it has already lopped off the left side and it hacking away at the middle.

    Big-Tent Libertarians understand that all I want is a balanced party open to everyone on the left and the right.

    If anyone is “fear-mongering” it is YOU.

  24. paulie

    A big tent that leans too far to the right just leaves crushed and dead elephants, clowns and evangelical preachers.

  25. Woof!

    http://marketliberal.org/RackCardLP.pdf

    The above site has a major anti-libertarian flaw:

    It advocates a tax on land!

    Property taxes are the most evil of all taxes and constitute a taking of a person’s property a little at a time.

    Property taxes are the greatest threat to liberty.

    In fact, by repealing the property tax, and repealing eminent domain, an individual can at least be free at home.

    If you can own your land, live there, grow food there, and survive, then you can be free. You can have no income and avoid the income tax. You can make no purchases, be self-sufficient and pay no sales taxes.

    But, everyone must live somewhere. If you have to pay property taxes of any kind you ARE NOT FREE.

    You can never be free so long as any tax on property exists.

    The property tax is the most evil of all taxes.

    Shame on you fascist-socialist followers of Henry George for sneaking your evil propaganda into the LP.

    Forget the Republicans.

    It’s time to smoke out the crazy Henry George wackos. These guys aren’t real libertarians anyway.

    A follower of Henry George cannot be a libertarian.

    He is the prototypical dog in the manger.

    Woof!

  26. Bill Wood

    Paulie, I know libertarians who if they get punched in the nose, it is okay to punch back.

  27. paulie

    Bill,

    That’s almost all libertarians.

    It’s the ones who say “I think you’re looking at me wrong, so it’s OK if I punch you on the nose first” that I have a problem with.

  28. Brian Holtz

    Geolibertarians don’t favor taxes on property per se. Instead, we favor the return of ground rent.

    Ground rent is the advantage you get over your neighbors from your exclusive use of a site compared to the most productive available site that is not in use. In effect, ground rent is the extra income a site earns because of the exclusivity of its location within the community, as compared to what such a site would earn at the edge of the community. Technically, ground rent is is the extra income obtained by using a site in its most productive use, compared to the income obtained by applying equivalent inputs of labor and capital at the most productive site where the application doesn’t require (additional) payments for use of the site. Thus ground rent doesn’t include the income from any labor-based site improvements — buildings, irrigation, swamp drainage, etc. Instead, ground rent includes just the benefit a site extracts from the surrounding community by forcibly excluding them from it.

    Geo-rent is not created by the land-holder, and so cannot be property. Property is justly acquired from the commons only if you follow the Lockean proviso of leaving “as much and as good”. If there are other locations freely available that are just as good as yours, then you aren’t appropriating any ground rent and so owe nothing. If development follows you out into the woods and your site monopoly starts “earning” ground rent for you, then you can let what you owe accumulate as a lien against the eventual sale or transfer of the site, and that lien is capped at the market value of the site. So you can live undisturbed by land value “taxes” as long as you don’t try to appropriate the geo-rent of your site by claiming monarch-like “title” to something you didn’t make.

  29. mdh

    Brian, OK, I’m curious to what seems like the biggest question here though – who collects the geo-rent, and how?
    What’s a good place to read if I’d like to actually get a grasp on what you propose here beyond the short summary you’ve written?

  30. Woof!

    Wow, what a load of dog nuggets. That’s the same kind of nonsense the IRS uses to try to defend the income tax.

    ALL Property Taxation is THEFT.

    It is the worst of all taxes.

    There is no justification of any kind that can overcome the fact that property taxes violate one of our most fundamental rights.

    Woof!

  31. paulie

    Brian, wouldn’t that cause more people to build further out on the edges of town, frequently increasing their driving time? And, do you think that less dense development can be good for the environment?

    Woof, regarding

    “A follower of Henry George cannot be a libertarian.”

    We need more, not fewer, allies.

  32. Bill Wood

    Paulie, okay we agree people have a right to defend themselves.

    Everyone, I was scanning the Libertarian Party’s Statements of Principle. What would you change?

  33. paulie

    I’m curious to what seems like the biggest question here though – who collects the geo-rent, and how?

    That’s another big problem I have with it.

  34. paulie

    ALL Property Taxation is THEFT.

    This assumes all property is justly owned. In reality, it’s not at all clear from the theory how much labor needs to be mixed with how much land to justly homestead it.

    Most, or all, land has been stolen – in many cases repeatedly – throughout history. Another big conundrum.

  35. mdh

    The whole “ownership is good – but who rightfully owns what right *now*?” question is one that I tend to avoid even thinking about. It’s next to impossible to come to a good answer, considering human history.

  36. Woof!

    Followers of Henry George are not allies.

    They are loonies looking for a home.

    There are only a handful of them and they hurt the LP.

    Their inane nonsense will scare off thousands of potential members.

    We cannot let every loony add a plank to the LP platform to satisfy an unprincipled, illogical prediliction.

    Throwing every dog a bone will not get the LP out of the kennel.

    Woof!

  37. robert capozzi

    Allan, “lopped off”? Do you really mean that, or is this histrionical overstatement? Knapp, Kubby, Cannoli, Hogarth, etc., are still with us, yes? They don’t even seem to be bleeding 😉

    And I, a moderate, centrist, TAAAList, leader of the Rodney King Caucus, Taoist/Hayekian, feel reasonably welcome, despite Sister Hogarth’s frequent counter jabs at my relativistic subjectivist approach toward advocating a peaceful social order.

    Inventing straw men (or should that be persons) undermines your credibility, I suggest strongly.

  38. volvoice

    I’m curious to what seems like the biggest question here though – who collects the geo-rent, and how?….

    The government, thru force and fraud, just like they do now with existing property taxes.

  39. Woof!

    What about a “geo rent” on those who were born with natural intelligence, talent, ability or beauty that allows them to earn more for the same amount of effort.

    Good justification for the progressive income tax.

    The Henry George nonsense does not stand up to any logic. It is a puerile whim of a cult of would be kings, if only they’d been born rich.

    The LP has to stop entertaining these boneheads.

    I will give these people my first monthly award for people who have gone to the dogs …

    My THREE LEGGED SALUTE
    for April 2009 goes to:
    the lunatic, fascist-socialist concept of “geo rent” from the cult of Henry George.

  40. Woof!

    “Followers of Henry George are not allies.

    Read the rest of Brian’s rack card.

    He’s not an ally?”

    He cannot be an ally if he scares away members.

    If you put a bunch of crazy people out in front of a supermarket, a lot fewer people will go inside. They will go somewhere else.

    If he wants to be an ally, he needs to take down his unlibertarian nonsense from any site promoting libertarianism or the LP.

    There are many undesirable groups that I would not want promoting the Libertarian Party. But, the Democrats and Republicans benefit greatly from every loon, wacko and freak that publically endorses us.

    Every dog may have his day, but it would be preferable if they luxuriated in their canine bliss in their own alternative universe of unreality.

    Woof!

  41. paulie

    He cannot be an ally if he scares away members.

    All of us scare away someone. I’m sure there are people I scare away. By that criterion, we’ll have no allies. Atomism can be a form of libertarianism, but I doubt it will get us far.

  42. robert capozzi

    pc, yes! I find Georist theory interesting and QUITE minarchical in implication. Woof seems to misunderstand it, and certainly misrepresents it.

    It’s definitely a form of lessarchism.

  43. Michael H. Wilson

    For those of you who wish to know I can positively state that Oregon went thru much of what is being discussed here regarding how to win and the watering down of the principles to do so and if you need a name or two I have them.

  44. Gene Berkman

    I walked precincts for Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan before there was a formal libertarian movement, and so did most of the people who founded the Libertarian Caucus of YAF, the Society for Individual Liberty, and the Libertarian Alliance groups, as well as the Libertarian Party.

    Historically, most politically active people who have joined the Libertarian Party were previously involved in conservative & Republican groups. If this is a problem, it does not look like there is a solution on the horizon.

    No, the problem is more complex. Judging LP success by the campaigns for President inevitably causes long time Libertarian activists to wonder why we have been so unsuccessful, and to look for ways to improve our performance. So they seek to dump controversial or radical stands, and without them, Libertarians do appear to be conservatives.

    The solution is local activism. Your neighbor will listen to you make a principled statement on an issue – the same type of statement that if an unknown candidate makes on TV, your neighbor will dismiss as radical.

    And your neighbor is probably willing to throw away his vote for a third party candidate for state senator quicker than he will “waste” a vote in a Presidential election.

  45. John Famularo

    One only has to review this discussion to understand why the LP never got anywhere politically and most likely never will. The LP as an organization can not focus.

  46. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    You write:

    “Woof seems to misunderstand [Georgist theory]”

    Perhaps, perhaps not. I haven’t seen him address the actual arguments yet, and would like to.

    I guess it’s probably been five years or so since I started looking for a solid libertarian argument against the Georgist argument on property in land (as separable from any proposed tax scheme, etc.).

    Haven’t seen one yet — Rothbard attempted it and failed spectacularly.

    I keep putting off surrendering to Georgism in the hope that someone, somewhere will put a hole in the damn idea. Care to take a stab at it, Wolf?

    Woof, why don’t you take a stab at it?

  47. Thomas L. Knapp

    John,

    You write:

    “One only has to review this discussion to understand why the LP never got anywhere politically and most likely never will. The LP as an organization can not focus.”

    If the discussion here is the basis for your claim then your reasoning skills are going. It’s unlikely that the people you find discussing the LP here constitute anything like a representative sample of the LP’s membership, leadership or activists.

  48. paulie

    before there was a formal libertarian movement

    What do you mean by formal here?

    Here’s what I know; please fill in any gaps.

    FEE was around in, I think, the 1940s, and various groups of Objectivists, Austrian Economists, Anarchists, LeFevre/Freedom Schoolers were around in the 1950s and 60s.

    I’ve also read that there was a cross-fertilization with the SDS to some extent.

    Historically, most politically active people who have joined the Libertarian Party were previously involved in conservative & Republican groups.

    This has only been true since, roughly, the mid-20th century. There’s a much older libertarian tradition on the left, ranging from classical liberals to individualist anarchists of the 19th century, Frederic Bastiat and his allies who sat on the left in the French Parliament, and – to the extent we can define it as “left” or “right” – even all the way back to Lao Tzu, the founder of Taoism.

    I find this history to be invaluable in understanding where we have been, are, and can go…

    http://mises.org/story/2099
    Rothbard’s “Left and Right”: Forty Years Later

    Mises Daily by Roderick T. Long

    If you find any errors in it, I would appreciate a different perspective.


    If this is a problem, it does not look like there is a solution on the horizon.

    I’m optimistic that there is.

  49. Ayn R. Key

    To find those who actually do wish to repudiate libertarian principles, see who supported the invasion of Iraq. A long time ago the Republicans dropped the phony reasons they initially used, but those who sold out their principles cannot as easily drop the phony reasons.

  50. paulie

    Sorry…I should read what I am responding to more carefully:

    Gene Berkman: Historically, most politically active people who have joined the Libertarian Party were previously involved in conservative & Republican groups.

    Paul: This has only been true since, roughly, the mid-20th century. There’s a much older libertarian tradition on the left, ranging from classical liberals to individualist anarchists of the 19th century, Frederic Bastiat and his allies who sat on the left in the French Parliament, and – to the extent we can define it as “left” or “right” – even all the way back to Lao Tzu, the founder of Taoism.

    p2: Obviously, I jumped the gun – Mr. Berkman is entirely correct about the Libertarian Party.

  51. paulie

    @60

    However, while this is true of active LP members, I’m not as convinced that it is true of Libertarian voters as a whole.

    I think that left-outreach could yield us many more active LP members who don’t come from the conservative side, but the historical fact of where present LP members came from by and large tends to prevent that from coalescing.

  52. Rocky Eades

    One problem that I have with Georgists is that in arguments I have had with them they ultimately have to admit that their geo-rent schemes lead logically to a world “government” (quote marks because they refuse to call it a government) which oversees the collection of a pyramid of geo-taxes, err, “geo-rents”!

  53. paulie

    One problem that I have with Georgists is that in arguments I have had with them they ultimately have to admit that their geo-rent schemes lead logically to a world “government” (quote marks because they refuse to call it a government) which oversees the collection of a pyramid of geo-taxes, err, “geo-rents”!

    I’m not aware of Brian Holtz backing any form of world government, except perhaps to some extent Pax Americana – which, as far as I can tell, is separate from his ecolibertarian position.

  54. Rocky Eades

    @ # 61 and others – I was introduced to Ayn Rand by a “left” libertarian classmate when I was in high school. I was introduced to Murray Rothbard around the same time by his brother – who was a “right” libertarian! Go figure!

  55. paulie

    To find those who actually do wish to repudiate libertarian principles, see who supported the invasion of Iraq. A long time ago the Republicans dropped the phony reasons they initially used, but those who sold out their principles cannot as easily drop the phony reasons.

    Somehow I don’t see, e.g., Starchild as a Republican type.

  56. Rocky Eades

    By classmate’s brother, not Murray Rothbard’s brother – just in case anyone was confused! 😎

  57. paulie

    One only has to review this discussion to understand why the LP never got anywhere politically and most likely never will. The LP as an organization can not focus.

    What type of focus would you want enforced on the discussion, how and why?

    Personally, I’ve found this discussion so far to be interesting on several levels.

  58. Steven R Linnabary

    Historically, most politically active people who have joined the Libertarian Party were previously involved in conservative & Republican groups.

    This might be true the past ten years or so.

    But my experience until fifteen years ago has been that every local chapter was totally different. A county chapter would usually be focused on one thing, be it pot legalization or pornography or UFology (I’m not kidding) or conspiracy theories.

    But in previous lives, we all seemed to come equally from the democrat, republican parties and a slightly larger contingent was apolitical.

    The move to republican lite has been fairly recent, IMHO.

    PEACE

  59. Rocky Eades

    I personally have never been either democrat or republican. I think that there is a wealth of potential out there among folks who have never been either – or were one or the other so long ago that it doesn’t matter. I think that that group is probably more “libertarian” than either democrats or republicans and that we should expend a great deal more energy reaching out to them to than to “disaffected” members of either of the major parties.

  60. John Famularo

    paulie wrote;
    “What type of focus would you want enforced…”
    ” I’ve found this discussion… be interesting…”.

    Self-enforcement, if anything is going to be accomplished. These discussions about “who is a Libertarian” have been going on for half a century. It has all been said and resaid. If it were all recorded and reduced to a compendium, you all could save a lot of typing. Mr X says para 12. Mr Y repies para 22, Ms Z interjects Para 66 and 76, et cetera.

  61. Bryan

    Making the move to attracting members of the “left”, is a good idea. Especially the LGBT community for two reasons First the LP is as, or more inclusive than the Democrats, which are letting the community down. The second is that there are many fiscal conservatives in the LGBT movement.

    There is a downside to the LGBT community as well, at least as far as the “radical minded” LPers are concerned. As I said there are many fiscal conservatives in the community, and would be “easy sells” to LP philosophy, at the same time there are many who also hold socially moderate or conservative views on social subjects not related to orientation.

    In the end, if the LGBT community is “recruited” I see this input as being beneficial to the LP in general.

  62. Michael H. Wilson

    In my book the biggest problem has been that instead of telling our own story we have let others tell it for us. Bringing outsiders in because they have some degree of experience in marketing, but little or no understanding of the libertarian philosophy and then letting them have carte blanche in explaining to the world what the LP stands for.

  63. Thomas L. Knapp

    “These discussions about ‘who is a Libertarian’ have been going on for half a century. It has all been said and resaid.”

    And the discussions about “who is a Republican” have been going on for 150 years or so.

    And the discussions about “who is a Democrat” have been going on for longer than that.

    Apparently the fact that such discussions go on has little or nothing to do with whether or not a political party is successful.

  64. derkel

    “And the discussions about “who is a Republican” have been going on for 150 years or so.
    And the discussions about “who is a Democrat” have been going on for longer than that.”

    I would agree, but it is differen’t. There is definitely infighting within the other two parties, but they come together when it is time to put together a somewhat unified front. I mean look at Hillary supporters who despised Obama coming to support him.

    The LP tends to fracture their support by not voting for someone who isn’t anarchist enough or isn’t libertarian enough or whatever other reason comes to their mind.

    Which is sad because we definitely need a unified front. I personally disagreed with how radical Ruwart was, but if she won the nomination I would have voted for her. Unfortunately many of the anarchists and minarchists pouted because they didn’t get their way. In the end, we all support the basic underlying message of liberty. Which should be all that matters.

  65. Michael H. Wilson

    Derkel what do you mean by liberty. Too often I have heard the phrase “That’s not liberty. That’s license.”

    Wanna use drugs? That’s not liberty. That’s license.

    We have to be specific!!!!

  66. Steven R Linnabary

    I personally disagreed with how radical Ruwart was,

    Well, I disagree that Mary was by any stretch a radical, but rather a doctrinaire Libertarian. Bob Barr was the most radically at odds with the LP Platform candidate the LP has ever run (for POTUS).

    but if she won the nomination I would have voted for her.

    And this is the correct position, IMHO.

    And I believe that most Libertarians DID vote for Barr (possibly while holding their noses). The problem being that most LP activists are more doctrinaire, and Barr did not excite anyone enough to do more than the perfunctory campaigning for him.

    PEACE

  67. Robert Capozzi

    TK @ 73,

    I dunno, Tom. Yes, some conservatives call some Rs RINOs. The liberals and the Blue Dogs don’t see eye to eye.

    But the level of vitriol in the LP seems way more pronounced. Sister Hogarth won’t even acknowledge that I, of all people, am an L. I mean, I was even mentioned once in Rothbard’s LF, not necessarily positively, but still!

    She could at least call me a LINO, don’tcha think? 😉

    This notion of a plumbline of correct positions and the attendant litmus testing caused me to found the Rodney King Caucus…care to join?

  68. Michael H. Wilson

    We can argue all day as to whether or not we support copyright, or copyleft. While I think those are not the most important issues I ma sure that one, or two people somewhere in the party do think those issues are of the most importance.

    Regardless of were I stand as an individual on issues the party has to make up its mind as to what is important just as we decide which candidate is important.

    We need to get specific on a list of ten major issues and then ten minor issues. And stay with them until we have seen success. Personally while I have a list of favorites one of mine that I doubt will make anyone’s list is juvenile justice, or the lack of.

    Until such time we are just batting our gums.

  69. Robert Capozzi

    bill w: What would you change [about the SoP]?

    me: hmmm, where to begin…

    …”cult of the omnipotent state”…

    easy one, since there are no “blind worshippers of all-powerful government” that I know of.

    …”right to exercise sole dominion over their own lives”…

    If that includes the right to private nukes, don’tcha know that you can count me out.

    …”hold that where governments exist”…

    Hmm, like Somalia, home of pirates? Seasteaders (in our dreams)?

    …for starters…

    Let’s get real, shall we?

  70. Steven R Linnabary

    Support for state marijuana laws (he now opposes the Federal laws)

    Support for DOMA, at least on the state level. He DID author the Federal law.

    Support for the PATRIOT Act, which he has now flip flopped, thankfully.

    Granted, he has now come to a more or less libertarian position on these things, if one accepts ANY government involvement in these issues.

    And of course, since the campaign he has come out in support of President Obama’s unConstitutional use of force in the Somali incident(s).

    I could probably come up with a few more. Like I said above, I don’t think we have ever nominated somebody this much at odds with doctrinaire (perhaps this is a poor choice of words) libertarianism.

    I still voted for him.

    PEACE

  71. Gene Berkman

    I have aspirations to clarify a couple of issues.

    I certainly favor recruiting people across the board – left, right, apolitical, independent – especially the latter two sectors.

    Historically, going back to the 1960s, most people who became libertarians, if they had previously been politically active, had been in right-wing groups. Even many “left libertarians” had been in YAF or even JBS, but then had read Rothbard’s call for an alliance with the New Left.

    If the LP now is downplaying issues that might alienate conservatives – pro-choice on abortion, gay rights, antiwar – and I think they downplay abortion more than the other two – that is a separate issue.

    Libertarians should take a strong stand in favor of a woman’s right to control her body and reproductive freedom, should be antiwar, should support non-discriminatory marriage. If the LP has downplayed these issues, it is not because some in the LP have right-wing backgrounds, it is because a political party is always under pressure to downplay controversial stands.

    In the period form 1969 to 1972, before the LP started, libertarian activism was more free form, more radical, and I must say, much more fun.

  72. mdh

    @81 – Sometimes the right thing isn’t the constitutional thing. Besides, I never signed a constitution.
    At the end of the day, the constitution isn’t what libertarianism is about. When anyone initiates force against US citizens or a US ship, and the US responds in kind, I don’t see anything unlibertarian about that – constitution or no constitution.

  73. Steven R Linnabary

    @83: I’m not a big Constitutionalist. I believe it is a repudiation of the Declaration of Independence. And I never signed either, but the DoI pretty much nails the Libertarian spirit, at least as it was pre Portland.

    And it was NOT an American ship that was being taken into port, but a Danish owned vessel.

    Even if it was an American vessel, US taxpayers should not be forced to pay with blood and treasure to get it back.

    Bob Barr has made built a reputation as a Constitutionalist. That’s fine, I can live with that. The Constitution should merely be the limit of what the state can do to us. Call it our ‘contract’ with our government.

    But when somebody as prominent as Bob Barr says we can make exceptions to the US Constitution, I start gettin a sick feeling.

    Maybe he would support abolishing or ignoring some other section because of contemporary hysteria?

    PEACE

  74. paulie

    I would agree, but it is differen’t. There is definitely infighting within the other two parties, but they come together when it is time to put together a somewhat unified front. I mean look at Hillary supporters who despised Obama coming to support him.

    People in smaller parties tend to be more uncompromising by nature; otherwise they would be in one of the big two. That does not mean a smaller party joins the big two as a new member of the big three by compromising itself; after all, where’s the Reform Party now?

  75. paulie

    But the level of vitriol in the LP seems way more pronounced.

    Frustration at not being able to make the changes they want causes us to lash out at the only people who will listen and care: each other. Ever been with someone in a car that is stuck in the mud and spinning its wheels?

    Rodney King Caucus…care to join?

    I agree with the quote for which i assume it’s named. Does that make me a member, or is there more that I have to agree with than that?

  76. sunshinebatman

    I think you have to do massive amounts of PCP to join. Is there already a caucus for that?

  77. Brian Holtz

    MDH, some good readings on geolibertarianism are at http://earthfreedom.net/ecolibertarianism. You are right that reversing the appropriation of ground rent seems to require local monopolies on governance. But in the absence of idealized initial conditions (i.e. covenants in force across entire regions), this is also true for dealing with public goods, common goods, and club goods. For one proposed governance model, see “the organization of government” in Fred Foldvary’s model geolibertarian constitution: http://www.progress.org/2007/fold523.htm. I’m especially intrigued by demand-revelation voting on public goods, but I still have some questions about it before I can endorse it. As Foldvary always points out, geolibertarianism favors not central world government but radically decentral federated governance. The people you exclude from your land are your neighbors much more so than people on other continents. Also, most public services increase the value only of land within the radius of ordinary daily travel. Any public service serving a wider area can easily be handled by federation. Foldvary actually calls himself a geoanarchist, but his idealized private communities would have monopoly powers that to me make them indistinguishable from local geominarchist governments.

    Paulie, returning geo-rent to the community would surely cause denser settlement for the vast majority of people who want proximity to urban amenities while minimizing their share of the cost (which would be assessed per unit area). Land-holders on less-dense parcels would in urban areas tend to be bid off their land (when land changes hands) by people wanting to develop more densely.

    Woof, defenders of land value taxation include many of the most famous thinkers of the libertarian and classical-liberal tradition: http://earthfreedom.net/lvt-advocates.

    “Intelligence, talent, and ability” never generate classical factor rent because they don’t generate any return above the amount necessary to keep them in their most productive use. Beauty could arguably generate a classical factor rent because (like fame, athletic prowess, trendiness) it is a positional good — one whose value depends on its ranking/exclusivity and thus is hard or impossible to substitute or expand in supply. (There can only be one Michael Jordan in a given era.) However, such personal attributes are very obviously the property of the person himself — indeed, that’s why “attribute” and “property” are synonyms. By contrast, there is nothing that naturally ties any geographic site to any particular person. Being able to cut off people’s access to a part of Earth’s surface doesn’t make you king of it.

    Tom, I too resisted Georgism as strenuously as I could when I was first exposed to it back in the 1990s. I especially resisted the idea of being bid off “your” land at a moment’s notice, and nobody told me this can be replaced with a policy off collecting only realized geo-rent — i.e., collected rent or sale proceeds that embody the future rent stream.

    Steve, I agree that the DoI captures the essence of Libertarianism — Portland style. The DoI says that “to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, [and] that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” It was only in Portland that the LP Platform finally said “Government exists to protect the rights of every individual including life, liberty and property.” And it was only in Denver that the Platform said “Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of individual liberty, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to agree to such new governance as to them shall seem most likely to protect their liberty.”

  78. paulie

    Foldvary actually calls himself a geoanarchist, but his idealized private communities would have monopoly powers that to me make them indistinguishable from local geominarchist governments.

    I haven’t explored this in detail, but I think this would be close to my ideal. Presumably, if he’s an anarchist, other communities could organize differently if they so chose, with no central government to stop them from doing so?

  79. paulie

    Paulie, returning geo-rent to the community would surely cause denser settlement for the vast majority of people who want proximity to urban amenities while minimizing their share of the cost (which would be assessed per unit area). Land-holders on less-dense parcels would in urban areas tend to be bid off their land (when land changes hands) by people wanting to develop more densely.

    I’m just wondering if the tax incentives you described, as I understand them, might cause some people to want to live far from towan, on land that is less competed over, so as to pay lower taxes? I guess the extent would depend on how high the taxes are.

  80. Thomas L. Knapp

    derkel,

    You write:

    “There is definitely infighting within the other two parties, but they come together when it is time to put together a somewhat unified front.”

    Not really. Ever heard of two guys named Douglass and Breckenridge? How about the Liberal Republicans, the Silver Republicans, the Mugwumps or the Dixiecrats?

    The last few decades, the major parties tend to spin off their dissidents instead of splitting the party with them … but where do you think the Constitution Party came from?

    Our arguments are magnified in our own ears because unlike those other parties, we don’t have as much other stuff to do — things like measuring the drapes in the Oval Office and such. That doesn’t mean the arguments are the cause of us not having as much other stuff to do, though.

  81. paulie

    That doesn’t mean the arguments are the cause of us not having as much other stuff to do, though.

    Not entirely, but I do think the extent of the vitriol holds us back: see the BTP for an even more extreme example. Regardless of what you meant it to do, it seems that (mostly internal) flame-warring is the bulk of what it actually does.

  82. John Famularo

    Michael H. Wilson wrote;

    “Regardless …. the party has to make up its mind as to what is important just as we decide which candidate is important.”
    Right!
    “We need to get specific on a list of ten major issues and then ten minor issues. ”
    Wrong!
    You really can not get specific on twenty things, if you ever want to get done and present a concise message that will be understood and acceptable to a majority.

    The LP is a political party and not a philosophical movement. Libertarians consistantly confuse the two. The greater libertarian movement (LM) seeks to convert an overwhelming majority to what they call libertarianism. They believe that when this happens, no political movement will be necessary. They believe that anarchism will be as much a part of human nature as anti-cannibalism.
    As only a facet of the LM, the LP has to choose to do something specific and not try to compete with every other facet of the LM.
    Factionalism within the LP is rivalled by factionalism among the various facets of the LM.
    I got started in this debate in 1959 within the Objectivist movement. Many so called Objectivists refused to be objective regarding religion and degenerated into militant atheists. That debate continues without resolution.

    The LM is a study in how not to achieve anything but the maintenance of many tiny factions that see the lack of coordination, cooperation and division of labour as a sign of success. Any adjustment to accommodate reality is a “compromise of principle”.

    The motto of the LM should be “Failure is success, success is failure.”

    Any objective review of the history of the LM will support this analysis.

  83. Robert Capozzi

    pc: Does that make me a member, or is there more that I have to agree with than that [to be a charter member of the Rodney King Caucus]?

    bc: No, anyone who agrees with “Can we all just get along” is a member! In fact, PC, you can be co-founder!

  84. Robert Capozzi

    JF @ 95, yes! Put another way, the LM and LP is its own worst enemy. Self sabotage and self deception are insidious propensities, all wrapped up in a victim complex.

    While they denied it, Rand and Rothbard created sanctimonious cults, complete with purges and plumbline correct positions.

    I’d encourage anyone to read especially Rothbard’s (in?)famous “strategy memo.” Then tell me why that document is not one gigantic “Kick Me” sign?

    “Hold high the banner” of anarchocapitalism and eventually most people will buy it? Was he serious? Spare me! Read it again and tell me why it’s not a person cementing himself into a victim cocoon.

  85. Robert Capozzi

    tk: Ever heard of two guys named Douglass and Breckenridge? How about the Liberal Republicans, the Silver Republicans, the Mugwumps or the Dixiecrats?

    me: This phenomenon is TINY in comparison to the core R and D parties. In recent decades, it’s more common to switch parties or go independent, and even that’s an outlier.

    Rockefeller Rs sometimes became Ds, or laid low, or modified their positions (Bush 1). George Wallace seemed to embrace civil rights.

    In the past 3 decades, politics has become an industry. Groomers, handlers, pollsters have taken the place of ideology and emotional appeals. Politics used to be “hot.” Now it’s “cool,” to use McLughan’s idea…Obama being a perfect ex.

  86. Michael H. Wilson

    @ 95 John Famularo writes: “Wrong!”

    John I will respectively disagree with you. I picked ten and ten issue out of the air. The point being that this party needs to get specific on the issues. If we don’t define ourselves then we give everyone else the opportunity to define us.

    Personally I would chose just three and not more than five as major issues to concentrate on and work at those.

  87. Brian Holtz

    Paulie, I don’t think Foldvary would rule out a community deciding collectively not to collect geo-rent, or to dial down to zero the default contestable fines for depletion / pollution / congestion. I wouldn’t either. It’s vital to make these decisions as locally as possible, in order to allow for http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiebout_sorting (i.e. voting with your feet).

    Yes, some people would surely follow Ted Kaczynski to the edge of the wilderness in order to avoid provoking any nearby community by monopolizing / polluting /depleting / congesting any commons shared with them. This would be an instance of Tiebout sorting, and I’m not worried that a lot of people would head for the hills. Even if they did, there’s nothing wrong with people driving farther, as long as they pay for any pollution or congestion they inflict on others. Once all the externalities are internalized, then I’m an anarchist and am happy to let each person pursue her own utility function.

  88. paulie

    No, anyone who agrees with “Can we all just get along” is a member! In fact, PC, you can be co-founder!

    Done deal.

  89. paulie

    Paulie, I don’t think Foldvary would rule out a community deciding collectively not to collect geo-rent, or to dial down to zero the default contestable fines for depletion / pollution / congestion. I wouldn’t either. It’s vital to make these decisions as locally as possible, in order to allow for http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiebout_sorting (i.e. voting with your feet).

    Yes, some people would surely follow Ted Kaczynski to the edge of the wilderness in order to avoid provoking any nearby community by monopolizing / polluting /depleting / congesting any commons shared with them. This would be an instance of Tiebout sorting, and I’m not worried that a lot of people would head for the hills. Even if they did, there’s nothing wrong with people driving farther, as long as they pay for any pollution or congestion they inflict on others. Once all the externalities are internalized, then I’m an anarchist and am happy to let each person pursue her own utility function.

    Then we have no disagreement at all.

    The bottom line is that communities would decide for themselves how to self-govern, with opportunities for individual autonomy outside of communities (at the cost of some hardship). Feet-voting would be relatively easy. You have a strong preference for the order you would desire for your community, but you would not use force to impose it on other communities.

    Sounds hardcore libertarian to me!

    Likewise, we both agree with the necessity of some shorter-term strategies. So we’re much more in agreement than many people would have thought – including, until now, me to some extent.

  90. paulie

    Personally I would chose just three and not more than five as major issues to concentrate on and work at those.

    Sex, marijuana, gold and guns. I want to direct the video!

  91. Thomas M. Sipos

    Brian Holtz: “Only in comment 9 does Senator Joe McWallace even come close to giving us a…”

    About a week ago, Brian referred to a Joe McSipos. Now it’s Joe McWallace.

    I understand that Brian likes to smear. But he should try and find some new material. Smears are more entertaining when they incorporate some thought and originality.

  92. George Phillies

    Meanwhile, the purge of radicals from the LNC advances. Four members of the LNC supported a motion denying the validity of the assertion that Lee Wrights had ceased to be a member of the LNC. Chair William Redpath ruled it out of order, citing Article 5 Section 3.

    The virtuous LNC members were, I am told, Julie Fox, Rachel Hawkridge, Mary Ruwart, and Tony Ryan, acting on a motion drafted by Jake Porter.

    It seems that some party members receive emails reminding them that their memberships were expiring, but not Mr. Wrights.

  93. paulie

    So much for “Nobody is saying that being a week late with dues is grounds for keeping somebody off the LNC.” (Brian Holtz).

    Next, I guess that Wrights will have to disavow a statement he denies making (and which he just disavowed by the action of sending in $25)?

  94. Woof!

    The concept of “geo rent” is flawed from the outset because it assumes that it’s own concept is true from the outset, when, it fact, it is patently false.

    There is no way to measure or guess what the “highest value” of any piece of property is. We can only arrive at its market value.

    Let’s suppose that John Burlap buys a large tract of land in an isolated area for 1000 dollars. All the other parcels of land in this area are held by others, such as himself, who live happily, alone, self-sufficiently on their land.

    John actually values the land at 20,000 dollars, or more. He knows he would have paid that much, if necessary, and he wouln’t sell it for that amount, much less a lower amount.

    After a few years, some of John’s neighbors, whom he never sees, visits, nor interacts with, die of old age. Their property is sold by their heirs.

    Other buyers buy other tracts equavalent (impossible, but we have to assume such inane concepts to even consider the inane idea of geo rent) so, equivalent to John Burlap’s property.

    These buyers decide to develop their land. The makings of a city is undertaken. Land prices rise. Now the parcels are worth $2000.

    So, the “market value” of John’s land has risen. Big deal.

    The fact is, to poor John, these people have acually reduced the value of John’s land to him. Where before he valued the land at $20,000 in its isolated form, it is now only worth $10,000 to him.

    Since John values the land more than the developers do, the land is still in its REAL highest valued use.

    But, the geo rent earth nazis decide that poor John should be taxed on the “increase” in value of $1000. To be fair, they should pay John for reducing the land’s highest value.

    Not only is the concept of geo rent based on total illogic.

    It consititues a rationalization for socialism – and the most evil kind of socialism at that. The kind that attempts to take our land.

    Repeal of all taxes on land should be the number one priority of Libertarians.

    In a free society, I have the right to build a dog house on my piece of land and live there tax free forever and to pass the property tax free to my heirs, forever.

    Don’t like it.

    Poor baby.

    YOU GO BUY SOME OTHER LAND. But you don’t have the right to take mine. Nor do you have the right to take it through taxation.

    Socialists like the geo rent Henry George fascists are the greediest people on Earth. They want what’s theirs, and they want to take what others have as well.

    this land is posted

    Beware of Dog

    Woof!

  95. a different paul

    Wow. That’s my response… wow.

    Anyway, back to the platform, I wasn’t saying it should be a paragraph, nor that it say nothing.

    But I am saying it shouldn’t be a list of statements of things the country did wrong 100 years ago. I am saying it shouldn’t try to gain attention via shock factor.

    Political platforms need to be a direction the party wants to take the country from this point into the near-term future, with some specific reference to key positions. It can’t be about gold standards and scrapping public schools, because the bottom line is that we’re just not there – it ain’t gonna happen in the next few years – and thus it sounds nutty.

    Politics is about pulling in your desired direction, while others pull in different directions. If you win, you move the marker your way a little bit. Concentrate on the small wins. A party of a few thousand talking about sweeping reforms to just about everything will come across as nutty.

    In response to a comment that no one reads the platform, I’d say that I’ve seen a couple Libertarian campaigns – albeit local ones – in which a major party opponent started to feel a little heat. In both cases, it was the platform that provided them the ammunition to quickly put the challenge down and out.

    If no one reads it, its because the LP isn’t considered worthy of opposition research. In the few times the party has been, the platform as it has been has provided easy pickings.

    I’d further comment that this is how the game of politics is played. A lot of Libertarians I have known seem to want to be above the game – thus the principles over politics talk.

    Okay, fine, but don’t waste peoples’ time pretending your a political party. Its like going into a football game without a pass defense because you philosophically don’t believe in the forward pass. Play the game the way its played, or don’t play. Then you can stay on the sidelines talking to people passionately about how Knute Rockne was the anti-Christ.

  96. Thomas L. Knapp

    George,

    You write:

    “It seems that some party members receive emails reminding them that their memberships were expiring, but not Mr. Wrights.”

    Speaking of which: Anyone who has NOT written to the LNC (to your regional rep and alternate at a minimum, and if you wish to the at-large reps and the chair) on this matter should do so.

    I just heard from an LNC member (one on the right side of this issue) to the effect that more emails will help. They might push some fence-sitters on the LNC in the right direction, and being able to say “[some large number] members have contacted me on this issue” is a plus.

    Contact info for all LNC members except at-large representative R. Lee Wrights (whose name/info has been illicitly removed) is available at:

    http://www.lp.org/leadership

    Mr. Wrights can be contacted at rleewrights at gmail dot com. If he’s carrying a 100-pound box of supportive email when he sits down in his chair at the next LNC meeting, it may make it harder for the coup orchestrators to drag him out when they try to pretend that he’s not a member of the committee.

    Regards,
    Tom Knapp

  97. a different paul

    Really? What’s the difference? Just trying to ensure we aren’t semantically missing one another’s points right now.

    I’ve read the Republican platform. Seems to me its mostly intended to give anyone who reads it an idea of where the party wants to take the country in the next four years, based on where it thinks the country is right now.

    And to be blunt, they get a pass as a major party. If there’s something in the GOP or Democratic platforms that might be potentially nutty when compared to mainstream thought, they’re still a major party. A third party can’t be sorta/kinda as effective as the major parties in anything. The platform has to be darn-near perfect – setting a clear direction while alienating as few as possible.

  98. Brian Holtz

    Tom Sipos, Allan Wallace, and George Phillies have each written publicly that the LP is under some measure of control by Republican infiltrators. None of them have given us a single name of any of these alleged infiltrators. Anyone who doesn’t understand the aptness of a Joe McCarthy comparison in this context is historically illiterate.

    Merriam-Webster tells us that a “smear” is “a usually unsubstantiated charge or accusation against a person or organization”. On each occasion where I’ve made the McCarthy comparison, it’s been in direct response to claims of Republican infiltration similar to what Wallace makes above in paragraphs 7-9 of this blog posting.If you don’t want to be compared to Joe McCarthy, don’t suggest you know of infiltrators whom you lack the courage to name.

    Paulie, I’ve still seen nobody say that being late with dues is itself enough reason not to put Wrights back on LNC. By “keeping somebody off the LNC” I obviously didn’t mean “asserting that somebody has suspended himself from LNC”.

    Woof, market value is not the highest amount anyone secretly thinks they might ever pay for something. Market value is the highest amount anyone ever actually offers for something, and in a perfect market is equal to how much the second-highest-valuer would ever pay for that something. This is economics 101, and any Austrian will tell you that the only preferences that matter are revealed preferences, not hypothetical or alleged preferences.

    For people writing to their LNC reps, please ask them if they can corroborate or deny Sullentrop’s report that “at our most recent LNC meeting, [Wrights] announced during one of the breaks that [he] will never again give a dime to this Party”.

  99. robert capozzi

    pc, while the program idea has some appeal, it sounds like a clusterfuck in this environment. I might float a pollution tax, for ex., as a package that would lower the tax/spend burden, only to be berated as an evil statist. sister hogarth might advocate unilateral disarmament, which I’d suggest is unwise on a lot of levels.

    our “program” is — for the time being — best left to candidates. it was hard enough to repair the Portland Crater.

  100. a different paul

    “…only to be berated as an evil statist.”

    You do realize the blank stares you’d get from most voters even saying that, right?

    “our ‘program’ is — for the time being — best left to candidates.”

    The major parties put together their 2008 platform based in part on the campaigns of the candidates which get the respective nominations last time around. This way they don’t get a bunch of bothersome reporters asking the candidate why he or she is out of step with the party platform.

    Basically the platform seems to me to be a non-issue for the major parties, because they painstakingly ensure its a non-issue.

    Sure, there’s a bit of artificiality in all this – the platform becomes a bit of an exercise in campaign pragmatism. Again, that’s how the game is played. If the LP doesn’t want to play the game, that’s fine – just become the LPPDS (Libertarian Political Philosophy Debate Society) instead.

  101. Brian Holtz

    Tom Sipos, which is more of a “smear”: 1) telling someone that his Libertarian activism makes him comparable to a Republican, or 2) telling someone that his warnings of unnamed infiltrators makes him comparable to Joe McCarthy? For us Libertarians who despise the GOP, that’s an easy question.

    Of course, this “Republican” smear against non-anarchists in the LP is so familiar that I long ago created a web page documenting and rebutting it: http://libertarianmajority.net/is-non-anarchism-just-republican-lite

  102. robert capozzi

    different, yes! seems fraudulent to call oneself a “party” with no intention of being one.

    one leading “radical” openly admitted that non-“radicals” like myself should be welcome in the LP for purposes of (essentially) Rothbardian conversion. in my case, been there, done that, don’t need to understand the reasons why fetuses are in fact “parasites.” don’t need to be lectured on the fine points of obscure theorists like bastiat and spooner. I’m just trying to get us some peace, sooner rather than later.

  103. Woof!

    “Woof, market value is not the highest amount anyone secretly thinks they might ever pay for something. Market value is the highest amount anyone ever actually offers for something, and in a perfect market is equal to how much the second-highest-valuer would ever pay for that something. This is economics 101, and any Austrian will tell you that the only preferences that matter are revealed preferences, not hypothetical or alleged preferences”

    Aha. Poor Brian Holtz, I see you cannot read and comprehend the written word and that you do not understand economics.

    This is what I said and what economics 101 will tell you: Market value is the value at which both a willing buyer and seller can be found.

    I NEVER said: “Market value is the highest value ever offered.”

    And, in fact, this is not the market value if the owner will not sell at that price.

    Furthermore, in my irrefutable proof of the falacy of geo rent, I have distinguished between the “market value” and the “highest value.”

    The geo rent nonsense is based on the crazy concept of highest value, yet that is not measureable. Market value, as expained above, is not the same and does NOT stand in as an equavalent for “highest value” or “best use.”

    The highest value of any asset will only be known to its owner. If you think you have a higher valued use, you should offer the owner more and more money until he sells. If the owner never sells, it’s because the highest value is still higher than the market value. The owner values the property more than anyone else, so the property is already in its highest valued use.

    The highest value of a piece of property, or any asset could be a thousand times the market value. The owner can know it, but the geo rent nazis cannot.

    And, as I’ve proven, the increase in market value may actually lead to a reduction in the highest use value of a piece of property.

    Geo rent is based on pure ILLOGIAL drivel. It is the most un-libertarian concept I’ve ever encountered, on the economic liberty side of the Nolan chart, both inside and outside the LP.

    1) If the current owner of a piece of property does not want to sell at any price being offered, then the land is in its highest valued use already.

    2) No one can assume that any expenditure by other property owners or some collective governmental body has increased the value of this land to owner of the land. In fact, the rise in property values may represent development that has reduced the value of this owner’s highest valued use of the land.

    3) The owners of the other properties have the right to engage in such devolpment anyway even if it does reduce the highest valued use of their neighbor.

    The neighbor could always buy out the others to defend his property’s highest value.

    4) There are no “common services” of any kind that need to be provided by local govenments. They can all be provided volutarily by the free market. So, there is no need of any justification of a socialist scheme to violate the rights of any property owner.

    Any service that cannot be provided by a free market is not needed or wanted and should not be provided.

    THE PROPERTY TAX IS THE MOST EVIL OF ALL FORMS OF TAXATION.

    It is bad enough to have the IRS collecting income taxes, but the evil they would do under the geo rent Henry George fascist socialist system would be intolerable.

    The reliance on such a tax would ineluctibly lead to a gestapo-like IRS land tax collection agency that would leave the world nostalgic for the good old days of the income tax.

    Libertarians:

    We must take a stand for the immediate repeal of all taxes on Income and Property.

    We must oppose all forms of eminent domain.

    We must defend the right of land owners to use and control their property.

    These are basic libertarian tenets which must appear in the platform and without them there is no LP.

    (We should also have hard hitting planks about returning to a gold standard or free market money, and replacing the failed government run schools with free market alternative schools.

    Sure, some items should be left out because they are of concern to few people or for lack of space, but the platform must be radical and pure libertarian.

    So, although I think we have the right to eat dog steak and dog soup, it’s not a big issue and should not be in the platform.)

    It’s a dog eat dog world. It always will be.

    Woof!

  104. robert capozzi

    woof, price is set by the buyer, actually. owners may have an idea about what price he or she will let it go for, but until someone makes an offer, it’s a theory.

    geo-ism has appeal to me, though I’m not an adherent to it, or any construct, for that matter. geo-ism’s quite “radical,” however, because it forces us to think about the institution of “property” itself.

    you say you “own” parcel X, I say I do. in a dog eat dog world, he with the biggest fangs gets possession.

    property is an accommodation, an imperfect attempt to keep the peace. imbuing property with quasi-religious meaning is unconvincing to this hombre, but, then, I’m willing to do radical inquiry, not to defer to dog-matists 😉

  105. robert capozzi

    different, not sure who you are, but I was on the platform committee. I volunteered for that duty because I found the pre-06 platform to be REALLY embarrassingly theoretical. Acting alone, I would have preferred a FAR more real-world platform, but it was clear that Rothbardians and anarchists would have blocked it if it went much further on the relevance scale. So, I focused on removing the really loopy, theoretical passages, like the language that would have allowed private nukes.

    That effort was reasonably successful. The current platform is a massive cut-and-paste job, one that took 100s of person hours to craft.

    That’s the reality.

    I generally agree with your critiques.

  106. paulie

    I’ve read the Republican platform. Seems to me its mostly intended to give anyone who reads it an idea of where the party wants to take the country in the next four years, based on where it thinks the country is right now.

    It’s a kitchen sink of promises to Republican constituencies, most of which they have no intent of really pushing.

    Be that as it may, our platform serves a different purpose, to show where – as an ideologically based party – we eventually want to go.

    We won’t be in power in the next four years, and casting aside our long term goals amounts to selling out when nobody’s buying.

    With no indication that we have any radical goals to change the system, people who are even less in line with our views than moderate libertarians will be more at home using the LP as a political vehicle, and before long it can become a chain reaction where the party loses all sense of purpose and direction and dies, as the Reform Party already effectively has done.

    With all this focus on the platform, a focus on the nuts and bolts of running a political party has been sorely missing.

  107. paulie

    Paulie, I’ve still seen nobody say that being late with dues is itself enough reason not to put Wrights back on LNC. By “keeping somebody off the LNC” I obviously didn’t mean “asserting that somebody has suspended himself from LNC”.

    If he hasn’t suspended himself off the LNC, then he can only be removed for cause by a 2/3 vote. Instead, it appears that some members of the committee are trying to circumvent that process by pretending that he has.

    I’ll agree with you that the committee is within its rights to investigate whether such cause exists.

    Thus far, all I have seen is a rumor which Mr. Wrights denied and contradicted prima facie by the action of sending in his dues. I’m not saying that evidence which I am not privy to does not exist; that is logically something the committee should explore. However, it should not lower the bar for removal by a procedural trick over an accidental one week lapse in dues.

    Additionally, why was no email sent to Mr. Wrights to remind him to renew his dues, but an email WAS sent to him only after the fact?

    I think you know as well as I do that the bar here was lowered intentionally, and I believe that commitment to integrity demands that you should oppose such trickery, even if you believe that removal for cause is in fact warranted.

    I should mention that I have been told second hand that Lee Wrights has a low opinion of me, although I’ve not heard that from him personally.

    I’m not trying to do favors for my friends here; I want the process to be followed in good faith. In this case, I think it should be abundantly clear to all that it hasn’t been. Acting as if it was does not help the cause of justice, nor of a process that earns the trust of contributors and activists.

    If you were on the LNC and in the minority and somehow fell into a similar trap, I would speak up on your behalf in the same manner.

    I would even do so on behalf of a member that I did believe warranted expulsion for cause.

    If you fail to put the integrity of the process above factionalism, that does not speak well of you.

  108. paulie

    For people writing to their LNC reps, please ask them if they can corroborate or deny Sullentrop’s report that “at our most recent LNC meeting, [Wrights] announced during one of the breaks that [he] will never again give a dime to this Party”.

    Will do.

  109. paulie

    woof, price is set by the buyer, actually.

    It’s set by a combination of buyer and seller. If buyers had unilateral control of prices, all prices would be at or very near zero, wouldn’t they?

  110. robert capozzi

    pc, yes, minds have to meet, of course. but the buyer has the guap, the seller the product. since product is enumerated in guap, the buyer “sets” the price, the seller accepts it.

    this is why pre- market stock quotes are the bid, not the ask.

    just a matter of perspective, I spose.

  111. Rachel H.

    @113 – Brian Holtz “For people writing to their LNC reps, please ask them if they can corroborate or deny Sullentrop’s report that “at our most recent LNC meeting, [Wrights] announced during one of the breaks that [he] will never again give a dime to this Party”.”

    Lee Wrights denies saying it. I haven’t heard it.

    And then, when others offered to pay $$ for Lee, that avenue was denied, saying it must be him.

    That was patently untrue per Bylaws Article 5, Section 5: Higher levels of contribution by or on behalf of a Party member qualify as sustaining member status for any provision of these Bylaws.

    Neither have the questions been answered –

    1. Why didn’t Lee get the same eMail that other members get, when about to lapse?

    2. Why did the eMail to Lee go at ~6pm, then notice to LNC and StateChairs list about 7, and he was already erased? From website & LNC Discuss.

  112. George Phillies

    Indeed, the LNC was presented with a motion on the Wrights issue:

    National Chair Redpath ruled it out of order.

    “I move that: Because the Libertarian National Committee has passed no vote to remove Lee Wrights from his position as an At-Large Representative, that he remains an At-Large Representative, that his name shall be reinstated to the Libertarian Party Leadership webpage, and that his e-mail access to the Libertarian National Committee discussion list be restored.”

    The motion was originally offered by Regional Alternate Jake Porter, and was then endorsed by the requisite four LNC members, namely Tony Ryan, Julie Fox, Rachel Hawkridge, and Mary Ruwart. The motion was then ruled out of order by William Redpath as Chair. There is reason to suppose the next step will be a motion to appeal the decision of the Chair.

  113. a different paul

    “It’s a kitchen sink of promises to Republican constituencies, most of which they have no intent of really pushing. Be that as it may, our platform serves a different purpose, to show where – as an ideologically based party – we eventually want to go. We won’t be in power in the next four years, and casting aside our long term goals amounts to selling out when nobody’s buying.”

    So because the LP knows it won’t win it doesn’t even try?

    “With all this focus on the platform, a focus on the nuts and bolts of running a political party has been sorely missing.”

    Agree completely, but the platform discussion speaks to that. Are you willing to do the things you need to do in order to even make winning a long-shot possibility? It seems like you aren’t.

    As for campaign nuts and bolts, I don’t see any interest in even discussing that. Look at the wandering conversation here. To me, it seems like you guys just want to argue about whatever theory captures your imagination at the moment. Think of how that time could have been spent organizing a precinct, or discussing GOTV techniques outlined in a Campaigns and Elections article.

    Remember what I said about moving the marker your way. Consider this. When you aren’t pulling the rope, because the game itself is philosophically wrong in your view, then the marker is just getting pulled further away from where you want it.

    Hey, I apologize for coming on so strong, if that’s how it appears. I wish you all the best, and hopefully you can make a difference. I doubt you will with this way it looks like your party is being run, but I’d love for you to prove me wrong.

  114. paulie

    So because the LP knows it won’t win it doesn’t even try?

    It should try to do what it can reasonably accomplish: Move the debate as the socialist party did a century ago; elect some people to local office; spread the message in the course of campaigns, gradually making our ideas more plausible to more people; hold up a banner in case the wind suddenly shifts our way. Pretending that we have a chance of winning big races now doesn’t win us big races, and kills our opportunity to accomplish what we actually can – both long and short term.

    “With all this focus on the platform, a focus on the nuts and bolts of running a political party has been sorely missing.”

    Agree completely, but the platform discussion speaks to that. Are you willing to do the things you need to do in order to even make winning a long-shot possibility? It seems like you aren’t.

    No, it does not. It is a massive distraction from improving the practical aspects of operations, which can be done in many, many ways that have nothing to do with the platform.

    The only use the platform has is to make sure that all that effort remains geared towards libertarian policies. Besides that, it is a distraction, plain and simple.

    As for campaign nuts and bolts, I don’t see any interest in even discussing that.

    I’ve discussed it plenty, in numerous threads here.

    To me, it seems like you guys just want to argue about whatever theory captures your imagination at the moment.

    Well, yeah, we’re into ideas. It’s one of our hobbies.

    Think of how that time could have been spent organizing a precinct, or discussing GOTV techniques outlined in a Campaigns and Elections article.

    I agree with you.

    I haven’t found much in the way of other people interested in having those conversations with me here. But if you are, we can talk about some of that.

  115. Bryan

    I just gotta kick in a little here…

    I would love to see posts and comments about the positive things that are going on.

    This afternoon, I met a few others to discuss websites, meetups, brochures, and other “paraphernalia” along with organizing precincts and county for ’10.

    At the same time I am working on my own non-partisan run, this November, to attempt to get more supporters for a race in the ’10 elections.

    Not everybody is so caught up in the wording that we lose focus on the working…

  116. Thomas M. Sipos

    Brian Holtz” “Tom Sipos, Allan Wallace, and George Phillies have each written publicly that the LP is under some measure of control by Republican infiltrators.

    Brian, I’ve repeated said, you have reading comprehension problems.

    I never said anyone was infiltrating the LP. I’ve said there are Republican Lites in the LP.

    You often “read” something other than what someone has written.

  117. G.E.

    Pure amateur hour… Grown-ups should not be playing politics within the LP — it’s a waste of time and a disgrace.

  118. Michael H. Wilson

    @ 129 “a different paul” – For the record I have been working on a pamphlet this evening and off and on drop in to see which way the discussion is going. This sometimes gets under the skin, but for the most part it is entertainment while doing other things. And I happen to know others who do pretty much the same thing. There is significant work going on behind the scenes at least with some of us.

  119. Michael Seebeck

    George @128:

    I sincerely hope so. My understanding is that the Chair claimed the motion was out of order by citing the sustaining membership requirement of A5S3, but that’s in error as the issue at hand was not Mr. Wrights’ membership status, but his LNC status and removal, which is a completely different issue, which the motion actually addressed.

    The ramifications of the Secretary and the Chair violating the Bylaws by claiming power reserved to the entire LNC is left as an exercise to the membership, hopefully ASAP.

  120. Brian Holtz

    Tom Sipos, you said “three types of people exist in the LP. 1. Anarchists, who want to abolish 100% of govt. 2. Minarchists, who want to abolish 99 – 90% of govt. 3. Republican Lites, who want to trim taxes by a few percentage points (nothing that will scare voters), and actually increase govt in certain ‘necessary’ areas (usually, empire-building).”

    I asked if you can name any of these “Republican lites” for us, and so far you haven’t. That alone qualifies you for a McCarthy comparison.

    You seem to believe that a “Republican lite” does not qualify as a libertarian. If people you would say are non-libertarians have joined the LP in such numbers as to be one of its three types of members, that sounds a whole lot like infiltration. (Or do you claim that most of these “Republican lites” used to be good libertarians but litened up only after joining the LP?) Can you explain where I’ve misinterpreted you, and how you substantially disagree with Wallace’s paragraphs 7 and 8 in the blog posting above?

    Michael is right to point out that a thread like this is not an accurate summary of current LP activism. I’ve already plugged my new RackCard.pdf above, so now I’ll share my two latest shirt designs: http://marketliberal.org/Shirt.pdf and http://marketliberal.org/DebtShirt.pdf. (Sipos, I dare you to smear either one as “Republican lite”.) My order for the first arrived today, and the second design (for my kids’ shirts) should arrive soon.

  121. G.E.

    I like Holtz’s pdfs. Well done. But the second one reflects Brian Holtz’s own deviations from libertarianism on three issues: I “can’t handle” the freedom to “hunt terrorists,” be taxed on land holdings, or dismember innocent human beings for the non-crime of being unable to defend themselves. The rest of the bullet points are consensus libertarian — why alienate with your own deviations? If I were making a flyer, I wouldn’t portray libertarianism as being pro-life, even though three of the last five LP presidential candidates have been pro-life.

  122. paulie

    shirt.pdf seems to pack a lot of info on a shirt – it better be for a Hooters waitress 🙂

    debtshirt.pdf – awesome! (Of course, what about those of us who did vote at some point, but not for this debt? But that’s besides the easy to grasp point it makes when a kid wears it).

    I share two of GE’s disagreements (taxes and terrorists); my view of abortion issues is more nuanced and less certain.

  123. Brian Holtz

    “Hunting terrorists” means nothing more than self-defense — you can’t get any more libertarian than that.

    “Defend choice in procreation” does not necessarily mean the freedom to terminate any pregnancy, any more than it means the freedom to commit infanticide. If I had a little more space I would say “Defend first-trimester choice and third-trimester healthy fetuses”.

    As for land, I’m happy to let you appropriate the geo-rent for any square feet you added to the Earth’s geometric surface that wasn’t there before you got to work creating it. I just don’t agree that putting up a “stay back or I’ll shoot” sign creates anything that wasn’t already there.

  124. G.E.

    If I had a little more space I would say “Defend first-trimester choice and third-trimester healthy fetuses”.

    Yeah, but that’s still just your view. Some libertarians are for abortion up to the point of birth; others are against it in all but the most extreme cases (or some even then). You, of course, have every right to define libertarianism however you want, express your own view of what “the” libertarian view on abortion is, etc., but I don’t think it’s a winning issue for recruitment, if that’s your aim… Particularly the “moderate” view you’re espousing when you have more space.

    I am 100% pro-choice on procreation: no one should be raped. If people consent to sex, however, I feel that they are contractually obligated to care for any resulting human life form that is created thereby. Other libertarians disagree.

  125. Steven R Linnabary

    “Hunting terrorists” means nothing more than self-defense — you can’t get any more libertarian than that.

    I’m stunned. Sort of takes my breath away.

    Tell me, what exactly does a “terrorist” look like? And don’t give me the latest DHS crap.

    PEACE

  126. Brian Holtz

    Steven, if you can’t tell me what a “murderer” looks like, does that mean you don’t believe in hunting them? When a fellow Libertarian tells you they believe in self-defense, why not give them the benefit of the doubt?

    G.E., I’ve got $200 that disagrees with you about whether abortion can favorably differentiate the Libertarian brand. For details on how to claim that $200, see http://knowinghumans.net/2007/12/undefended-popular-high-ground-on.html.

    That 2007 blog posting still gets about 100 visits a day. Just because political parties have only used the abortion issue to mobilize their base doesn’t mean that the issue can’t be used to appeal to the mainstream. I don’t define my position on abortion as “the” libertarian position, but I do think the LP should not contradict this position by adopting either of the two extremes.

  127. George Phillies

    “Tom Sipos, Allan Wallace, and George Phillies have each written publicly that the LP is under some measure of control by Republican infiltrators.”

    Tom, it appears to me that feeding the troll is not constructive. I did name people. They were not infiltrators. They were former Libertarians who converted to Republicanism, as disgusting as that may sound.

    But now I will name another one: Brian Holtz.

    He supports the homophobic … a key Republican position … California civil union referendum. He is not pro-choice, the very definition of libertarianism. He is acting to disrupt Libertarians discussing libertarian issues. He participated, many Libertarians would say, in trashing our platform, though my mileage would vary on this. Looks like a Republican infiltrator to me…and he has a bit of control here. He also appears to have some team support in Mr. Capozzi.

  128. Michael H. Wilson

    Look two guys discussing abortion and unless some miracles happens neither one of them will ever get pregnant!

  129. a different paul

    Paulie – glad to know you are interested in campaign mechanics. I’m something of a political junkie myself, with an interest in how its done as well as the ideas that drive it.

    I still say the platform thing is important both from the perspective it will be used against any viable candidates if its nutty, and from the perspective it helps get people on the same page. If you have a great candidate talking about pulling back from some local zoning restrictions, and his volunteers are talking to voters about gold standards and public schools, then that candidate is getting undercut.

    Now, granted a national platform will deal with national issues, which aren’t applicable to local campaigns, so maybe my example is a bit strained.

    By the way, in the two campaigns I referenced above, one was undercut by a discussion of ending public education. Actually it wasn’t a discussion. It was more of a dismissive attack. The Republican e-mail and phone network felt compelled to tell its members that this Libertarian guy was from a party that wanted to close public schools. End of story.

    The other one had the same networks as well as a coordinated letters to editor effort talking about prostitution and child pornography. The intentionally mischaracterized content from the platform, but it doesn’t matter. All they had to do was throw that out there, and for those who bothered to check, the single fact that people could dig up references to ‘child pornography’ was creepy enough.

    Here’s a problem all third parties have. You guys feel strongly enough about some and perhaps many issues that you couldn’t compromise enough to join the closer major party. The major parties are full of compromising people – people who for the most part can put their exact ideas in check long enough to support the big tent compromised ideas.

    Somehow – and I certainly don’t claim to know how – you guys have to get your members to do the same.

  130. a different paul

    Bryan: “This afternoon, I met a few others to discuss websites, meetups, brochures, and other “paraphernalia” along with organizing precincts and county for ‘10.”

    That’s great! I’m particularly excited to read you are organizing precincts! That was something I noticed in the couple campaigns I was part of – no precinct captains – no lists of people who might be friendly on certain issues, etc.

    The other thing I noticed was very few of the volunteers were active in the community, and thus just didn’t know many people. I had a thought that it would be good for a third party to encourage members to join local groups, just for the networking aspect. I know our board of supervisors is always looking for people to join varying advisory committees. Most of the time you just have to let them know you are willing, and you’re in.

  131. Thomas M. Sipos

    I find it ironic that Brian accuses others of McCarthyism, yet he’s defended (1) the witch hunt against Angela Keaton, and (2) the ouster of Lee Wrights.

    Brian seems to be practicing psychological projection.

  132. a different paul

    Michael Wilson: “For the record I have been working on a pamphlet this evening…”

    That’s great, too. Of course it raises questions about what the pamphlet says, and how many thousands you plan to distribute, and what’s your distribution plan.

    Ideally the distribution involves putting volunteers in personal contact with those who are receiving the pamphlet, I believe. Putting a friendly face and maybe even a handshake behind an idea is huge, otherwise for many its just another piece of junk left at the door.

    Has your local party bought the list of registered voters from the state board of elections so you aren’t spending money producing pamphlets for non-voters, or wasting time knocking on the wrong doors? If not, this is something I’d suggest looking into to. If you localize the area, it isn’t too expensive.

    If I was running a local party right now, I’d probably try to tie into the federal spending national focus; maybe put together a pamphlet that makes a couple simple points about deficit spending under both major parties, with some source-cited factual information – something like how much national debt each American citizen now owns, how much we’re spending every year to finance that debt, etc. And close it with a request urging all voters to voice their concerns to elected officials… as well as contact information for the one party that has opposed this debt run-up from the start.

    That last part would be the real point of it. Use the pamphlet campaign to increase your contact lists on this issue.

  133. Allan Wallace

    As I see it there are TWO groups of Right Wing Libertarians in the LP, I only covered one of them in my article because that is the one people don’t normally see:

    Those who called themselves conservative within the last 12 years or so, and still might consider themselves conservative libertarians or some such.

    Those long-time Libertarians so despondent about the LP not making more gains than it has and so desperate to improve vote totals that they are willing to give up some of our essential principles for the hope, for the smallest chance of political gain. These are the ones George say “converted to republicanism”.

    FACT: The LP has moved farther RIGHT than it has ever been before, MUCH Farther!

    FACT: For more than three years, there has not been more than a token outreach to the Left. 99% of the outreach resources spent by the national office on outreach has been to the Right.

    FACT: Members who have been big-time Donors to the party, who are considered to be on the left side or left-leaning, have been disrespected in many ways and been called names when making any comment or suggestion by leaders in the national office and by LNC Officers.

    FACT: Since the last convention, Right Libertarians have a nominal majority on the LNC and have been using what I would characterize as UN-libertarian, even draconian tactics to solidify their majority.

    However, I do not and have never advocated expelling these people from the party. And, I have never even advocated ousting all of them from Office in the LP, only enough through our internal processes to return control of the party to Centrist Libertarians.

    Let me say this plainly, the vast majority of the Right Libertarians are not evil people nor are they even bad. They simply have not yet discovered the full depth and consistency of Libertarian Philosophy, or have been led astray by the Major Party Devil who offers the temptation of political success in exchange for their soul.

  134. Steven R Linnabary

    Brian @ 142: I asked you “what does a terrorist look like”, and you responded with a lame straw man argument.

    It appears that your “looking for terrorists” style is like the guy at the end of the bar that’s looking for a fight. He’ll probably find one.

    And that is NOT self defense.

    PEACE

  135. paulie

    Dr. Phillies,

    I don’t believe that the attack on Brian Holtz as a Republican type is accurate. As Brian wrote at http://www.independentpoliticalreport.com/2009/04/news-from-outright-libertarians/comment-page-1/#comment-55371

    I’m pushing the LP to the Right? I’m a militant atheist (published at infidels.org) who defends Roe v. Wade and criticizes the LP for not being green enough. I made the motion demanding the LPCA support No-on-8 with its web site and email distribution list, and in Vegas I was the one who tracked down the Outright leaders in another room and asked them to review the gay-rights language I added to the draft LP platform. (They liked it.) I publicly oppose all regulations and bans on gambling, suicide, substance use, pornography, gay marriage, polyamory, sexual practices, sexual commerce, reproductive commerce, cloning, etc. I’m a free-market liberal who never calls himself “conservative”, and the web site for all my campaigns has been MarketLiberal.org.

  136. paulie

    Ideally the distribution involves putting volunteers in personal contact with those who are receiving the pamphlet, I believe. Putting a friendly face and maybe even a handshake behind an idea is huge, otherwise for many its just another piece of junk left at the door.

    Has your local party bought the list of registered voters from the state board of elections so you aren’t spending money producing pamphlets for non-voters, or wasting time knocking on the wrong doors? If not, this is something I’d suggest looking into to. If you localize the area, it isn’t too expensive.

    If I was running a local party right now, I’d probably try to tie into the federal spending national focus; maybe put together a pamphlet that makes a couple simple points about deficit spending under both major parties, with some source-cited factual information – something like how much national debt each American citizen now owns, how much we’re spending every year to finance that debt, etc. And close it with a request urging all voters to voice their concerns to elected officials… as well as contact information for the one party that has opposed this debt run-up from the start.

    That last part would be the real point of it. Use the pamphlet campaign to increase your contact lists on this issue.

    Very good advice. It is highly important that we move towards more face to face contact (field organizing) as a means of party outreach, and greatly expand our contact lists actively rather than passively. This is also a big part of why I think youth outreach is so critical.

  137. paulie

    Tom Sipos, you said “three types of people exist in the LP. 1. Anarchists, who want to abolish 100% of govt. 2. Minarchists, who want to abolish 99 – 90% of govt. 3. Republican Lites, who want to trim taxes by a few percentage points (nothing that will scare voters), and actually increase govt in certain ‘necessary’ areas (usually, empire-building).”

    I’m still trying to figure out where Sen. Mike Gravel fits into this taxonomy. Which of these three is he?

  138. Brian Holtz

    George, you wrote recently: GP) I urge readers to avoiding funding fraud by sending their donations beyond minimum dues to organizations other than LNC, Inc, e.g., your fine state party organization, at least in states where there is a state party that has not been taken over by Republicans. (GP

    I replied: BH) George, do you have a list of state LP affiliates that “have been taken over by Republicans”? Can you even name one? This whole McCarthy-esque I-have-a-secret-list-of-Republican-infiltrators trope is getting pretty tedious. (BH

    Your inconsistent initial reply was to 1) claim your comment was a “hypothetical” but to then 2) talk anonymously about “the state party whose officer and lead activist are promoting running as Republicans and not Libertarians”. Only later did you finally reveal that you were talking about LPRI leaders joining state and local GOP leadership and running as Republicans, and you pronounced it “a Republican takeover”. (So is LPRI the only state affiliate you can list for us, or do you have others?)

    I don’t see how you can call Libertarian infiltration into the GOP a “Republican takeover” of the LPRI. “X takeover of Y” suggests that people who were already X’s take control of Y. You apparently are talking about people already in control of Y becoming X’s in an apparent attempt to take control of other X’s. If instead this has caused a “takeover” of the LPRI by un-libertarian Republican ideas, then I again ask you to please show your work and give us at least a shred of evidence for this.

    I stand by everything I said in the discussions mentioned above, and I repeat my advice that when you talk about “Republican takeovers”, that you muster the courage to name the people and organizations that you’re alluding to (i.e. smearing).

    You now follow my advice by hilariously naming me as a ” former Libertarian who converted to Republicanism”. I will now demonstrate why your first instinct was to not try to attach names and facts to your anonymous charges, because in doing so you’ve exhibited your ignorance in multiple ways.

    1. The issue here in California isn’t “civil union” but an entirely new take on “domestic partnership”. “Civil union” (along with all other previous attempts at “domestic partnership”) is a tepid separate-but-equal attempt to grudgingly concede a subset of marriage rights/privileges to same-sex couples. What we in the LPCA just endorsed was a proposed initiative to completely rename the opposite-sex legal concept of “marriage” with a sex-blind universal concept of “domestic partnership”.

    2. The Domestic Partnership Initiative isn’t “homophobic”. It in fact repeals the homophobic Prop 8 by striking from the CA Constitution all the text that Prop 8 added. The motion to endorse DPI was made by our Northern Vice Chair who is also openly gay and a prominent member of the Outright Libertarians. Calling his endorsement “homophobic” is not only ignorant but shameful.

    3. Renaming “marriage” to “domestic partnership” is not at all “a key Republican position”. The 2008 Republican platform states: “the traditional understanding of marriage [requires] a constitutional amendment that fully protects marriage as a union of a man and a woman, so that judges cannot make other arrangements equivalent to it”. It’s ignorant to suggest the GOP would ever endorse the passage of the DPI.

    4. I am indeed “pro-choice”, as I adamantly defend Roe v. Wade and the absolute right to terminate a pregnancy in the first trimester. (I also defend the right to end a pregnancy in the third trimester if it leaves a healthy fetus unharmed.) 90% of abortions in America are in the first trimester, and a large fraction of remaining abortions are of fetuses with horrible congenital defects. Saying I am not “pro-choice” is simply ignorant of the facts.

    5. If the Platform changes I favored — and which you don’t here even oppose — make me “look like a Republican infiltrator”, then there must have been hundreds of us in Denver, because those changes won slam-dunk 2/3 approval among the 600 delegates there. Do you dare say that any delegate in Denver was “a Republican infiltrator” if they voted for the 2008 Platform?

    Note that you’re issuing these smears against someone who voted for you for president three times in 2008: in the LPCA primary, in the LPCA convention straw poll, and on the first ballot in Denver. In Jan 2008 I wrote that the biggest obstacle facing Phillies was “his tendency to personally attack libertarians who disagree with him on policy and (especially) on LP administration”. You seemed to try to tone that down for the last few months before Denver, but I guess old habits die hard. I still think you were the best in the 2008 field at presenting the LP message to the outside world, but I see now that your need to find a traitor under every stone inside the LP means that we’ll never get a chance for you to top our Presidential ticket. That is a bigger opportunity cost to the LP than any damage I could ever be accused of inflicting on it.

  139. Steven R Linnabary

    make me “look like a Republican infiltrator”, then there must have been hundreds of us in Denver,

    Was this the same convention that nominated Bob Barr as the POTUS nominee??

    🙂

    PEACE

  140. paulie

    Bryan: “This afternoon, I met a few others to discuss websites, meetups, brochures, and other “paraphernalia” along with organizing precincts and county for ‘10.”

    That’s great! I’m particularly excited to read you are organizing precincts! That was something I noticed in the couple campaigns I was part of – no precinct captains – no lists of people who might be friendly on certain issues, etc.

    The other thing I noticed was very few of the volunteers were active in the community, and thus just didn’t know many people. I had a thought that it would be good for a third party to encourage members to join local groups, just for the networking aspect. I know our board of supervisors is always looking for people to join varying advisory committees. Most of the time you just have to let them know you are willing, and you’re in.

    Very good advice as well.

  141. paulie

    You guys feel strongly enough about some and perhaps many issues that you couldn’t compromise enough to join the closer major party.

    I felt by 1992 that the Democrats were never going to make a serious effort to end the drug war and the military-industrial complex, which were the original reasons I got involved with them in the first place.

    If the LP abandons these issues as well, why would I remain involved with the LP?

  142. Brian Holtz

    Tom Sipos, McCarthyism is “the practice of making accusations of disloyalty, esp. of pro-Communist activity, in many instances unsupported by proof or based on slight, doubtful, or irrelevant evidence”.

    I never accused Angela or Lee of being more loyal to the ideas of another party than to those of the LP. You’re the one here doing that. When you mentioned “psychological projection” here, you broke my irony meter.

    I repeatedly said that my concern about Angela was about “a self-declared lame duck LNC member keeping her seat while publicly advocating against joining or donating to the party”. I challenged you to assert that such a member should keep her seat, and instead of addressing this behavior by Angela you used expensive space in California Freedom to print a picture of Aaron Starr with a Hitler mustache. I challenged you above @136 to explain how your smears about “Republican lite” don’t satisfy my characterizations of them, and instead you issue this drive-by red herring about Angela. I guess intellectual courage isn’t your strong suit…

    All I’ve said regarding Wrights is 1) the Bylaws arguably require that both a dues lapse and an attendance lapse result in automatic suspension and 2) the LNC should rubber-stamp Lee’s appointment as long as he disavows all suggestions that the LP is not to be donated to. I challenge anybody reading this to publicly agree with Sipos that either of these two positions is in any way McCarthy-like. I challenge anybody reading this to agree with Sipos that saying that the LP is infested with unnamed “Republican lites” is NOT McCarthy-like.

    You keep issuing your drive-by smears about “lite” and “projection”, and I’ll keep backing up my characterizations with dictionary definitions and actual facts. This isn’t California Freedom, where you as a non-party-member get paid thousands of dollars a year to give yourself the last word on internal party controversies.

  143. Brian Holtz

    Allen, just what precisely are these oh-so-vague “essential principles” that you claim “Right-Wing Libertarians” have “given up” “for the smallest chance of political gain”? Do your conveniently-unspecified “essential principles” include

    * the right to renounce affiliation with any government, and to be exempt from the obligations imposed by those governments?
    * elimination of all restrictions on immigration?
    * that all criminal and civil sanctions against tax evasion should be terminated immediately?
    * repeal of all laws that restrict anyone, including children, from engaging in voluntary exchanges of goods, services or information regarding human sexuality?
    * privatizing national defense?
    * repeal of the Sixth Amendment right of the accused to “have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor”?

    Please give us some specifics about the non-token “outreach to the Left” that the LP suddenly stopped doing 3 years ago. Please tell us how you calculate your “99% outreach to the Right” figure, and what the percentage was 4 years ago.

    If you want actual, non-made-up facts about Libertarian prospects on the Left and Right, see the polling data I’ve assembled at http://libertarianmajority.net/libertarian-polling. Read it and weep.

    Who precisely are these “big-time Donors to the party, who are considered to be on the left side or left-leaning” and how precisely have they “been disrespected in many ways and been called names”?

    Please name for us the 9 or more “Right Libertarians” who have a “nominal majority” on the 17-member LNC, and cite your evidence that each is “Right”. Until you give us these nine names and quotes, you haven’t cited a “fact”, you’ve just again waved your hands.

    Finally, please tell us where we can find the stone tablets explaining “the full depth and consistency of Libertarian Philosophy”. Do they inscribe the words of a Rothbard or Ruwart? Do they settle the question of anarchism vs. minarchism? Do they pin down all of the two dozen http://libertarianmajority.net/free-variables-in-libertarian-theory ? Please share your bountiful wisdom and enlighten us with the tablets you’ve brought down from the mountain.

    Steven, if you want a picture of a terrorist, try this one: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Khalid_Shaikh_Mohammed_after_capture.jpg. Do you disagree he should have been hunted for his crimes? Not everybody who advocates hunting terrorists is a fan of a so-called “war on terror”.

    As for Denver nominating Barr, thank you for the smiley disavowing your point as silly. Wake us when you have the courage to say whether a vote for the 2008 platform qualifies a Denver delegate as a “Republican infiltrator”.

  144. paulie

    All I’ve said regarding Wrights is 1) the Bylaws arguably require that both a dues lapse and an attendance lapse result in automatic suspension and 2) the LNC should rubber-stamp Lee’s appointment as long as he disavows all suggestions that the LP is not to be donated to. I challenge anybody reading this to publicly agree with Sipos that either of these two positions is in any way McCarthy-like.

    Well, there IS a certain McCarthy-like element in demanding that a member “disavow” a statement that he has already and repeatedly denied making, including in his official appeal, in writing, to the Judicial Committee, as well as right here in IPR comments.

    There’s also something rather fishy about a technicality over a dues lapse being used as an end run around the requirement of 2/3 committee vote to remove for cause, putting the burden of proof on Wrights as to why he should be reappointed, rather than the otherwise existing burden of proof of cause for removal.

    This, although even you admit that no member should be removed for an accidental one week lapse in dues. If he shouldn’t be removed over it, how is it just to say that he should assume a burden of proof he otherwise wouldn’t have, and require 50% plus one rather than 33.3..% plus one to stay on the committee, for what is effect a removal for alleged cause?

    This is particular suspicious in light of the fact that he was not informed of the lapse in dues by phone or email, but WAS promptly emailed about being removed from the LNC with no grace period to resolve the matter internally before a “notice of vacancy” went out.

  145. Allan Wallace

    The call for specifics that everyone who can read already knows is the transparent diversionary tactic of someone who has no valid argument left.

  146. G.E.

    I don’t define my position on abortion as “the” libertarian position, but I do think the LP should not contradict this position by adopting either of the two extremes.

    I agree with you. The LP platform plank on abortion should be something like: “Libertarians are opposed to the initiation of force. Libertarians disagree on whether abortion is the initiation of force.”

  147. Brian Holtz

    Labeling one’s unfalsifiable vague hand-waving as “FACT” is a transparent diversionary tactic of someone who apparently never had a valid argument in the first place.

  148. Donald Raymond Lake

    You fucking liars! It is documented and other wise well known, as early as 1994 [NOT 1992!] that lizard boy, Neut Gingrich, and his GOP, pre Patrick Buchanan lying thugs, pretty much LIFTED [Shoplifted, stole, five fingered discount] word for word from the pre Reform Party [1996] Henry Ross Perot presidential bid.

    Libertarians: making it up as you go along, can’t get the dates right, and can’t get the facts right.

    And you wonder why folks whom are attracted to Lib philosophy walk away [FOREVER] after viewing the deception and bickering!

    Want 13 opinions, just ask a dozen Libs!

  149. Brian Holtz

    Paulie, I’ve never “demanded” or otherwise requested further disavowals from Wrights, and instead have just asked potential witnesses for input on this he-said-she-said dispute. I’ll note that during the Keaton affair, I don’t remember Wrights (or any other of Angela’s supporters) ever having a problem with Angela publicly saying that the LP is not to be joined or advising its donors they were defrauded, while many of her partisans (like some of Wrights’) have agreed with her sentiments. The comments of Wrights and his supporters about this LNC make it very plausible to me that in a fit of anger Wrights might make the statement attributed to him. Heck, we even saw the LPMA formally advocate against donating to the LPUS, and there was also a recent contretemps over give-or-get. It would be disingenuous to suggest that all 17 LNC members were equally unlikely to publicly say they won’t be donating to this LNC.

    There’s nothing fishy at all about having non-identical standards for removal-for-cause versus declining to appoint someone to fill the position he recently held. Renewal of a lapsed relationship is clearly the most natural time to review its merits.

  150. paulie

    Brian 1: 2) the LNC should rubber-stamp Lee’s appointment as long as he disavows all suggestions that the LP is not to be donated to.

    Brian 2: Paulie, I’ve never “demanded” or otherwise requested further disavowals from Wrights, and instead have just asked potential witnesses for input on this he-said-she-said dispute.

    Paul: B-1 Sounds like a demand to me, while B-2 sounds like a trial for removal for cause. If demand is a bad choice of terms here, how about holding the LNC seat hostage?

  151. Donald Raymond Lake

    GOP contract with ‘Merica………

    10. No new faxes, just raunchy instant messages.

    9. Abolish all sperm limits.

    8. Dating allowed with children of three-fifth’s majority age.

    7. Replace metal detectors in Page dormitories with strip searches.

    6. Budget constraints ditched in favor of handcuffs and S&M constraints.

    READ MORE at http://satiricalpolitical.com/?p=349

  152. paulie

    Brian, “There’s nothing fishy at all about having non-identical standards for removal-for-cause versus declining to appoint someone to fill the position he recently held. Renewal of a lapsed relationship is clearly the most natural time to review its merits.”

    Paul: If nobody believes that an accidental one week lapse in dues is cause to remove a member, why should it be used as an excuse to circumvent the normal rules applying to removal for cause?

    I’ll also note that you have now in effect called Mr. Wrights a liar, since he has explicitly denied making the statement in question.

  153. Jim Davidson

    I had a nice meeting last night with members of the Campaign for Liberty in Shawnee and Douglas counties in Kansas. Also present were the chair of the Kansas LP and his charming wife, three other LP activists, and an Americans for Prosperity activist.

    One of the interesting things I learned was that the LP in Kansas appeals to more disaffected Democrats than Republicans, apparently by 55% to 45%. I had no idea.

  154. Jim Davidson

    @166 Want 13 opinions, ask a dozen libertarians.

    You seem to have dramatically overstated the number of libertarians needed to get 13 opinions.

  155. Donald Raymond Lake

    BIG TIME ROSS PEROT ITEM!

    “Item 10 on the Contract With America was called the Citizen Legislature Act, which proposed that all legislators be held to a maximum of twelve (12) years’ service in government. It never became law, but the Citizen Legislature Act was a principle that these congresspeople got elected on, telling the voters that it was high time to boot out the entrenched (Democratic) incumbents and get some fresh faces in office. Admirable, huh?

    Despite that, there are plenty of legislators who ran on the Contract With America in 1994–that’s 12 years ago!–who are running for reëlection this year,” [2006] thus exceeding their election pledge to stop at twelve years. Man! A broken campaign promise! Doesn’t that just make you mad? Vote them out!

    To help you out, here are the names of the Representatives who made this promise:

    Charles Bass, NH-02
    Steve Chabot, OH-01
    Tom Davis, VA-11
    Mark Foley, FL-16
    Rodney Frelinghuysen, NJ-11
    Gil Gutknecht, MN-01
    Doc Hastings, WA-04
    J.D. Hayworth, AZ-08
    John Hostettler, IN-09
    Walter Jones, NC-03
    Sue Kelly, NY-19
    Ray LaHood, IL-18
    Tom Latham, IA-04
    Steven LaTourette, OH-14
    Sue Myrick, NC-09
    Robert Ney, OH-18
    Charlie Norwood, GA-09
    George Radanovich, CA-19
    John Shadegg, AZ-03
    Mac Thornberry, TX-13
    Todd Tiahrt, KS-04
    Dave Weldon, FL-15
    Jerry Weller, IL-11
    Ed Whitfield, KY-01
    Roger Wicker, MS-01

    Here are the senators elected that year who made the same pledge:

    Mike DeWine, OH
    Jon Kyl, AZ
    Rick Santorum, PA
    Olympia Snowe, ME
    Craig Thomas, WY

    All of these Republican Contract With America candidates are seeking reëlection! “

  156. Donald Raymond Lake

    So true, so true……….

    “#

    Want 13 opinions, ask a dozen libertarians.

    You seem to have dramatically overstated the number of libertarians needed to get 13 opinions.
    ******************************

    175 paulie // Apr 18, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    I can give you more than 13 opinions just by myself. :-Paulie “

  157. Steven R Linnabary

    Brian @ 160: Perhaps Sheikh Mohammad should have been pursued.

    But you will note that it took over five years of torture before he would “confess” to his crimes.

    PEACE

  158. Donald Raymond Lake

    Related Searches:
    * Free Credit Report
    * Energy Conservation
    * Reform Party
    * Political Platform
    * Reform Party History
    * Pat Buchanan
    * Economy
    * Energy
    * Issues

    * “Contract With America”

    * Reform Party Issues
    * Political Parties
    * N Laws
    * Goals Of The Reform Party
    * Social Security
    * Employment

  159. Brian Holtz

    Paulie, you’ve identified no inconsistency @169. “As long as he disavows” does not mean “as long as he again disavows” or “as long as he continously disavows”. It’s just a statement that a disavowal has to have happened before his appointment can be rubber-stamped. My use of “further” was a reference to the first disavowal I ever saw him give, in response to my request for it. You cannot quote me asking for further disavowal, and it’s not fair to suggest I ever did. Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for the first Wrights supporter (other than me) to take a stand on the question of whether a person should be appointed to an LNC vacancy if that person has a habit of advocating against donating to the LPUS.

    I haven’t called Wrights a liar. I’ve merely suggested that I wouldn’t be surprised if people corroborated Sullentrup’s statement. People can easily be wrong in how well they remember everything they’ve ever said aloud in a fit of anger, especially if they tend to get angry a lot. Now that Wrights has made a clear disavowal of wanting to starve the LPUS, I don’t really have a problem with him rejoining LNC even if it turns out that others heard what Sullentrup says he heard.

    Steven, one can endorse hunting terrorists without endorsing torturing them. If you agree with my Green congressional opponent (and 9/11 “truther”) that KSM’s claims of responsibility are insincere (whether as the product of torture or CIA puppet-mastering) and that he wasn’t involved in the planning of 9/11, then I’m happy to let you end our discussion with this self-inflicted TKO. 🙂 Otherwise, wake me when you’ve been able to identify actual and specific disagreement between us about hunting terrorists.

  160. paulie

    Now that Wrights has made a clear disavowal of wanting to starve the LPUS, I don’t really have a problem with him rejoining LNC even if it turns out that others heard what Sullentrup says he heard.

    Fair enough. I think justice demands it.

  161. paulie

    You cannot quote me asking for further disavowal, and it’s not fair to suggest I ever did.

    My apologies. I did not notice the word “further” in there before. I am striving to be fair.


    Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for the first Wrights supporter (other than me) to take a stand on the question of whether a person should be appointed to an LNC vacancy if that person has a habit of advocating against donating to the LPUS.

    I’ll be the second, then; I do not think people who advocate against donating to the LNC should be appointed to the LNC. However, I still don’t think a legitimate vacancy occurred here.

    However again, it doesn’t matter too much, since we are both apparently on the same side as to what should happen next.

  162. G.E.

    People can easily be wrong in how well they remember everything they’ve ever said aloud in a fit of anger, especially if they tend to get angry a lot.

    Unless my wife is a liar, I can attest to this.

    It sounds like Wrights may have had a momentary lapse into good sense, and then quickly reverted to self-delusion… Too bad for him.

  163. libertariangirl

    I been off awhile and too ancy to read all the comments in this long thread. And i know im a day late and a dollar short in expressing my outrage at this but here goes .

    Why didnt anyone give Lee fair warning about the expiration and possible suspension?
    Why are they moving so fast for a replacemnet?
    Why didnt the whole LNC vote on the matter?

    i know the answer , because Lee was next on list of targets.
    this is an outrage , Lee is our fire under the feet and we cant afford to lose him .

  164. Brian Holtz

    Debra, I assume you’re not saying that your view of how the rules apply might be different because Lee is “our fire under the feet and we cant afford to lose him”. Take a different LNC member and an even clearer situation under 8.4. What if it were discovered that, say, Aaron Starr had not been a sustaining member when he was last elected to LNC? Would someone who like’s Lee’s fire say that it would take an LNC vote to re-certify a determination that Starr hadn’t been a sustaining member? Would they then also say that the LNC is free under 8.4 to decline to disqualify Starr’s election? Wrights apparently does not dispute that his sustaining membership lapsed, so I’m not sure what a for-cause vote here would decide. Is the LNC free to make up its own rules, or just its own facts? Why would we read the rules as saying the LNC can vote to make up its own facts about a lapse in sustaining membership, but not about a lapse in attendance?

  165. Michael H. Wilson

    Brian someone once tried to toss one of Aaron’s soul mates in Oregon out because of some minor problem. As much as some of us disliked the litte twerp we defened his right to be on the committee. Some people are able to see the issue from the other side.

  166. Allan Wallace

    Regardless of how you characterize the right wing and what remains of the middle and left wings, We are in a war of words and ideals for the heart and soul of the Libertarian Party.

    If you stand up and defend either side you will be painted by the other as being on that side, regardless of past associations and actions.

    The battle lines have been drawn by the Right wing Libertarians on the LNC who have now ousted or forced the resignations of three duly elected and popular center or Left wing Libertarians. Before these actions, the Right wing had a nominal majority on the LNC. now they have a solid majority. What happens next is up to them.

    BTW… Lee, I didn’t get my e-mail renewal notice either. Several friends I know did, so I guess, like you, I’m on someones shit list.

  167. Michael H. Wilson

    paulie quotes Brian as writing “All I’ve said regarding Wrights is 1) the Bylaws arguably require that both a dues lapse and an attendance lapse result in automatic suspension .”

    Depends on the circumstances. If an office, or officer has taken, or been assigned the responsibility to remind members of that lapse and does not provide all members with equal notification then the issue of equal treatment comes into play.

    All members must be afforded the same opportunties. That is one of the basic principles behind RR of O.

    Shall I write that last in big, bold letters?

  168. Brian Holtz

    Wallace’s latest cryptic allusion has gotten so elliptical it’s left orbit. Who besides Wrights and Keaton is he talking about? (I’m afraid to ask because under the rule’s of Allen’s little game I bet I’m supposed to remember this event as some kind of momentous victory for my “side”, but he’s just lost me here.)

  169. libertariangirl

    BH__What if it were discovered that, say, Aaron Starr had not been a sustaining member when he was last elected to LNC?

    I deserved that. I did used to make decisions based on factional assumptions and not well infomed opinions based on personal interactions and objective observations . Last year I would have supported removing AAron based on a factional LP politics and no real knowledge . I had never even spoke to him at that time.
    Today , I wouldnt . Ask him and he’ll tell you. In fact he may be one of the reasons I gave up on blindly assuming opposition .
    I magine my shock when after speaking to Asron on the phone , I was still in possession of my soul , AND he didnt offend me as a woman . I started to think perhaps the things id been led to believe we’re greatly exaggerated if not complete fabrications.

    Perceiving ones-self and ones side to be ‘right ‘ and righteous w/o question leads to assumptions of the other ‘side’ and biased evaluation of their actions and motives.

    Thats why I have made a very clear effort as of late to not judge other LPers like that anymore . If someone else thinks that means I lose my right to be in their group then oh well .

  170. paulie

    Perceiving ones-self and ones side to be ‘right ‘ and righteous w/o question leads to assumptions of the other ’side’ and biased evaluation of their actions and motives.

    Thats why I have made a very clear effort as of late to not judge other LPers like that anymore . If someone else thinks that means I lose my right to be in their group then oh well .

    Exactly!

    You are wise, little one 🙂

  171. Bryan

    I know I’m steppin’ into something I don’t want to be a part of….But….

    I am a relative newcomer to the Party. I don’t subscribe to the “right” in their opinions of social issues, but at the same time when most of you are talking about “centrists” you seem to be talking about the anarchist (and their various prefixes and suffixes) members. I can only assume that the “left” is made up of nothing but the more radical anarcho…whatevers???

    While I have seen the word “centrist” written, I don’t see many examples of what your definition of the word would be. I consider myself a “centrist” in the sense that I believe in the social liberty that the Libertarian Party was (in part) founded on. At the same time I am (thanks to some help in my definition) a Constitutionalist, meaning that I do not subscribe to any anarchist beliefs…I guess this could leave me, and people like me out in the gutter…but I don’t think so….

    There is a reason that the current LP platform passed at convention. There is a reason that there was a (marginal) majority for the “right” on the LNC. And there is a reason that the right has been able to (using methods I don’t necessarily agree with) become the prominent “side” in the “official” debate….The “centrists” I know, and have read opinions of, seem to “side” with the “right”.

    Before you start kicking me…I came to the LP from the “left”….way left….so the social issues are VERY important to me….

    At the same time because I don’t subscribe to any of the various “anarchy” philosophies, I find myself gravitating to the “right” in my overall beliefs.

    So to all the “leftist” in the LP, it’s not just the former republicans that you need to watch out for….You might want to tone down your rhetoric enough to “enlist” some of the newcomers to your “side” as well.

  172. Rocky Eades

    I found out a few days after our last LP/CSRA quarterly meeting that one of the “members” who was seated – accepting his word that he was current – had in fact lapsed before the meeting. I was notified a couple of days after the meeting that he had renewed his state party membership. According to our bylaws, his participation in the quarterly meeting was illegitimate; therefore, all business conducted at the meeting – including the election of officers – was void. Fuck it; it’s fixed. Next problem!

  173. Erik Geib

    I don’t have time to read every comment on here (I made it down to about 50), but I think it’s ludicrous to say Georgists can’t be libertarians.

    First of all, many widely-praised forefathers of the libertarian movement advocated similar ideas (Benjamin Tucker, Albert Jay Nock, etc.). Secondly, the relation of land in this matter and taxation isn’t inherently linked to the capitalism/socialism debate. Georgism (from most of what I’ve read) speaks of the *unused* value of the land, not the finished product, which is very distinct from property taxes today. But what of the relation to capitalism, you may ask? Or government?

    Well, in terms of capitalism, this has no relation. You didn’t create the land you occupy, nor did anyone else, so everyone has an equally just claim for its use – feudal-esque declarations of property alone do not justify “owning” land (a form of capital you did not create). This does not affect capitalism, however, as it is not seeking to ‘re-distribute’ wealth by any means (again, it a Georgist ‘tax’ is not like a property tax in the modern sense whatsoever), and still allows capitalism to dominate societal trade and transactions. The real question central to this debate (and likely a large part of the divide between ‘left’ libertarians and ‘right’ ones) is how to define capital itself. Most libertarians find the income tax, for example, immoral because it is a tax on you trading your time and labor for a wage. In fact, prior to the whole nonsense that is the current income tax, the Supreme Court had previously ruled that you couldn’t be taxed on such capital, because a wage was simply you trading your time and capital to produce capital for another.

    As such, the use of your time to produce goods or services that others value highly (or not, as this is the beauty of the free market) will earn you a high reward. This central idea of capitalism still co-exists with Georgism quite well. The main question Georgism poses (which early libertarian/anarcho-capitalists such as Tucker and others address) is how do you factor in property you don’t create (but only use), such as land. This is where the idea comes in to only tax one only on the amount of space they occupy (again, based on the value if unused, which negates factors such as home value).

    I agree that enforcing such an idea can be tricky, as it still leaves wiggle room for the existence of central authority or government, but Georgism was always more minarchistic than anarchistic anyway. The reason it attracts some anarchist followers is because, when originally proposed, George said it was the only fair way to tax, not that it should necessarily be a tax in existence. Many libertarians and anarchists enjoy exploring Georgism because of the incremental nature of structure it provides in moving society towards a freer, more prosperous tomorrow.

    To say a follower or explorer of Georgist thought can’t be an ally of the libertarian cause is foolish non-sense that, in my opinion, reflects a shallow understanding of liberty.

  174. Woof!

    “woof, price is set by the buyer, actually. owners may have an idea about what price he or she will let it go for, but until someone makes an offer, it’s a theory.” – Robert Capozzi

    You should know better, Robert, even if the Georgists are clueless about economics.

    Price is set by supply and demand. This was the new economics created by the marginalist school around the 1870s. Neither the buyer nor the seller sets the price.

    This concept of supply and demand killed both the idea of “the labor theory of value” and the foolish ideas of Henry George. Both of these socialistic ideas are dead and have been disproven since the 1870s.

    Again the “market price” is not the same as the “highest valued use” of the land. That IS in the mind of the owner and cannot be known by the statist, fascist-socialist Henry George cultist who thinks he can use this idea to justify theft of property from its owner.

    Finally, much of the foolishness of the Georgist cult is the idea of externalities – value that comes to the land owner from outside the property itself. They presume to measure and tax this unknown and unquantifiable amount.

    But what they themselves fail to include in their foolish computation, is one more “externality,” that being …

    the value of LIBERTY itself.

    The cost of being deprived of liberty, of being deprived of the right to own and control one’s own land. To be able to live tax free without the coercion of any person or group that wishes to impose its own foolish ideas upon us ….

    What is that externality worth?

    What will we pay for it?

    What will we sacrifice for it?

    I contend that people value liberty much more than the make-believe imputed value of all the geo rent you can conjure out of your imagination.

    PROOF:

    Find out how many people will fight to the death to protect their land from the geo rent property tax.

    Find out how many people will fight to the death to impose geo rent on the landowners.

    In this dog fight, geo rent loses.

    Under the laws of economics geo rent loses.

    Geo rent is a violation of individual liberty.

    The concept of geo rent is no different than trying to argue in favor of slavery.

    You cannot support geo rent and support liberty.

    No person can be free if their land is taxed or controlled by the government in any way.

    “Repeal of all taxes on land should be the number one priority of Libertarians.

    In a free society, I have the right to build a dog house on my piece of land and live there tax free forever and to pass the property tax free to my heirs, forever.

    Don’t like it.

    Poor baby.

    YOU GO BUY SOME OTHER LAND. But you don’t have the right to take mine. Nor do you have the right to take it through taxation.

    Socialists like the geo rent Henry George fascists are the greediest people on Earth. They want what’s theirs, and they want to take what others have as well.

    this land is posted

    Beware of Dog”

    Woof!

  175. Robert Capozzi

    Woof, I’ve already explained the distinction in terminology. Buyers “set” the price; suppliers “accept” the price. Of course, price is a FUNCTION of supply and demand. Use terminology as you will, I find mine gets to the same place, but more useful.

    You mode of argumentation reminds of the many doctrinaire, tautological, constructivistic, dialectical, absolutist, and deontological Rothbardians I encounter in L circles. The propensity to gleefully “score points” by taking quotes out of context, but then avoiding engaging counters that may be foreign to them. You might even arrive at YOUR OWN synthesis that works better for you than you current dogma.

    As a Randian/Rothbardian in recovery, I recall the dysfunction and subterranean sadness that that approach evokes. The sanctimony of zealots creates a walled-off, dualistic mindset that approaches a cult-like experience.

    I wouldn’t want that for you. Consider a broader perspective that others do, where — maybe — others take a different approach to analysis, methodology, and ultimately liberty that works a bit better in explaining the human condition (and action).

    You just might be surprised how liberating it is to not assume everyone else is “wrong,” and your heroes were 100% “right.”

    And maybe then you won’t need to hide behind a pseudonym!!!

  176. Robert Capozzi

    Woof, for instance, I had a few typos in my last post. If you(r) mind works the way I think it may, these errors in some way validate your “correctness.” Am I warm?

    There’s a more benign explanation: Posting on comment boards is not worth the time to proof one’s posts.

    I just wonder if THAT ever occurred to you? 😉

  177. Woof!

    “Consider a broader perspective that others do, where — maybe — others take a different approach to analysis, methodology, and ultimately liberty that works a bit better in explaining the human condition (and action). ” – RC

    So, since you have lots of time to “take a different approach.” Try this one:

    Try to explain just how anyone can be free if the government can tax their land and take it based on something as arbitrary, capricious, subjective and whimsical as the geo rent tax. Any amount up to 100% can be justified under such a concept.

    The same concept could be used to tax the ownership of gold and silver (or any other natural recourse owned by any human being) on an annual basis, since only part of the cost represents the labor necessary to extract, refine and mint the gold. In fact, older gold coins could be taxed at a higher rate based on the lower cost of extraction in earlier times.

    You can analyze geo rent a thousand different ways, but all fail to show that it has any validity. And all fail to show that geo rent does anything but violate the laws of liberty.

    Geo rent and all taxes on land are much WORSE and more evil than the income tax.

    If you can live tax free on your land, you can live free from government economic control. You can live self-sufficiently forever. You can live in liberty. You can have no income and pay no income tax, you can make no purchases and pay no sales tax.

    But, if land is taxed, then you can not EVER be free. Everywhere you live will be taxed. You will be subject to taxation every hour, every minute, every second of every day throughout your life.

    Being forced to pay tax on your property means you will need a cash income to pay the tax. Otherwise you will lose part or all of your property. You have to ransom your property from the governmental geo terrorists every year.

    But, to earn the income you need to pay the property tax you will have to pay the income tax.

    You become a slave of the state.

    Property taxes are the lynchpin that binds our chains.

    The PROPERTY TAX is the worst of all taxes. It is the essential tax to secure the power of the state over the individual.

    The property tax, including the geo land tax is like a leash law for humans.

    It’s time to break our chains and set ourselves free.

    Woof!

  178. Erik Geib

    Woof,

    You still fail to explain how you justify this ‘ownership’ of land that you did not create. You keep speaking of living on ‘your land,’ but how do you justify owning land?

    You also continue to confuse a geo-tax with the property tax, and appear to have completely dismissed my explaining that they’re not the same thing. I don’t think anyone here is disagreeing that the *property tax* is, in fact, quite evil.

    You enjoy using the rhetoric of ‘setting ourselves free’ to justify your dismissal or avoidance of the deeper philosophical questions behind land ‘ownership’… why? Some Georgists might have argued for radical land re-distribution, etc., but libertarians intrigued by this philosophy don’t argue for that or any other socialist argument (to my knowledge). A geo-libertarian simply acknowledges that if you want to use more of a resource you didn’t create than someone else, you should pay more. If you want to use less, pay less. It’s a resource (again) that you didn’t create! If you and I found a watering hole, for example, would you feel justified taking more water than I because you claimed to own it? If you did, this would be absurd! You didn’t create the water, you merely claimed it. If you want to take more, you pay more.

    Besides, I think you’re continuing to ignore the distinction between George himself and geo-libertarians. Geo-libs, or at least those intrigued by geo-libertarianism, say that *if* there is to be a tax, this would be the fairest way to tax.

    Stop using cheap straw-man tactics to try and link these arguments to other arguments, because discrediting the second argument in a given situation (the one you created the supposed link to), does not discredit the first one.

  179. Erik Geib

    Woof,

    Furthermore (a thought occurs), your concern that only the state could set the taxable price of unused land smacks (probably unintentionally) of Nixonian philosophy and/or progressive thought. However would we know the value of oil, or even bananas, if the state weren’t there to set the price? [note the sarcasm before you respond]. Geo-libertarianism leaves room for the free market to set the value based upon the very supply and demand of which you speak.

    Again, please address how it is you believe you can own a resource (land) that you did not create?

  180. Erik Geib

    And before you try to cheaply argue that my rationale could be used to justify socialism, I’d like to point out that it does not, and any attempt to do so would again be a cheap attempt at ‘winning’ this argument.

    Land is something that you, nor anyone else, created. If you want to try and argue that you and everyone else technically don’t create anything because we have to use a natural resource, there is a fallacy of logic involved. Personal capital is the ability to use one’s time productively to create a product or service that others highly value, which is the essence of capitalism. Thus, I can take a tree and make a table, and people who want a table will reward my labor of creating the table by exchanging capital with me, my time/labor for their money (which is a reflection of their time/labor). Now, how did I acquire the tree? Well, I can’t own it, I didn’t create it! Thus, I should contribute to others because I used something they now can’t use (the tree). If there isn’t a high demand for use of the tree, then I shouldn’t have to contribute much. If I can find a way to make a table out of already available resources (i.e. wood that was already once taxed), even better – I then would avoid this ‘tax’ because it’s already been paid. It solves a lot of ecological concerns while allowing me to be highly innovative and productive in my search for the acquisition of capital.

    The unused value of land would depend on two things: if one can (1) and/or wants (2) to use the land for something more productive. If no to both, you would have a cheap contribution based the space you’re occupying. If yes to both, you’ll likely be paying a higher price. But these values can easily be set by the market without government intervention.

  181. Woof!

    “Again, please address how it is you believe you can own a resource (land) that you did not create?” – EG

    You didn’t create the gold coin you own – you bought it.

    You didn’t create the food you ate – you bought it.

    You didn’t create the land – so what – you bought it.

    Everything you buy contains elements that neither “you” directly, nor any other human being created. Everything.

    The past is long over. If someone can show that he somehow owns the land that someone else bought, let him show it.

    We can still recover some stolen art and other things that are documented in recent history and return them to the rightful owner. There are and should be legal procedures for such claims. Good.

    In the absence of any such claim – assuming you make a legal transaction today and you buy from a willing seller, or receive a gift from a willing donor:

    YOU BUY IT – IT’S YOURS.

    Perhaps, since I am descended from both native Americans and the Dutch settlers who settled in New Amsterdam long ago, I should claim Manhatten island.

    You buy something. You own it. It is yours. It should be yours tax free forever after.

    Land is no different than any other commodity or thing you buy, except that in the purest sense, land is really space, and space, some of which is composed of land, some of water, some of air, some of various combinations of all three, some empty or devoid of matter, is the most abundant resource in the Universe.

    Some people get a little carried away with their “mixing labor with the land” analogies and confuse them with logical reality.

    So, I lift my leg on a fire hydrant, I mixed my labor with it, so now it’s mine.

    Woof!

  182. robert capozzi

    woof, since I’m not a geo-ist, you’re asking the wrong person. it’s a construct, just like Rothbardianism. I don’t find your atomistic responses especially insightful counters to geoism.

    There is probaby a miniscule percentage of the pop. that wish to personally secede. For those few thousand or so, I advocate nonarchy pods, where you CAN personally secede on your (claimed) property, which would be a walled in keep.

    For the rest of us, I’m open to a wide range of approaches to roll back the State as far as possible.

  183. Woof!

    robert capozzi // Apr 19, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    “woof, since I’m not a geo-ist, you’re asking the wrong person. it’s a construct, just like Rothbardianism.

    … I’m open to a wide range of approaches to roll back the State as far as possible.”

    Being a pragmatist, I suggest you also consider just how wacko the entire geo-rent idea will sound to the general public.

    Repeal the Property Tax.

    Repeal the Income Tax.

    Legalize marijuana.

    These are easy ideas to sell.

    But, impose some crazy scheme with the bizarre name that will tax people various subjective amounts based on the whim of some government agency – yeah, that’ll sound good to the general public.

    How will the general public respond to magical schemes like geo-rent:

    “Barking … howling mad, the lot of them.” V. Dursley

    Woof!

  184. Brian Holtz

    “Subjective amounts based on the whim of some government agency “? Thanks for certifiying your fundamental ignorance about what you think you’re arguing against. Cue LP founder David Nolan writing in the March 1995 LP News:

    “What kind of taxation is least harmful? This is a topic still open for debate. My own preference is for a single tax on land, with landholders doing their own valuation; you’d state the price at which you’d be willing to sell your land, and pay taxes on that amount. Anyone (including the tax collector) who wanted to buy it at that price could do so. This is simple, fair, and minimizes government snooping into our lives and business.”

  185. Brian Holtz

    And Nolan is hardly the only libertarian or classical liberal who is sympathetic to a single tax on land value. My current list is:

    Political Theorists

    * Adam Smith
    * Thomas Jefferson
    * Tom Paine
    * William Penn
    * Ben Franklin
    * Frederic Bastiat
    * John Stuart Mill
    * David Ricardo
    * Henry George
    * John Locke
    * William Lloyd Garrison
    * John Dewey
    * Lysander Spooner
    * Benjamin Tucker
    * Robert LeFevre
    * Frank Chodorov
    * Albert J. Nock

    Academic Economists

    * Milton Friedman
    * James Buchanan
    * Robert Solow
    * Fred Foldvary
    * Franco Modigliani
    * Paul Samuelson
    * Herbert Simon
    * James Tobin
    * William Vickrey
    * Tyler Cowan
    * a couple dozen other economists who signed an open letter to Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990 advocating a land value tax as the source of government revenue most compatible with a free market

    Libertarians

    * David Nolan (AZ) – founder of the LP
    * John Hospers (CA) – first LP presidential nominee (1972)
    * Karl Hess – LP News editor, 1986-1990
    * Russell Means – runner-up for 1988 LP presidential nomination, losing by 3 votes to Ron Paul
    * Steve Dasbach (VA) – former Chair, LPUS; member of multiple LPUS Platform Committees
    * Fred Foldvary (CA) – geolibertarian economist, 2000 LP candidate for Congress
    * Carl Milsted (NC) – LNC member c. 2002; founder, Libertarian Reform Caucus; site: Holistic Politics
    * Dan Sullivan (PA) – founder, Geolibertarian Society; past chair, LP of Allegheny County
    * Harold Kyriazi (PA) – U. of Pittsburgh neurobiologist; author, Libertarian Party at Sea on Land (2000)
    * Todd Altman (OH, was MS) – maintainer of A Geolibertarian FAQ
    * Lorenzo Gaztanaga (MD) – LPMD Chair c. 1994; LNC member c. 2002
    * Lois Kaneshiki (PA) – LPPA Chair and LNC member, c. 2002; wrote Is the LP Serious About Politics?
    * Wayne Parker (MS) – LPLA Chair c. 1996; LPMS ex-Chair; 2002 LP candidate for Congress MS-4
    * Paul Gagnon (VA) – founder, LP of Fairfax County; by 2005 on Democractic Freedom Caucus NatCom
    * Henry Haller (PA) – multiple LPUS Platform Committees
    * Mik Robertson (PA) – 2006 LPUS Platform Committee
    * Guy McLendon (TX) – 2006,2008,2010 LPUS Platform Committee; Chair, LP of Harris County
    * Jon Roland (TX) – 2006,2008,2010 LPUS Platform Committee; creator of constitution.org
    * Brian Holtz (CA) – 2006,2008,2010 LPUS Platform Committee; LPCA Executive Committee 2007- ; Purissima Hills Water District Director 2009-
    * Robert Capozzi (VA) – 2008 LPUS Platform Committee
    * Starchild (CA) – former Chair, LP of San Francisco
    * Ron Rosenberger (PA) – 1998 LP candidate for PA Senate
    * Chris Toto (NJ) – former chair, LP of Mercer County
    * Jonathan Hall (CA) – Libertarian elected to Tehachapi Water District Board

  186. Brian Holtz

    As for “easy to sell”, geolibertarianism can be reduced to a bumper sticker:

    What you do or make is fully yours, but what you take or spoil is not.

  187. Marc Montoni

    Bill Wood said:

    I go to a lot of Libertarian Party meetings, I know a lot of Libertarians some former Democrat members and some former Republican members and yet I never hear anyone who wishes to abandon the basic “libertarian principles” non aggression, right to life, liberty and happiness. This is just an observation, the libertarians I know who were “left” tend to be strong on civil rights except the 2nd Amendment and they tend to want a lot of Federal Government programs like National Health Care, Welfare etc. The libertarians from the “right” that I know tend to be strong on civil liberties and they want to reduce the size of the Federal Gov’t to what the Founders wanted it to be. Does this ring true in your areas?

    Bill, maybe you’ve forgotten some of the conversations you and I have had.

    I will remind you that my entire family was yellow-dog Democrat while I was growing up, and that it wasn’t until I got a job and watched my money disappear that I learned what legalized theft was. Once I understood that, I was primed for some Ayn Rand, and found it in 1980. So yes, my genesis as a libertarian was from the Left, and I consider myself as much of a “left libertarian” now as a “right” one.

    I wear my firearm, I’m strong on ending the Prohibitions against private-sector gambling, sex for hire, and drugs; civil rights *and* the 2nd Amendment, I don’t want *any* federal government programs like National Health Care, Welfare etc.

    The libertarians from the “right” that I know tend to be strong on civil liberties and they want to reduce the size of the Federal Gov’t to what the Founders wanted it to be.

    Then in that respecty I’m much further to the “right” than those “right libertarians” you’ve met, because while I would love to reduce the size of the Federal Gov’t to what the Founders intended, I would only think of that as a “good first step”. I’d go much further and eliminate a lot of the subsidies they wrote into the constitution, such as post offices and post roads, and patent and copyright law.

    So does your generalization apply to me?

    I will add that in my own travels, I have met many others who are as multidimensional as I am. We’re here. Perhaps you’re just not seeing us.

  188. Robert Capozzi

    woof, I would say that the experiences in places like Hong Kong and Alaska also offer real-world examples of how geo-ism is working NOW.

    You continually mistake “property taxes” and a “single land-value tax,” but I’m confident that if you actually read up on the subject, rather than having a knee-jerk reaction, you’ll se they are different.

    Myself, I prefer the more modern geo-ist idea of a pollution tax as the preferred means to fund government (I prefer the term “peacekeeping”) functions, of course at much lower levels than they are now. But I do admit that the land-value tax also has appeal.

    Politics is a negotiating game, so my view is to get to the table, or at least near it, with innovative and relevant ideas designed to roll back the State. Positing abstract constructs? Not so much.

  189. Erik Geib

    Woof,

    It amazes me how you insist on framing this question from within current societal constructs.

    You claim you “buy” food. Buying it would imply the other person first owned it. How does that person make a claim to own it? They didn’t create it. Certainly, they have a right to trade money (a product of their labor – the labor of picking the fruit and bringing it to market), but they didn’t create the fruit. The ‘owner’ of this fruit under our current system is whoever walked up to a plot of land first and said “this is mine.” Do you realize how absurd that is?

    You can’t own land. You occupy it. Whatever you put on top of the land, such as a house – you can own that, most certainly, and that shouldn’t be taxed.
    Under our current system the house was taxed when it was built (as you’ve said), and shouldn’t be taxed again. However, property taxes (which I’ve said are, in fact, evil) decide to tax you based upon the ‘value’ of the property, which includes the house. This system also allows the land itself to increase in value if people want to live there or development occurs.
    Under a geo system, the land is valued solely upon its ability to be used and if someone wants to use it. The value couldn’t therefore go up just because your house is nice. It could only go up if suddenly a previously unknown resource were found to exist on the property (highly, highly unlikely), or if it became a highly coveted place to live, as set by the market (at which point you must again ask what right you have to ‘own’ land, as you did not create the land. You created the house, so you own the house. The house is a product of your labor. You didn’t own the wood used to create the house, but whoever cut it down paid the tax on that, so you’re not taxed on the wood. You only formerly paid the labor cost of constructing the house and are never again taxed on the house. You only pay the for the right to occupy the land.)

    You don’t just own something because you say you do. If you didn’t create it, you can only justify saying you own it by the initiation of force, which is heavily anti-libertarian. You have no more right to occupy land than anyone else – you have every right to own the house on the land and not be taxed on the house, however. You seem incapable of separating the house from the land in your attempt to link a geo ‘tax’ to property taxes.

    You also seem to mix labor with property. If you piss on a fire hydrant, no part of geo philosophy says you own the fire hydrant. Your labor is only the piss. If someone wants to trade you for the piss, then by all means. The fire hydrant was made from materials by a person, and their labor is their personal capital. When they created the hydrant, they paid the tax on extracting the materials (which they did not create), but the ‘purchase’ of the hydrant is the purchase of the labor that went in to it.

    Much of what you think you ‘own’ was originally stolen by the initiation of force, or unjustly claimed by merely ‘finding’ something ‘first,’ which is ludicrous. You say you think you could make a claim to Manhattan Island – no you couldn’t! Said ancestors had no more right to ‘own’ the land than the current occupiers do. They had a right to occupy it, yes, and could make a case for occupying it perhaps, but not ‘own.’ Nobody ‘owns’ land, as I’ve stated several times, since they did not create the land.

  190. paulie

    I’m still wondering:

    *How much* labor needs to be mixed with *how much* land to make a just homesteading claim? Anyone have an idea?

  191. robert capozzi

    pc, great question. tort theory — really, tort convention — isn’t manna from Heaven. It’s a social invention.

  192. Erik Geib

    Paulie,

    The same question could be asked of any price for any object. The market has a funny way of solving these questions for us.

    However would you know *how much* labor is required for *how much* of product X?

  193. Gene Berkman

    I certainly DO NOT support the single tax on land, for environmental as well as economic reasons. But for the record, Henry George favored laissez-faire except for his single tax proposal.

    Curiously, he allied with socialists in the Union Labor Party, hoping to promote his single tax idea through that vehicle. Maybe he was the Murray Rothbard of his time. Then he made his laissez faire views clear in a public debate with one of the socialist leaders of the ULP.

    Nock, Chodorov and other Georgists were at one time an important element of the libertarian movement. But that is the past, and we need to move on.

  194. Trent Hill

    I wouldnt actually call Nock a Georgist. I’d call him an Old Right libertarian who viewed the Georgist single-tax as the best way of funding a small government.

  195. Erik Geib

    Paulie,

    I wouldn’t know how to answer that in full, as I don’t consider myself a full-follower of geo-libertarianism (I’m merely at a stage of fascination by its implications). Much of my response has been more conditioned as a response to Woof’s assertion that georgist thought couldn’t align with libertarianism than a full defense of the ideology.

    That being said, I think one could possibly ‘stake’ their claim to an area for *use* much as one today stakes (or those in the past staked) their claim for ownership. This would therein solve the issue of ‘past wrongs’ that some would try to allege (I certainly wouldn’t like the idea of a property rights pissing match – far too many violent conflicts have started or continue to exist due to this) while providing the citizenry equal opportunity/access to resources those currently in ‘ownership’ have exclusive rights to. Over time, if the previous generation had made ridiculous claims to area of land useage, the probably would likely (probably) self-adjust as the market reacted to the demand. Those that couldn’t make well-adjusted use of the land they were occupying and paying a ‘tax’ (rent) on would eventually stop wishing to pay the going rate and allow another individual or group a better chance at more productively using resources.

    I know that I made a point of saying the ‘finders’ keepers’ tenet of property ownership was absurd, but the point I was making was more at the ‘keepers’ part than the ‘finders’.

    No system is perfect, but there are certainly aspects of this philosophy that are at the very least worthy of inclusion in some libertarian thought, particularly among the incrementalist crowd.

  196. Erik Geib

    Trent,

    I don’t think the issue of labeling one a ‘georgist’ was ever meant to say one completely adhered to George’s ideas. The term ‘georgist’ is largely synonymous with the single-tax movement, and rarely is it associated with George’s other theories. I believe it was Robert Andelson that wrote a great article about those confusing the distinction between George’s greater beliefs and the single-tax movement. The jist of his essay was that critics of the single-tax ‘georgist’ movement would try to use George’s other arguments against the single-taxers. His solution was to use the term ‘neo-georgist’ when discussing the single-tax movement, but that seems silly to me. Most ‘georgists’ that I know identify themselves with the single-tax movement (which I believe Brian Doherty once asserted about Nock when talking about The Freeman) and not the other portions of George’s works.

  197. mdh

    I’m curious, Allan, when you say that three people have been assailed by the right-libs, to whom are you referring? It seems fairly clear that Angela Keaton and Lee Wrights would be among them, but who’s the third? No one else springs to mind.

    I think a lot of people see the wrong sorts of conspiracies in a lot of places. Do some people sometimes coordinate to make certain things happen? Sure. We all do. As Libertarians, we do, and in that, the LP itself is a conspiracy to bring down at least most of the government through political means. Have some LP members conspired to effect certain changes in the organizational structure of the party and of the party’s platform? Absolutely. I’ve been a part of such a conspiracy by openly supporting and promoting the “Restore 04” initiative in Denver. Certainly it’s fair to say that some folks in Portland did conspire to impact the platform in the way that they did. To assess that there is something fundamentally wrong with that just because we disagree with their views and activities is silly.

    At the end of the day, politics is a fight. Inside of the party, and against other parties. This is not only normal, but acceptable, as this is how political movements evolve. The only time that we should consider this to be a bad thing is when the deck is stacked, when the game is rigged. That’s clearly the case for example with restrictive ballot access laws. It’s clearly the case when write-in candidate lists aren’t posted as the law mandates, in violation of the law. It’s clearly the case when we’re excluded from televised debates. It’s also possible that in some manner, this is the case with the removal of Mr. Wrights. That’s something we should all be worried about.

    On the other hand, there are times when it’s clearly not the case. I think that if other people who tend to be more in line with my own personal beliefs – “radicals”, as it were – spent more time organizing and less time whining about places where we’ve lost ground fair and square, then the LP, its leadership, and its platform would be a lot more in line with our values. Aaron Starr’s name keeps coming up, as does Bob Sullentrup’s. If you really hate these guys so much, campaign against them and get someone else elected treasurer and secretary.

    There was no radical candidate for LNC treasurer in 2008 who had the credentials pertinent to that role that Aaron Starr has. Sullentrup ran unopposed. Those are facts that no one can really dispute. Think about it…

  198. Woof!

    “You don’t just own something because you say you do. If you didn’t create it, you can only justify saying you own it by the initiation of force, which is heavily anti-libertarian. You have no more right to occupy land than anyone else – you have every right to own the house on the land and not be taxed on the house, however. You seem incapable of separating the house from the land in your attempt to link a geo ‘tax’ to property taxes.” -EG

    The above is pure sophistry.

    Millions of people all across America own land, farms, houses, condos all built on land.

    They bought their properties. They own their land.

    None of them initiated force to buy them.

    Once they have paid their loans, if any, they own the land outright.

    The idea that any other human being has a claim to that property because the current owner did not create it is pure sophistry.

    There is no need to show where the ownership right came from.

    We exist.

    Property exists.

    People own it.

    Unless someone can show that they have some superior claim, like it was stolen from their ancestors, then no one other than the current owner has any claim.

    There is no basis except socialism, evil socialism to claim any right of humanity or any social group to that property.

    What this comes down to is a pure battle between the concept of individual rights and ownership vs. the collective.

    I believe that there are no collective rights of any kind.

    All rights are individual rights.

    You are born with individual rights and no property.

    Some property is already owned, absolutely, by others.

    Some may be unowned. Yes, we can debate the proper way to claim property that remains unowned at this time: the moon, Mars, seabeds perhaps.

    But, no human being has the right to make a claim on any property that already belongs to another person, unless he can show it was stolen from him or that he is the rightful heir to the victimized owner.

    All individual rights are absolute.

    There are no collective rights.

    6 billion people have no right to take property from the one. That would be absurd.

    Once you grant that right, then any use of power by the collective is allowed. You are a fascist-socialist. You are a statist. You are not a libertarian.

    How stupid to ask what gives the individual the right to claim it owns the land, for we only need to ask, what gives the group the right to own the land, especially since they do not now own or occupy it.

    The rights of the individual are absolute.

    The rights of the collective do not exist.

    Therefore, the collective may make no claim on property held by any individual or voluntary group of individuals.

    Woof!

  199. robert capozzi

    woof: the right of the individual are absolute.

    me: thanks for your original, well thought out, opinions.

    am I correct then that the is an “absolute” right to private nuclear weapons? consider actually thinking about this, rather repeating randian/rothbardian bromides. maybe even share the implications of your view….

  200. Woof!

    RC – You ask if there is an individual right to nuclear weapons.

    We can also pose the question: Is there a collective right to nuclear weapons?

    If the individual has the absolute right to life, does the ownership of nuclear weapons by others ever impinge on that right?

    If the individual has the absolute right to own, use and dispose of his property, including land and space, does the ownership of nuclear weapons by others ever impinge on that right?

    This is a good subject to consider. Perhaps no one has the right to own nuclear weapons, or perhaps you have to own enough land or space, maybe a whole planet, so as to be able to utilize your weapon without harming other individuals and their property.

    But, the agument that would conclude that individuals and/or their voluntary groups have no right to nuclear weapons would also preclude the collective from such ownership, except that the collective already has no rights from the outset.

    This topic lends nothing to the GEOrgist position. They have NO GROUND TO STAND ON.

    Woof!

  201. Erik Geib

    Woof,

    So it is to my understanding you believe you own something… meaning you and only you have the exclusive right to use it… simply because you saw it first? And that nobody has the right to contest your exclusive right to the object, even though you did nothing more than say “this is mine”?

    These things you say are ‘bought’ were originally acquired in just that manner. Someone walked up and said ‘this is mine.’ That alone is justification for *ownership* to you?

    All these later transactions of which you speak can appear to be done as legitimately as one within this current system can try, but the fact remains that this entire system was created upon this original basis (‘this is mine simply because I say it is , and nobody else has a right to contest this.’)

    Your attempts to dismiss this discussion by continually comparing it to socialism is baffling at best. At no point in time have I said I or anyone else should take what you have worked for – I didn’t say you couldn’t reside on the land you claim to ‘own.’ I’ve simply stated that it’s worth exploring what right the original deedsman had to say he ‘owned’ it, seeing as he did not create it – he did little more than say ‘this is mine because I say so.’ A geo tax or rent tax or whatever you want to call is simply an idea that you should pay according to your ‘exclusive right’ to use something you didn’t create. The fact that you ‘bought’ it from someone else doesn’t alone justify your claim. If I claim a product I have as much a right to as anyone else (let’s say, water from a river) and sell you one unit of it, you do not own it simply because you purchased it from me. Even under current law, you can’t ‘own’ it.

    I understand that something you buy is something you think you ‘own,’ but you don’t own it if the previous ‘owner’ had no right to claim it. Legitimate purchases are ones wherein you trade your work for another’s work. Again, using to use the ‘tablemaker’ analogy: if I cut down a tree and make a table out of it, and you buy the table from me… I, as the tablemaker, pay the ‘tax’ or whatever since I decided to make use of something I didn’t create (the tree), thereby restricting others’ ability to use it. Then, I make a table form this tree and sell it to you. Well, I paid the ‘tax,’ and that is incorporated into the ‘price’ of purchase. You now own a table, which is the product of my labor and my paying of the tax that I have traded to you for currency, which is a product of your labor.

  202. Woof!

    “So it is to my understanding you believe you own something… meaning you and only you have the exclusive right to use it… simply because you saw it first? And that nobody has the right to contest your exclusive right to the object, even though you did nothing more than say “this is mine”? ” – EG

    Yes. Prior ownership is enough.

    Your only argument is that you represent a greater number of people who wish to steal the property after it has already been aquired.

    Even that claim is suspect, since we would have to determine how many people want to be part of the Geo-fascist-socialist collective you have created in the abstract and wish to use to interpose your tardy claim as an impoverished usurper, certainly no majority, versus those whom you wish to deposess.

    **********

    “I’ve simply stated that it’s worth exploring what right the original deedsman had to say he ‘owned’ it, seeing as he did not create it – he did little more than say ‘this is mine because I say so.” – EG

    ****

    So, let’s ask the other way around.

    What right do YOU have to say someone DOESN’T own the property that they have, found, discovered, claimed or bought?

    What right do YOU have to tax them in the name of some nebulous collective that you claim is a collective but you deny is socialist?

    ****

    No. Geo rent is just a socialist exercise attempting to claim, after the fact, property that has already been aquired and belongs to some individual or voluntary group of individuals.

    The GEOrgists have NO GROUND TO STAND ON.

    Literally.

    Woof!

  203. Robert Capozzi

    woof, consider rereading your post on nukes. Then tell us that there are ABSOLUTE rights that somehow “exist.”

    You are equivocating ALL OVER THE PLACE. Your absolutism is cracking; the edifice you’ve built is showing its own weakness.

    Cling if you will to your Newtonian, A=A-ism. The mad desire to simplify an increasingly complex world, filled with a multicity of variables, leads to this propensity to OVERsimplify with notions of absolutism. It’s comforting to reduce the human condition to simply, pat formulas, until the formulas don’t work.

    Then maybe read a little Descartes or the The Tao or Hayek. It may not be simple, but you might happen upon a more open-minded, less hostile, perspective.

  204. Erik Geib

    Again, at no point in time have I advocated theft of property. I still fail to see where you get this idea. I’ve only said that paying a rent on the amount of area we use is a principle that isn’t intrinsically anti-libertarian. Your continued attempts to say I stand with socialists and collectivists is laughable, as I am fiercely libertarian in my beliefs, and have repeatedly stated that not all people using the term ‘georgist’ or ‘geo-libertarian’ advocate all the same beliefs beyond this idea of ‘taxation.’ Furthermore, I have even said that I don’t consider myself a ‘geo’ personally, but am intrigued by this philosophy and don’t see that it is as ‘evil’ and anti-libertarian as you portray it.

    You continually fail to separate occupation from ownership, and until you at least make an *attempt* at doing so, I don’t see the need to continue to debate you. I have never said you don’t have the right to occupy something you have invested resources in to, I have merely suggested that you don’t have the sole right to *own* any and all things you or someone before you claims to have the sole right to simply because they or you said so. If you don’t want others using resources you didn’t create, you have the perfect right to pay the ‘tax’ granting you sole access to said materials.

    “Geo-fascist-socialist collective you have created in the abstract and wish to use to interpose your tardy claim as an impoverished usurper, certainly no majority, versus those whom you wish to deposess.”
    -I have never once advocated a ‘geo-fascist-socialist collective.’ I have said that geo philosophy and libertarianism can work together, and little more than that. Any and all remarks thereafter have been a defense of this idea, and not of personal advocacy. Furthermore, I have never once claimed the right to ‘usurp’ property or de-possess those in occupation of a territory. I have merely suggested that geo philosophy could, in conjunction with libertarian ideals, set a ‘fair’ (though I detest such a subjective term as ‘fair’) manner of taxing people equally, as opposed to current manners of taxation which punish hard work and labor.

    “What right do YOU have to tax them in the name of some nebulous collective that you claim is a collective but you deny is socialist?”
    -Again, to repeat the above, I have not said *I* wish to tax anyone. I have said ‘geo’ philosophy is intriguing as an incrementalist form of libertarianism, but I have not once advocated it – I have merely sought to defend it from your ridiculous claims.

    “No. Geo rent is just a socialist exercise attempting to claim, after the fact, property that has already been aquired and belongs to some individual or voluntary group of individuals.”
    -No, ‘geo’ philosophy in conjunction with libertarianism (i.e. the ‘geo-libertarians’) do not assert this. Others who claim to be Georgists may claim this, but that was never the question of debate; the question was whether Georgism could co-exist with libertarianism, and under the set parameters of using the ‘single tax.’ No ‘geo-libertarian’ I’ve ever spoken with has ever advocated radical collectivism or usurpation and redistribution of land, so get this nonsense out of your head and out of this debate. As I’ve said before, continually linking the single-tax/rent idea to other ideas advocated by so called ‘Georgists’ and using them to de-value ‘geo-libertarianism’ is a cheap straw-man tactic that evades and attempts to ignore the actual point of contention.

    Moreover, your claim that “Geo rent is just a socialist exercise attempting to claim, after the fact, property that has already been aquired and belongs to some individual or voluntary group of individuals,” has never once been suggested by anything I’ve said in defense of this ideology. Not once have I said that claimed property should ‘belong’ to ‘some individual or voluntary group of individuals.’ I have said that if you want to use it, pay the tax on it. If you don’t want to pay for the right to use it, why not let another who is willing to pay use it? The tax in question is in regard to the ‘unused value of the land,’ so it’s not as if someone could hardball you out of the land you occupy. And this tax is much preferable to forms of progressive taxation currently in use (again, I’ve always said this philosophy is part of incrementalist philosophy, the ‘incrementalist libertarian’ being one who wishes to slowly eradicate the function of the state in its entirety), as it would be the only (i.e. ‘single’) ‘tax.’ This would mean nobody could disrupt you from working harder than everyone else and acquiring greater capital. This means that if you wanted, you could occupy as much land as your working capital could afford you. The only tax you would pay would be the same tax anyone else had to pay, which is ‘rights’ access to materials you (and everyone else) didn’t create.

  205. Woof!

    No, RC, I did not equivocate at all.

    The right to life for each individual is absolute. That means no other individual has the right to kill you, to state the obvious.

    So, every individual has that absolute right.

    When it comes to nuclear weapons, if you read what I wrote, I posed a number of questions and postulates and indicated that it would be interesting to consider them with an open mind in a discussion.

    It would be.

    This does not mean that the end result cannot be a restatement of the absolute nature of individual rights.

    There are a lot of valid points to condsider in the area of ownership of weapons of mass destruction. It is an area of considerable danger and concern.

    It is, however, an apparent dilemma the resolution of which does not presuppose a limitation on the absolute nature of the rights of the individual. To the contrary, such resolution likely depends upon the proper understanding of just what those rights encompass and entail.

    The geo rent nonsense is not worth considering. It is foolishness that hurts the LP, makes libertarians look like wackos (and we don’t need any more things to reinforce that concept).

    The Georgists, neo-Georgists, or whatever, are not allies in the fight for liberty. Their ideas are looney and illogical and they help to scare away the allies we DO need to bring about incremental change.

    This result is engendered notwithstanding the totality of agreement we may find on other issues. It can only be ameliorated through the abondonment and disavowal of the geo rent nonsense, or at the very least, abandoning its public display.

    Besides, geo rent is pure socialism. Its entire construct is based on their belief that the socialistic collective dreams of entitlement of their little minority group coupled with political coercion will allow them to chisel away the wealth and property of others. They hope to tie their dreams to the coercive power of the state to overcome the individual rights of billions of others. Since others will not acceed to their demands, they will have no option but to use force and coercion to obtain that to which they are not entitled. In the end, they cannot achieve their goals through voluntary means.

    Woof!

  206. Woof!

    ” I have said that if you want to use it, pay the tax on it. If you don’t want to pay for the right to use it, why not let another who is willing to pay use it? The tax in question is in regard to the ‘unused value of the land,’ so it’s not as if someone could hardball you out of the land you occupy. ” -EG

    ******

    So, when individuals who do not believe in your “tax” (your words) decide to refuse to pay, and when their heirs refuse to pay, will you not use force to collect the “tax?”

    When millions of people refuse to pay, will you use an army to collect?

    ****

    And, finally, you have steadfastly refused to answer the question:

    “What RIGHT do YOU have to say someone DOESN’T own the property that they have, found, discovered, claimed or bought?”

    *********

    The answer is, of course, that YOU can make no valid claim AT ALL.

    Like all socialism, it is petty jealousy and greed that propells the geo-fascist-socialist Georgist earth nazi cult into arguing for the right to ultimately use coercion as the only possible means to obtain that to which they are not entitled.

    Woof!

  207. Erik Geib

    I have answered that question repeatedly: They didn’t create it.

    And where is this supposed ‘petty jealousy and greed’ that is propelling the ever-growing list of evil adjectives used to describe this idea? You have every right to occupy as much land as you’d like, provided you pay for that right. After all, you didn’t create the land.

    I’ve also steadfastly maintained that everyone (including these supposed people you claim want to use this to steal yours and others’ land) who wants to occupy land has to pay a tax on it just the same as you. There’s no theft involved under that principle.

    I’ve also always maintained that this is an incrementalist approach, which you’ve continually negated to even address. You could make the argument that all taxes are backed by force. The ‘tax’ involved under this philosophy is simply a ‘fairer’ (again, I hate the term ‘fair’) system of taxation than the many evil taxes currently in existence. It is difficult to convince everyone over night that the world could function without taxation of any level, hence the *incrementalist* nature of this approach. All taxes operate under force. At least this ‘tax’ idea brings up the valid point that you didn’t create the land you occupy, you only claim it (or the person who ‘sold’ it to you did, or the person before them, etc.).

    I have repeatedly answered your question: you didn’t create it! You have repeatedly evaded mine.

  208. Tomcat

    Erik: Why does someone have to create something for there to be ownership? This is the concept that I most have a problem with.

    When I find an blackberry or similar fruit growing wild on unowned land (bear with me here. This is for simplicities sake), I pick it and eat it, because the moment I pick it, I own it. I didn’t create it in any way. Instead I found it and laid claim to it.

    However, the arguments you’ve laid out (I understand that they’re not necessarily your personal position) maintains that unless you create something, you have no ownership of said item. Doesn’t that lay down a slippery slope where someone can walk onto someone’s yard and pick an apple out of their tree? After all, they didn’t create the land, or the tree, so they have no ownership over the apples. Hence, the concept of property rights is null and void, which is a concept I’m firmly against.

    Now, I have no doubt that there is more to your arguments than I have either seen or understood, and look forward to your answer.

  209. Erik Geib

    Tomcat,

    To my understanding, the idea behind a ‘geo’ or rent tax is the notion that you pay for the right to occupy or use a land based upon the unused value of the land. This doesn’t mean you couldn’t pick the berry you find, it means that you just have the same right as anyone else to pick it. By you picking it, you limit others’ chances to do so.

    Now, if you are paying the tax on your yard, and someone picks an apple from the tree there, they would be in violation of your right to the yard. After all, you, not they, pay for the right to use the yard.

    The notion that you didn’t create the apple only pertains to the idea that you do or don’t have the right to own it simply because you found it. If you paid the rent/tax on the land where it is, that means that you paid for the right to the apple. This differs from ownership, because ownership more or less derives from ‘finders keepers.’ A ‘geo’ tax of sorts simply says that you are paying for the right to use what you find, not just stating that you get to use it because you say so. As I said earlier, the ‘keepers’ isn’t the problem with the equation – it’s the ‘finders.’ Most property comes from the principle of someone first saying “this is mine” and defending it with force without any consideration of others’ ability to use or occupy land. In fact, many of these original claims were able to claim vast expanses of land not used by the original ‘finder.’ The finder then trades/sells his land to others for the currency that is the product of their hard-earned labor, while the finder did little more than originally say “this is mine.”

  210. Woof!

    The answer to: “You didn’t create it,” is

    SO WHAT, YOU DIDN’T EITHER.

    The fact that one party didn’t create the land doesn’t give the other party any claim to it.

    Your comment about ‘who created what’ is meaningless and irrelevant. It is the childish chanting of an infantile tantrum without logic. It doesn’t give YOU any claim, nor does it confer upon you any right to make a claim.

    And, since who created the land is not relevant because it favors neither side in the issue, the question remains.

    *****

    And, so, you have still failed to even address, let alone answer the actual question:

    “What RIGHT do YOU have to say someone DOESN’T own the property that they have, found, discovered, claimed or bought?”

    *********

    The key word is “RIGHT.” What right allows the geo earth nazis to assert a superior claim?

    They didn’t create the land. They just want to steal it.

    They didn’t buy the land. They just want to steal it.

    They didn’t inherit the land. They just want to steal it.

    They weren’t the first to claim the land. They just want to steal it.

    They didn’t work hard to earn enough money to buy the land. They just want to use coercion to steal it for themselves. And if they don’t steal the actual property, they just want to tax away its value. Same difference. The property tax, of which this is just a variant based on self-justification by way of self-delusion, constitutes the gradual confiscation of property by percentage increments commonly called a “mill rate” or in this case “geo rent.”

    And so, the answer is, of course, that YOU can make no valid claim AT ALL.

    Like all socialism, it is petty jealousy and greed that propells the geo-fascist-socialist Georgist earth nazi cult into arguing for the right to ultimately use coercion as the only possible means to obtain that to which they are not entitled.

    Yes, that’s right, jealousy and greed. The geo rent earth nazis want to take someone else’s property because their ancesters failed to acquire any and set it aside for them, and they are unable to earn enough money to acquire their own.

    Get a job.

    Buy your own land. Build your own dog house.

    Woof!

  211. Erik Geib

    Woof,

    I never said they could take your land! Are you dense? Seriously?!?!

    Nobody will be ‘taking’ your property unless you don’t want to pay the right to occupy it. I’ve explained this I don’t know how many times now. And I’ve explained the irrational claim the original staker to the property had. But you’d much rather continually call me a socialist and insinuate that I am supporting lazy people who want to steal your land. This is absurd.

    Of course *I* also didn’t create the land. I’ve never once said I have a better claim to it than you! I’ve always maintained that if you want to occupy it, the idea of a rent tax is acceptable because NOBODY had the right to ‘claim’ it to begin with.

    ““What RIGHT do YOU have to say someone DOESN’T own the property that they have, found, discovered, claimed or bought?””
    I’ve answered this repeatedly! You have no right to say you own it, just as I have no right to say I own it! If you want to occupy it, pay your share.

    “They didn’t create the land. They just want to steal it./They didn’t buy the land. They just want to steal it./They didn’t inherit the land. They just want to steal it./They weren’t the first to claim the land. They just want to steal it.”
    Nobody is here to STEAL anything. I’ve maintained throughout that if you want it, just pay the for the right to use the land. The ‘theft’ that occurred was the original stakers’ claim to these lands – they denied the right of anyone else to use it, without the staker having done anything more than say ‘this is mine.’ A ‘geo’ tax simply allows all parties equal access via WORKING and PAYING for it the same as you would work and pay for yours. As per the basis of capitalism, if you work harder and obtain more capital, you still occupy more land. If someone else doesn’t work hard or isn’t willing to pay, they won’t occupy much beyond a run-down slum.

    “The geo rent earth nazis want to take someone else’s property because their ancesters failed to acquire any and set it aside for them, and they are unable to earn enough money to acquire their own.”
    -Their ancestors never had a chance at acquiring any land because someone walked up and said ‘this is mine’ without doing any more work than seeing the land and saying ‘this is mine.’ As I’ve said before, over the years people worked hard to ‘buy’ this land from the original claimants, but that doesn’t make the original claim necessarily valid. However, it also doesn’t mean those who worked under this false system would have their land stolen from them and re-distributed to the masses. Maybe non-libertarians (the *actual* socialists) would advocate that, but neither I nor any ‘geo-libertarian’ I’ve spoken with has said this. The ‘geo-lib’ philosophy has simply said that if you want something more than others that you didn’t create, you should pay for the disproportionate rights (i.e. you occupying more land) to it.

  212. Woof!

    “Nobody will be ‘taking’ your property unless you don’t want to pay the right to occupy it. I’ve explained this I don’t know how many times now. ”

    Yes. You have said this repeatedly.

    And, since I already own the land. And, since there is no way I would pay you the “tax” you claim, then you will have to use coercion to steal the land that I own and to which you admit you have no valid claim.

    By stealing the land you are claiming that you own it, and thus, you contradict your assertion that you do not.

    And you cannot claim that this is just a payment for use, or some rent, oh yeah, “geo rent,” since you do not have the right to charge me rent to use something that YOU do NOT own.

    So, in fact, you are claiming an ownership right. That right is necessary for you to charge your “geo rent.”

    But, whenever faced with the reality that “geo rent” requires you to admit that you are claiming that you “own” the land, you assert that it is not rent but a tax.

    And, whenever you are faced with the reality that your “tax” is coercive theft, you claim it is rent.

    Not only is this pure illogic. It is circular illogic.

    You are living in a complete fantasy world.

    **************

    Finally, you claim that since nobody created the land, nobody has the right to own it, so you don’t recogize my ownership.

    Of course, you cannot deny ownership of something to someone else if you are not simultaneously claiming some ownership. In order to claim that others cannot own property, you are asserting a superior claim to prevent other parties from obtaining title. Further, you admit that you are making an ownership claim by asserting the right to collect rent from those who occupy the land and therefore become renters who must pay YOU (and your miniscule band of thieves.)

    This is because you cannot claim rent on property you don’t own.

    Oh, yeah, you don’t own it, it’s a tax.

    So, it IS coercive socialism.

    Oh, no, it’s not, it’s just rent.

    But you don’t own it.

    Oh yeah it’s a tax.

    But that’s coercive.

    No, because it’s rent.

    But, you don’t own it.

    That’s OK cause it’s a tax.

    ******

    And so, there it is, the total circular illogic of the geo rent earth nazi tax.

    And so, the answer is, of course, that THEY can make no valid claim AT ALL.

    Like all socialism, it is petty jealousy and greed that propells the geo-fascist-socialist Georgist earth nazi cult into arguing for the right to ultimately use coercion as the only possible means to obtain that to which they are not entitled.

    Yes, that’s right, jealousy and greed. The geo rent earth nazis want to take someone else’s property because their ancesters failed to acquire any and set it aside for them, and they are unable to earn enough money to acquire their own.

    Woof!

  213. Robert Capozzi

    Yes, Woof, and if Charles Manson gets it in his head that his “absolute” “right” to life means he must “absolutely” have a nuke, than, in absolutist terms, he should have it.

    Or would you coerce his nuke away from him?

    As a Randian/Rothbardian in recovery, it would seem that that dogma would HAVE to say Manson can have his nuke until he uses it. Of course, in the process, millions are dead. Manson secured the nuke through peaceful means, so there can be no pre-emptive taking, yes? Isn’t that how that dogma goes?

    And doesn’t it show that the dogma overstates things just a tad?

    The A=A perspective is a HUGE set up for failure. If there cannot be exceptions, then there cannot be absolutes.

    Things like private nukes fry the circuits of absolutism. But that’s OK. Liberty’s a way cool thing, but it’s not everything. Harmony and peace are also way cool.

    George, for me, attempted to say that natural resources could not be owned, but only rented. When they are developed in some form, the new thing COULD be owned outright, so long as the commons received their rent for the underlying value of the natural resource.

    You don’t have peace, harmony or liberty in a state of nature. Only until you have the rule of law can you begin to have all three. Peacekeeping isn’t without a cost. Geo-ism attempts to pay for peacekeeping in the most efficient way possible.

    Perhaps there are better, more efficient ways to do so, but it’s not a bad swing, IMO. But it seems self evident that you can’t have liberty without harmony and the rule of law.

  214. Erik Geib

    No, at no point do I claim to own it, no matter how hard you try to link my arguments with socialist ones.

    Also, as I’ve stated, this is an incrementalist approach. I’ve already said that I believe taxation in general can be argued as force, but that at least this is better than most any system of taxation I’ve heard of.

    You don’t “already own the land.” You think you do. You ‘bought it’ from someone who had no right to make a claim of it. Yes, you put in a great deal of work to acquire this ‘purchase,’ which is why you currently occupy it. You *do* own the improvements you’ve made to the property, such as your house.

    I have never sought to differentiate between the terms ‘rent’ and ‘tax’ as you’re so desperately attempting to do. That would be an argument of pure semantics, and not only is that wasteful of time, but it is often the tactic of the weak-minded. I’ve attempted to use terms such as ‘rent/tax’ interspersely because I’m not one to make a commitment to one term over another, particularly when I’m not an advocate of this philosophy, but merely it’s defender against your incredible intolerance.

    “Of course, you cannot deny ownership of something to someone else if you are not simultaneously claiming some ownership. In order to claim that others cannot own property, you are asserting a superior claim to prevent other parties from obtaining title. Further, you admit that you are making an ownership claim by asserting the right to collect rent from those who occupy the land and therefore become renters who must pay YOU (and your miniscule band of thieves.)”
    -No, no, no…. no. I am NOT asserting a superior claim, I’m asserting no claim. There is a dramatic difference, despite your diction-twisting attempts to the contrary. Nobody has the right to own land, just as nobody has the right to own space.
    Example:
    Next you’ll tell me you own Mars because you first said “this is mine,” and that you have exclusive rights to its resources. Even if you could live there, and you had labored to build a home there, your ownership is the product of your labor – your home. Not the land. You don’t automatically own the ore or whatever else may be near your home as result just because you claim the land. You can’t sell it to someone else. You don’t own it. Whoever does eventually take the ore or whatever’s on the land should contribute back to society, because now nobody else can use the ore. If they go to ‘sell’ the ore, what they’re really ‘selling’ is the labor they used to extract it and make it a viable product. You can now ‘own’ this product because the person who extracted the ore paid the cost of denying everyone else’s use of it when he took it.
    Land, in contrast, is not extracted like ore, or cut down like the tree in my tablemaker analogy. It is permanent, and you didn’t create it. When you occupy it, you’re saying you and only you have the right to use it and whatever’s on it, but you did no labor to do so. You ‘purchased’ it from a false claimant, who also did nothing to base this accumulation of capital. Now, if you purchase a house built on land, you own the house – it’s a finished product of labor. The land it sits on, however, was not something that was labored over. Thus, by your claim of ownership over it (the land), you are denying others’ ability to make productive use of it.

    Your attempts at turning this into a taxation and force argument have little to nothing to do with ‘geo’ philosophy, as the ‘geo’ argument involves the allowance of taxation – as I’ve said, it’s an incrementalist approach. If you want to get technical, you can argue that all forms of taxation require force, and that’s fine. That’s a whole other debate, however. This is the same reason Robert has brought up the Randian/Rothbardian fanaticism aspect of your arguments. I’m not trying to argue that ‘geo’ is okay because taxation is okay, I’m defending it from your illogical take that it can’t work with libertarianism. Not all libertarians are anarchocapitalists, many are minarchists. Among the minarchist crowd, there is much debate over what entails the ‘fairest’ (again, hate the term) form of taxation. If you’re only going to argue that all taxation is force, then by all means do so, but exit the debate.

  215. Brian Holtz

    “The geo rent earth nazis want to take someone else’s property because their ancesters failed to acquire any and set it aside for them, and they are unable to earn enough money to acquire their own.”

    Heh. My wife and I own a couple million dollars’ worth of choice land in Silicon Valley. She points out that our “property tax” would be much higher under a geolibertarian system. I reply that we’d pay no taxes on income, sales, capital gains, interest, or land improvements, and our overall tax burden would be lower.

    That’s not greed, that’s justice.

  216. Robert Capozzi

    Brian, I might add that IF your land rent got too high for your family, it’s because your land is SO prime that others would pay a premium for the location and improvements. That would be reflected in the value of your home, more or less as it is now. You could sell, move to a less prime location, and avoid the higher tax.

    If I recall, that’s how it works in Hong Kong, for ex., which is an extreme example, for they had a relatively small jurisdiction. The work-around there is they built vertically, making more efficient use of the limited land mass. I believe they pay the same tax on X parcel of land, whether it has a hut or a skyscraper on it.

    Things have worked out pretty well there so far, given the constraints. Not a bad solution, all things considered. IMO.

  217. paulie

    My wife and I own a couple million dollars’ worth of choice land in Silicon Valley.

    That’s what, about 300 square feet, right?

    😛

  218. Woof!

    So, this is over.

    The geo fascist-socialist georgist cult earth nazis have claimed the land.

    They pretend that they can tax/charge rent to the current owners. This means that they are claiming to own it themsleves, since you cannot be the landlord and collect rent on something you don’t own.

    Then they claim it is a tax, and that they are the ruling noble, the sovereign lord and that the peasants (the people they have stolen the land from – us) only “occupy” their land.

    ***************

    To justify this, the arrogate to themselves the right to claim that they represent everyone, impossible of course, or else how can they justify collecting this rent/tax in the name of everyone when nobody owns the property.

    **************

    The geo fascist-socialist georgist cult earth nazis are desperately attempting to find some kind of tax, any kind of tax, that will allow them to fund their minarchist coercive state.

    Since they know that there is NO argument that will allow them to impose other taxes, most notoriously, the income tax, they have created an artificial construct based on circular illogic. It fails because it requires contradictory positions to be held simultaneously. Mutually exclusive concepts are claimed to exist simultaneously and at the same time claimed not to exist at all.

    ***********

    The salient point in their hypocracy is that you cannot charge rent for something you don’t own and you cannot tax something of which you are not the ruler.

    They are claiming to do both, pretending that one is the other.

    They are self-deluded. They are liars and fools, but they are fooling only themselves.

    *************

    The geo fascist-socialist georgist cult earth nazi system is a great justification for all kinds of socialist systems. You can use the same falacious arguments to justify taxation of anything. However, it flies in the face of liberty. It is the antithesis of libertarian principle.

    ***********

    Property taxes, including the geo fascist-socialist georgist cult earth nazi tax on land, are the most evil of all taxes.

    **********

    Property taxes, including the geo nazi tax, cause massive malinvestment, misallocation of resources, urban sprawl, overconsumption of transportation and energy, dislocation of communities, disruption of families, poverty, unemployment and homelessness.

    These taxes prevent the creation of green space, parks, efficient free-market transportation, and energy efficient, transport efficient, green, family friendly, community oriented mixed use developments.

  219. Thomas L. Knapp

    Woof,

    I’m still waiting to see you (or anyone) either effectively argue in favor of the Lockean theory of property in land, or rebut the Georgist theory of property in land.

    Any discussion of what kind (if any) taxes are appropriate to property in land would seem to logically come after settling that argument (and the question of whether any kind of taxation at all is permissible).

    So far, what I’ve seen is:

    Georgists: It’s not possible for anyone to “own” land, since nobody created it, and therefore nobody ever “owned” it, and therefore nobody ever had any right of “ownership” of it to convey to anyone else. Therefore, land will be treated as “owned” by the “commons,” as expressed in the form of the state, and those occupying/using land will pay rent on it to said “commons”/state, thus elegantly solving the problem of how to finance government while simultaneously most efficiently allocating land for use.

    Woof: People can “own” land because … because … because I really, really, reallllllyyyy want them to be able to. Fuck your taxes.

    While I’m sympathetic to the latter part of your position, so far I don’t see much support for that position in your argument (probably because your argument isn’t an argument).

    Like I said before, don’t beat yourself up to badly, though. Even Rothbard fell into the “because I really, really, realllllllly want it to be that way” trap on this same issue.

  220. Erik Geib

    Woof,

    The ‘illogic’ you claim is based on your semantical interpretations. And that’s fine, because you’ll clearly never attempt to open your mind to this idea. As I’ve said, I’m done with this debate, not only because you’ve decided to delve into the world of semantics-based responses (which is generally the strategy of the losing side, bear in mind), but because you continually ignore my comments in favor of linking select words or quotations into the construct of your opinioned interpretation (much like a pundit would do).
    “The salient point in their hypocracy is that you cannot charge rent for something you don’t own and you cannot tax something of which you are not the ruler.”
    -No, as I stated before, I wasn’t particularly attached to any term or rhetoric to describe what a ‘geo’ ‘tax’ would be. Nevertheless, you’ve once again decided what terms are the appropriate basis of debate, and to what definition they hold. This does little to prove your point.

    “It fails because it requires contradictory positions to be held simultaneously. Mutually exclusive concepts are claimed to exist simultaneously and at the same time claimed not to exist at all.”
    -Semantics-based non-sense. This ‘logic’ only works in your head because you’ve assigned definition to terms that I have not advocated an attachment towards. You then use these terms to re-define the argument instead of focusing on what I’ve said. Again, this is called a straw-man argument – look it up sometime.

    “The geo fascist-socialist georgist cult earth nazis have claimed the land.”
    -Erroneous, I have repeatedly stated that nobody can claim to *own* the land. I have only said that a ‘geo’ system would mean that you can’t claim it either.

    “They pretend that they can tax/charge rent to the current owners. This means that they are claiming to own it themsleves, since you cannot be the landlord and collect rent on something you don’t own. ”
    -Erroneous again. As I’ve stated repeatedly, I’m not attached to a term to describe what the ‘tax’ would be. Your ‘logic’ relies upon the use of the term ‘rent’ or, worse yet, the term ‘tax’ in its traditional sense. All I’ve said is that since you can’t claim to own something you didn’t create, that there could be a market-based system that could consider the unused value of your land, as your ‘claim’ of ‘ownership’ disallows others access to something you have no right claiming. Your ‘circular logic’ continually says you own it simply because you purchased it, but you repeatedly ignore the fact that the original claimant had no right to claim it exclusively themselves beyond looking at it and saying “this is mine.”

    “The geo fascist-socialist georgist cult earth nazis are desperately attempting to find some kind of tax, any kind of tax, that will allow them to fund their minarchist coercive state.”
    -Once again, you completely ignore something I’ve said previously to continue your cult-like rant. I’d refer you back to my comments in the previous post wherein I stated:
    “Your attempts at turning this into a taxation and force argument have little to nothing to do with ‘geo’ philosophy, as the ‘geo’ argument involves the allowance of taxation – as I’ve said, it’s an incrementalist approach. If you want to get technical, you can argue that all forms of taxation require force, and that’s fine. That’s a whole other debate, however. This is the same reason Robert has brought up the Randian/Rothbardian fanaticism aspect of your arguments. I’m not trying to argue that ‘geo’ is okay because taxation is okay, I’m defending it from your illogical take that it can’t work with libertarianism. Not all libertarians are anarchocapitalists, many are minarchists. Among the minarchist crowd, there is much debate over what entails the ‘fairest’ (again, hate the term) form of taxation. If you’re only going to argue that all taxation is force, then by all means do so, but exit the debate.”

    Sadly, you also have tried to ‘grand scheme’ your argument (“Property taxes, including the geo nazi tax, cause massive malinvestment, misallocation of resources, urban sprawl, overconsumption of transportation and energy, dislocation of communities, disruption of families, poverty, unemployment and homelessness. /These taxes prevent the creation of green space, parks, efficient free-market transportation, and energy efficient, transport efficient, green, family friendly, community oriented mixed use developments.”). I refuse to get into a ‘grand scheme’ argument, because in doing so you’ll likely continue your pattern of selective argument and ignore the thorough reasoning and explanations I or others could offer. The only comment I care to offer to your ‘grand scheme’ response is that since the big picture of grand schemes often entails layers of correlation and causation, it is impossible to argue effectively one way or another for or against a specific tenet of structure, such as the tax over which we are debating. These sorts of arguments often resort to a series of erroneous correlation accusations (and remember, correlation does not imply causation), and are generally a waste of everyone involved’s time.

    One last thought:
    “Property taxes, including the geo fascist-socialist georgist cult earth nazi tax on land, are the most evil of all taxes.”
    -Again, not a property tax, my straw-man lovin’ debate opponent. If you can’t own the land, it isn’t your property, that’s the basis the debate. Property taxes charge you based on your property, which in the current sense includes ‘your’ land in addition to the house you build on it and any other improvements to the ‘property.’ This is quite unlike a ‘geo’ ‘tax’, but you’ve ignored this continually. The ‘geo’ system does not charge you for your labor, i.e. the improvement of the land you occupy (house, irrigation, etc.).

    *sigh*

    I’m quite done with this. Argue in response (as I’m sure you will), but know I won’t even bother to read it, nevertheless believe your incessant ranting of Randian idiocy. Your unquestioned faith of Randian “reason” (notice the quotations, as I think it’s quite unreasonable) appeals no more than the most fundamentalist of religious interpretations. You’ll never convert me to your way of thinking, and I’d rather spend my time in more constructive manners than this. Honestly, arguing with the wall is probably more productive than this.

    To that end I say “good day”, and I’ll gladly talk to you some day should you ever shed this ridiculous approach to debate.

  221. Robert Capozzi

    Woof,

    What Tom and Erik said.

    Here’s another angle: Rothbard’s take on Locke and property rights is a construct. Georgism is a construct. Marxism is a construct.

    Constructs are inescapable. Property doesn’t exist. Observe a tree or a plot of land. In the state of nature, neither says on it: Property of Woof. They are just green and brown things.

    People CLAIM possessions as “property.” Civil orders and rules of law — sometimes VERY elaborate ones — have developed over time that convert possessions into “property.” On balance, it seems to work pretty well for all involved. Sometimes it doesn’t work so well. Adjustments are made to the rules.

    Dismiss geo-ism as a “cult” if you like, but it seems to me that it simply identifies a dysfunction in how property rights evolved as a social institution. It prescribes a shift in property rights that would perhaps work a bit better.

    Some in the Rockwell crowd do the same thing with intellectual property (IP) and copyrights. They seem to think IP doesn’t work or is flawed in theory and application. They prescribe NO IP. Strikes me as a valid opinion, but I remain ambivalent on that one.

    Of course, we here are just sharing words and concepts, which are THEMSELVES constructs. Words don’t exist in a state of nature. Meaning and nuance shift over time.

    Relax. Enjoy the ride.

  222. Tomcat

    OK, I’m not siding with Woof here, because frankly I’m not REALLY sure I’d want to. I’m asking my questions strictly for my own edification.

    If I can not “own” land, and no one can “own” land, then by what authority does anyone justify charging me rent/taxes on said land?

    If I charge rent for a house, it’s because I actually own the house (which by your definition Erik, I can since it was produced and therefore owned). I can’t rent out a house that I don’t actually own, or a car, or anything else, without the authority of the owner.

    So how can I be charged rent on an item that no one can actually own?

  223. Erik Geib

    Tomcat,

    The question which you’re asking relies upon being able to use the term ‘rent’ or ‘tax’ in the traditional sense – that, in my opinion, is the fundamental flaw of the oppositional response thus far.

    Of course, any ‘tax’ or ‘rent’ can be said to be the initiation of force – that’s why I don’t like the terms. The problem with the opposition’s critique is that it fails to consider the original initiator of force: the first claimant to the property.

    The current ‘owner’ now uses the law (‘force’) to protect their ‘rights,’ but what validates those rights? As I’ve maintained, the original claim to the ‘property’ was someone first walking up and saying ‘this is mine.’ They then used their guns or government to protect this initiation of force.

    You may try to argue that since they didn’t directly harm anyone it wasn’t force. To me, this is a fallacy of logic. By staking a claim to something they didn’t create, they deny everyone else’s right to use it.

    It’s not that the land is ‘communally owned.’ It’s not that ‘we’ ‘own’ it and say ‘you’ can’t or shouldn’t. It’s that nobody can own it. So if one person makes use of something they had no right claiming beyond saying “this is mine” without some sort of compensation, that’s force in my eyes. Everyone else should be compensated for this ‘force’ by the land claimant. This can be done by the person using the land contributing something back to society that acknowledges their use of the exclusive use of the product that excludes others. This can’t be done by simply ‘purchasing’ the land, because there is no one to purchase it from. This can’t be a one and done deal, because the original claimant has no right to take it for ownership (nobody does); if you use something you didn’t create, or continue to use something you didn’t create, you should compensate others for this.

    This is why I used the ‘Mars’ analogy, the ‘tablemaker’ analogy, etc. Imagine if air was a tangible resource that could be monitored more easily. If you walk into a room and claim to own half the air and the sole right to use it, then sell it to another, does he really have the right to deny others use of it? Yes, he ‘paid’ to ‘own’ it, but it still doesn’t validate the original claim of ‘ownership’. This isn’t to say you can’t walk into a room and occupy a portion of the air first. By all means, if you want to stand in one spot and breathe in this resource, you have the right to do so in that spot. But what right do you have to claim unused air in unused spots? What right do you have to then force a new person who walks into the room to ‘purchase’ this unused air? This is force. Land ‘ownership’ is one of the original initiations of force, and to say that a ‘tax’ is ‘force’ and that’s why one opposes it is ludicrous (to me), because the land claim to begin with involves a great deal of force.

    Thus, it is not that one is ‘charging you rent’ in the traditional sense. It’s that you are contributing to the exclusive rights to use. This can be set easily by the market based on the unused value of the land. If you ‘refuse to pay,’ I or others who try to then ‘take your land’ aren’t the original initiators of force. You are the initiator of force by saying this is yours and only yours, despite having done nothing proper to acquire it more than say “this is mine.”

    Now, in our current system we’ve been propagating this myth of ‘ownership’ for quite a long time now (going back to feudal times at least). Obviously, we would have to design some sort of transitional hybrid model that doesn’t just say “sorry, pal” to those who ‘paid’ (traded products of their labor) for land that at one point or another was falsely claimed (by force). I can’t say that I know exactly what a model like this would entail, as I’ve stated continually that I’m not an actual ‘geo’ myself – I’m just intrigued by the philosophy. I don’t much care for philosophical labels or ‘belief’ in a system or ideology, because I fear this leaves little room for continual reason and evaluation.

    I hope that clears some things up.

  224. Tomcat

    In all honesty, it doesn’t. Instead, it feels like proponents of Geo-rent are trying to change definitions to fit their purposes, such as rent. But really, it’s semantics in the grand scheme of things and not worth the effort since semantics are not my strong suit.

    However, saying that whoever claimed the land first initiated force is something I do have a problem with. That same logic can go onto mean an initiation of force was used to obtain food, to craft tools, and a whole host of other things. While I understand that the geo-libertarian movement isn’t saying any of these things, I fail to see the difference. I take a berry growing wild and eat it could easily be argued as being just as much an initiation of force as staking a claim to land that no one currently owns or possesses.

    Not only that, but were is this authority to charge for the usage of something that no one owns? If it’s not communally owned (which we’re together on), and it’s not individually owned (which is a point of contention), then by what right does anyone charge for the use? Using your air analogy, couldn’t this (hypothetically only) also lead to “air rent”? It belongs to no one after all.

    Now, as for your model, I agree that implimentation would be unwieldy at best, and would be unworkable at worst. To tell someone that they no longer “own” property would result in some serious political issues. Look at Woof’s posts, and I suspect he’s more polite about it than many homeowners would be.

    Now, I do have this hypothetical here and would love to hear how this would be dealt with from a geo-libertarian perspective: A man builds a home. He pays this “rent” (for lack of a better term I guess) and then one day either decides he can’t any longer, or decides he won’t any longer. Now, as I understand it, he would be evicted from the land (since it’s not “property”), but what of the house? It is something that he produced, therefore it IS “property”?

    Again, I’m not trying to be argumentative on this. While I don’t buy this, I do have an open mind and want to at least understand it better. My questions remain for my own edification.

    Thanks 😉

  225. Tomcat

    Thomas,

    Thanks. I think that question really comes to the crux of the issue for me.

    BTW, I find it amusing that we have the same initials (My name is Thomas L. Knighton ;))

  226. Robert Capozzi

    Tomcat,

    Buying into “property rights” and “rule of law” are ALSO claims of authority. From a state of nature perspective, if you have Object A and I want it, I can just take it from you. Who’s to say that’s “wrong”? By what authority do they say it’s “wrong”?

    I’m not a geo-ist, but it seems to me the argument IS for communal ownership of ALL natural resources. But it’s PRIVATE ownership of all value added.

    Civil orders require us to buy into an artificial construct, no matter how you slice it.

  227. Tomcat

    Robert,

    Fair enough. I can buy into the idea that it’s all constructs easily enough, because it makes perfect sense.

    However, the constructs must still have something within them that defines the authority to commit acts, such as taxation and law enforcement, right? I’m still curious as to what the geo-ist authority for such a thing is.

  228. Erik Geib

    Tomcat,

    You’re right in saying it’s all semantics, which is why I quit bothering to argue with Woof. We could spend all day arguing over this central idea: “The ‘geoist’ says you have no authority to the land, but this makes the non-geoist claim the geoist is using authority to dispute the non-geoist claim.” I tend to side with the idea that the ‘collectivism’ you or others claim is inherent with my notion of ‘non-ownership’ would still be better than a complicated series of individuals using force to make their claims (though I still don’t see or agree that this necessarily constitutes a collective ‘authority’, but that’s the semantics-based argument we’re setting aside).

    The analogy I was using for air wasn’t to say we should have an “air rent.” I was trying to say that one person can’t take more than others just because they say they can. This is how much of “property” originally came about. The thing I like about a ‘geo’ ‘tax’ (dirty word, I know) is that if we all use this resource we didn’t create (land) equally, theoretically we wouldn’t have to pay anything at all (such as with air – right now you can’t deprive others ability to use it. If you could or did, don’t you think this would be wrong, however?). The problem is that some people do wish to use land more, and there’s nothing wrong with that – not everyone can most productively use the resources afforded by the land to their maximum benefit. Those that do, however, can negate the extra ‘tax’ with the fruits of their labor. Using something productively yields a mighty return, which would be more than enough to cover the extra ‘cost.’ And under this system nobody could punish you for working more productively, innovatively, or just plain harder, because the only contribution you have to make back is the unused value of the land, which is the same rate others would have had to pay.

    I also don’t think this inherently *has* to come with a role of authority, but I’m not entirely sure what a pure free-market solution would entail (again, not a geoist – lol). Obviously the value can be set by the market without government intervention. If you chose to continue to ‘claim’ land just because you said “this is mine” and a non-government mob decided to treat you differently, their treatment would likely be worse than government in this case (hence, it being an incrementalist minarchist approach and not an anarchist solution). A mob wouldn’t resort to simple boycotts, because you could ‘claim’ enough land to be autarkic, I’m sure. Having that much land and resources, however, would likely violate your neighbors ability to use the land productive though, and I doubt they’d be very happy about it (you’d likely have to ‘have’ more land in your possession, because the world simply isn’t set up where there’s enough land for everyone to grow their own food, raise their own livestock/produce, drink their own water, etc., etc.). Even in the most primal of life operations, we are dependent upon either the trades of others or unrestricted access to resources. You can’t have ‘unrestricted’ access, however, without adversely violating anyone else’s ability to use said resource, as you are removing it from their ability.

  229. a different paul

    If no one owns land, but can own the properties on the land, then can I build a house right next to any other building I like?

    My new address – 1600-A Pennsylvania Ave.

  230. Tomcat

    Erik,

    First, thanks for replying. I really am trying to understand the issue, but perhaps it’s just such an alien concept that it really sounds implausible to me.

    I disagree about there being a complicated series of owners using force, since I personally disagree with the idea that hold land is an initiation of force, but I hope you will agree to disagree on this one, since I don’t see a winner emerging out of such a discussion 😉

    Also, I understand completely about your air analogy, I was merely co-opting the idea to illustrate what I see as another potential type of “tax” (I will use the word in quotes since I believe you argued that it wasn’t truly a tax) that could be implimented under this logic.

    The problem I see with a pure free market solution to this is simple, I don’t see how there actually can be one. Mostly from, if nothing else, disagreement about property rights and what actually constitutes property. But beyond that, to me it would seem that when in doubt, default to the individual’s liberty being paramount.

    Now, I do see your point about how this, as a sole “taxation” system, would leave open the ability for people to produce more since the fruits of their labors are not taxed in anyway, and instead offset the “tax” on the land. And, in truth, it’s the one thing so far that I’ve seen that I like completely from the geo-ist perspective.

    I still believe that there must be some “authority” for the requirement to pay the “tax” on land, and without said authority, I don’t see how one would require payment. Of course, you didn’t address my question regarding a house on the property, which I’d personally like an answer to if possible because it would probably help me to understand the position of geo-ists better.

  231. Rocky Eades

    2 observations on the geoist discusssion. 1) The discussion has focused on “land”, but there are other problems which the geoists tend to (try to) ignore in making their arguments. The geoist also would tax the taking of fish, deer, partridges and, as someone else suggested, berries and maple sap. This tends to complicate the whole thing considerably I would think.

    2) There has been little discussion about who is actually harmed by exclusive use and about the “distribution” side of the geo-tax. The implication is that the exclusive user of a piece of land would compensate those who are excluded from the use of that same land. The geoists focus their discussion on “neighbors” etc., but (try to) ignore the fact that the guy on the other side of the country, indeed on the other side of the world, is just as excluded as the guy on the other side of the street. For every exclusive user of a piece of land there are billions of individuals who are excluded, not just the one or two or a few dozen in the immediate vicinity of the land. So how is this compensation to be distributed to the billions of people excluded.

  232. Erik Geib

    A different paul,

    Not if the person occupying land pays the said rent/tax/fee/whatever for the right to use that land. That’s basically what the basis of this idea is.

    Tomcat,

    As I’ve said, I’m not really sure what the solutions are. I’d like to think you could have a free-market one, but then I sort of argued this back into the use of authority, because the authority could keep the peace. I suppose the important thing would be to not allow the ‘authority’ in this matter to not have any more power than negotiated upon (quite unlike our growing and expanding governments today). Like I said, I’m not entirely sure as to how all this works, as I’m not really a geoist- lol. The idea of “sole “taxation” system, would leave open the ability for people to produce more since the fruits of their labors are not taxed in anyway, and instead offset the “tax” on the land,” as you said is the thing that draws me to this idea as well.

    Sorry for not answering your other question, by the way. I got caught up on the other ideas and completely forgot about it – it was an honest mistake. I’ll attempt to answer it as best as I can now:

    “Now, I do have this hypothetical here and would love to hear how this would be dealt with from a geo-libertarian perspective: A man builds a home. He pays this “rent” (for lack of a better term I guess) and then one day either decides he can’t any longer, or decides he won’t any longer. Now, as I understand it, he would be evicted from the land (since it’s not “property”), but what of the house? It is something that he produced, therefore it IS “property”?”

    I’m not really sure how to answer this, but I’d wager there is an answer to it somewhere out there. My guess would be that the house would be sold at market value with the proceeds (minus the debt) given back to the man who owns the house. After all, it’s his property. This is what happened to my grandmother when she refused to pay her condo. dues in Florida (that’s a whole ‘nother story, of course).

    When you said “But beyond that, to me it would seem that when in doubt, default to the individual’s liberty being paramount,” I know you were referring to property rights and free market solutions, etc., but I’m curious as to how you see this across the board (?) because I’d say we both agree (though through different interpretations). I think the central question that separates us is whether or not it is theft to deny others a chance to use something they did not create. I side with it being so, which is why I used the air analogy. I equate air and land equally in that regard, as we didn’t create either one. Obviously, one cannot limit our ability to breathe (at least I should hope not), but through these ‘property rights’ that I view as derived from “this is mine” we do often deprive others the rights to use other materials we did not create.

    Thank you for taking the time to respectfully engage me on this topic instead of twisting my quotations into your perception of me or reality. Honestly, this entire debate has allowed me to better think through the greater implications of ‘geo’ philosophy (for better and worse). To me (and many, I’d like to think) there is no ‘perfect’ system of government, taxation, etc., but I think the absence of government is a form in and of itself (though I know the anarchists will disagree heartily, but I seek it sort of how black, which is the absence of color, is a ‘color’). Anarchist theories still rely upon certain assumptions (whether they be anarcho-capitalist property rights or anarcho-syndicalist labor rights) that would ultimately (in my view) entail the presence of some form of authority. Even if it’s just individual authority, this only applies to the individual, as other individuals might feel slighted by individual A, and attempt to use force. Individual A would then resort to force himself, thinking the other individuals first used force, despite their interpretation that his actions (though possibly non-violent) constituted force in and of themselves. It’s a complicated tangent that I probably did a poor job of explaining, but nevertheless my point is this: No system is perfect. As I’ve said before, the ‘geo’ system appeals to me in some regards because it seems most ‘fair’ (and, as always, I’ll note how much I hate that term for all the abuse its brought in its name).

    I think we could spend all day arguing about the ‘flaws’ inherent to any system (or lack of a system, which I still view as a system – and as long as I can argue that, it’s still a structural argument of systems. You get the point.), but I do like a lot of what this one implies. It seems like it would create a more liveable society to me than most others.

  233. Erik Geib

    Rocky Eades,

    I’ll try and make a few quick comments on what you’ve said, but as I’ve said (continuously) I’m not a full adherent (merely an interested observer) of ‘geo’ philosophy. Thus, I don’t consider myself the representative of everything it stands for, and perhaps I mistake it at times in answering (i.e. maybe sometimes I’m saying something a true ‘geo’ would disagree with, but nevertheless makes sense to my interpretation; other times I may say something incorrect and fallible that a ‘geo’ would be able to correct.).

    1.) If I were the one to design/implement this system, I would say that things such as berries, maple sap, etc. are identifiable to the land they occupy. As such they would be incorporated into the unused value of the land. As for deer, fish, etc., I would think that if an animal comes onto the area you are paying/contributing/whatever to occupy, it is yours for the taking. Of course, an animal activist will disagree, and perhaps ‘geos’ would as well, but that’s my take. The value of the land should incorporate in the fact that various species of animals are known to a certain area and may enter it. Now, if you were to take something from an unclaimed territory, I’d think there would be a system of payment for that as well (compensation). Also, if you claimed an area known to have a high populace of a certain something, that would increase the unused value of the land.

    2.) I would think that the compensation for a given piece of land would be based upon its demand (as set by the market) as opposed to some authority that deems its value. If I designed the implementation system (this is a better way for me to answer, I suppose), I’d say if there would be a set price (x) for square feet occupied of unwanted land. It would be ‘unwanted’ if nobody else claimed it. Anything else, i.e. land that others do want or try to claim, would be ‘taxed/whatever’ appropriately according to the demand. If beach property is highly sought but yields little, it could still be valued higher than useable farm land simply because it is in demand.

    As for distribution of compensation back to others, I honestly don’t know. I’ve always thought of this in my head as a small-scale idea in a finite boundary (i.e. modern lines of sovereignty). Someone else may have an answer to this, but I’ll have to take the time to think that through more clearly. In our current state it’s not much of an issue, but if the entire world functioned this way in one seeming mass (instead of within nations or states), I don’t have an answer just yet.

  234. Erik Geib

    Rocky,

    Actually, a quick thought occurs on #2 that I feel I need to bring up before I step away from the computer. I got a little too sucked into that question and I don’t want my answer to misrepresent myself or ‘geos’- there shouldn’t be ‘distribution’ per se. Certainly not to individuals. The ‘tax/whatever’ isn’t to compensate or reward those who can’t obtain what others are occupying. The ‘tax/whatever’ would be used for the minimal functions implied by whatever minarchist states of existence therein, whether it be global or local (i.e. defense, maybe roads, whatever). At least I would think. I’m not sure, honestly. I don’t want my answer to come across as sounding pro wealth-redistribution, however, because that’s not what I interpret ‘geo’ philosophy to do.

    Hopefully that doesn’t create too many misconceptions… I still don’t fully know the answer, but I don’t want the answer I attempted to give to sound so faulty due to poor wording or expression.

  235. Robert Capozzi

    Tomcat,

    If you’re asking me whether there’s “consent” under a geo-ist regime, there isn’t. Not 100% consent, certainly.

    Were I a Geo-ist (vs. a Geo-ist sympathizer), I’d still advocate what I do now: Nonarchy Pods. Those refuseniks who wanted out of the prevailing social order could hide inside a walled-in area they claimed was their property. This would not be an attractive option for most, since the network effects of human intercourse have much to say for it on many, many levels.

    The vast majority would most likely accede (if not quite consent) to a rule of law, preferable a written Constitution.

  236. Tomcat

    Erik,
    No worries about the miss on my earlier question. I understand completely and didn’t think you were dodging the issue.

    In all honesty, the answer has me worried a bit, though not as much as our current property tax where failure to pay results in your property being forfeit. As for your grandmother’s situation, I have the exact same reservations about things like that as I have about the concept of geo-rent. It is that one’s property is subject to the will of others. I understand that you’re maintaining (per the geo-ist’s stance) that it isn’t actually property, but my disagreement is probably pretty obvious.

    While I disagree with what has been said thus far in regards to geo-libertarianism, I will say that it’s not because I believe it inherently socialist. I merely think that it’s unworkable in a free market, unless of course you implemented Roberts ideas for nonarchy pods outside of the other centers to give people a choice. Even then I don’t know that I could go along with the concept though.

    I am intrigued by the concept of it being the sole form of taxation, and I suspect the revenue generated would be sufficient to maintain a minarchist government. However, I believe there are other ways to fund such a government.

    That said, I have enjoyed discussing it. At the least, it opens me up to new schools of libertarian thought. I’m still open to the concepts in case a geo-ist is willing to correct me on this.

    Robert,
    I actually like the concepts of nonarchy pods for those who don’t wish to be part of “civilization”. I’d actually like to discuss this concept further, but figure that this is probably not the time or place for it (since we’re already so far off the original point of this thread as I barely remember what it was about) 😉

  237. Robert Capozzi

    pc, there’s a case for prison for “rulers,” except we have a rule of law.

    those who want out of the rule of law should be given that option.

  238. Woof!

    Robert Capozzi // Apr 21, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    “tomcat, yes, nonarchy pods solve a lot of problems. If someone REALLY wants to be off the grid, here’s your option!”

    As long as everyone was free to choose the nonarchy pods there would be no problem except for the geoists.

    You can be sure that everyone would adopt the nonarchy system as they would be free of the opression and abuse of the geonazis. They would be free to live and actually own, keep and enjoy the fruits of their labor AND to buy save and invest. This is impossible without property rights. It is very difficult in a world with any kind of property tax. We could end pollution, resource misallocation, homelessness, unemployment and poverty.

    Of course they geonazis would never allow such free zones as it would lead to a stampede like we saw when the people finally rose up to tear down the walls of communist Eastern Europe.

    The geonazi model requires a totalitarian form of government to survive. If they allowed nonarchy pods, or any kind of zones of freedom with property rights, everyone would flee there, annexing their property to the free zones.

    If they didn’t allow people to take their property to some kind of nonarchy pods or free zones, the geonazis would need growing toalitarianism to enforce their edicts. The geonazi government would eventually collapse like Hitler’s Germany, the USSR, communist Eastern Europe, the Shaw’s Iran, and the coming Cuban “surge” that will follow Castro’s demise.

    So, as long as everyone was free to choose the nonarchy pods there would be no problem except for the geoists.

    So in the end, ether through voluntary means or by revolution, everyone would opt out.

    But, all 12 of the committed geoists in the world, who would remain, could live in the remaining area that was NOT declared free. They could build a little geonazi compound.

    In fact, just as you have offered the option, which the geonazis could and would never allow, of people opting out, since everyone would opt out, I will make this suggestion:

    The geo nazis should just begin. Since they have admitted that their “rent/tax” would be higher than today’s property taxes, they should just buy land now, liberate it, geonazify it, and begin to collect “rent/tax” from each other. If it’s such a good idea the world will follow them.

    No one will follow, of course, and we would all quickly see how foolish their fantasy world is. But they can remain inside their little compound, live in their dog houses and collect the rent/tax that isn’t rent and isn’t tax from each other happily ever after.

    We can all go visit the little geonazi compound just like tourists flock to oogle the Amish.

    Woof!

  239. paulie

    there’s a case for prison for “rulers,” except we have a rule of law.

    those who want out of the rule of law should be given that option.

    Under a real rule of law, pirates and emperors would face the same consequences for actions that are the same (just different in scale).

  240. paulie

    You can be sure that everyone would adopt the nonarchy system as they would be free of the opression and abuse of the geonazis. They would be free to live and actually own, keep and enjoy the fruits of their labor AND to buy save and invest.

    I don’t think you have grasped the concept of the pods.

  241. Tomcat

    Robert, sounds like a plan to me 🙂

    I’m interested in specifics about them down the road.

    And Woof? Please stop. Your choice of language isn’t helping your cause any.

  242. Thomas L. Knapp

    Woof,

    You write:

    “You can be sure that everyone would adopt the nonarchy system as they would be free of the opression and abuse of the geonazis.”

    Just like everyone’s moving to Somalia, or investing in seasteading or other “get out” options right now?

  243. Robert Capozzi

    I’m pleased to see that most “get” the implications of Nonarchy Pods. It exposes the “consent” argument’s fundamental weakness. It says, Yes, of course there’s no literal “consent” in what amounts to a large condo association. Most of the condo rules are counterproductive and even a bit Nazi (no soup for you!), but being locked into our own unit isn’t appealling.

    You don’t even have to leave the condo for, say, Somalia, under a Nonarchy Pod regime, just stay in your condo if you find the rules unacceptable.

    Based on his/her line of argumentation, Woof sounds like a recent convert to Rothbardianism. Possibly youthful, full of piss and vinegar, obsessed with an atomistic frame of mind. Recovering from a bit of that myself.

    Rhetorically, the appeal to our atomistic “rights” has very little appeal in the wider world, IMO. Most want a lot of liberty, but they want a lot of harmony, too. Harmony promotes trade, and trade promotes broad-based prosperity.

    This line of thinking inspired my views on theoretical asymptotic anarchist/applied lessarchist, with Taoist/Hayekian/Geo-ist attitudes. And the Nonarchy Pod notion.

    Striking the root of consent is a valuable exercise, but then what?

  244. Woof!

    274 Thomas L. Knapp // Apr 22, 2009 at 1:58 am

    “Woof,

    You write:

    “You can be sure that everyone would adopt the nonarchy system as they would be free of the opression and abuse of the geonazis.”

    Just like everyone’s moving to Somalia, or investing in seasteading or other “get out” options right now?”

    No.

    Think about it.

    They way people have done it for generations:
    the use of Swiss bank accounts, off-shore tax havens, secret bank accounts, dual passports, dual citizenships …

    The idea of nonarchy pods is even better as they represent allowed and legal escape. You would see whole Fortune 500 companies moving into pods with all execs, managers, workers, their families and support services and their families. Suppliers and customers would join them …

    Of course, this is why the geonazis would never allow nonarchy pods. They would have to force people to stay in their high property tax geo-gulag.

    Property tax revolts have occured many times over the years without the crushing burden of the geonazi rent/tax.

    The geo-nazi system will never appeal to voters and it will never be adopted through democratic means. It would have to be imposed by force. And this would result in total revolt against the geo-nazi state.

    Woof!

  245. Tomcat

    Woof,

    I applaud your passion, but when you start and continue to compare geo-ists to nazis time and time again, you’re just hurting your own cause. Do yourself a favor and stop it. I see plenty of geo-ist positions that I have a problem with, but even I won’t call them “geonazis” because the term is just not close to accurate.

    You’re not doing anyone any favors with this.

  246. Woof!

    278 paulie // Apr 22, 2009 at 11:09 am

    You would see whole Fortune 500 companies moving into pods with all execs, managers, workers, their families and support services and their families. Suppliers and customers would join them …

    That goes against the rules of nonarchy pods, as I understand them.

    http://www.freeliberal.com/blog/archives/003225.php

    from the site:

    “The pod is impenetrable – nothing comes in or out. They become autonomous little Lichtensteins, except they cannot leave, as the 283 have stated they refuse to abide by the rule of law here amongst the governed.

    OK, OK, we allow them to trade through a small hole in the pod, I’m feeling generous. And if someone wants to go in the pod, they may, so long as the understand that there is no exit.” – Robert Capozzi

    So, anyone and whole companies can go in. Anyone can go in. And trade is allowed through a “little hole” which being undefined, will expand to whatever size is needed.

    A little Lichtenstein would appeal to millions right away, and the pods would be come “little” independent areas larger than most nations in the world today within a short period of time. Soon the pods would envelop the tiny remaining areas under geo-nazi control.

    And no, I will not stop calling them geo-nazis, because despite their rhetoric, they, like the Marxists, can only set up their evil regimes by force. Large numbers of people will never choose to become geonazis through voluntary means.

    Woof!

  247. paulie

    Hmmmm….so let’s see if I understand this correctly.

    Brian Holtz and Robert Capozzi both are open to the idea of nonarchists, anarchists, or whatever terms is used to live within their own communities without owing any “rent” or obedience to those outside such communities.

    Woof (and any anarchist, by definition, although I don’t recall Woof explicitly claiming to be an anarchist) is willing to allow geolibertarians to self-organize their own communities as they see fit.

    So remind me again, what is the argument between them about? Which community type most people will want to join?

    If so, I don’t particularly care. Let’s get to the point where people are allowed to make such a decision, and let folks figure it out for themselves.

    I don’t have a crystal ball, nor the ability to determine which option will be most popular from chicken entrails or stellar constellations. There are no geothermal methane pockets in my oracle cave.

    I don’t know, and don’t really care. Freedom is the answer; what was the question?

  248. Tomcat

    Whether you agree with the concept of geo-rent or not, and I don’t, I think it’s silly to say that people wouldn’t willingly give up their property in favor of geo-rent. People embrace socialism, giving up their own industries for the “greater good”, much as could happen in regards to geo-rent.

    Does it make it right? In my opinion, no. But it doesn’t necessarily have to entail force either.

  249. Erik Geib

    Question concerning the nonarchy pods (out of curiosity):

    You’re not allowed to leave? How does this interact with the notion of individual sovereignty and free choice? Surely one is allowed to change their mind on something. And what’s to stop tyranny from within the pod – especially if you can’t leave?

    I’m intrigued by the idea, and perhaps just interpreting this incorrectly, but I don’t like the idea that you wouldn’t be allowed to leave.

    ‘Geo’ topic:

    I think a lot of the ideas being debated on this topic have a lot to do with individual sovereignty to an almost panarachist degree (yes, panarchism – not a typo), which is all well and fine, because there are countless ways to approach such a liberty-oriented topic.

    The ‘geo’ question in my mind was more of a property rights question that anything – that’s why I found it intriguing. What constitutes the original claim? I honestly don’t even care if other aspects of the idea are wrong, because those are all addressable by any number of systems. The perceived value of those arguments, however, shouldn’t dismiss the fundamental question Georgism (and, really, Proudhoun, who had even worse ‘ends’ ideas than George) asks. I could be wrong, but I think the principle idea of ‘geo-libertarians’ is this central question moreso than exactly what system it should produce thereafter. We could spend all day arguing about the tents of every system proposed, but we’re not really answering the central question:

    What constitutes the original right to property?

    I know some of you (who I will not name) would rather turn the question around and say ‘who are you to say I/the original claimant don’t own it?’ However, that wasn’t the question. That is why I used the ‘air’ analogy. Who is to say *I* ‘own’ it either? Is that not indirect force against others? I don’t care about the fallibility of whatever purported system I was attempting to defend – I only care about that question. We can argue all day the pros and cons of systems against each other (and I do believe sincerely that every system has a con and can’t be perfect), but the basis of these systems (something like property) seems to be a more important topic (in my opinion).

  250. robert capozzi

    Size of government is NOT the only consideration for where one lives. Proximity to jobs, amenities, low crime, family, friends, are all in the mix.

    The idea of geo-rents is the total cost of baseline peacekeeping functions could be the lowest and most efficient. Pollution penalties is another way to go. I also like the One Rate idea, a tiny transaction charge.

    Even though I’m sympathetic to geo-ism, it requires a radical shift in how we view property rights. Geo-istic transitions are in the L tent, IMO.

  251. Tomcat

    Erik,

    I’ve been thinking about your question, and I’d say that the initial owner/claimant initiated no force in claiming the land, but must be prepared to use force to maintain ownership of that land. I get the feeling that you disagree, but that’s cool 🙂

  252. paulie

    Robert,

    I think that there is a big calculation problem in determining such a rate, similar to what Mises pointed out in regards to central planning of prices.

    On the other hand, a truly free market has many self-correcting functions that give people signals to where they would want to live.

  253. Erik Geib

    Tomcat,

    I think that’s where we disagree (obviously). The reason I said I like the ideas of ‘geo’ thought (but don’t consider myself a follower) is because there is an argument to be made that in claiming land this way, you are violating the liberty of others.

    What if someone found a new continent (follow this for argument’s sake) and claimed the whole land his upon discovery? How would you feel about that?

  254. robert capozzi

    pc, no real problem for me–my calculation is “lower.” Good problem to have to find the optimal level, which might be zero.

  255. Tomcat

    Erik,

    Honestly, in that hypothetical situation, then it would depend on one overriding factor: is the continent occupied. If so, then he can’t claim the whole continent for himself.

    However, I believe I understand what you’re asking, and I believe the assumption is that there’s no occupying presence on this hypothetical continent. In such a case, I’d say sure, he’s free to claim it. I’d maintain that he won’t be able to keep it all by his lonesome, and he’d be silly to try, but personally I’d support his right to maintain ownership.

    However, as for claiming land violating the liberty of others, the same could be said about not wishing to pay into wealth distribution schemes, that by holding onto my earnings, I’m denying the liberty of others. While I suspect you disagree with that statement (as do I), I have heard similar arguments made for socialism in the past. I have not denied anyone’s liberty by claiming something I found. I deny their liberty when I take it by force however, which is a whole different matter on which we have little disagreement.

  256. Woof!

    Of course claiming unoccupied land violates no one’s liberty.

    Moreover, private ownership of land is essential to establish and protect liberty.

    Finally, the free market cannot efficiently develop land without:

    1) the right to own it, tax free,

    2) the right to keep it off the market during long periods of time in order to accumulate the necessary large tracts needed for efficient and ecological development,

    3) the right to dedicate the property to low, zero or even negative income uses which may have a higher utility or higher value to the people who directly or indirectly use or benefit from the property, which would be impossible with forced sale and/or high taxes imposed by the geonazis and

    4) without having to pay a tax based on some arbitrary valuation or face forced sale for some “higher valued” use that represents more money but less utility when the owners inevitably create new and better ways to use and develop land that are cleaner, cheaper, greener, more efficient, more suited for sustainable living, make better communities but just happen to appear lower valued in the marketplace. Nacent industries often face low profits or losses in their infancy and those in need of land, especially new forms of development, would be strangled at birth under the geonazi scheme.

    The geonazi land tax must necessarily be based on an arbitrary valuation by state centralized bureaucracies and enforced by a gestpo like IRS.

    The damage caused by property taxes of any kind to the economies of the world are much greater than the combined effects of all other forms of taxation to date. The geonazi tax would be even worse.

  257. Erik Geib

    Tomcat,

    You’re correct in that I disagree with the equation to socialism. Not paying into their schemes has little to do with liberty – their schemes are based upon the idea that you should share your productivity with me if I’m less productive, and that’s hogwash.

    I think the reason the ‘purist left’ (if you could call it that) comes to their silly ideas is because they claim they didn’t have equal opportunity to begin with. In many ways this is flawed, but when it comes to the original claim of property, which in many ways influences productivity, they may not be far off. This isn’t to say it justifies their schemes, as I wholly condemn trying to retroactively adjust such problems through the state.

    Now, a few more scenarios to run through with the continent metaphor (I know these metaphors get old and I apologize).
    1.) Let’s say you and I both show up at the continent at the same time and we both claim all of it. Who has the right to it? In contrast, what if I only claim 20%, which leads you to claim 80%? What are your thoughts on this?
    2.) What if you show up to the continent and claim a stake, and then I do, and then others do, and it all seems pretty reasonable. Eventually, thousands are now settled rather productively in an area constituting about 5% of the land. Now, person X shows up and claims the remaining 95%. He does this to profit in his ‘sale’ of it to new arrivals, and either creates a band of defense or his own ‘state’ to protect his 95% claim (funded through his ‘sales’). Is his claim ‘just’ (eww, another word I hate, like ‘fair’)? Consider the possibility that his ‘claim’ also feeds the notion of his ‘state,’ as it is easier for people to cooperate with him than fight the protectors of ‘his land.’ This is a system of aggression that only leads to further aggression.

    [I won’t be able to respond to this until tomorrow morning, for the record]

  258. Tomcat

    Erik,

    I’m sure I’m not the most eloquent speaker on this subject, since these are just my own ramblings, but here goes.

    1.) Let’s say you and I both show up at the continent at the same time and we both claim all of it. Who has the right to it? In contrast, what if I only claim 20%, which leads you to claim 80%? What are your thoughts on this?

    For both of us to claim all of it, someone will eventually have to either initiate force on one another, or we will have to negotiate a settlement. Of course, the odds of two people claiming all of a continent at the exact same time are so unlikely that it boggles the mind. If not the same time, the prior claim wins out.

    As for you claiming 20% and me claiming the other 80%, I don’t see a problem. My claim doesn’t impede on your claim in the least, and yours doesn’t impede on mine.

    2.) What if you show up to the continent and claim a stake, and then I do, and then others do, and it all seems pretty reasonable. Eventually, thousands are now settled rather productively in an area constituting about 5% of the land. Now, person X shows up and claims the remaining 95%. He does this to profit in his ’sale’ of it to new arrivals, and either creates a band of defense or his own ’state’ to protect his 95% claim (funded through his ’sales’). Is his claim ‘just’ (eww, another word I hate, like ‘fair’)? Consider the possibility that his ‘claim’ also feeds the notion of his ’state,’ as it is easier for people to cooperate with him than fight the protectors of ‘his land.’ This is a system of aggression that only leads to further aggression.

    If those thousands are occupying only 5% of the land mass, and have chosen to do so, why would they need to move into the 95% where person X shows up and forms his own “state”? I argue that what you describe is “just” until/unless the use of force is initiated to force people to buy the land he has for sale or if he tries to force his own governance on those he’s sold the land to.

    If, as I think you’re describing, he considers that since he “sold” the land to people that he has some control over their activities, I’d argue that he does not. Once the land is sold, he has given up his rights on the land IMO and thus has no say in what happens on it so long as those actions occuring on that land didn’t harm him or his.

  259. Thomas L. Knapp

    “The geonazi land tax must necessarily be based on an arbitrary valuation by state centralized bureaucracies and enforced by a gestpo like IRS.”

    Yes, that’s one weakness of some variants of the “single tax.”

    I understand that Hong Kong uses a different formula — a uniform tax on the amount of land claimed, period.

    Say the tax is one dollar an acre.

    It’s a dollar an acre if the acre is a scree-covered plot at the bottom of a remote, avalanche-prone mountain, and it’s a dollar an acre if the acre is level, solid ground next to an interstate highway exit.

    It’s a dollar an acre if you farm lettuce on that acre — and it’s a dollar an acre if you build your family home or a 100-story skyscraper on that acre.

    There are positives and negatives to doing it that way, but one of the positives is that it doesn’t require subjective bureaucratic assessments of land value. An acre is an acre is an acre.

  260. Erik Geib

    Tomcat,

    Thank you for taking the time to answer. I can see we’re obviously on different sides of this issue.

    I do see a problem with someone else claiming 95% of an island just because they say “this is mine.” I have an even larger problem with him ‘selling it’ when he isn’t even using it, given that he did nothing to acquire it beyond saying it was his. The only way for him to rationalize his claim, in my view, is to either use guns (force) or the law (force) to justify his view. I also still maintain that one cannot justify claiming ownership of capital they did nothing to create without it being a violation of others’ ability to use the same product (such as land, water, air, etc.). As we disagree, however, I realize that this is of course my opinion alone.

    Yes, a ‘geo’ system isn’t perfect, and no, I don’t necessarily advocate it. I do tend to sympathize with its thoughts on the original question of land ownership based on pure claim, however.

    That being said, I would never advocate a full-scale conversion to a ‘geo’ system, even if I did ever claim to fully support a system proposed. The question (or problem, depending on how you look at it I suppose) and answers of original claim to geological ‘property’ pose similarities to other great debates of our day. Just as social security is an immoral, unjust ponzi scheme, I’d still never advocate getting rid of it overnight. Millions of people have acted on the good faith that it would be there for them, and of those people many are past the age to possess a developed alternative. To me, there is a striking parallel to the issuance of land ‘ownership.’ I would never deny the millions of people who ‘own’ land under our current system their rights to ‘their’ property, but I think any number of hybrid systems could eventually turn some of these problems around. One such method (again, as I said to another person) is the incrementalist approach of the single land-value tax. This ‘tax’ could be used under our current system of government to not only correct the many injustices of progressive taxation and the entitlement programs it supports, but it could also be a first step towards an increasingly minarchist society which may one day be more susceptible to libertarian alternatives and/or anarchy (obviously whether or not to go all the way to a stateless society and when [stage-wise] is a whole different debate).

    As Thomas has mentioned, there are some similar examples already existing in places like Hong Kong, where prosperity is no stranger. I know others find that setting the ‘unused value of the land’ to a market price would still require the existence of a central authority, but I’m not so certain a free market alternative couldn’t someday exist given the right system. That being said, even the ‘authority-based’ regime could work within an incrementalist government that would nudge rather than leap others to liberty. Of course, there are a hundred other variables that could make that work or corrupt it entirely (the system of governance is a large part of that – obviously the pillaging nature of an unchecked democracy wouldn’t work well with such a system).

    I have an open mind towards any approach that is markedly more libertarian than what we have today, and would readily endorse anything I think is feasible – I try not to limit my beliefs to one system of government (or non-government =p), but I also try not to close the door on any idea that I think contains at least something tenable (hence, my defense of this ideology against my previous debate partner).

    That being said, I think we (we, being the many libertarians who have participated in this debate) can at least all agree that liberty is fundamentally better than socialism or the mixed-use systems in effect today.

    It’s been fun.

  261. Tomcat

    Erik,

    While I feel that most forms of taxation are theft, I can almost handle the single land-value land tax like Thomas mentioned earlier as well. It’s not ideal, but I am not an anarchist and don’t want a stateless society (I personally don’t think it’s workable due to human nature), and a government needs some sort of funding. I’d rather use something else, but a land-value tax is uniform regardless of what you do with it…and I can live with something like that.

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