Green Party Watch: Is there hope for a Green/Libertarian alliance?

Posted by Gregg Jocoy at Green Party Watch:



In a lengthy article, J.E. Robertson discusses what s/he sees as a coming rift in the Republican Party between “big tent” Republicans who want the party to be a majority party and “intolerant” Republicans who want a pure party.

As s/he develops the argument, s/he turns eventually to the idea of a Green/Libertarian coalition.

…there is significant overlap between the policy goals of the Green party and those of the Libertarian party, despite deep philosophical differences on the role of government. A multi-state coalition among representatives of these two parties could forge a path for viable opposition to the two-party stranglehold on power. The effects would likely see one of the two major parties pushed into third place.

The stage is set for all sorts of arguments now, but I would ask but one thing. Before adding your comments, read the entire piece to understand the concepts in full, and then give us the benefits of your thinking. If we are to break the stranglehold the corporate parties have on the American electorate, we must take some risks. As Congresswoman McKinney said, If we are to get something new, we must do something new.



Paulie] My own previous post on the subject is here and here. Dave Schwab is now also an IPR writer, although he was not at the time of the original exchange.



Exchange with Dave Schwab at GreenChange.

Subject: Libertarian Greens?

Hi Paulie,

I just read the commentary you posted about the Libertarian Party turning into a free-market conservative vehicle. Very interesting. I’ve noticed that you post both Green and Libertarian related articles – do you belong to both?

p] I’m a life member of the Libertarian Party and a region rep for several counties in Alabama.

I don’t formally belong to any Green Party organization right now, but I’ve been getting more involved with Green activities the last few months – attended the national meeting in Chicago, write articles at IPR and sometimes GPW. You should be aware however, that not all articles I post at IPR represent my own views – I post a variety of opinions from and about independents and alternative parties.

As it so happens, I do indeed share the concerns of the author of that article, except that he has already quit the LP and I am still involved in it. But I make no secret of being involved in other parties as well. I’m also a petitioner, and I have worked with the Greens – I and people I brought in got Arkansas Greens on the ballot in 2006 and 2008, and I tried to help out the Utah Greens, but got there too late to make the difference.

I’ve heard of left libertarians, are there also green libertarians?

p] Yes. Roderick Long has a couple of good articles that address these two topics. They are long, but I highly recommend reading them:

http://mises.org/story/2099

deals with left and right issues relating to libertarianism in a way I agree with

http://aaeblog.com/2006/11/24/greensleeves-was-all-my-joy/

relates to Green-Libertarian fusion – the short summary I would provide is that libertarianism is a philosophy of means: the non-initiation of coercion principle, see

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muHg86Mys7I

whereas Green politics is defined by ends: the ten key values, and the best application of both is using libertarian means to achieve green ends – in other words, there is no contradiction. Long goes into detail about how exactly this works.

I also studied environmental geography in college and belonged to an environmental club in college, and worked briefly for a PIRG going door to door back in 1989 when I was 17 years old – so I have been into environmental issues for a long time.

I’ve sometimes wondered about making the Green Party appealing to Libertarians, but I always figured that issues like climate change and free trade would preclude much cooperation.

p] It depends on what you want to do about climate change – I don’t think the government is the best organization to solve any real problem we have. For instance, I would agree that terrorism, poverty, and drug abuse are real problems, but I don’t see all the government money spent to solve them as doing so.

On the other hand, there is much that government could do by way of getting out of the way to help solve climate change and other environmental problems: ceasing actions such as corporate welfare, corporate personhood, nonconcensual limited liability, military-industrial complex actions on behalf of petrochemical interests, prohibition of hemp…and less obvious ones, such as the disproportionate impact taxes and regulations have on new and startup businesses that could challenge prevailing ways of doing things.

As for free trade, I’m for it – but not globally managed trade, with book-length agreements and enforcement bureaucracies, which is deceptively called free trade, and not with the aforementioned corporate personhood, non-concensual limited liability, corporate welfare, etc., that in my view greatly distorts the would-be natural ecology of a true free trade system.

On the other hand, if it’s true that the LP is following in the footsteps of Mr. Barr, then I can see left libertarians finding the GP to be a stronger advocate for equal rights, civil liberties, ending the drug war, reproductive choice, and other issues that people care about.

What do you think?

Peace,
Dave

p] I think there is much in the way of potential there, but it would by no means be easy. With your permission, I would like to post our exchange thus far.

Dave writes back:

Thanks for the reply, and the links. I look forward to reading them soon.

Feel free to post our exchange on the sites you mentioned. It seems like the fur is still flying at LP meetings, but if the right-wingers take over, it might be worth looking into how to welcome left libertarians into the Green tent.

I also wonder about issues like a carbon tax, progressive taxation schemes, and fuel efficiency requirements, and the general preference among Greens for community decision-making in areas that recent government actors have treated as the domain of private interests, such as logging in public forests or offshore drilling. Basically, if government intervention is the only feasible way to conserve the environment, can libertarians make peace with that?

115 thoughts on “Green Party Watch: Is there hope for a Green/Libertarian alliance?

  1. Gene Berkman

    The article @ GreenPartyWatch about a proposed Green-Lib alliance is based on several faulty propositions.

    The 2006 and 2008 elections were repudiations of George W Bush, his war, his deficit spending, and the bank bailouts. They were not a repudiation of the role of corporations in American public life – where the hell did Barack Obama raise $900 million from, if not signficantly from the same big business that funded Bush’s re-election in 2004.

    A proposed Green-Libertarian alliance faces a much bigger problem of fundamental views. Greens accept and favor the New Deal/Great Society Welfare state, and the whole point of the Libertarian Movement is to oppose the New Deal/Great Society welfare state.

    Projections of the death of the Republican Party are premature, especially now with Obama’s poll numbers dropping among Independents.

    In any case, if the Green Party and the Libertarian Party were to form a coalition at the national level, both parties would lose members who object to such an oxymoronic union. (thanks WFB)

    Sure, Libertarians can collaborate with Greens in opposing the Warfare state and pushing for legal marijuana. But since each party, as is typical of third parties, has an outsize share of kooks, joining the two would increase the proportion of kooks as rational people left both parties.

  2. Robert Milnes

    Whether each party would lose or gain members would depend on whether a coalition succeeded or not. If greens & libs started actually getting elected, both dems & reps would abandon their party in favor. we need a successful try in one of the special elections coming up. The candidate must ask for the vote of the other party.

  3. GREEN PARTY IS COMMUNISM

    NO HELL IN WAY should the green party merge with the Libertarian party. Me and a lot of other people would stop this.

    The green party is a communist/socialist party and believe in:

    FOR STARTERS THEY BELIEVE IN UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE/SOCIALISM

    I have looked at there website and platform. NO HELL IN WAY. Libertarians and the Greens are opposite of each other.

  4. The only party that comes close.

    The only party that are close to each other are the New Whig party, The Constitution party, The Boston Tea party. NO OTHER PARTY WORKS: PERIOD.

  5. Lou Novak

    I can see how someone who confuses Green with Communism, Universal Health Care with Socialism and an alliance with a merger would confuse their ill informed opinions with reality.

    We Greens still have to work on alliances within the Green Party.

  6. Chris Edes

    In Rochester, NY school board elections are partisan. As the Libertarian candidate, I was pleased to also receive the endorsement of the Green Party. From my perspective, a Green-Libertarian alliance works well.

    I favor a candidate-by-candidate approach over trying to forge a national consensus. In true entrepreneurial style, individual candidates can provide the creativity and intellectual labor, to create a basis for alliance. Cooperation on higher levels should develop out of this process, rather than precede it.

  7. Third Party Revolution

    The Green Party, while being very liberal, is not actually a communist party. And I wouldn’t use the word communism as a bad word, as you might offend some of the communists who read IPR.

  8. Michael Cavlan

    There is a huge hope for this kind of thinking.

    just not with, well you all know………..

  9. Another name for communism

    Communism is based on a communal view of life, namely that property, work, and the benefits of work are shared. In practice, of course, some people are “more equal than others”, and these end up running the show and getting the dachas. The Green Party view of property rights, work allocation, and how one’s salary is to be divied up is communal, i.e. communist. It is also elitist, in that it views only the enlightened Green Party members as capable of compassion, charity, fairness, or decency. The rest of us, in the minds of Green Party members are so many cattle to be herded into funding the Green Party schemes and dreams. So, yes, in the minds of the public it is difficult to distinguish the Green Party from the Communist Party. And this is because the Public understanding is quite correct.

  10. Michael Cavlan

    Another name for Communism

    So argues the kitchen table.

    I may have contempt for Barney Frank and all he stands for, but damn he was good on taking on these idiotic folks who actually believe that Obama is a Socialist.

    Newsflash.

    he ain’t.

  11. Yes he is a socialist

    Maybe you might want to look at the history of Nazi Germany and see how that got started. The same thing that is happening here.
    Yes! Obama is a socialist. And when one who says my muslim faith, slip of the tongue is like how many of you will say my hindu faith. A person that says that, it is not by accident any more than any of you that says my hindu faith.

  12. Michael Cavlan

    Calling Obama a socialist, perhaps you should read up on a good psychiatrist or even get your medications adjusted.

    Of course, kitchen tables are pretty useless to argue against.

    Seriously friend. your delusional thinking is astounding and I can’t stand Obama.

  13. paulie Post author

    @15

    “obama, socialist, muslim”

    Oh. One of those ‘tards (no offense intended to the differently abled).

    That means you probably also think he is a reptilian space alien who was born in Kenya, eh?

    lol

  14. Deran

    I can’t tell you how much it get’s my goat when people blather on abt Obama being a socialist! Nothing could be further from the truth. He is a dyed in the wool pro-big business capitalist.

    And it’s even worse when Leftists, actual existing socialists, delude themselves into believing same.

    As far as the Lib/Green mash-up. Better anti-authoritarians work on issues we agree on, and not try and cover over core values and ideals that conflict.

  15. Michael Cavlan

    Paulie

    Damn. That left libertarian professor’s analysis of the GP 10 key Values really got to me.

    Excellent post. Thank you Sir.

  16. Michael Seebeck

    As I said over there, I can see an alliance on ballot access issues, debate inclusions, and issues that are common to third parties.

    But not ideologically speaking, since Ls are for limited government and Gs are for Big Greenverment.

  17. Robert Milnes

    Michael Seebeck, yes, those areas are possible cooperation between GP & LP. But BY FAR the most important area is vote coordination. Either one Green or Libertarian on EVERY ballot. Or the first one on the ballot gets recognition. BOTH libertarian & green(inclusive progressives) voters vote for the one candidate. Ideologically speaking, libs are for limited or no government. Greens are for social/political revolution leading to limited or no government. Radical libs should understand that there are also radical greens & leftist anarchists already on the other side.

  18. Robert Milnes

    Michael Cavlan, yes, Prof. long’s article is very good. FYI, you are on my list for possible fusion ticket. Green male pres., Libertarian female vice president. I tried to promote Gravel/Ruwart. Also Milnes/Ruwart. There is also Johnson/Ruwart & Cavlan Ruwart. More recently I have proposed Milnes/Hogarth.

  19. Robert Milnes

    Other possibles are: Milnes/Kwiatkowski, Whitney/Ruwart etc. Greens & libs are going to have to decide who they want for the fusion executive ticket. The sooner the better.

  20. Robert Milnes

    Keep in mind everybody that the selection of the GP/LP fusion ticket is serious as a heart attack. That ticket may well be the next president & vice-president.

  21. Kimberly Wilder

    Okay, I admit, I didn’t read the whole article and I only skimmed the comments.

    But, still, I want to comment!

    I see the whole argument here about people thinking that the Greens and Libertarians have such philosophical differences that they could not form an alliance.

    Though, I have always thought the best way to overcome that is to go straight to bottom line goals.

    As third party activists, we want things to be more fair.

    As third party activists, in order to succeed, we need the system to be open and accountable. So, that there is hope for change of the incumbents.

    I think the easiest way to do a Green/Libertarian alliance, is to support candidate for positions that are less about details and social policy, and more about getting things done correctly.

    So, someone might run for Town Clerk. Where, the Town Clerk can campaign simply on the idea about open and transparent government. Or, run for Secretary of State and run on the issue of being fair to third party and independent candidates.

    I tend to think that people who take a suggestion and start shouting communist! and socialist! or statist! are people who talk a lot and do very little real work.

    I care about the deep, philosophical issues. But, I know that in order to create change and be effective, you have to get something moving in the real world. That means not shouting ideology back and forth every time someone suggest a concrete action, or a joint campaign.

    Peace,
    Kimberly Wilder

  22. Move to the UK its your cup a tea

    Now it is plain obvious that you guys are way out on left field, I mean really way out to the left side falling off in more ways than one. Your type of thinking I suggest you move to the UK. You would be a lot happier there.

  23. Eric Dondero

    Might as well call for a Libertarian Party – Nazi Party USA alliance, for the Greens are some of the biggest Fascists America has ever seen.

    Not only are they in favor of national socialist health care via Obama Care, they’re also huge Nanny-staters trying to tell us what to eat, smoke, drink, what cars to drive and do in our free time.

    They are at the complete opposite end of the politicial spectrum from Libertarians.

  24. paulie Post author

    As I said over there, I can see an alliance on ballot access issues, debate inclusions, and issues that are common to third parties.

    But not ideologically speaking, since Ls are for limited government and Gs are for Big Greenverment.

    Not all Greens are necessarily for big government. Green philosophy centers around goals – the ten key values. Libertarian philosophy center around acceptable means – non-initiation of coercion principle, of which minimizing monopoly government is a strong corollary.

    Thus, it is possible to come with libertarian means towards green goals, which is the best synthesis of both.

  25. paulie Post author

    Okay, I admit, I didn’t read the whole article and I only skimmed the comments.

    Don’t feel bad. It appears from most of the comments that few people bothered to read it and are responding to either the title or other comments, without reading the embedded links at all.

  26. paulie Post author

    @29

    If I move anywhere, it would be to the Caribbean, Central America (probably Costa Rica or Belize), or the South Pacific. Maybe Brazil or Thailand or something. Certainly not the UK.

  27. Kimberly Wilder

    One of my friends who critiques the Libertarians a lot, says that the first interest of Libertarians is to protect private property. And, I do know that protecting private property is one value.

    I think that with alternative thinking, Libertarians could come to some agreement on green strategies.

    I think of Buckminster Fuller’s idea of a super-computer, that could keep track of everyone’s influence on the earth. So, that, if one person puts up a factory that spits out pollution, the machine would observe that, and tax it, just like someone would pay for using someone’s land as an easement.

    It is naive to think that just because someone owns a plot of land, that they could put on, or spout out whatever poison or toxins they want. That is causing harm to other people.

    If more Libertarians could see these simple truths, perhaps by looking at systems the way Buckminster Fuller did, they might see more need for a government to intervene among property owners.

  28. Kimberly Wilder

    I like Paulie’s comment:

    -Thus, it is possible to come with libertarian means towards green goals, which is the best synthesis of both.-

    I think it shows how both sides could improve.

    But, one specific problem I have seen on the Libertarian side, is denying global warming.

    I believe that there are people on the right, in the Libertarian Party, and the Republican Party, who see what they want, say “no legislation that impedes factory owners from polluting”, and in order to get to that place, they always thought it was best to deny global warming existed.

    But, now, it is a fairly ridiculous position to deny global warming exists. Insurance companies are preparing for it. Governments are acknowledging and preparing for it. Scientists are asserting it.

    And, the right and Libertarians need to let go of their pattern of just saying it doesn’t exist, because they don’t want to do the things about it other people propose.

    It’s time to acknowledge it. Start from the reality, the reality that there is global warming. And, then say what the government should or should not do about it.

    It is just a cheating shortcut to deny global warming. And, it is the kind of shortcut that will harm a lot of people and a lot of property.

  29. Kimberly Wilder

    Eric Dondero, said:

    -Might as well call for a Libertarian Party – Nazi Party USA alliance, for the Greens are some of the biggest Fascists America has ever seen.-

    Eric,

    When you go for the Rush Limbaugh style discourse, I always wonder why. Is it just that you like attention? Are you a pawn of the right believing you will convince people? Or, are you a double-spy for some leftists who think that having words like that spouted out will make people run from the culture that supports them?

    There is a lot of truth to the fact that inside the Green Party there is a strain of oppressive thinking. There are people that think they have the answers, and want to push them through.

    But, the way you say it sounds ridiculous and only polarizes things.

    Actually, though, there is room in green values to reject facist thinking and fascist, nanny-government strategies. Because, green values include “grassroots democracy” and other values about open and transparent decision-making and input from the stakeholders. So, there are many greens, and many green values, which would support less coercive means to positive, environmental and justice outcomes.

  30. paulie Post author

    One of my friends who critiques the Libertarians a lot, says that the first interest of Libertarians is to protect private property.

    It depends on the Libertarian.

    Here’s how this Libertarian sees it.

    I see regime intervention in the economy as being akin to robbery and in some cases kidnapping.

    I see civil liberties violations by the regime as being akin to systematic gang rape.

    And I see the regime’s wars and imperialism as mass murder.

    The legal system, and I think most people, would say that it is worse to be raped than robbed, and worse to be murdered than raped – not that anyone wants to have any of those things done to them.

    Thus, I see pro-war, pro-imperialist policies as being worse than socially coercive policies, which are in turn worse than economically coercive policies, generally speaking.

  31. paulie Post author

    It is naive to think that just because someone owns a plot of land, that they could put on, or spout out whatever poison or toxins they want. That is causing harm to other people.

    Libertarians don’t believe that anyone should be immune from harm they cause others through pollution. The classic libertarian answer is that this can be addressed through full personal liability and the end of corporate personhood and nonconcensual limited liability.

    There are desenting points of views, such as Henry Georgists (geolibertarians).

  32. paulie Post author

    If more Libertarians could see these simple truths, perhaps by looking at systems the way Buckminster Fuller did, they might see more need for a government to intervene among property owners.

    The problem is that any government that is big enough to do the things you want it to do is also big enough to do lots of things you don’t want it to do – and will. Government “solutions” to problems tend to be sort of like fixing a swiss watch by pounding it with a hammer, or carelessly burning through a small obstruction in a much larger fire-prone environment. And, I would contend that this is due to the nature of monopoly government, not merely because the wrong people are in charge.

  33. Michael Seebeck

    I think of Buckminster Fuller’s idea of a super-computer, that could keep track of everyone’s influence on the earth. So, that, if one person puts up a factory that spits out pollution, the machine would observe that, and tax it, just like someone would pay for using someone’s land as an easement.

    Kimberly, that is simply a variation of the techno-communism garbage that was discussed and destroyed on the Resource-Based-Economy thread a couple of weeks back.

    Since Libertarians consider “tax” to be equivalent to theft and slavery, I doubt Libertarians would go for it.

    Furthermore, since humans only occupy the top 6.5 miles of the surface of this 8000-mile diameter dirtball, we’re a drop in the bucket. Nature has her own way of adjusting to its problems, and frankly, very little we do will change that. The real argument isn’t over what we do to the earth, but what we do to each other.

  34. Thank you Eric Dondero

    Thumbs up Eric Dondero, I love it. I knew I wasn’t the only one who saw the greens are socialist.

  35. Kimberly Wilder

    I kind of see the point about “a government big enough to…”

    But, then again, I think now we have corporations big enough to… and that is a worse problem. (Which I see Paulie acknowledges and says other Libertarians acknowledge.)*

    But, I also see this: If one person is putting deadly chemicals into the air, and his neighbor wants him to stop, intervening with a “tax bill” seems like a lot less bully method than a lot of other methods the neighbor or government can employ.

    Who would punish polluters? The courts, only? Isn’t that just the government again? And, less effective branch of government, because it takes so long to get to court. And, the victim, even if in the right, usually needs to spend a lot of money on a lawyer.

    Isn’t a law just as good or evil as depending on the courts, as far as “statism” is concerned?

    *Ending corporate personhood is a point of agreement that Greens and Libertarians have, and should probably discuss and act on a lot more on both sides.

  36. El Grande Chupacabra

    “Thumbs up Eric Dondero, I love it. ”

    You have your thumbs up Eric Dondero? How revolting.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if they get infected and fall off.

  37. paulie Post author

    Who would punish polluters? The courts, only? Isn’t that just the government again?

    Not necessarily. There doesn’t have to be a monopoly system of courts.

  38. paulie Post author

    And, the victim, even if in the right, usually needs to spend a lot of money on a lawyer.

    There are alternatives, such as contingency fees and charging lawyer fees to the polluter when/if found guilty.

  39. Ana Maria Lopez Reyes

    Si Senor Chupacabra, it is true.

    Senor Dondero, he no very clean.

    I get vaginal warts and syphyllis from this pendejo last month.

    And he no pay enough.

  40. Michael Cavlan

    Ana marie

    ROFLMFAO

    Senor Dondero esta un pinche cabron.

    Chinge Su madre Senor Donndero.

    Loca puta

  41. Correcting Donderror

    Syphilus is presented as the first man to contract the disease, sent by the god Apollo as punishment for the defiance that Syphilus and his followers had shown him. From this character Fracastoro derived a new name for the disease, which he also used in his medical text De Contagionibus (“On Contagious Diseases”).

    Until that time, as Fracastoro notes, syphilis had been called the “French disease” in Italy and Germany, and the “Italian disease” in France. In addition, the Dutch called it the “Spanish disease”, the Russians called it the “Polish disease”, the Turks called it the “Christian disease” or “Frank disease” (frengi) and the Tahitians called it the “British disease”. These “national” names are due to the disease often being spread by foreign sailors and soldiers during their frequent, unprotected sexual contact with local prostitutes.

    Hmmmm I wonder who here resembles that remark?

    ….Correcting Donderror ………

  42. Explaining Donderror

    General paresis, otherwise known as general paresis of the insane, is a severe manifestation of neurosyphilis. It is a chronic dementia which ultimately results in death in as little as 2–3 years. Patients generally have progressive personality changes, memory loss, and poor judgment. More rarely, they can have psychosis, depression, or mania. Imaging of the brain usually shows atrophy.

  43. Michael Cavlan

    Con futball

    Viva Irelande, No Mexicana

    how did the El salvador v.s. US match go?

    hell, I’ll ask my kid. he will know.

  44. Michael Cavlan

    Yup

    just seen that.

    Looks like the US will probably be bound for their 6th World Cup qualifier. Unless Tobago hits a slam dunk.

    LOL

    I LOVE Tobagan food BTW. Makes mexican spicy food look almost Taco Bell by comparison.

  45. Steven R Linnabary

    Who would punish polluters? The courts, only? Isn’t that just the government again? And, less effective branch of government, because it takes so long to get to court. And, the victim, even if in the right, usually needs to spend a lot of money on a lawyer.

    In a Libertopia, pollution would be seen as a form of trespass. Currently, we have a system of considering air and water to be a “commons”, which is always a tragedy.

    FWIW, I did have the endorsement of the local Green Party in 2000 for my Clerk of Courts campaign. In that campaign I only talked about “Jury Nullification”, which is an issue endorsed by both the GP and the LP.

    I’ve also found many Greens to be rather decentralist, which can be a very libertarian concept. Not all Greens are watermelons (red on the inside), as many are avocado’s.

    PEACE

  46. THE TRUTH COMES OUT

    Now the true intellegent of these people come out. Having you people vote is a scary.

  47. Rev. Dr. J. Davis Pinkerton III, Esq.

    “Thumbs up Eric Dondero, I love it. ”

    You have your thumbs up Eric Dondero? How revolting.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if they get infected and fall off.

    Having carefully considered all the evidence, I have come to the conclusion that, rather than enjoying having his thumbs inside the posterior cavity of Donderror, our esteemed interlocutor was in fact rather directing Mr. Donderror to insert his thumbs inside the rear end of Mr. “Thank you Eric Dondero,” and expressing his pleasure at the resulting mental stimulation.

    It was rather as if he were saying “Step on the gas Mr. Donderror,” as it were.

  48. Who's Thumbing Who?

    Mr. Pinkerton,

    I am not convinced by the evidence you have marshalled.

    It may indeed be as you say. Or, it may just as equally be as the Grand Chupacabra originally concluded.

    One thing is for sure: Regardless of whether “Thank you Eric Dondero” is thumbing Dondero, or the other way around, someone’s brain is certainly getting a massage.

    As well, if Mr. “thank you” is in the inverse position, rather than having his thumbs be infected and fall off, he is actually in danger of developing an infection in the tract of his colon, leading to a sensation akin to a boiling enema, and making it even more difficult for him to think than before – as difficult as that may be to imagine.

  49. Scary Votes

    Yes! their vote counts just as much as anyone. That’s why this country is in the pitiful state that it is.

  50. Dave Schwab

    Here is the comment I left on the Green Party Watch article, uncut – enjoy:

    Greens and Libertarians should form a national united front for democracy, focused on ballot access and election reform issues that we can both agree on. I think our demands have added weight in the public eye when people see us working together. And of course, there is strength in numbers. Greens, Libertarians, Constitutionalists, independents and other parties can surely find broad agreement on these points:

    -instant runoff voting for single-winner elections
    -proportional representation for legislative elections
    -no restrictive and/or discriminatory ballot access laws, or “Trojan Horse” measures like the top-two primary

    As for deeper alliances with Libertarians, I am of two minds, because I see two currents in the libertarian movement, which are usually called left-libertarianism and right-libertarianism. Left libertarians are anti-war, pro-civil liberties, oppose the centralization of power, tend to oppose out-of-control corporate power, oppose the drug war, and generally oppose forcing people to do stuff with the threat of violence. Right libertarians tend to focus on laissez-faire economics, guns, taxes, and other things they consider the Republicans too soft on; their definition of “liberty” usually comes off as meaning the liberty of wealthy, healthy white males to make and hoard money.

    I think there is much potential for Greens and left libertarians to work together, and we should work to make our party appealing to them. But it seems to me that the Libertarian Party has more of a right libertarian bent, and many of their candidates (like 2008 presidential ticket Bob Barr and Wayne Allan Root) are of a right libertarian orientation. Considering that money talks in the Libertarian party and they like it that way, this turn to the right is likely to continue.

    So I have doubts about the potential of Green-Lib fusion, and I don’t think it makes sense to pull Green candidates in favor of libertarian candidates unless those candidates actually share our values. But we should definitely partner with them to make our system more representative and democratic – once that is accomplished, both parties will have more of a chance to prove themselves to the voters.

  51. paulie Post author

    Pavel – razve ty govorish po russkiy, ili tol’ko pritvoryajesh’sya?

    Govoryu bolye menye normal’no…my uyekhali iz Sibiri kogda mnye bylo sem let.

  52. Who's Thumbing Who?

    “Dave Schwab, very well stated. Very accurate description of the LP situation.”

    @ comment 68, I presume.

  53. Who's Thumbing Who?

    So, apparently the Green-Libertarian Alliance is actually a communist conspiracy that would have us all speaking Russian?

    With Obama hoisting the Red Chinese flag over the white house, this is a very troubling development. 🙂

  54. Michael Seebeck

    “I LOVE Tobagan food BTW”

    Not me. It’s hard to eat and steer over the snow at the same time. 🙂

  55. Michael Seebeck

    Not all Greens are watermelons (red on the inside), as many are avocado’s.

    Did you just say that many Greens are green on the outside, approaching yellow in the middle, and the pits at the center? 🙂

  56. Brian Holtz

    I have high hopes for the LP becoming more green, but I have little hope for the Greens becoming less anti-liberty and less neophobic.

    The LP needs to support a Green Tax Shift, using market means to achieve green ends.

    The LP needs to move toward geolibertarianism and EcoLibertarianism, of the sort expressed in the Free Earth Manifesto.


  57. Lou Novak

    Neophobic? Anti-liberty? Exactly what policies and positions of the Green Party support these descriptors?

    Please be specific and include citations.

    Thanks in advance.

  58. Dave Schwab

    All together now!

    Shiroka, strana moya rodnaya,

    mnogo v nyei lesov, polyei i rek –

    ja drugoi takoi strany nye znayu,

    gdye tak vol’no dyshit chelovek!

  59. Lou Novak

    Mr. Holtz,

    Your uninformed opinion don’t mean squat.

    If you’re for the freedom to be unemployed, poor, sick and subject to corporate rule, then you’re not willing to think outside the fascist box.

    Good luck to you sir.

  60. Brian Holtz

    I listed 25 anti-liberty and neophobic positions; thanks for not denying that the Green Party supports all of them.

    I generally favor the freedom to be unemployed, poor, and sick, except that I advocate a ecolibertarian Nature’s Dividend, financed by fees on people who initiate force by monopolizing, depleting, polluting, or congesting the natural commons. If you don’t agree that people should otherwise have full rights to their body, labor, peaceful production, and voluntary exchanges, then do you have the courage to say so?

    I oppose any and all “corporate rule” that involves fraud or initiation of force. If by “corporate rule” you include a) people not offering you the transactions you want, or b) people offering you transactions you wish you didn’t want, then you should just say so.

    Of course, it makes it harder to call people “fascist” when you admit that your views are just national socialism minus the nationalism.

  61. Gene Trosper

    Recently, Gerald Celente of Trends Research Institute (TRI) appeared on Fox News and said that the TRI is projecting the rise of a NEW third party which they are tentatively dubbing “Progressive Libertarian”. This man has one heck of a track record, so I do pay strong attention to what he has to say. Milnes, your incessant talk of a Progressive-Libertarian alliance may well be spot on.

    I could realistically see green-minded Libertarians and libertarian-minded Greens (yes, they do exist) getting together to fuse their ideas into a new party. I don’t see either party ever wanting to merge with another, but I can envision members splintering off. In my opinion, I believe a fusion of green and libertarian ideas would have a vast appeal to American voters. Like Paulie (if I read the story correct), I also did some work with PIRG in my youth. I am also concerned about the environment, animal welfare, alternative energy, organics, and community-based solutions. I don’t approach those from a big-government or corporate viewpoint though ( I am always suspicious of coporate America).

    Regardless how this idea evolves, I think it can be a big step in the right direction. Here is the link to the Gerald Celente video I mentioned: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDpBUoq3aB4

  62. Brian Holtz

    Prof. Fred Foldvary and other geolibertarians have been pushing progressive green libertarianism for decades, and there are good prospects for the LP to become more green. Here is Foldvary in 2007 asking Does free plus green equal victory? Here is Dan Sullivan in 1992 writing Greens and Libertarians: the yin and yang of our political future. Note also the Common Ground Declaration of Third Parties ’96, a summit held that year. Even better is the platform of the Democratic Freedom Caucus. It’s only about five deletions away from being better than the LP platform.

    The Georgist single-tax-on-land movement goes back even further, and has included many prominent libertarians including Milton Friedman and David Nolan.

  63. Dave Schwab

    “I am also concerned about the environment, animal welfare, alternative energy, organics, and community-based solutions. I don’t approach those from a big-government or corporate viewpoint though ( I am always suspicious of coporate America).”

    I guess by libertarian standards, Green ideas probably seem like ‘big government’, but Greens are actually much more nuanced on the question of government authority and power. Greens favor less government power in many areas where Democrats and Republicans favor more – military buildup and intervention, police powers, drug prohibition, corporate welfare and upward transfers of wealth (ie Wall St bailouts), and a number of other civil liberties questions.

    The Green key value of decentralization applies to both government and economic power. However, sometimes it’s wise to go with economies of scale (to save your tax dollars, by the way). For example, only 5% of money spent on Medicare goes to bureaucracy, while the figure for private insurance companies is more like 20-33%.

    The Green approach in a nutshell is “bigger government is not better, smaller government is not better, better government is better.”

  64. Brian Holtz

    Medicare is massive inter-generational theft. It would be totally ludicrous to suggest that 95% — or even 67% — of my Medicare “premiums” flow through to healtcare services for people in my age/income pool. It’s especially true for those of us with six-figure incomes, because Medicare payroll taxes aren’t capped. That’s theft, pure and simple.

    Then there’s also the way that Medicare uses legislative fiat to force artificially higher prices for care delivered outside its system, as a side-effect of its legislated requirement for discounts from retail prices. And I haven’t even begun to talk about Medicare’s wrong-headed mix of coverages, or how easy it is for providers to game its billing system.

    To invoke Medicare as an example of “better government” is to show just how intellectually bankrupt that concept is.

  65. Brian Holtz

    I serve the interests of those who should be protected from theft, which in my ethics is everyone. You apparently serve the interests of the mob as they covet and appropriate the possessions of the minority.

    I didn’t invent the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of Medicare, I’m just reporting it. Readers here can judge for themselves whose analysis of Medicare (as bad vs. better government) is more “vacuous”.

  66. Lou Novak

    44 Years Of Medicare Success

    http://pr.thinkprogress.org/2009/07/pr20090730

    Using Medicare to Lower Health Care Costs

    http://www.newamerica.net/publications/articles/2009/using_medicare_lower_health_care_costs_12847

    “Drug makers want to maintain the status quo which they call “non-interference” – as in non-interference by the government in negotiating drug pricing and marketing.”

    – from WSJ blogs at http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2009/07/31/negotiation-of-medicare-drug-prices-back-for-now/

  67. Gene Trosper

    @90 I would like to challenge Greens to this thought exercise: can you propose solutions based on the non-aggression principle? That is to say, can Greens propose solutions that don’t involve the use of force or implied threats of violence? If Greens can accomplish that, then we have an instant alliance.

  68. Gene Trosper

    @92 I would also like to extent that challenge to Lou Novak. Can you propose solutions that don’t involve the use of force or implied threats of violence? Honestly, your rhetoric is divisive, while non aggression is an approach that brings people together.

  69. Brian Holtz

    Gene, that’s a great way to frame the debate — much better than me pointing out that much of what the Green Party platform calls for is “socialist”. I suspect that a clever leftist would answer by claiming that “free” associations between people can be considered coercive if one side has more options/resources than the other. However, they conspicuously decline to apply their own logic to other kinds of inequality e.g. in sexual attractiveness. You don’t see them arguing for redistribution of dating power from the beautiful to the ugly.

    Libertarian economist Robin Hanson wrote an interesting speculation about this in 2007:


    Redistribution Isn’t About Sympathy

    Many people say they favor redistribution from the rich to the poor because they feel sorry for the poor. The poor suffer from having too little money, and it doesn’t take much money to help them a lot. In contrast, the rich won’t miss that money much.

    These redistribution advocates usually aren’t very interested in redistributing across the world to poor nations, or across time to poor eras. So they usually explain that they just don’t feel much sympathy for such distant poor.

    Such advocates also usually aren’t very interested in giving money to people who suffer because they are short, ugly, boring, clumsy, unpopular, etc. Yet a bit of money might go a long way to brighten these lives as well. Explanations offered for why folks sympathize with the poor but not the short etc. have long left me puzzled.

    Garrett Jones has just convinced me that a pretty simple explanation is available: the redistributive urge just doesn’t have much to do with sympathy. Our ancestors would sometimes notice that some folks in the tribe had a lot more tangible portable stuff than the rest, and those with less would then be tempted to find an excuse to grab a bunch of that stuff.

    Would-be-grabbers would look for the most believable excuse they could find. Sometimes the excuse would be that stuff-holders had violated some tribal norm and needed to be punished. (Hence our hyper-willingness to believe the rich freely violate treasured norms.) But lacking a better excuse, they’d fall back on the old favorite, that those with less stuff would sure appreciate each thing more than those with lots.

    Our ancestors weren’t in the habit of making up similar excuses to grab stuff from the tall, pretty, witty, coordinated, or popular, for the obvious reason that those people didn’t usually have much stuff to grab. So our ancestors focused on finding excuses to grab stuff from people with lots of stuff for the same reason folks have given for robbing banks, “Because that’s where the money is.”

  70. paulie Post author

    I could realistically see green-minded Libertarians and libertarian-minded Greens (yes, they do exist) getting together to fuse their ideas into a new party. I don’t see either party ever wanting to merge with another, but I can envision members splintering off. In my opinion, I believe a fusion of green and libertarian ideas would have a vast appeal to American voters. Like Paulie (if I read the story correct), I also did some work with PIRG in my youth. I am also concerned about the environment, animal welfare, alternative energy, organics, and community-based solutions. I don’t approach those from a big-government or corporate viewpoint though ( I am always suspicious of coporate America).

    Exactly. And yes, you read that right.

  71. paulie Post author

    Greens favor less government power in many areas where Democrats and Republicans favor more – military buildup and intervention, police powers, drug prohibition, corporate welfare and upward transfers of wealth (ie Wall St bailouts), and a number of other civil liberties questions.

    The Green key value of decentralization applies to both government and economic power.

    Completely agreed and a great answer to those libertarians who keep painting Greens as statist (opposite of libertarians). It just so happens that those are key issues for me.

    However, sometimes it’s wise to go with economies of scale (to save your tax dollars, by the way). For example, only 5% of money spent on Medicare goes to bureaucracy, while the figure for private insurance companies is more like 20-33%.

    I don’t think that holds up under examination, and what I would propose would be different from either.

    The Green approach in a nutshell is “bigger government is not better, smaller government is not better, better government is better.”

    True, but only in the context that government is best which governs least, and ultimately – there’s no government like no government.

  72. Gene Trosper

    @100 My wealth? I’m a couple of paychecks away from going under financially. I’m 43 years old and it was only 3 years ago that I was able to buy a car that was less than 5 years old. My position in society? I prefer to stay outside this so-called “society”…a society that glorifies war, American Idol, and celebrities.

    The choices I make in life largely determine my position in life. Sure, some things are out of my control, but in the things I CAN control, I choose to not aggress against my friends, family, coworkers and neighbors. What my forefathers did is out of my hands. The past is the past and there is nothing we can do to change that. What we, as individuals, can do is to CHOOSE peaceful, consentual behavior over the use of force now and in the future.

  73. Brian Holtz

    Dave, I assume you mean initiation of force, since of course I believe that my wealth at all times depends on potential thieves being afraid of justified defensive or retaliatory force.

    As a geolibertarian, I definitely believe that a large fraction of society’s wealth (land) and income (geo-rent, polluting production, resource extraction) involves unjust appropriation. That’s why I think there is so much room for resonance between greens and eco/geo-libertarians.

    I put myself through college and then took jobs in Silicon Valley that have made me modestly wealthy — even though American governments have taken from me about half of all that I have ever earned. Yes, I drive on government roads and attended monopoly government schools etc., but I vehemently reject the notion that past government “investments” of stolen money into such projects can justify present or future thievery against my body, labor, peaceful production, or voluntary exchanges. All I will concede is that government investments and services often get capitalized into land value, and so I will tolerate that government replace all its claims on my clean work and peaceful trade with a claim on the geo-rent of the land from which I exclude other people. That way, government can’t grow beyond the value that the community (through local land markets) places on government’s services.

    Past injustice can never justify present or future injustice. Claims for damages and reparations should be settled by judges and juries, not by demagogues and voting mobs. The mob’s appetite to steal from our labor, peaceful production, and voluntary exchanges is effectively insatiable. If you believe that a voting majority can ever make a moral claim to a non-zero share of my labor, peaceful production, and voluntary exchanges, then tell us: how much can the majority demand before the claim becomes immoral? How can we know when that line has been crossed? Do you even admit that such a line must exist at least in principle?

  74. paulie Post author

    An honest question to libertarians: do you believe that your wealth and position in society has nothing to do with the use of force?

    If you mean mine personally, yes, the initiation of force and its ripple effects are certainly responsible for making me much poorer than I could be. I would say that the same is true for most people, although a small minority of people are much wealthier relative to other people – not necessarily in absolute terms – than if government was not exempt from laws against initiation of force and fraud.

  75. Robert Capozzi

    ds, yes, of course, coercion affects our affluence. On balance, it generally affects it negatively, although a few benefit from violence at the many’s expense.

    Still, even if you could make the case that more coercion leads to more plenty for most, as a peacenik, I would not support high levels of coercion. I’d prefer a peaceful, more spartan existence to a coercive, affluent one.

  76. Brian Holtz

    I’d say that most Americans get some kind of ill-gotten gain from force initiation. Examples:

    • Landholders enjoy land prices artificially raised by growth limits, zoning rules, and capitalization of tax-financed government services.
    • Homeowners enjoy subsidized or guaranteed mortgages.
    • Renters often enjoy rent controls and eviction limits.
    • Stockholders benefit from corporations being shielded by limited liability, and from bailouts socializing their losses.
    • Exporters enjoy subsidies; importers enjoy tariffs and quotas.
    • Fossil fuel companies generally don’t pay market prices for resource severance.
    • Nuclear power companies enjoy legislated limits on their liability.
    • Agribusiness and farmers enjoy subsidies, price controls, land set-asides, below-cost water, import quotas/tariffs, etc.
    • Media corporations enjoy restrictions on technology for manipulating content, and excessive copyright tenure.
    • Pharma, software and others enjoy unreasonable patent advantages.
    • Land developers enjoy eminent domain abuses.
    • Seniors enjoy a retirement pyramid scheme and health insurance funded via inter-generational theft.
    • Union workers enjoy antitrust exemptions, and laws about closed shops, prevailing wages, good-faith bargaining, etc.
    • Employees enjoy restrictions on employers regarding wages, hours, hiring, and firing.
    • Teachers, nurses, firemen, police, prison guards, and many other government workers receive excessive disability and retirement benefits in exchange for their bloc voting.
    • Doctors, lawyers, many engineers and other “professionals” enjoy competition limits via occupational licensure.

    This list of rent-seekers is just a start — you could add to it using almost any item from this list of agencies and laws to abolish. Of course, many people are both victims and beneficiaries of various kinds of rent-seeking and force-initiation. My judgment is that the benefits of all this force initiation generally flow 1) from the more-productive to the less-productive (whether poor or wealthy), 2) from competitive sectors to monopoly-ridden sectors, and 3) from the young to the old.

  77. Who's Thumbing Who?

    Brian, yes, it’s true that most of us benefit from government initiation of force to some extent.

    However, most of us lose more of what we could have had because of it than what we gain.

    Thus I see no contradiction between what you said and what others have said.

  78. Brian Holtz

    Yes, I already added this coda to the blog posting I created from this comment: “The flow of opportunity costs is much harder to evaluate, and eliminating all this aggression would be massively positive-sum, so even people who might appear to be net beneficiaries of rent-seeking shouldn’t be assumed to be worse off it were all gone.”

  79. Gene Trosper

    Things is: while many of us derive *something* from the ill gotten gain that Brian mentioned, it does not automatically follow that we WANT that ill gotten gain because it forced upon us. Yes, I went to a public school as a child. Was I asked if I wanted to go to public school? No. I was forced by law to attend an intellectually stifling institution and forced to associate with people I would NEVER, ever wish to associate with: bullies. I cannot begin to count the number of times I had to physically defend myself during school and after school.

  80. Brian Holtz

    Greens do use some worrisome rhetoric about “economic justice”, but rarely get more specific than saying that local communities should be allowed to “approve or disapprove large economic projects case-by-case based on environmental impacts, local ownership, community reinvestment, wage levels, and working conditions.” This is not nearly as bad as standard communist rhetoric about social (and often central) control of all means of production.

    I would be much less worried about the Greens if they explicitly opposed all centralized social management of the economy. I’m not afraid of socialism at the community, county, or even state level, because people and capital could vote with their feet and thus would tend to veto it.

  81. paulie Post author

    Loud and unclear,

    try reading the post you are responding to, and the included links. Once you have read and understood the material, I’ll be interested in your opinion.

  82. Natalia

    Dave – brilliant as ever.

    I love how everyone dodged _”An honest question to libertarians: do you believe that your wealth and position in society has nothing to do with the use of force?”_

    Not one person came forward and admitted that our caucasian-male-dominant society is the result of thousands of years of oppression and violence from that very demographic against the rest of the world. Privilege was not won by non-aggression (so much for trying to use it as an axiom).

    _”The mob’s appetite to steal from our labor, peaceful production, and voluntary exchanges is effectively insatiable._

    YOUR labor??? The last time I checked, the wealthy elite were making money off the combination of their ideas and the LABOR OF THE MOB.

    _”If you believe that a voting majority can ever make a moral claim to a non-zero share of my labor, peaceful production, and voluntary exchanges, then tell us: how much can the majority demand before the claim becomes immoral?”_

    Well, in the case of Wal-Mart workers, they can demand in wages what they are currently receiving from the taxpayers in the form of welfare. Every 200 person Wal-Mart in the country is responsible for over 400,000 A YEAR in taxes in the form welfare that their laborers qualify for (based on their income). Total Wal-Mart supercenters in the country? more than 2,000. Total annual federal taxpayer money that gets funneled into WalMart for neglecting to pay their employees a living wage? over 1 BILLION dollars per year.

    So I have an idea – in a society where employers become wealthy off the labor of others, how about they pay their emloyees a living wage (welfare magically goes away when nobody qualifies for it anymore), and we will call that MORALITY.

    Wages have inexplicably, and inexcusably stagnated for the past 40 years. This is why you are paying taxes to put food on other people’s tables, and this is when credit became spending power and when family savings disappeared. So let me ask you something, Brian: How much longer can the wealthy few demand work-for-zero from their own laborers before the claim becomes immoral?

    After all, without wage laborers, those great ideas that you’ve “labored” over are nothing but DAYDREAMS floating around in your head.

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