Kn@ppster: ‘Buttrick v. Root’

Posted by Tom Knapp at Kn@ppster:

Hat tip to Mike Renzulli (via the LP Radicals list) and Freedom’s Phoenix, which just posted video of a speech given by Maricopa County, Arizona Superior Court Judge John Buttrick at the 2009 “Freedom Summit.”

What qualifies Buttrick to opine on the future of the Libertarian Party? Well, he’s a Libertarian. He’s been a party activist for decades. That should be plenty, but there’s more — in November of 2008, he got more votes for retention as a judge in one single Arizona county than the LP’s presidential ticket got nationwide.

Buttrick’s speech was supposed to be a debate with Wayne Allyn Root — the Libertarian Party’s 2008 vice-presidential candidate, failed CEO, and candidate for chairmanship of the Libertarian National Committee.

Root ducked the event. Smart move. Watch the speech if you want to know why. Buttrick’s talk begins about nine minutes in, but the extended intro by Ernie Hancock is worth a listen, too.

66 thoughts on “Kn@ppster: ‘Buttrick v. Root’

  1. Mik Robertson

    I don’t think it is unreasonable for the LP to advocate non-radical steps to increase liberty, which I don’t see as a radical goal.

    The presidential race is always a tough one for alternative candidates, it is not something unique to the LP. Look at Ralph Nader’s ups and downs.

    It seems the larger the race, the worse our candidates do. Presidential candidates always fare the worst, and statewide candidates for executive office to worse than those for statewide row offices. Our candidates for federal legislature tend to do better, and better still some of our candidates have fared for the state legislature. Local offices our candidates actually can win.

    It seems Tom Knapp does not like Wayne Root, at least for LNC Chair. I do think Buttrick is correct in noting the two major parties are not near collapse.

  2. Thomas L. Knapp

    Mik,

    You write:

    “I don’t think it is unreasonable for the LP to advocate non-radical steps to increase liberty, which I don’t see as a radical goal.”

    I don’t think it’s unreasonable either.

    I do think that it’s unreasonable to ONLY advocate non-radical steps, though.

    A political party is not just a basket of short-term policy proposals.

    Walk up to a random voter and ask him or what the Republican Party and the Democratic Party stand for.

    Hint: 99% of the time the reply will NOT be a list of the three top policy proposals being pushed for this year by that party’s presidential administration or congressional caucuses.

    “It seems Tom Knapp does not like Wayne Root, at least for LNC Chair.”

    I try to carefully separate the notion of like/dislike from my evaluation of candidates.

    It’s fair to say that I don’t think a Root chairmanship would be good for the party.

  3. Mik Robertson

    I understand you are careful about that separation and are very good at it.

    I think a candidate may very well only put forth a non-radical agenda, depending on the circumstances of the race and the goals of the campaign. The political party is what the membership makes it.

    I would say that someone who would be LNC chair should at least demonstrate an understanding of the different strains of libertarian thinking, even if they don’t advocate them as a candidate. So far I have not seen much of that from any of the announced candidates, although Root has been particularly one-sided.

  4. Brian Holtz

    Someone who would be LNC chair should at least demonstrate an understanding of the different strains of libertarian thinking, even if they don’t advocate them as a candidate.

    Hear, hear!

  5. Jeremy Young

    Question: why didn’t Ernie Hancock offer to debate Root himself, instead of using Buttrick as a stand-in? Hancock’s running against Root for chair, not Buttrick.

  6. Bill Wood

    Interesting that the word “duck” is used as if Root is afraid to face someone in a debate. I guess that wasn’t him on stage with Barr, Ruwart etc during the Campaign for President, or on the News shows facing people with different views.

  7. Morey

    @5 – Just a guess, but I suspect it wasn’t intended to be a national chairs debate. If it were, then it would have been missing all but 2 of the contenders.

  8. JT

    Mr. Buttrick is clearly a very intelligent, articulate man with an impressive bio and history of libertarian activism. I enjoyed watching his speech and appreciate it.

    However, I think there’s a hole in his argument. This is essentially 1) For many years, the LP has used a strategy of moderation in an effort to gain votes and 2) The results, using presidential election results as a proxy, have been poor, so therefore 3) Moderation doesn’t work.

    The problem: For almost all of its history, Libertarian candidates have run *radical* (though not necessarily anarchist) presidential campaigns. Harry Browne, for example, wrote campaign books in 1996 and 2000 that called for eliminating the vast majority of the federal government during his presidency. The LP membership also approved a *radical* (though not necessarily anarchist) platform up until a few years ago. How does this square with the idea that the LP has historically followed a strategy of concealment and temporization that has resulted in electoral failure?

    Please note: I’m *not* arguing against a radical LP here. I’m just saying that Mr. Buttrick’s argument as summarized above isn’t sound.

  9. Volvoice

    JT,

    The Harry Browne era was the high point for LP membership. Although there are alot of opinions on HB semantics, the fact remains that his stances led to our highest numbers. The Barr/Root era has failed to significantly bring the LP out of its membership tailspin, much less lead it to new highs. My guess is that Harry’s 2000 campaign was about 12 years before its time. That is unless someone exciting steps to the plate before 2012.

  10. Brian Holtz

    his stances led to our highest numbers

    I take it you’ve never heard of Project Archimedes.

  11. Michael H. Wilson

    Brian what was the time frame with Project Archimedes and the first Browne campaign? How many new members did it recruit?

    I’m not trying to pick a fight. I’m trying to get some facts.

    Thanks,
    MW

  12. Volvoice

    Brian,

    I don’t claim to be an old gun. I came into the party myself, ideologically speaking, between the 96′ and 2000′ campaign. For me personally it was Harry and his book, ‘How to profit from the coming devaluation’ and the others that convinced me that I was Libertarian. It wasn’t a mail campaign that convinced me to join the party, I knew about the LP long before I decided to join. Harry, the author, made that connection with me and a light went off in my head. I can remember the moment that I finally came to the realization that I was a libertarian. I have never looked back. In my opinion the LP has to have “that” kind of person in order to grow the LP. A leader that everyone, from the inside to the outside of the party, can gather around ideologically. I certainly hope that Wayne’s book has reached out and brought new people to the party. Different people will be reached on different levels and subjects, when we have the right person the LP WILL grow. Numbers don’t lie.

  13. Aroundtheblockafewtimes

    We love to say the “LP is the party of principle.”
    O.K., what are those principles? Those are what the average voter should think of when they hear “Libertarian Party,” not thirty point platforms, etc. etc. Does the average voter have any idea what our basic principles are? The minute details are for the wonks and platform carpenters. Each candidate has to stress specific issues of relevance to his or her potential constituents. Voters want to hear how the LP candidate will address concerns about jobs, education of one’s children, taxes, safety.
    Many of the issues we talk about and quibble over are not on the radar of the average voter but our candidates have to take these positions because the base demands to know. We aren’t the only Party that gets mired in this: there was no popular outcry for how union elections are held; that’s something the union base of the Democrat party demanded be included in the program. So weLlibertarians get into all kinds of fights – he’s only 80% libertarian and she’s 90%, etc. – that matter not a wit to those who don’t even know what the basic principles of the libertarian movement are. Face it, the only one you agree with 100% of the time is yourself!
    The squabbling has to end and we have to nominate candidates who can better articulate how our basic principles translate into legislation that addresses the everyday concerns of those voting in a particular race.

  14. George Phillies

    @14

    Harry Brown ran in 1996 and 2000. Project Archimedes was a campaign plank of one of the 1998 candidates for National Chair. Membership growth slowed soon after that chair candidate was elected, and soon came to a stop.

  15. Michael H. Wilson

    George are there any records of new members from that time? I do remember some internal problems at the time so can we look and see if the decline in membership was due to older members leaving or just a general drop off and low results from the project? Hope that’s a bit clearer than mud.

    Thanks,
    MW

  16. Michael H. Wilson

    George maybe I should have asked; does national code the membership figures so that they know what attracted a new member i.e. as a tv ad, direct mail piece, a political campaign, etc?

  17. David F. Nolan

    @20 – I don’t have the exact figures in front of me, but as I recall, membership growth continued and perhaps even accelerated during the period 1998-2000, peaking at around 33-34,000 in late 1999 or early 2000. In terms of building membership, Archimedes was a success – although it fell short of its announced goal – but was discontinued because it was costing way too much money for each new member it brought in. If someone has hard numbers, perhaps they can chime in.

  18. AroundtheblockAFT

    Brian #20 – great slogans that the LP needs to hammer the average voter with. In my experience, about 80% of people will agree with the sentiments —-until you say that’s what the LP stands for. Or 80% agree until you start discussing specific issues and then the cognitive dissonance kicks in.

  19. JT

    Both Harry Browne and Project Archimedes led to a (relatively) big influx of LP members. This didn’t translate to higher vote totals though.

    My point was that if you’re going to argue that dismal election results and lack of growth is a result of following a strategy of moderation and turning your back on radicalism, then you MUST provide factual evidence that the LP has been following this strategy since its inception. Where’s the evidence of that in Buttrick’s speech? It’s not there, because for almost its entire existence the LP HAS been a radical party.

    Again, I’m NOT saying that the LP should NOT be a radical party. I’m saying that you can’t explain lack of growth and dismal election results by pointing to temporization and concealment of the libertarian message, because LP history just doesn’t support that notion.

  20. Brian Holtz

    AroundTheBlock, 80% of the sheeple will nod in polite agreement with any competently-crafted political pitch. The trick is to craft a pitch that can get people to disagree with the next 50 pitches they will hear from the nanny staters.

    I contend that the way to do that is to reach out very explicitly to the subset of people who can recognize that they are ready to be unplugged from the Left/Right nanny-state matrix. I estimate that subset is about 5%-15% of eligible voters.

    Others contend that our strategy should focus on those who are ready to question the need for the existence of the state. I estimate that audience is 0.1% of eligible voters.

    Data on libertarian polling are at http://libertarianmajority.net/libertarian-polling.

    From any Libertarian demanding to fine-tune what principles that the LP stands for, I demand to hear: what percent of eligible voters do you think would be willing to vote for these principles — right now, with no more persuasion that just to honestly state them — if Wasted Voting were not an issue?

    My answer, for the 2008 Platform that the Denver delegates built for us, is 5%-15%, and I believe that LP returns in that range would significantly move public policy in a libertarian direction.

    I have no interest in working within a Party who would consider it a success to double or quadruple in my lifetime the miniscule percentage of Americans willing to vote against the existence of government.

  21. Michael H. Wilson

    @ 28 Brian you don’t seem to understand that you cannot sell something as new when it has been on the block a few years. Copying what the R & D parties do don’t get it.

    We have to get back to saying it is about civil liberties, economic freedom and a non-interventionist foreign policy.

    Bring the troops home, end the drug war, stop corporate welfare, open the transportation market and if you care about children get the damn government out of the education business. For starters

  22. Michael H. Wilson

    I am constantly amazed by the number of computer people in the LP who are afraid of risk taking. As we used to say were I previously worked “if you’re not on the edge, you’re taking up space”.

  23. Brian Holtz

    Michael @29, I have no idea what part of @28 you think you’re disagreeing with.

    “Get back to”? For decades, we were “saying it is about” personal secession, completely open borders, and immediate non-enforcement of all tax laws. It’s only been 22 months since we replaced that with a focused and consistent message about protecting civil liberties and economic freedom on U.S. soil.

    So should we get back to saying personal secession, completely open borders, and immediate non-enforcement of all tax laws? And if so, what percent of eligible voters do you think would be willing to vote for these principles — right now, with no more persuasion that just to honestly state them — if Wasted Voting were not an issue?

  24. Thomas L. Knapp

    “For decades, we were ‘saying it is about’ personal secession, completely open borders, and immediate non-enforcement of all tax laws.”

    In your imagination, perhaps.

    In the real world, our flagship campaigns have been saying things like “we’re low-tax liberals” (Clark 1980), “repeal the income tax” (Browne 1996/2000) and “secure the borders” (Badnarik 2004).

  25. Thomas L. Knapp

    I’m pretty sure that it was Ernie Hancock (and perhaps George Phillies) who was supposed to be debating Root, in the context of them both being candidates for chair of the Libertarian Party.

    Hancock’s account (in the video) is that Root was contacted and invited to debate long in advance, and replied that he should be contacted closer to the time of the event; then when he was contacted closer to the time of the event, said that it wasn’t enough notice and that he should have been asked earlier.

    Of course, that’s one side of the story. There might be other sides.

  26. Steven R Linnabary

    Or you must provide evidence that the LP or the candidates supporters even advertised what the libertarian philosophy was all about. In 1980, Koch provided the funding for the radical LP message. Which was somewhat below 1% of the total spent on the Presidential race. Such as it was.

    But in no year since 1980 has Libertarian money followed the candidate in such proportion.

    Maybe if we had supported Michael Badnarik in the context supported supported Ron Paul in 2008, we would be somewhat ahead in the game.

    But we supported others because they dangled shiny objects in our faces while spending less.

    It isn’t that we have an unattractive message that needs moderating, it was that WE don’t work hard enough, or spend enough. But, we do have a message that resonates with the voters.

    PEACE

  27. Robert Capozzi

    srl, I can usu. track what you’re saying, but 35…not so much. Can you clarify, please?

    You seem to be saying Ls have a message that resonates with voters, but your evidence seems a bit jumbled. It’s true to say that if an L gets 2 votes, his or her message has “resonated with voters,” although I’d think that statement would imply a much larger number of voters.

  28. Morey

    There are a series of strawmen in 28, starting here:Others contend that our strategy should focus on those who are ready to question the need for the existence of the state.

    It is the job of the candidates and activists to convince non-libs that voluntary solutions are better than coercive ones. I disagree with the strategy of only pursuing people who already somewhat libertarian.

    It suits me fine if they do that by talking about specific issues, rather than the state as a whole. Browne’s message was convincing, hardcore and explicitly minarchist, and he brought a lot of people around in their thinking.

  29. Morey

    I should never comment when I’m waking up. My first paragraph should read more like:

    I’m not advocating that we only pursue those who “are ready to question the need for the state”. Quite the opposite. Talking to people who are already sympathetic to libertarianism is well and good, and I want them to get involved and develop. But we should be engaging anyone who will listen.

  30. Brian Holtz

    “For decades, we were saying it is about personal secession, completely open borders, and immediate non-enforcement of all tax laws.”

    In your imagination, perhaps.

    No, in the LP Platform. Open borders was first added c. 1976, non-enforcement of all tax laws was added c. 1980, and personal secession was added c. 1986.

    Morey, I’m not trying to spoil the fantasy that every eligible voter is a potential future convert to anarchism. I just want to know what percent of eligible voters do you think would be willing to vote for abolition of government — right now, with no more persuasion that just an honest ~5-minute exposition of that position — if Wasted Voting were not an issue? Why is this question so scary to answer?

    I assert that it’s about 0.1%, and that using the LP to grow that cadre is a waste of political effort. I assert that the cause of anarchism would in fact be better served by using a 5%-15% lessarchist voting bloc to move public policy in a libertarian direction, and thus create more examples of how competition works better than government ownership or control. I assert that “compromise and concealment” are the wisest electoral strategy for anarchists, and that anarchist candidates implicitly admit this every time they conceal their anarchism from a general-voter audience. I remain astonished that they then come back to the LP clubhouse and, once safe inside its walls, demand that abolition of all functions of government be the the platform that other LP candidates have to go out and campaign on.

  31. Steven R Linnabary

    RC-

    I am saying that the LP spent approximately 1% of the total spent in 1980, and we got approximately 1% of the total votes cast.

    In no year since has the LP or ANY of it’s candidates spent anything close to that amount.

    My point is that before we change our platform into something resembling “republican lite”, we should try to sell or market the ideas we already have.

    I believe that freedom sells itself. That’s why republicans and democrats will use many Libertarian arguments to get elected. I have no doubt that a Libertarian could easily win provided they were funded on a level of the republicans and democrats.

    But we shouldn’t blame our message when we haven’t even tried to sell our message.

    PEACE

  32. Thomas L. Knapp

    “‘For decades, we were saying it is about personal secession, completely open borders, and immediate non-enforcement of all tax laws.’

    “In your imagination, perhaps.

    “No, in the LP Platform.”

    Oh, I see: We should base our strategy on your allegations of the failure of something seen/evaluated by 0.0001% of the population, rather than on the failure of our ACTUAL approach which has been seen, and rejected, by a substantial portion of the electorate.

    You live in a fantasy world.

  33. Brian Holtz

    If cryto-anarchism in the LP platform was such a deep dark secret for three decades or so, then why does every pundit in America seem to feel entitled to dismiss any proposal labeled “libertarian” with a strawman about privatizing roads and police?

    Your argument is reality-impaired. 0.0001% of the U.S. population is about 308 people. What’s a “fantasy” is to think that only 308 people have read the quotes below.

    And these are just the ones I know about. How many thought leaders have read our old crypto-anarchist platform and then dismissed the LP as self-marginalized?

    “The Libertarian platform is a prescription for anarchy.” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 2000-07-14

    Libertarians “espouse extreme views Like the cessation of all taxation, public education and government regulation.” Dallas Morning News, 1998-11-08.

    “several citizen panelists agreed that they found the anti-government platform of his Libertarian party too extreme”. Philadelphia Daily News, 1997-10-20

    “to these mainstream issues the Libertarian Party platform adds such problematic esoterica as jury nullification, a reliance solely on tort law and ‘strict liability’ to govern pollution, and the right of individual political secession. When libertarianism is presented as an all-or-nothing bargain, interested voters are more likely to leave the whole package on the table.” Reason, 1996-07-01

    “settle environmental clashes in court, permit open immigration […] if taken literally, the Libertarian platform is so far out of the mainstream as to be high and dry […]” New York Times, 1992-10-22

    Consider a Libertarian?; Get Serious – “Standing against things is the Libertarian Party’s specialty. Its platform calls for government to cease and desist from almost everything except the repealing of laws […] Police and armies that keep bad people at bay, and roads that make practical the freedom to travel […] The Libertarians’ extremism (they oppose laws setting minimum drinking ages, or restricting immigration, and so on) makes them unelectable.” George Will, Washington Post, 1992-07-09. Also ran as:
    * Libertarians? No, US Needs A Legitimate Fourth Choice. Chicago Sun-Times, 1992-07-09.
    * Libertarians Stew On Fringe. San Jose Mercury News, 1992-07-09.
    * Extreme Views Doom Libertarian Nominees. St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 1992-07-13.
    * From The Prison Of One Idea. Rocky Mountain News, 1992-07-12.

  34. Erik Geib

    Brian,

    A couple of things you’ve said that I find worth addressing:

    @31,

    “And if so, what percent of eligible voters do you think would be willing to vote for these principles — right now, with no more persuasion that just to honestly state them — if Wasted Voting were not an issue?”

    This is ridiculous. You can’t just say “if Wasted Voting were not an issue” as if it was something we could thus analyze. The fact of the matter is that plurality voting (alongside at least 4-5 other major hurdles) DOES continue to exist. We’re not building a party in a world where it doesn’t. When that world does comes around, perhaps THEN will be the time to ‘re-tool’ the message in a way the reform/watered-down crowd so loves to preach. As is, it’s much better that the LP stand for strong principles with strong messages for the purpose of education since, in this system, that’s the best the party can do in major races. The pragmatic approach is much better served working with the Republican Liberty Caucus and the Democratic Freedom Caucus.

    @39,

    While the platform is a strong reflection of the party, it is not necessarily a strong reflection of party campaign planks. To say that the platform is the reason for past failure, when the candidates we’re all analyzing weren’t promoting it in its entirety, is intellectually dishonest. Our past presidential candidates weren’t screaming out (often enough for it to matter) for the things the ‘reform’ crowd is so worried about being in the platform.

    You don’t have to campaign on the platform of the party as a whole. Many, many, many elected Republicans and Democrats aren’t in full agreement with their party platforms, or likely even know every plank on it. Additionally, people don’t damn said candidates for things in said platforms if those candidates aren’t campaigning on those issues. People generally judge candidates on what they’re promoting, not their party’s platform.

  35. Erik Geib

    To provide an example for my second point:

    Republicans are generally seen as warhawks, but that doesn’t mean people automatically assume Ron Paul is a warhawk. When people go to the polls, they go voting for or against him based on the message of his campaign, not the Republican general platform. If there are any that vote against someone like Paul because of the Republican general platform, it’s likely because of the parts of the platform his campaign is in sync with, not just because the label next to his name says ‘Republican.’

  36. Morey

    Brian, I would agree that you won’t win many new people over to anarchy or hardcore minarchy in ~5 minutes. I haven’t disputed that it is a long-term project.

    This incessant yammering that I’m demanding that the Presidential candidate advocate straight up anarchy is getting tiresome. I never made that demand. I don’t know how I can make this any clearer. I’ll say it once more:

    I am more than happy to get behind a principled minarchist campaign. A candidate who advocates a handful of inspiring positions; a total cease-fire on the drug war, the wars abroad, ending taxation, or any other number of substantive positions would suit me fine.

    “He never contradicted the platform” (ignoring that he fell well short of it) simply isn’t good enough.

    Be my guest – ignore what’s actually being said and continue to argue with the voices in your head.

  37. Brian Holtz

    Erik, we know that the Libertarian Party polls about 2%-4% in downticket races (where the Wasted Vote Fallacy is weakest), and we know that a libertarian direction in public policy polls at about 10%-20%. For details of the polling data, see http://libertarianmajority.net/libertarian-polling.

    I’ve said for years that the Wasted Vote Fallacy is our biggest obstacle. Our number one message should be to distinguish the Libertarian brand from Left and Right, and our number two message should be to tackle the WVF head-on. E.g.


    I’ve said for years that fixing the Platform is not a silver bullet — rather, it’s the biggest obstacle that we impose on ourselves. I’ve also said for years that the positive effects of Platform reform would take time to be realized. For about three decades, any opinion leader who invested ten minutes in evaluating the LP quickly discovered that we were crypto-anarchists. That’s not been the case for only 22 months.

    The Democrat and Republican platforms don’t serve the same function for their parties as the LP platform does for ours. For the full explanation, see http://libertarianmajority.net/platform-purpose.

    Morey, I complained about radicals who “demand that abolition of all functions of government be the the platform that other LP candidates have to go out and campaign on”. Do you or do you not demand that the Platform again advocate all of the following?

    • personal secession
    • immediate non-enforcement of all tax laws
    • privatization of all streets, pipes, and wires
    • policing pollution only through private torts
    • elimination of all restrictions on immigration

    It wasn’t a “voice in my head” that told me you were signatory #12 on the Restore04 petition, and the 2004 platform included all of these things.

    I should think that by now my position on platform reform is reasonably transparent. I invite you to read e.g. this and this and quote the parts with which you disagree.

    Or, just keep chanting “watered-down platform” and pretending that constitutes an argument. 🙂

  38. Thomas L. Knapp

    “For about three decades, any opinion leader who invested ten minutes in evaluating the LP quickly discovered that we were crypto-anarchists. That’s not been the case for only 22 months.”

    I don’t recall a single mention of crypto-anarchism in the previous platform.

  39. Morey

    Yes, I support all of those positions. Call it whatever you like, but you can’t have it both ways.

    I assert that “compromise and concealment” are the wisest electoral strategy for anarchists, and that anarchist candidates implicitly admit this every time they conceal their anarchism from a general-voter audience. I remain astonished that they … demand that abolition of all functions of government be the the platform that other LP candidates have to go out and campaign on.

    Was my campaign minarchist, because I took a bold stance on a few issues, or was it anarchist, because those positions are too bold?

    For the umpteenth time: I want a comprehensive platform and a candidate who takes an abolitionist stance on the issues he/she campaigns on.

  40. Erik Geib

    Brian @47,

    BH: “I’ve said for years that the Wasted Vote Fallacy is our biggest obstacle. Our number one message should be to distinguish the Libertarian brand from Left and Right, and our number two message should be to tackle the WVF head-on. ”

    Response: This is all fluff. No matter how non-left/non-right sounding our brand is, it doesn’t separate the fact that plurality voting makes people generally vote *against* brands instead of for one. Most Republican voters aren’t fully satisfied with Republicans, but they’re horrified of Democrats (and vice versa). Watering down our platform based on the myths from your analysis does nothing to advance the education of liberty, and will not do anything to help elect Libertarians.

    BH: “For about three decades, any opinion leader who invested ten minutes in evaluating the LP quickly discovered that we were crypto-anarchists. That’s not been the case for only 22 months.”

    Response: I disagree. Anyone who was looking for a reason not to support us *might* have gone this route (e.g. an opponent), but not the general public. I have many friends who are LP-friendly, but still vote for Democrats or Republicans because they hate/fear Democrats or Republicans, not because of some plank of our platform or representative of our party they thought were crazy. Hell, I know many a Ron Paul supporters who said they wouldn’t vote for him in the general election if he ran third party / independent… because they feared Obama or McCain. No matter how much they liked Paul’s message, plurality voting changed the way they vote.

    BH: “The Democrat and Republican platforms don’t serve the same function for their parties as the LP platform does for ours. For the full explanation, see http://libertarianmajority.net/platform-purpose.”

    Response: Just because your analysis says so, it doesn’t make it so. You can reference yourself as much as you’d like, but it’s not going to make me suddenly go, “oh, you’re right…,” because you’re not. Platforms are generally for party volunteers and activists, not independent voters. Campaign messages (in this case, campaign messages trapped within plurality voting) define a person’s view of a candidate – not their party affiliation.

  41. Steven R Linnabary

    “settle environmental clashes in court, permit open immigration […] if taken literally, the Libertarian platform is so far out of the mainstream as to be high and dry […]” New York Times, 1992-10-22

    WTF???!!! The New York FUCKING Times?? You are seeking approval from the New York Times?? Even republicans usually find THAT one futile.

    And you only had to go back ten to twenty years to find those quotes.

    PEACE

  42. Erik Geib

    Hat tip to Gregg Easterbrook of ESPN:

    ” New York Times Corrections on Fast-Forward:
    In the past six months, the Times has, according to its own corrections page, said Arizona borders Wisconsin; confused 12.7-millimeter rifle ammunition with 12.7 caliber (the latter would be a sizeable naval cannon); said a pot of ratatouille should contain 25 cloves of garlic (two tablespoons will do nicely); on at least five occasions, confused a million with a billion (note to the reporters responsible — there are jobs waiting for you at the House Ways and Means Committee); understated the national debt by $4.2 trillion (note to the reporter responsible — there’s a job waiting for you at the Office of Management and Budget); confused $1 billion with $1 trillion (note to the reporter responsible — would you like to be CEO of AIG?); admitted numerical flaws in a story “about the ability of nonsense to sharpen the mind;” used “idiomatic deficiency” as an engineering term (correct was “adiabatic efficiency”); said Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride occurred in 1776 (it was in 1775 — by 1776, everybody knew the British were coming); “misstated the status of the United States in 1783 — it was a country, not a collection of colonies” (dear Times, please Google “Declaration of Independence”).

    The Times also “misidentified the song Pink was singing while suspended on a sling-like trapeze;” confused the past 130 years with the entire 4.5 billion-year history of Earth (see appended correction here); misused statistics in the course of an article complaining that public school standards aren’t high enough (see appended correction here); said Citigroup handed its executives $11 million in taxpayer-funded bonuses, when the actual amount was $1.1 billion (in the Citigroup executive suite, being off by a mere two zeroes would be considered incredible financial acumen); said a column lauding actress Terri White “overstated her professional achievements, based on information provided by Ms. White;” identified a woman as a man (it’s so hard to tell these days); reported men landed on Mars in the 1970s (“there was in fact no Mars mission,” the Times primly corrected).

    The Times also gave compass coordinates that placed Manhattan in the South Pacific Ocean near the coastline of Chile (see appended correction here); said you need eight ladies dancing to enact the famous Christmas song when nine are needed; said Iraq is majority Sunni, though the majority there is Shiite (hey, we invaded Iraq without the CIA knowing this kind of thing); got the wrong name for a dog that lives near President Obama’s house (“An article about the sale of a house next door to President Obama’s home in Chicago misstated the name of a dog that lives there. She is Rosie, not Roxy” — did Rosie’s agent complain?); elaborately apologized in an “editor’s note,” a higher-level confession than a standard correction, for printing “outdated” information about the health of a wealthy woman’s Lhasa apso; incorrectly described an intelligence report about whether the North Korean military is using Twitter; called Tandil, Argentina, home of Juan Martín del Potro, a “tiny village” (its population is 110,000); inflicted upon unsuspecting readers a web of imprecision about the Frisians, the Hapsburg Empire, the geographic extent of terps, and whether Friesland was “autonomous and proud” throughout the Middle Ages or merely until 1500; inexactly characterized a nuance of a position taken by the French Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress (philosophy majors must have marched in the streets of Paris over this); confused coal with methane (don’t make that mistake in a mine shaft!); on at least three occasions, published a correction of a correction; “misstated the year of the Plymouth Barracuda on which a model dressed as a mermaid was posed;” “mischaracterized the date when New York City first hired a bicycle consultant” and “misidentified the location of a pile of slush in the Bronx.” ”

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=easterbrook/100209&sportCat=nfl

  43. Brian Holtz

    crypto 1. Secret; covert 2. Of, relating to, or employing cryptography.

    Tom, in this context, “crypto-anarchism” clearly refers to tacit anarchism, not “an ideology that expounds the use of strong public-key cryptography to enforce privacy and individual freedom”. But thanks for confirming my earlier diagnosis of your taste for writing things that are “technically correct” but misleading to your readers. When it comes to Knapp, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caveat_lector

    Morey, I didn’t ask whether you personally “support” each of those positions. I asked if you “demand that the Platform again advocate all of the following”. So your choices now are to either 1) repudiate your Restore04 signature, or 2) admit that your Restore04 signature is not a “voice in my head”.

    Yes, I know that you want a platform that talks comprehensively about abolishing every function of government. That’s small-tent. You can campaign on whatever abolitionist/anarchist stances you want, but don’t try to deny our minarchist candidates the platform wiggle room to advocate government protection of the rights of every individual to her life, liberty and property. I just don’t agree that the Platform should contradict minarchists, but should never contradict anarchists.

    Erik @51, I stand by my arguments that the Democrat and Republican platforms don’t serve the same function for their parties as the LP platform does for ours. The fact that I’ve linked to those arguments, or that I’ve offered them before, doesn’t make them any more or less valid. I invite you to quote any assertion from my argument, and explain why you disagree with it. If your core thesis really is that the LP platform should be primarily for an internal audience of “party volunteers and activists”, then that explains a lot of our disagreement here.

    Steven @52, I don’t seek “approval” from the New York Times. I just want it to be that when the NYT accurately reports on the LP’s official positions, it doesn’t repel what I believe should be our natural target market of 5%-15% of eligible voters.

  44. Thomas L. Knapp

    Brian,

    It strikes me that most readers probably recognize a joke when they see one.

    That you don’t is one of your weaknesses — and probably at least as self-damaging as your propensity to default to the Big Lie technique when you’re wrong, when you know you’re wrong, when everyone else knows you’re wrong and when you know that everyone else knows your wrong.

  45. Brian Holtz

    Tom, I’ll take your word for it that it was a joke, and be on the lookout for same in the future.

    Like this “Big Lie” joke — that’s a pretty funny parody of somebody committing the classic sin of intellectual sloth, by assuming that one’s opponents secretly admit that one is right.

  46. Steven R Linnabary

    NY Times says about the LP (twenty years ago):

    “settle environmental clashes in court, permit open immigration […] if taken literally, the Libertarian platform is so far out of the mainstream as to be high and dry […]” New York Times, 1992-10-22

    Brian says:

    I don’t seek “approval” from the New York Times. I just want it to be that when the NYT accurately reports on the LP’s official positions, it doesn’t repel what I believe should be our natural target market of 5%-15% of eligible voters.

    Looks to me as if the NY Times DID accurately portray the LP Platform way back when. Once.

    And I don’t believe the quote would turn off our “natural market” (which I believe is much higher than 5-10%). As a matter of fact, the idea that the NY Times does NOT approve of our Platform could open up vast new markets for us!

    But your plan to water down the LP Platform so that any clown or elephant could feel comfortable with it will not bring liberty. And it will not bring higher vote totals.

    The only thing that will bring higher vote totals will be when our candidates work as hard as, and spend as much money as our opponents.

    PEACE

  47. Robert Capozzi

    srl, not much of a prediction. If LP candidates “spend as much” as their opponents, I’d surely hope that would “bring higher vote totals.”

    Clark spent more than MacBride, got higher vote totals isn’t really saying much, though.

  48. Brian Holtz

    Blanton, I’ve never claimed that removing crypto-anarchism from the LP platform will automatically “bring higher vote totals”. What I’ve said is that it will remove a self-imposed obstacle to the LP’s ability to move public policy in a libertarian direction, and will make the Platform be the common ground of principled Libertarians, rather than a bludgeon that some of them use against others.

    Did you really mean to say that unrestricted immigration and zero laws against pollution are positions supported by “much higher than 5%-10%” of eligible voters? If so, then your position is self-refuting.

  49. Erik Geib

    Brian,

    Do you really think that because it’s in our platform, voters will automatically assume it’s what our candidate is campaigning on? Even if the strawman positions you bring up aren’t a part of his/her campaign? I continue to submit that the only people who’d be making an issue of a more specific platform are the very people who wouldn’t/won’t be voting for an LP candidate anyway.

  50. Brian Holtz

    What I “really think” is that if a position is in our Platform, then the marketplace of ideas will ensure that the Libertarian brand will become associated with that position. The media quotes @43 make close to a slam-dunk case for this proposition.

    The extremist positions I’ve listed above are hardly “strawmen”. They are all taken directly from past LP platforms.

    I can agree with this translation of your final statement: “the only people who’d be making an issue of an anarchist platform are the very people who wouldn’t/won’t be voting for an anarchist candidate anyway.”

    The issues I listed above aren’t about “a more specific platform”, they’re about a more anarchist/extremist platform.

    If instead of a more radical platform, all you’re really asking for is a more detailed platform, then I’ll see you and raise you, by proposing this 700-page platform: http://www.cato.org/pubs/handbook/hb111/index.html

  51. Erik Geib

    Brian,

    As I just said in another thread, we clearly have different definitions of the term ‘radical.’ Most of the ‘radicals’ I know don’t necessarily think we should have all the items you continually bring up (i.e. my labeling of them as strawmen, because you’re using those specific items though no large movement is currently proposing their reinstatement that I’m aware of), but they *would* like to see the platform not so explicitly against their values at the same time (i.e. giving government a specific role, watered-down language so tame it attracts maroons [yes, maroons] like Barr, etc.).

    And, yes, we all know you love Crane/Cato. Obviously, 700 pages is too much, and I fail to see the humor in your suggestion of its handbook. Though I do enjoy the handbook as a solid backer of most/many of our positions.

  52. Brian Holtz

    There is NOT A SINGLE CLA– USE in the LP Platform that endorses any necessity or monopoly authority for the State to protect individual rights. There is NOT A SINGLE CLA– USE in the LP Platform that endorses initiation of force.

    “Explicitly against their values” is the strawman here.

    As long as the LP tent is big enough for both anarchists and minarchists, then a detailed Platform is going to cause factional warfare. My mention of the Cato Handbook was not a joke, though I don’t necessarily advocate every policy in it. If minarchists pushed for a lot of Cato policies in the LP Platform (e.g. vouchers), there would be a bloodbath.

    I agree that restoration of crypto-anarchism into the LP platform is unlikely, because the Platform Wars are over.

  53. Erik Geib

    BH @ 65,

    “a detailed Platform is going to cause factional warfare.”

    So you’d rather we not take stands on anything? Why have a platform at all? Details let people know *how* we plan to accomplish what we propose.

    “There is NOT A SINGLE CLA– USE in the LP Platform that endorses any necessity or monopoly authority for the State to protect individual rights.”

    I’m no anarchist, but I’d bet an anarchist begs to differ. Merely acknowledging a role for government is an endorsement to some.

    I’m not saying we should have a platform that screams “smash the state,” but there’s certainly a way to word things that doesn’t give a role for the state also. This can be accomplished without many even realizing it, as countless readers of Ruwart’s Healing Our World can attest to.

    Also… if your mention of the Cato Handbook wasn’t a joke, what was it? Grade-school “nana nana I can top you?” nonsense?

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