Mary Ruwart reviews Wayne Root’s Conscience Of A Libertarian

Dr. Mary Ruwart is an at-large member of the Libertarian National Committee and finished 2nd in the race for the 2008 LP presidential nomination.  2008 LP VP nominee Wayne Root finished 3rd in that race, and is running for LNC Chair.  Dr. Ruwart’s review of Root’s book Conscience of a Libertarian was posted  yesterday at LibertyForAll.net.

Should His Conscience Be Your Guide?

This book might be more honestly titled “Conscience of a Conservative II” or even “Conscience of a Constitutionalist.”  Chapter 2, “The Libertarian Model,” opens with Ronald Reagan’s quote “Libertarianism is the very heart and soul of conservatism.”  The author then describes the history of the New York State Conservative Party which his parents supported; he tells us that he wants to reintroduce the principles espoused by Republican conservative Barry Goldwater.   No mention is made of any libertarian economist or Libertarian Party (LP) member.  The uninformed reader cannot help but come away with the impression that “libertarian” is another name for “conservative.”

On page 24, Mr. Root goes on to say “As a Libertarian, I believe that social and personal freedom issues are quite simply States’ Rights’ issues.  … Voters should decide these issues on the state and local level.”  Root’s position is that of a Constitutionalist, not a Libertarian.  Libertarians believe that social and personal freedom issues are individual rights.   However, since Mr. Root never refers to the non-aggression principle anywhere in his book, naïve readers are unlikely to learn of this distinction.

Liberals will almost certainly come away with the impression that they are unwelcome in the Libertarian Party. While the author criticizes both Democrats and Republicans, he has nothing but praise for conservatives and offensive comments, almost to the level of “hate speech,” for liberals.

Indeed, Root chokes on the popular slogan “Libertarians are fiscally conservative and socially liberal.”  He insists on saying that libertarians are “socially tolerant” instead.  Since Conscience was originally conceived as a campaign book, why would the author, the LP’s 2008 Libertarian VP nominee, insist on alienating liberals, who constitute almost half of the voting populace, especially when the LP has the solutions to poverty, pollution, and health care that they seek?

The answer to this question may lie in how the author apparently sees himself: as a conservative first, and Libertarian second.  He usually styles himself as a “Libertarian conservative” (page 60), even though libertarianism is generally considered “beyond right and left.” Mr. Root apparently wants to redefine what it means to be a libertarian.

Indeed, Mr. Root can’t seem to get the words out when stating standard LP positions, like ending the Drug War.  He tells us that we must “reposition” the war on drugs instead (page 225).

Similarly, although telling readers he wants smaller government, the author’s proposed solutions often do just the opposite.   He wants to increase the number of Congressional representatives from 435 members to almost 3,000 (pages 201-203).  Mr. Root also wants to pay this gargantuan Congress CEO-level salaries ($500,000-$1,000,000 per year) “so they do not feel desperate to sell out their constituents in order to support their families” (page 202).  Will paying more to those who steal our liberties and our money really stop them—or encourage them?

Why not simply make it illegal for Congress to pass laws favoring one group over another, like taking from Peter to give to Paul?  That would be the Libertarian solution, but our former VP candidate shows little awareness of it.

Mr. Root continues:  “The people who make our laws are very important people.  We should try to pay them enough to attract the best and brightest (page 202).”  Since virtually every law Congress passes violates our individual rights—and will continue to do so unless we place some truly libertarian restrictions on them—do we really want them to do it smarter and better?

The author is undaunted by those who point out that the LP hasn’t yet elected anyone to major national office.  Mr. Root counters that the LP has a great message, “but the missing ingredient up until now has been heart.  I am Stella Root’s son.  I am relentless. I have a bigger heart than a thousand candidates. More heart than all the others that came before me—combined… We have had plenty of intellect, plenty of brainpower, plenty of good ideas, but up until now, not enough heart” (page 347, emphasis in original).

Judging from my three decades of observation, I would say that the LP has heart far beyond what any single person can bring to it.   The Natural Law Party, with better funding and more political connections than the LP, threw in the towel years ago.  The Reform Party, with taxpayer money and a more mainstream message, has self-destructed.  Recently, when National Chair Bill Redpath approached the Constitution and the Green Parties for ballot access help, he learned that both of these groups could barely keep their doors open.

Unlike the Greens, we receive no special interest funding. Unlike the Reform Party, we’ve never accepted matching funds. Unlike the Natural Law Party, we don’t have donors with deep pockets.  Unlike the Constitution Party, we didn’t get Ron Paul’s endorsement.  How is it that the LP, with the most radical message of all, is the only third party that is a recognized threat to the establishment, standing tall when other Parties are on their way to oblivion?

The dedication of thousands of LP members make up the Party’s heart, which beats more powerfully than that of any individual. Many of our seasoned activists forgo the high pay they could get in the private sector to volunteer their time to gather ballot access signatures, run full-time campaigns, staff our state and national organizations, or spread the good news of liberty through their writing.  Others donate their hard-earned money to help support the national office or their state parties.  Many of our members have given, not just for a single year or two like the author has, but for decades, in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.  The dedication and relentlessness of thousands of LP supporters have created the pulpit on which Mr. Root now stands; he abuses it when he belittles their contributions with grandiose and unsupported self-aggrandizement.

Mr. Root’s dismissal of his LP predecessors is apparent in statements like “I’m the only politician in history who wants to make my office less important” (page xxviii). Every LP presidential ticket has vowed to shrink the power of their offices, but the author appears oblivious.  He also claims to be “… the first candidate to run for president who has the same worries of a typical U.S. voter and taxpayer” (page 99), a patently false statement given his LP predecessors. On page 64, the author claims that he and Barr “attracted a record number of new LP members,” when that honor belongs to two-time presidential nominee, Harry Browne.

Truth may not be that important to Root, though.  On p. 249, he states “I understand that in the end, all that matters is winning. All the principles in the world gain you nothing, if you’re not in power to institute them.  So winning really is everything…”  We’ve heard this argument from the mouth of tyrants everywhere: the ends justify the means.

Is this the conscience of a libertarian?

73 thoughts on “Mary Ruwart reviews Wayne Root’s Conscience Of A Libertarian

  1. Brian Holtz Post author

    Ruwart writes: On page 24, Mr. Root goes on to say “As a Libertarian, I believe that social and personal freedom issues are quite simply States’ Rights’ issues. … Voters should decide these issues on the state and local level.” Root’s position is that of a Constitutionalist, not a Libertarian.

    Ruwart fails to quote how that paragraph ends:

    Government has no right in my bedroom, in my home, telling me what to do on my computer, what to watch on television, how to spend my own money, where to send my children to school, or deciding what vaccines my children must have forced upon them. None of it is any of their darn business.

    Nor does Ruwart quote from page 45:

    These experiments on the state level can serve as models for the entire nation and eventually lead to federal breakthroughs and reform. That is why I strongly support States’ Rights. I’d prefer that no government (local, state or federal) limited the personal freedoms of consenting adults, but I am a realist. Incremental success on the state level, which can lead to full-fledged success on the national level, is preferable to no success at all. And even if the freedoms that are achieved at the state level are never implemented on the national level, it gives citizens a chance to live in the states that allow the most personal freedom that fits their lifestyle.

    Root should drop the phrase “states’ rights”, but federalism and decentralism and constitutionalism can still be valid means to libertarian ends. Here’s why. Do we really want the federal government to do for other civil rights what it’s done for substance use and campaign speech and equal marriage and warrantless monitoring and gun rights and ‘hate crimes’ and reproductive technology?

  2. Richard Winger

    Although no Libertarian running for President has accepted primary season matching funds, a number of state Libertarian Parties do regularly accept money from state income tax forms that let the taxpayer choose a party. The North Carolina Libertarian Party got $39,691 in mid-2009 from the state income tax checkoff. Lots of taxpayers wanted to help the LP and the LP accepted that help.

  3. John Jay Myers

    I really liked Mary’s review, and I also have to appreciate Brians response, it seems accurate.

    I think of myself as a constitutional Libertarian, I want to live in the most Libertarian world that I can. As a realist I know that we can start by at least getting to the constitution.

    I have also found myself saying “states rights” to minimize the effect of an over reaching Federal Government. So I can not condemn Root for it, it would be dishonest.

    We need to be able to win one battle at a time. We will not convince America to just “be Libertarian” in one election cycle.

    When I consider an issue (in terms of my congressional run):
    I ask “Is it constitutional” (my interpretation of the founding fathers original intent).
    I ask “Are the economics sound?”
    I ask “Is it Libertarian, or does it reduce the size and scope of government and encourage more personal freedom?”

    If it can pass that litmus test then it’s time to consider whether to vote for it or not.

  4. Gen Y in the LP

    Who is Mary Ruwart anyway? Younger people want some action now. I hear all this talk about principles and the country is crashing around us. I also hear they have had 39 years to do “nothing”. How about a course correction people. Otherwise, what party can I join?

  5. NewFederalist

    Gen Why… there really isn’t much to choose from. It is a shame but that’s life.

  6. Robert Milnes

    Well! Sweet Mary comes out swinging! AlllllllllllllllllRight!
    Too bad Mary’s purism will not allow her to consider a fusion ticket with a leftist. That ticket could very well win the ELECTION.-not just the nomination.

  7. paulie

    Of some relevance to comments 1 and 2. Not sure if the general (non-party) reference to “libertarian” makes it on-topic enough to post as an article here.


    http://reason.com/blog/2010/05/04/not-all-americans-hate-liberta

    by Tim Cavanaugh.

    A new
    Pew poll
    of political rhetoric shows opinions about
    libertarianism fit nicely into my General Theory of 33.3 — the
    principle that on any given topic, roughly a third of the people
    will believe A, roughly a third will believe B, and the rest can’t
    find their ass with both hands and a flashlight.

    The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press polled
    1,546 adults for their responses to buzzwords like “socialism,”
    “progressive,” “family values,” etc. The result: 38 percent of
    respondents were positive on “libertarian,” and 37 percent
    negative:

     Why do they hate us?

    The breakdown is particularly striking along party lines.
    According to Pew, Republicans (31 percent for, 44 percent against)
    have a more negative view of libertarians than do Democrats (39
    percent for, 37 percent against). Democrats like socialism almost as much as they like capitalism. I’d have expected those numbers
    to look very different given the Republicans’ temporary status as
    the small-government-of-convenience party. (The General Theory of
    33.3 allows for wide shifts in opinion, positing only that over
    time the statistics will regress to a stable third/third/third
    formation.)

    As has been noted here many times, leading lights of
    contemporary Republican Partyism, including Mike
    Huckabee
    and David
    Brooks
    , miss no opportunity to denounce not only
    soi-disant libertarians but iconic small-government
    Republicans such as Barry Goldwater.

    At the same, efforts at libertarian-Democrat outreach (or
    reacharound) have generally ended in shame for all concerned. The
    liberaltarian
    movement of 2008 amounted to nothing. The coalition of “Deadwood
    Liberals
    ” cited a few years before that by Reason editor Matt
    Welch (the Baronet
    Lipton
    of fusion politics) failed to catch the public
    imagination.

    I suspect the slightly better Democratic numbers may reflect a
    knowledge gap between Republicans and Democrats. Republicans
    actually understand what libertarians are for, and they know they
    hate
    it
    . Registered Democrats on the other hand can afford to pick
    up a few strands of anti-drug-war, pro-gay marriage tinsel without
    worrying about the radical approach to individualism to which
    they’re attached. (Which is not to say that actual Democratic
    politicians are in any way libertarian on drugs, gay marriage, or
    anything else.) It’s sort of like the way I think the world of
    people from Bhutan because I’ve never actually met any of them.

    Also, Pew, engages in a little scale-thumbing with its
    headline
    “‘Socialism’ Not So Negative, ‘Capitalism’ Not So
    Positive.” In fact socialism does quite poorly in the
    poll, and capitalism does better than you’d expect after a
    period in which the mainstream media have been strenuously trying
    to convince people that the TARP bailout, the stimulus package and
    the resuscitation of General Motors are efforts to save
    capitalism.

    Courtesy of
    Will Wilkinson
    .

  8. Gene Berkman

    Odd that Wayne Root wants to expand Congress to 3,000 members. That is the size of the National Peoples Congress in Red China.

    Not saying that Wayne is a Maoist, but Chairman Mao was full of himself too.

  9. Brian Leach

    I heard Wayne speak at the AR convention and don’t think his message was so “severe” as the reviewer says it was. I believe Wayne wants to take the LP in a direction where it can become more viable and take on the ingrained 2-party system that has so damaged our country.

    The term “liberal”,as it is commonly tossed about, doesn’t imply liberalism in the classic sense at all. Liberal today means “progressive” or “social activist” and has little in common with the sort of classic liberalism that Libertarians stand for. The concepts of liberty and freedom do closely relate to classic liberalism but social justice and political correctness – both byproducts of the progressive movement – do not at all.

    I agreed with a lot of what WAR said at the convention and I agree that the LP has been along for so long but has very little to show for it. “Socially tolerant” is often the term applied to Dutch society and I think that aptly describes Libertarian thought. To reach the mainstream it is important to not campaign on “legalizing heroin”, as WAR said in his speech, and emphasize issues that the mainstream will embrace such as fiscal responsibility – real fiscal responsibility that hasn’t been attempted by our government since the end of the 19th century.

  10. R. Lee Wrights

    Re: #14

    I have never in all my years in the LP seen any candidate “campaign on legalizing herion.” I don’t believe anyone ever has. Of course, I have been around alot longer than Mr. Root and I don’t have the “conservative” perspective he does.

    And, I fail to see how any self-respecting Libertarian that claims to be for smaller government can advocate expanding Congress to around 3,000 members and paying them between a half a million dollars and one million dollars each. This is not the attitude we need from a national chair. Libertarians are for reducing government, not growing government to a size never even imagined by the Democrats or Republicans.

    Mr. Root seems to have a long way to go in understanding the party which he says he wants to lead, in my opinion.

  11. Gen Y in the LP

    # 15. That is the point I made earlier. The LP has been trying and trying and trying to do it one way for 39 years I have been told. It isn’t working!!!! So why not try something a bit different. I read about the Pinto that Ford built. Can you imagine if they had not changed course? Ford would still be building a Pinto.
    Instead, they now build a wonderful car, called the Fusion. And, they did it without a dimes worth of taxpayer money.

  12. John Jay Myers

    There is no doubt we need a change in course…. but that course doesn’t mean that we should be GOP light.
    @ 17 that analogy format sounds strangely like an analogy I heard about grouper….

  13. Not Amused

    “but the missing ingredient up until now has been heart. I am Stella Root’s son. I am relentless. I have a bigger heart than a thousand candidates. More heart than all the others that came before me—combined… ”

    Puleez–what a ridiculous statement. So now he’s Mr. Kindness?

    The guy’s an embarrassment to our party.

  14. Gen Y in the LP

    # 18
    “GOP Light”

    Gosh I hope not– they are horrible.

    Grouper or Groper. Too funny.

  15. Solomon Drek

    “real fiscal responsibility that hasn’t been attempted by our government since the end of the 19th century.”

    Yeah like “real fiscal responsibility” that led to at least two “Great Depressions” (1873 and 1893), labor riots that killed thousands and required federal army intervention to restore order, robber barons and cutthroat capitalism, child labor and exploitation, workers killed by the countless thousands from lack of health and safety standards, and a legacy of misery, hardship and poverty that only a few social historians could ever describe or understand.

    In other words, Wayne Root’s concept of a Libertarian Fantasyland.

    I think if Americans really learned and understood what the “good old days” were really like they would vote for Ralph Nader 100 times over Wayne Root.

  16. Root Rarely Means What He Says

    I wouldn’t take Root’s claim that he wants a 3000 member Congress seriously.

    Root has a talk radio/sound bite mentality. He often spouts off in knee-jerk fashion, without considering the ramifications of his talking points.

    Had Obama suggested expanding Congress to 3000 members, Root would immediately have blasted Obama for it.

    Consider:

    In late 2008, Root suggested an Afghan surge.

    In 2009, Obama suggested an Afghan surge.

    Did Root praise Obama for agreeing with him? No. Instead Root blasted Obama, in typical knee-jerk fashion.

    Root: Me like X.

    Obama: Me like X too.

    Root: Obama like X? Obama evil!

  17. Observation

    A few peope on another thread are going crazy over the things Ernest Hancock says, and they’re convincsd he’ll hurt the party if he’s elected chair. I’m here to say WAR’s grandiose, ultra exaggerated claims, such as he’s written the best book ever written (speaking about “Conscience of a Libertarian”, and now the totally stupid statement that he has “more heart than all other candidates combined” makes him sound like a raving lunatic, ans, if course, the Libertarian Party by association.

    At least Hancock seems to live in the real world.

    Don’t we have any normal candidates? George Phillies seems to have his head together.

  18. Robert Capozzi

    I’ve not read Root’s book, and don’t know the context, but the institutional adjustment he reportedly suggests doesn’t seem sensible.

    A case might be made that the number of MCs might make sense, since that would put their districts closer to the people. Smaller districts might lead to lower-dollar campaigns. It would also increase the delegations of the larger pop. states. I could even imagine that the net cost to taxpayers would be neutral IF congressional staffing was cut at the same time.

    What I cannot imagine is that a 5 fold or so increase in MC pay would change their incentive structure. MCs rarely if ever use their pay to pay for their campaigns. They raise those dollars, generally from special interests.

    Pols are generally not in it for the money, they are in it for the power. Yes, they’d like to live reasonably large, and sometimes they take high-paying lobbyist jobs after Congress. But, while they are in office, they mostly want to STAY in office, often by pandering to special interests for some mutual back scratching.

    Ls can and should offer institutional change that repoints incentives toward smaller government, but I don’t think this one of Root’s is likely to work.

  19. clay

    If you guys in the LP give Root the chair the party better win some major races over the next two years. If it doesn’t you will have sold out for nothing. The guy clearly just wants to massage his ego and build a new Republican party of the religious right model. I always say three candidates is better for the voters than two. So if Root brings the party publicity and it means a significant increase in votes and funds, great. But if he’s trying to make the LP a new bible belt club purely for his own purposes and he can’t show that it’s worth it he should be told where to shove it. Freedom of religion does not mean freedom of Christianity and bombs for the middle east!

  20. Sara

    You might want to read carefully on Mary statement regarding she thinks children are old enough to allow consented sex with adults. Sick

  21. Robert Capozzi

    clay, if that’s your standard for assessment, I’d say Root (or the other 4) would be setup for failure. It COULD happen, but it’d need to be the right candidate at the right time in the right place.

    If Bernie Sanders can win a congressional and senate race, anything’s possible.

  22. Mary Ruwart: The State's best friend

    “Indeed, Root chokes on the popular slogan “Libertarians are fiscally conservative and socially liberal.” He insists on saying that libertarians are “socially tolerant” instead. Since Conscience was originally conceived as a campaign book, why would the author, the LP’s 2008 Libertarian VP nominee, insist on alienating liberals, who constitute almost half of the voting populace, especially when the LP has the solutions to poverty, pollution, and health care that they seek?”

    Ruwart is good at talking to other radical libertarians, but she is an abysmal failure when it comes to relating to average voters. It’s almost as if Ruwart intentionally wants to sabotage the LP so it won’t get too big for her to control.

    First of all, liberals are not “almost half of the voting populace.” They’re not even half of half. They’re only 21%, half of the 40% who say they’re conservative, and even they hate the term “liberal.”

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/120857/conservatives-single-largest-ideological-group.aspx

    “For 14%, being described as a political liberal is a positive, but 39% see it as a negative…”

    Perhaps that’s why Roots is trying to reach out to people using terms they understand, instead of taking the always-failed Ruwartian approach of making sure to speak in the most offensive terms possible.

    As for her wailing that he’s reaching out to people using “conservative” terminology…

    “Forty percent (40%) of U.S. voters view being described politically as a conservative as a positive description. That’s up eight points from last September and even up three from just after the November 2008 election. Sixteen percent (16%) say conservative is a negative description…Eighteen percent (18%) of voters say being called a libertarian is a positive, but 31% view it as a negative description….”

    http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/general_politics/february_2010/politically_speaking_populist_isn_t_popular_but_conservative_is

    Mary Ruwart is why the government is getting bigger. She and her ilk are assisting the State by neutering its opponents.

  23. LP Pramatist

    Why would some LP’ers say “socially liberal” in heavily conservative states? Tell me please. That’s a sure way to get the smack down by voters. One can say “Socially tolerant” and it is not such a red-flag. Again, some LP affiliates market that way. Heck look at LP Stuff affiliate program. The banner even says “Socially tolerant”. It also says “fiscally responsible”.
    That’s also cool.

    Marketing 101 everyone. Feed to the masses and earn their trust and vote.

  24. JT

    Solomon: “Yeah like “real fiscal responsibility” that led to at least two “Great Depressions” (1873 and 1893), labor riots that killed thousands and required federal army intervention to restore order, robber barons and cutthroat capitalism, child labor and exploitation, workers killed by the countless thousands from lack of health and safety standards, and a legacy of misery, hardship and poverty that only a few social historians could ever describe or understand.

    In other words, Wayne Root’s concept of a Libertarian Fantasyland.”

    Solomon, I think you said you were once a Libertarian, but I can’t believe it. No Libertarian I know has that poor a grasp of U.S. history and economics.

  25. JT

    Mary: “It’s almost as if Ruwart intentionally wants to sabotage the LP so it won’t get too big for her to control.”

    I don’t know how you could think that Ruwart now in any way controls the LP. She didn’t even win the presidential nomination. She has been an LP member and activist for about three decades though.

    Mary: “First of all, liberals are not “almost half of the voting populace.” They’re not even half of half. They’re only 21%, half of the 40% who say they’re conservative, and even they hate the term “liberal.””

    Of those conservatives, how many are fiscal conservatives but not social conservatives? Many people call themselves “conservatives” but disagree with the far right’s religious agenda.

  26. George Phillies

    The question is not how many call themselves liberal or conservative, but how many take liberal, i.e., pro-freedom stands on social issues, such as unrestricted abortion access for all women, ending the war on pot, ending the war on Iraq, equality for all before the law, etc. The latter numbers are much bigger than the former, because many real conservatives (right end of the Nolan chart) are not Republican Conservatives (bottom point of the Nolan Chart). More important, the number of young people who are on our side is overwhelming, and that is where the future of the party lies.

  27. Steve LaBianca

    Here is Mary Ruwart’s pointing out how W.A.R. speaks – “He tells us that we must “reposition” the war on drugs instead (page 225).” (I have NOT wasted my time reading the book, no less plunk down money for his trash).

    That, is how W.A.R. speaks on the “drug issue” to the general population.

    Here is how W.A.R. speaks to LP members regarding the drug issue – (Paraphrasing a little, as I don’t recall from memory the EXACT quote) –

    “if the LP is for legalizing all drugs, then maybe I’m in the wrong party”. – W.A.R. addressing the banquet dinner in Charleston, S.C. for the Feb 2009 LNC/LSLA meeting.

    Libertarians understand the War on Drugs and the consequences of it – all BAD. W.A.R., as a conservative misses this entirely and only sees it from a conservative p.o.v. as “drugs” themselves are bad so they cannot be legalized, or drug prohibition cannot be ended. He sees the state as the nanny, a typical conservative outlook. There is NO other reasonable conclusion one can draw from W.A.R.’s statement.

    THIS, folks, is how W.A.R. wants to remold the LP – into accepting the state as our nanny.

    And if the LP IS remolded in W.A.R.’s image, starting with W.A.R. being elected as chair of the LNC, the wet dreams of libertarian lightweights like Holtz will come (no pun intended!) to fruition when principle minded libertarians leave the LP. in droves. Then the brand of conservatism that the LP will be, is all for the tweaking by the LRC. These folks won’t even have to be named the Libertarian REFORM Caucus” anymore!

    It really is sad that the “conservative” Ron Paul as a sitting Republican congressman exposes by example, how W.A.R. and the whole LRC are statist by comparison.

  28. Observation

    I’ll stand by my statement: At least Hancock lives in the real world.

  29. Steve LaBianca

    Mary Ruwart: The State’s best friend, says – “Ruwart is good at talking to other radical libertarians, but she is an abysmal failure when it comes to relating to average voters.”

    Right . . . that’s why she appeals to leftist liberals who are distrusting of the state.

  30. Nicholas Sarwark

    Root says he will continue to defend the principles of the LP platform. If he stops doing so, he’ll be kicked to the curb.

    As a reminder, curb kicking can only be done every two years. If there is a strong possibility that someone will need to be kicked to the curb, it’s better not to elect them.

  31. Steve LaBianca

    Holtz, you ought to see this (link below): then take your biased opinion love fest with the conservative 2008 neo-con LP ticket who duped the LP delegates as to their “libertarian credentials and put it where. . .:

    (and how convenient – as one of the prime “architects” of the current “platform”, Holtz, how utterly tautological your statement of “Root says he will continue to defend the principles of the LP platform.” is.)

    Ron Paul – I think the government’s role should not be involved in personal habits”, and “I think when you defend freedom, you defend freedom of choice, and you can’t be picking and choosing how people use those freedoms”.

    Bob Barr – “I would not support legalization of methamphetamine or crack cocaine”.

    W.A.R. “if the LP is for legalizing all drugs, then maybe I’m in the wrong party”.

    Holtz, is the most delusional “claimed” libertarian I know of.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJz81lAwY0M

  32. Steve LaBianca

    It think it important to point out that Ron Paul is not a perfect libertarian. If I was going tom quantify, I’d say that I agree with his positions about 85 to 90% of the time.

    W.A.R and Barr, I agree with less than 50%.

    The truth is, Ron Paul has a seat to LOSE, and Barr/W.A.R. only had votes to (potentially) boast about. Yeah, that compromising libertarianism really got lots of votes, didn’t it!

    And yet, Ron Paul takes stances more libertarian than Barr or W.A.R. How utterly ridiculous the LRC strategy is. The votes aren’t there, and neither is the principled libertarianism . . . the worst of ALL worlds!

  33. paulie

    First of all, liberals are not “almost half of the voting populace.” They’re not even half of half. They’re only 21%, half of the 40% who say they’re conservative,

    1) Depends on what you mean by liberal. Seems to me that the D/R voting divide is fairly even, and there are more registered Democrats than registered Republicans in the country, etc.

    2) This says nothing about which groups are available for us to recruit from. Consider

    A. 90% of Americans don’t switch parties after age 30

    B. In extensive OPH surveying of college students, I found the largest cluster to be left-center-libertarian, with conservative/libertarian representing a much less populated area of the chart.

    C. Ron Paul galvanized support among young people – most directly because of standing up to Giuliani on the war issue.

    D. See Pew poll results above

    E. Conservatives are more prevalent in every demographic that skews least likely to switch parties. So, even if it’s true that 20% self-identify as “liberal” or “progressive” and 40% self-identify as conservative, that only tells us a small part of the story.

    and even they hate the term “liberal.”

    That’s not really the point. Yes, they prefer “progressive,” which is really besides Ruwart’s point here.

  34. paulie

    Why would some LP’ers say “socially liberal” in heavily conservative states?

    A) Similarly, you can say “why would libertarians say “fiscally conservative” in heavily Democratic states?

    B) Again, see my points to “state’s best friend” in my previous comment. Over-generalizations like yours and SBF’s miss the finer points of what our available audience is.

    Marketing 101 everyone.

    Try taking the follow-up courses. At least get to market segmentation and niche analysis. Is that covered in 101? I forget….

  35. paulie

    Solomon, I think you said you were once a Libertarian, but I can’t believe it. No Libertarian I know has that poor a grasp of U.S. history and economics.

    It’s possible that SD was a libertarian prior to learning the libertarian responses to the boilerplate arguments he now makes. Ruwart’s “Healing Our World” is a great place to start.

  36. Michael Simpson

    I heard WAR speak at the NM Libertarian party convention. I thought he raised a lot of excellent points. He said he considers himself a pragmatic Libertarian and I think that’s what we need. There are a lot of issues that libertarians just alienate people on. Take the war on drugs. If you come out and say legalize all drugs most people will immediately dismiss you. If you ask people to take a look at the issue and see how many people are in jail (and how much that costs) for marijuana related charges you might get some people to actually change their minds.

    He’s passionate and he’s serious about making the Libertarain party relevant. Unless we’re willing to compromise somewhat we’ll forever be stuck at 1/2 of 1 percent of the vote.

    In response to #33 I don’t consider killing children to be “pro-freedom” it’s murder 1 second after they’re born, it’s murder 1 second before they’re born, and it’s murder 9 months before they’re born.

  37. Steve LaBianca

    Michael Simpson says, W.A.R. ” said he considers himself a pragmatic Libertarian and I think that’s what we need.”

    The key here is that “pragmatic” is a qualifier to the qualified term, “Libertarian”. Putting aside, for the moment that “Libertarian” and “libertarian” aren’t synonymous, I believe ALL Libertarians are “pragmatic”. The question is, “pragmatic” toward what end? Pragmatic toward increasing vote totals, regardless of whether or not they are votes “for” the Libertarian’s positions or a vote for the “lesser of several” evils? If that’s the case, then there is a whole wasted amount of effort in being “pragmatic”, as the next election could just as easily yield a vote against the Libertarian candidate.

    Or is “pragmatic” in this realm being, educating the population about libertarian positions on issues, and the consequences of the government adopting libertarian policies? Or, is the “pragmatism” about moving the political debate in the direction of a deeper understanding of libertarianism? THAT, is the “pragmatism” I subscribe to, but I highly doubt that W.A.R. does. Third parties will never, NEVER get elected to any significant level of representation. Only the positions can get moved up into the major parties agendas. So, one might as well run a totally principled campaign, strictly and fully adhering to the non-aggression principle. This way, there is no muddying of the waters as to what THE “libertarian’ position is.

    Regarding “libertarian”, make no mistake . . . W.A.R. is no “libertarian”, pragmatic or otherwise. Yes, he IS a “Libertarian”, but he is no “libertarian”. When W.A.R. says that “I believe that social and personal freedom issues are quite simply States’ Rights’ issues.”, I don’t have to reiterate what that means, as Mary Ruwart has completely demolished this as a “libertarian” position. As a process or strategy of devolving power to a more local, and then more local, and then some more, “States Right’s” may be characterized as a “strategy”, but nowhere does W.A.R. make, or understand this distinction. Frankly, W.A.R. is totally ill equipped to understand libertarianism, period. He only understands “advertising”, and has no clue as to what product he’s selling. At about 49 years of age, if W.A.R. hasn’t figured that out yet, he never will.

  38. Brian Holtz Post author

    The only thing that Ruwart “completely demolished” was a strawman concocted by omitting context. Here’s what she and LaBianca don’t want you to know Root says:

    Government has no right in my bedroom, in my home, telling me what to do on my computer, what to watch on television, how to spend my own money, where to send my children to school, or deciding what vaccines my children must have forced upon them. None of it is any of their darn business. […]

    These experiments on the state level can serve as models for the entire nation and eventually lead to federal breakthroughs and reform. That is why I strongly support States’ Rights. I’d prefer that no government (local, state or federal) limited the personal freedoms of consenting adults, but I am a realist. Incremental success on the state level, which can lead to full-fledged success on the national level, is preferable to no success at all. And even if the freedoms that are achieved at the state level are never implemented on the national level, it gives citizens a chance to live in the states that allow the most personal freedom that fits their lifestyle.

  39. Winners are leaders, not losers

    Gosh I hope that # 47 is not in charge of a state party. What a principled LOSER mentality. No wonder the LP doesn’t win, with attitudes like that. Man, you wouldn’t work for me in my company, with an attitude like that. Where are the winners with some principles?
    What a way to inspire the new members and future generations. Tell them they can’t ever win.
    Tell that to Jesse Ventura in Minnesota a few years ago. With the right message, the money and support will follow. That simple. LP message is solid, it is just how it is delivered.

  40. Brian Holtz Post author

    LaBianca says that me defending the LP Platform as an ideological standard is “tautological” because I led the effort to re-assemble it from past Platform language. If LaBianca knows of an important libertarian principle that the requisite 2/3 majority of NatCon delegates would agree is missing from the LP Platform, I invite him to identify it.

    I also invite LaBianca to help publicize to NatCon delegates his charge that Root does not adhere to LaBianca’s strategic vision that “educating the population about libertarian positions on issues” is the only point of LP campaigns.

    I agree with LaBianca that it was embarrassing to see Bob Barr saying in the national media he would not legalize meth and crack. (They indeed should not be legal for children, but I doubt that’s what Barr had in mind.) It was even more embarrassing to see Barr say in the national media — before he opposed all subsequent bailouts — that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac need “some temporary security, some temporary backup” because the government caused the problem. That was almost as embarrassing as seeing Ruwart quoted in the national media saying: “Children who willingly participate in sexual acts have the right to make that decision as well, even if it’s distasteful to us personally”.

  41. George Phillies

    I am here to set the Libertarian Party on the march to being the majority party, so that we can put libertarian positions into place. I want to see the day when someone rents a phone booth to the Democrats and Republicans for their joint National Convention.

    You will never hear me say that our march toward Freedom can not succeed.

  42. Gen Y in the LP

    I want to see more from this Phillies .

    Negativism is like a “cancer” that can easily infect the rest of us.

    Winners don’t necessarily always win, but at least they have a positive attitude and look forward. Their attitude rubs off on other people in a positive manner.

  43. Michael H. Wilson

    One little bit about Mr. Root and his admiration for Reagan. Regan started his campaign after the Republican convention in Philadelphia, Mississippi. Not too far from that little town three civil rights workers were killed in 1964.

    It is fairly reasonable to assume that Reagan went to Philadelphia, Mississippi, to woe the southern vote knowing full well that it was and always will be connected with the deaths of those three men.

    Reagan is not very popular with black American for that little stop when he started his campaign. One could guess that the deaths of those three men didn’t mean much to Reagan either.

    I would prefer to associate myself with those who gave their lives for civil rights than with those who will do whatever it takes to get elected.

    The Libertarian Party should remember those three civil rights workers who gave up their lives for freedom and distance itself from Reagan

  44. Michael H. Wilson

    Just a second thought. The LP is reported to have more than 40,000 Facebook friends. How come they are not members?

  45. Tom Blanton

    This LaBianca guy just doesn’t get it. Wayne is the best thing that has ever happened to the LP and America.

    It is obvious that LaBianca is jealous of Wayne’s super-success, dynamic personality, animal magnetism, television appearances, shiny teeth, sexy good looks, and manly package.

    Wayne is the only Libertarian, besides Holtz and Starr, that understands what resonates with the American voter. The number one issue now is the plight of the wealthy white winner. Wayne gets it and he’s standing up and fighting for the rights of rich guys. He also understands the threat of Islamofascism.

    Wayne is destined to be the next Ronald Reagan. First LNC Chair, then the White House – for 12 years!

    Wake up LaBianca! Get on the Wayne Train or stay stuck in Losertarianville!

    Wayne & Sarah in 2012!

  46. Robert Capozzi

    bh: I agree with LaBianca that it was embarrassing to see Bob Barr saying in the national media he would not legalize meth and crack.

    me: oooo, did he say “would not”? Strikes me that that’s a true statement! He would not because he COULD NOT.

    The same answer could be given for a host of extreme examples that Ls are asked. I would not legalize private nukes; I would not abandon the silos; I would not legalize kiddie porn; etc.

    An L candidate confronted with a media gotcha could also say I don’t advocate X, or X is not on my agenda.

    If one’s feeling like a victim, one could append to that, or preface those sorts of statements: Media person, we could have a long, drawn out philosophical discussion about what an adult can and cannot ingest in the privacy of his or her home, but that would be boring and inappropriate.

    Questions to absolutist abolitionists:

    1) What’s your prime-time answer to these sorts of questions?

    2) If you were a candidate and the media asked, “If elected, will you take your salary since the money is stolen?” what would be your response?

  47. George Phillies

    @52

    While we are reading books, let me call your attention to A. Schrager and R. Witwer “The Blueprint. How the Democrats Won Colorado”. Colorado was heavily Republican a decade ago. It is now substantially Democratic.

    Given the right people — that’s not going to be easy — we can do the same thing across America.

    Readers of the volume will observe that party platforms had a definite effect on why Republicans lost and Democrats won –the party of homophobic and xenophobic bigotry earned its just desserts — but tweaking the party platforms did not matter.

  48. Brian Holtz Post author

    One could guess that the deaths of those three men didn’t mean much to Reagan either.

    Two days after Reagan’s appearance in Mississipi, he appeared at the Urban League convention in New York, where he said, “I am committed to the protection and enforcement of the civil rights of black Americans. This commitment is interwoven into every phase of the plans I will propose.”

    A (black) columnist for the New York Times says Reagan was “wrong, insensitive and mean-spirited on civil rights and other issues important to black people” because Reagan opposed the federal law that banned “discrimination in hotels, motels, restaurants, theaters, and all other public accommodations engaged in interstate commerce”.

    Michael, should the LP not oppose that law?

    George, should the LP not oppose that law?

    Bob, the answer on drugs should be: the government can’t even protect the adults in its prisons from their choices about what to ingest into their bodies, so the government should certainly not try to protect adults in a free society from such choices.

  49. Robert Capozzi

    bh, that’s an appropriate answer, esp. for a pundit or party official. I certainly don’t have a problem with a candidate using that answer, either. I do think it’s important to be mindful of what role a person is playing, and to be appropriate in that role.

    I might put your answer slightly differently, btw, something like: If you’re asking me whether putting adults in prison because of something they ingest, I’d say NO, especially because the prisons THEMSELVES are notorious for being swimming with drugs!

    Or something….

  50. Michael H. Wilson

    Brian, Reagan knew when and how to play the race card, or at least his handlers did, and I think it is time to put that deck of cards away.

    Personally I doubt the man had any understanding of the racial issues in the South at the time of his campaign, or anywhere else in the nation for that matter.

  51. Alexander S. Peak

    Dear “Gen Y in the LP,”

    Like you, I am a member of Generation Y.

    Unlike you, I have done my homework, and know who Mary Ruwart is. She’s a best-selling author who has been involved in the libertarian movement for decades.

    She works with the Advocates for Self-Government, one of the most successful organisations in America at bringing light to the idea that libertarianism is a distinct political ideology from “liberalism” and conservatism. The organisation created the highly-popular World’s Smallest Political Quiz (WSPQ), which is used in many American schools and universities every year.

    Ruwart has written for them and for the LP News. In fact, it was one of her articles in the LP News that convinced me that the libertarian sollution to the problem of pollution is actually superior to the solutions of statists.

    Since you don’t know who Mary Ruwart is, and the role she’s played in building the libertarian movement, should I also assume you do not know who Ron Paul is? Or Harry Browne, probably our most successful presidential candidate ever? Or Karl Hess, a man who started as a Republican speech writer and who eventually became a radical libertarian and an editor of LP News? Or Murray Rothbard, the libertarian activist who turned down the opportunity to be the LP’s first presidential candidate, and who co-founded the Cato Institute and the Ludwig von Mises Institute? Or David Nolan, the man without whom the LP would not exist? Or Ayn Rand, the best-selling author who made people feel comfortable calling themselves capitalists? Or F. A. Hayek, a libertarian economist who won the Nobel prize for his development of Mises’s business cycle theory? Or Leonard Read, the man who formed the first libertarian think-tank in America, FEE? Or Albert Jay Nock, a very successful writer back in his day? Or Lord Acton, the man who joined the phrase about the corrupting influence of power? Or Benjamin Tucker, the most influential libertarian writer in the late nineteenth century? Or Lysander Spooner, whose The Unconstitutionality of Slavery was so persuasive that it influenced Frederick Douglass to regard the Constitution as an anti-slavery document? Or William Lloyd Garrison, who used the concept of self-ownership to de-legitimise slavery? Or Thomas Paine, whose Common Sense popularised the drive for independence? Or John Locke, whose second treatise on government influenced Jefferson’s draft of the Declaration of Independence? Or Étienne de La Boétie, who attempted to explain why people submit to rulers in the first place? Or Cicero, who defended the concept of natural law as a thing superior to statutory law?

    The libertarian movement is older then 39-years-old. The modern libertarian movement began in the 1940s. And throughout this time, we’ve had many people with many different ideas trying all sorts of different actions and writing all sorts of different arguments in favour of freedom.

    You write that “The LP has been trying and trying and trying to do it one way for 39 years I have been told.” I see absolutely no evidence from your claim. This entire time, we’ve had minarchists, and anarchists in the party; we’ve had constitutionalists, and advocates of natural law; we’ve had Objectivists, and those who are not persuaded by Objectivism; we’ve had former Democrats, and former Republicans; we’ve had people that focus on marijauna, and people who focus on guns. I have never seen a one-size-fits-all approach from the libertarian movement or the LP.

    If you’re interested in learning more about the modern libertarian movement as a whole, I recommend checking out Brian Doherty’s 2007 book, Radicals for Capitalism. But, the book is probably not the best source for a history of the Libertarian Party itself.

    As for the party and its positions, all I can really say is that I believe, sincerely, that we are moving this country in the right direction. Let’s look at the drug war, for example. While the majority of Americans still support it, that number has decreased over these last 39 years. We have some states actually repealing or rolling back their marijuana laws. And this is the direct result, in my opinion, of our having a LP that consistently explains to voters the problems associated with drug prohibition. Another indication that we’re gaining popular support is that the establishment is stealing our terms. We have been talking about privatisation for decades, popularising the concept. These days, Republicans are taking the word and using it to describe their subcontracting policies, because they realise the term has growing popularity. Of course, their subcontracting policies do not reflect real privatisation, but the point remains. Would Bush have used the word “privatisation” when discussing his desire to socialise the stock market if it weren’t for the fact that the term “privatisation” has become popularised, and would it not have become popularised had it not been for the LP and its many, very diverse candidates?

    All in all, I think the LP’s approach of keeping its door open to former Democrats and former Republicans, to those who think that Bush was too big-government and to those who think Obama is too big-government, is working, and should be allowed to continue to work. It would be a huge mistake to close one of those doors, like Mr. Root appears to want to do; and it would be a mistake to close the door to anyone who doesn’t accept conspiracy theories, and Mr. Hancock appears to want to do. Therefore, I would support any of the other candidste other than Root or Hancock.

    Respectfully yours,
    Alex Peak

  52. paulie

    I heard WAR speak at the NM Libertarian party convention. I thought he raised a lot of excellent points. He said he considers himself a pragmatic Libertarian and I think that’s what we need. There are a lot of issues that libertarians just alienate people on. Take the war on drugs. If you come out and say legalize all drugs most people will immediately dismiss you. If you ask people to take a look at the issue and see how many people are in jail (and how much that costs) for marijuana related charges you might get some people to actually change their minds.

    Some people will dismiss that as well, while others who in the past would have dismissed the idea of completely ending prohibition are now in favor, or at least open to considering it. Long term, we are on the winning side of that issue. All prohibitions – going back many centuries, in numerous countries, against many different substances – eventually fail and are repealed.


    He’s passionate and he’s serious about making the Libertarain party relevant. Unless we’re willing to compromise somewhat we’ll forever be stuck at 1/2 of 1 percent of the vote.

    Maybe, maybe not. What I have not seen is the evidence that if we do compromise, that we will get some significantly larger share of votes – or even remain intact and coherent for any significant length of time. For example, the Reform Party has fizzled, because their lack of attachment to any firm ideology caused so many very different people to try to take them over.

    Other centrist or moderate efforts over the years – John Anderson’s comes to mind – have failed in congealing into any sort of larger opposition party.

    In fact, the Libertarians have done more in a sustained fashion than any other non-duopoly opposition party in the last 80 years. And before that, ballot access, nationally broadcasted debates, etc, etc, were not nearly the factors they are today.

    Of course, a more moderate ideology will have more people agreeing with it, but will it actually inspire them to change their votes, much less become actively involved with building up the infrastructure of an alternative party? Those are entirely separate questions, and those who style themselves as pragmatists should have pragmatic – not theoretical – answers to them.

    Practical politics is not primarily about ideology. That is something that both hardcore and moderate libertarians frequently fail to understand.

    However, strength of ideology does play a role – in inspiring people to take the radical step of voting for and/or participating in an alternative party, and in keeping such a party distinct from those who would use it as a ballot access/fundraising vehicle.

    Show me the evidence that your proposed compromises result in more votes, more members, more money, more candidates, more people in higher offices, more pro-freedom legislation enacted, more anti-freedom legislation stopped – any benchmarks other than theoretical predictions.

    Until then, you are only theoretically pragmatic.

  53. paulie

    Just a second thought. The LP is reported to have more than 40,000 Facebook friends. How come they are not members?

    Membership costs money. Friending on facebook does not.

  54. Alexander S. Peak

    The person posting under the name “Mary Ruwart: The State’s best friend” is either a liar or does not understand what the term “radical libertarian” means.

    This person writes,”Ruwart is good at talking to other radical libertarians, but she is an abysmal failure when it comes to relating to average voters.”

    Ruwart is extremely good at talking to average voters. Take me, for instance.

    Before I read things written by her, I supported universal healthcare. After I read things by her, I supported a separation of healthcare and state.

    Now, either you think I was already a radical libertarian (in which case you believe one can be a radical libertarian and also support universal healthcare), or you must admit that Ruwart was very good at converting me from a “liberal” into a libertarian. I tribute my change in view on healthcare to two ISIL pamphlets, “DEATH BY REGULATION: The Price We Pay For The FDA” by Mary J. Ruwart and “We Can Have Affordable Health Care” by Jarret B. Wollstein.

    It doesn’t end there. Before I read things written by her, I supported having the federal government regulate us in order to preserve the environment. After I read things by her that were published in LP News, I supported the use of property rights in order to preserve the environment.

    Now, either you think I was already a radical libertarian (in which case you believe one can be a radical libertarian and also support a powerful EPA), or you must admit that Ruwart was very good at converting me from a “liberal” into a libertarian. You can read Part I and Part II of “The Pollution Sollution” here and here respectively.

    Ruwart clearly knows how to talk to average voters and convert them to libertarianism. I will admit that she is better at speaking when she has a speech prepared in advanced than when she speaks off the cuff; if that’s what you want to claim, I will agree. But to say that she is not good at speaking to average voters is to present a falsehood.

    Take this book review, for example. Root’s book will drive “liberals” away from converting to libertarianism. Ruwart’s review helps to correct the problem. If you encounter a “liberal” who has read Root’s book and has thence disregarded libertarianism, you can present Ruwart’s book review to the “liberal,” and thereby open the mind of said “liberal” to possibly reconsidering libertarianism. Then you can give a copy of Ruwart’s best-selling book, Healing Our World in an Age of Aggression, to said “liberal,” and perhaps you’ll have a new libertarian on your hands.

    The person posting under the name “Mary Ruwart: The State’s best friend” then goes on to write, “It’s almost as if Ruwart intentionally wants to sabotage the LP so it won’t get too big for her to control.”

    This is an absurd statement. One, Ruwart doesn’t control the LP, nor has she ever controlled the LP. Two, Ruwart has worked to prevent walk-outs, because she doesn’t want the size of the LP to shrink. Three, how has Ruwart done anything with the intention of “sabotaging” the LP?

    This person also writes, “Perhaps that’s why Roots is trying to reach out to people using terms they understand, instead of taking the always-failed Ruwartian approach of making sure to speak in the most offensive terms possible.”

    One, if Ruwart’s approach is an “always-failed approach,” that would mean either (A) she did not succeed in converting me to the libertarian positions on environment and healthcare or (B) that you want to keep the libertarian movement small and that you only consider my conversion to libertarianism to be a failure because my conversion increased the size of the movement.

    Two, Ruwart does not have a policy of using the “most offensive terms possible.” When I was a young “liberal,” I would have been willing to listen to someone who described herself as “fiscally conservative and socially liberal”; I would not have been willing to listen to someone who called his position “the very heart and soul of conservatism.” Why? Because I knew that conservatives supported big government positions on immigration, marijuana, marriage, pornography, and war; I naturally assumed that whatever the Green Party had to say must be right because, hey, at least they aren’t conservative.

    While “liberals” find the term “conservative” offensive, and while conservatives find the term “liberal” offensive, both groups tend to be less closed-minded to the phrase “fiscally conservative, socially liberal.”

    Three, you present polls showing that people find the term “liberal” offensive. Perhaps, but according to a Zogby poll, 59 percent of the voting public consider themselves to be “fiscally conservative and socially liberal.”

    The Cato Institute has more on this.

    So, are you saying that the phrase “fiscally conservative, socially liberal” is “the “the most offensive terms possible” despite the fact that a majority of Americans associate this phrase with themselves?

    Then this person irrationally claims, “Mary Ruwart is why the government is getting bigger. She and her ilk are assisting the State by neutering its opponents.”

    So you’re saying that by trying to attract disgruntled Democrats and disgruntled Republicans, instead of closing the door to anyone and everyone who associates with the so-called “left,” she is somehow “neutering” the LP?

    We’re not trying to “Bring Reagan back,” like the Republicans, or “Bring Clinton back,” like the Democrats; we’ve got something unique, something better than Clinton or Reagan.

    One of the biggest problems that has beset the Libertarian Party from day one is the misperception that libertarianism is somehow a right-wing ideology. Harry Browne, who was arguably our most successful candidate, found that he was drawing an equal number of votes from Democrats and those on the “left” as he was from Republicans and those on the right. Libertarianism is not a right-wing ideology, and if we want to continue to grow as a party, we should make it clear that libertarianism is distinct from both modern “liberalism” and conservatism. Root fails fundamentally, and will continue to fail until he realises that our strength as a party relies on presenting ourselves as neither liberal nor conservative, but rather as a party with fresh ideas that both “liberals” and conservatives should consider with earnestly. We’re not offering the same failed policies as the Democrats and the Republicans.

    Sincerely yours,
    Alex Peak

  55. paulie

    Alex @ 67 is exactly right.

    Although, I see some hopeful first steps that Root is beginning to realize this, for example his 500 words in LP News (with Rutherford), his answers to Moulton’s questions, etc.

  56. paulie

    re: 66 Gee paulie I knew that

    Yes, but some other people may have been wondering. My comments are addressed to all those who read them, not necessarily just the person I am responding to.

  57. Alexander S. Peak

    Mr. Simpson,

    I am graduating this month. As such, I wanted to write a number of articles this semester for the campus paper. And so I did.

    One of my articles was titled “End the War on Drugs.” It was very well-received. In fact, it seems to have been even more well-received than an article I wrote defending the firing of an assistant professor named Zaruba.

    Let’s consider Harry Browne, who I would argue was the most successful presidential candidate in LP history. Sure, Ed Clark received more votes, but that can be attributed to the huge budget his VP candidate provided. Browne obviously didn’t have a super-wealthy VP candidate, and still did remarkably well for an LP candidate. So, did Browne water down his policy on drugs? No, he presented the full picture. He would pardon all nonviolent persons in prison for federal drug laws. Did this perspective hurt him? No, because he also explained in terms that average voters understood why the war on drugs was destructive.

    Browne was so persuasive that he converted me from someone who thought only marijuana should be legalised to someone who thought the entire war on drugs should end.

    I’m a pragmatic radical.

    When I say I’m support the Radical Caucus, what I mean is this: I do not believe our federal candidates should ever argue that something needs to be banned. Even if you believe, as Barr does, that the state level should ban cocaine, you should not say that. The most you should say is that it would not be unconstitutional for the state to regulate drugs, while it would be unconstitutional for the federal government to regulate them. But, our federal candidates should never say it is “good” for states to ban or regulate drugs (or guns, or food, or anything else).

    But I’m a pragmatic radical. So, while I want our federal candidates to take the radical position (e.g., ending the drug war), I want them to do so pragmatically, by which I mean they should present arguments that resonate with average voters. They shouldn’t say things like, “Who cares if you lose your job because you’re a heroin addict.” Instead, it makes more sense to point out that addicts are more likely to seek help in an environment where they don’t believe they might be incarcerated for coming forward. The candidates also shouldn’t say crazy things like, “You shouldn’t judge marijuana until you’ve tried it.” Rather, they should point out, as Browne did, that the drug war increases the rate of violent crime.

    You bring up the word compromise. I’m sorry, but I have no intension of compromising. I’d rather shoot myself in the head than compromise.

    Now, let me be clear. That doesn’t mean I’m against incremental change. If I were in Congress, and someone were to put forward a bill to do away with all federal regulations on marijuana, I would not vote against it “because it doesn’t go far enough.” No, I’d definitely vote for it. I’d co-sponsor it, in fact. Nothing could keep me from voting for it. I don’t consider that a compromise.

    But, I would absolutely never vote for a new law, or a new tax. Nor would I vote for any bill that limits regulation on one thing while increasing regulations on another. If the bill that removes federal regulations on marijuana were to include a rider that increases federal regulations on guns, I would have to vote against that bill. This is what I mean when I say I refuse to compromise.

    Would I vote for a bill that eliminated federal regulations on marijauna but that created a new tax specifically on marijuana? I’d probably vote for that, because I would not consider that a compromise, but rather a step in the right direction, despite the fact that it would technically be a new tax. But, I would try to put forward an amendment to the bill to eliminate the new tax.

    Respectfully yours,
    Alex Peak

  58. Alexander S. Peak

    To the person posting under the name “Winners are leaders, not losers,” I believe you have misrepresented what Mr. LaBianca said.

    Sincerely,
    Alex Peak

  59. Alexander S. Peak

    Dear Robert Capozzi,

    (1)

    You are absolutely wrong when you say that Bob Barr said he “COULD NOT” legalise meth and crack.

    HANNITY: “So let’s make sure I’m clear here: If a state wants to legalize heroin and crack, you’re okay with that?”

    BARR: “What I’m saying, Sean, and you keep coming back heroin and crack and so forth, what I’m saying—”

    HANNITY: “We have an epidemic, yeah.”

    BARR: “And I would think—and, and what I would think is, uh, would be in accord with your views on federalism.”

    HANNITY: “Uh, I didn’t ask you that.”

    BARR: “You don’t believe that these issues ought to be decided by the people in their states through their representatives?”

    HANNITY: “But what would your vote be? would you vote to legalize heroin and crack?”

    BARR: “No I would not vote for legalize heroin and crack; we’ve talked about this before, and you keep coming back—”

    HANNITY: “You didn’t answer the question; so you’re against legalizing drugs if you had to vote.”

    BARR: “I answered it—Sean, I answered it when we were on the radio recently and I’ve just answered it for you here.”

    If Barr were a state-level legislator, he absolutely could vote in favour of doing away with regulations on drugs. He said he would not.

    (2)

    You ask two questions to abolitionists:

    (1) What’re our prime-time answers to these questions dealing with nukes, silos, and children?

    (2) If I were a candidate and the media asked, “If elected, will you take your salary since the money is stolen?” what would be my response?

    Let me answer #2 first.

    If the media were to ask me this, I would tell them, “I’m glad you asked, because I have made a number of promises to voters, and my #1 promise is that I would refuse to accept any pay from the government.

    This would be an important part of my campaign. I would have this promise on my campaign website, and I would send out press releases to get more media coverage.

    Should I actually get elected someday, I will rip up the pay cheque, and invite all of the other politicians to join me in ripping up their cheques as well. Of course, they’ll decline, which means that all of the media attention would be focused on me.

    Now, on to your first question. How would I answer questions about privately-owned nukes, silos, and children?

    I don’t have any soundbites worked up at this point, so I’ll just give you the long answers.

    If a private company wants to do scientific research on nuclear energy, I see no reason why such research should be banned by the government. The problem with such things as the atomic bomb, however, is that they cannot be legitimately possessed in populated areas.

    There is nothing wrong with a person walking down the street with a gun in her holster; but if she starts pointing her gun at random people, then she is threatening their lives and thereby aggressing against them. Unless we’re dealing with the highly unlikely scenario where everyone in a geographic region is a murderer, the possession of an atomic bomb will necessarily threaten the life of some innocent person, and therefore even the mere possession of such a weapon cannot be legitimately defended.

    As for the government, it should work to cut back on or eliminate its supply of nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons are a threat not only to one’s enemies but also to one’s self. Should an nuke fall into the hands of some nut, it could be quite dangerous, regardless of whether it’s a foreign-made nuke or an American-made nuke. So, the less nukes that exist on this planet, the better. Should we successfully eliminate all nukes, we can then sell off the silos.

    Finally, child molestation is a crime for the same reason rape is a crime. There are kids in various places around the world who are forced to pose in child pornography or who are forced into lives as sex slaves. Obviously, libertarians are opposed to this.

    Do these answers seem appropriate, Mr. Capozzi?

    Sincerely yours,
    Alex Peak

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *