Thomas Sipos: ‘Beware of Last-Minute Convention Floor Smears’

Posted by Thomas Sipos at Libertarian Peacenik. The opinions expressed are those of the original author, and reproduced here for the purpose of discussion. IPR as a blog/site takes no position in Libertarian or other party internal battles, although individual authors have our own opinions.



Based on recent history, delegates to the Libertarian Party’s 2010 national convention should be on guard against last minute convention floor smears. It happened to Mary Ruwart in 2008, and might have cost her the nomination.

I reported on this incident nearly two years ago, in my post: Last Minute Anti-Ruwart Lies on the Convention Floor.

I wrote: “Someone (or a group of someones) was spreading ugly and outlandish anti-Ruwart rumors on the convention floor during the voting.

Before the 5th ballot, after Senator Mike Gravel was dropped, I asked Mike’s daughter, Lynne Moiser, to vote for Mary Ruwart. ….

[Lynne] said she’d heard on the floor that the ‘Washington Post was about to break a story that the Libertarian Party was nominating child pornographer Mary Ruwart.’

That false and ugly accusation about Ruwart was old news, based on an out of context quote from a book by Ruwart that had been unearthed by George Phillies. Both Wayne Allyn Root and Christine Smith had pounced on Ruwart at the time, asking for her to withdraw. The rumor was known and disregarded by Ruwart’s supporters.

However, Lynne was new to Libertarianism. She was unfamiliar with our blogs and channels of communication. This false rumor was news to her.

And this Washington Post twist was entirely new.

So, the Washington Post was ‘about to break a story’ about the LP was nominating a child pornographer? Really? Where did that come from?

Well, an effective lie needs to be specific. It’s more believable that way.

Clearly, someone was spreading lies on the convention floor, when only Barr, Ruwart, and Root remained on the ballot — in that order. Which camp was spreading these lies? Barr or Root? Root was in last place (behind Ruwart) and his campaign has a history of playing the ‘child pornographer’ card against Ruwart. But there’s no hard evidence either way.”

This incident was never followed up. This last minute anti-Ruwart smear went down the Memory Hole.

Well, I’m extracting this incident from the Hole. Somebody was spreading an anti-Ruwart lie — a Big Whooper of a lie! — at the last minute, in a tight race. And some delegates were swayed by this lie.

Who would want the nomination that bad? Bad enough to spout Whooper-sized lies? Who embraces an ethic of winning at all costs?

Someone who would do it again.

I don’t know who has what up their sleeves, but I urge all delegates to the 2010 Libertarian Party national convention to take all last minute “revelations” and rumors with a grain of salt. In the upcoming LP Chair race, do not be swayed by eleventh hour accusations, when there’s no time for the smeared party to defend himself.

63 thoughts on “Thomas Sipos: ‘Beware of Last-Minute Convention Floor Smears’

  1. Scott Lieberman

    “Thomas Sipos: ‘Beware of Last-Minute Convention Floor Smears’

    But Lynne also told me an unsettling rumor. She said she’d heard on the floor that the “Washington Post was about to break a story that the Libertarian Party was nominating child pornographer Mary Ruwart.”

    That false and ugly accusation about Ruwart was old news, based on an out of context quote from a book by Ruwart that had been unearthed by George Phillies. Both Wayne Allyn Root and Christine Smith had pounced on Ruwart at the time, asking for her to withdraw. The rumor was known and disregarded by Ruwart’s supporters.”

    ***************************************

    Mr. Sipos – Please don’t lie.

    I was right in the middle of the Root for President campaign at the time Dr. Phillies uncovered the quote from one of Dr. Ruwart’s books. That quote was not taken out of context, but I am not going to argue that point in this comment.

    Wayne Root’s campaign manager decided, on his own, to have a statement posted on Wayne Root’s web site asking Dr. Ruwart to withdraw from the Presidential campaign. As he was making that decision, Mr. Root was on a coast to coast flight, and was unavailable to advise the campaign manager. The campaign manager felt it was so time critical, that he had the statement posted while Mr. Root was still on the flight, so Wayne did not even know it had been posted until at least 4 hours after it was first posted.

    As soon as Mr. Root arrived at the airport on the East Coast, he was called about this, and Wayne demanded that the statement to be taken down. It was taken down within a few hours.

    Mr. Root had NOTHING to do with issuing that statment, and he had it taken down as soon as he found out about it.

    For Mr. Sipos to say that Mr. Root “pounced on” the accurate quote from Dr. Ruwart’s book is a lie, as you can see from what I have just related.

    ***************************************

    “So, the Washington Post was “about to break a story” about the LP was nominating a child pornographer? Really? Where did that come from?

    Clearly, someone was spreading lies on the convention floor, when only Barr, Ruwart, and Root remained on the ballot — in that order. Which camp was spreading these lies? Barr or Root? Root was in last place (behind Ruwart) and his campaign has a history of playing the “child pornographer ” card against Ruwart. But there’s no hard evidence either way.

    Yet for the record, it seems likely that at least one of the candidates on the LP’s Barr/Root ticket (or their campaigns) was playing dirty tricks on the convention floor.

    Which of these men wanted the nomination that bad?”

    Thomas Sipos”

    *************************************

    I was at that Convention and I did not even HEAR the Washington Post rumor. I suppose it is possible that someone might have said something like that, but for Mr. Sipos to strongly suggest that the Barr or Root campaigns was behind that POSSIBLE rumor is totally unwarranted by the evidence. If that rumor really was told to a few people, it could have been started by anyone, up to and including Dr. Ruwart supporter’s who wanted to take advantage of a “Barr” or “Root” “atrocity.”

    I am not accusing anyone of starting such a rumor, but without any proof at all, it is very presumptuous of Mr. Sipos to say it was “likely” that the Barr or Root campaigns started such a rumor.

  2. AroundtheblockAFT

    “My God, ______matriculated right there at a public university and his wife was a well-known thespian on campus!”

    Ah, the temptations normally honest people sink to when backing their favored candidates. I once caught Alicia Clark telling the California delegation that one candidate was “not an activist” when the person in question had worked his way up through county and state chairmanships, and then the LNC, even serving as state co-chair for her husband’s 1980 campaign and running for office several times on his own.

  3. Alexander S. Peak

    I have to agree with Mr. Lieberman; there is no evidence that the rumour was started by any of the campaigns. For all we know, it could have been started by mistake.

    For example, person A says to person B, “I’d be afraid if person X gets the nomination, because the Washington Post might then run a story saying the LP has nominated a child pornographer.”

    Then person C overhears part of the conversation, assumes that A is saying that X really is a child pornographer, assumes that it is true, and tells someone else.

    Or, the rumour could have been started by one of the campaigns. Or the rumour could have been started by someone not affiliated with any campaign but who really hated Dr. Ruwart.

    Any of these things is possible. I would urge people not to point fingers unless they have more evidence.

    Sincerely,
    Alex Peak

  4. Alexander S. Peak

    P.S. I don’t like jumping to conclusions. While I’m of the “anybody but Root or Hancock” persuasion for this particular race, I believe it is proper to defend both of these men against insinuations until such a time where evidence is presented to confirm that which is insinuated. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty.

  5. NewFederalist

    OMG! Child pornography? OMG! Golly Batman… that isn’t good, is it?

  6. LibertarianGirl

    I agree , this is attempt to smear Root by implying his team made up a lie on the convention floor about the Post/Ruwart/ pornography thing.
    there isnt one ounce of proof and Sipos your DOING exaxtly what your accusing Root of having done . spreading lies

    p.s everyone would have heard that rumor and noone I know did.

  7. Brian Holtz

    do not be swayed by eleventh hour accusations

    But tenth-hour unfalsifiable accusations dredged up from two years ago are OK…

    I never heard any rumor about Ruwart being outed in the WaPo as a “child pornographer”, and LP delegates are smart enough to know the WaPo would never accuse her of that.

    I did, however, hear a rumor that if Ruwart were nominated then WaPo would be highlighting her no-laws-against-child-pornography position in a way similar to how Time Magazine had done only a couple days earlier: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1808384,00.html

    I seem to recall this rumor was circulating well before the final rounds of voting, but Sipos’s innuendo works better if Barr and Root were the only Ruwart opponents still in the race. Sipos fantasizes about a campaign smear machine with nerves steely enough to sit on such a rumor until it’s nearly too late to be effective, and yet organized enough to spread the rumor among the hundreds of delegates in the mere minutes between voting rounds. Yeah, right. Alex Peak sees straight through Sipos here.

    There was nothing “out of context” about the Ruwart quotes that were indeed old news. Here is what Time wrote about them:

    The fracas started with Mary J. Ruwart, the candidate with perhaps the deepest, purest libertarian roots (her rejection of government is so complete that some party moderates have begun warning of the anarchical dangers of “Ruwarchy”). In April, a rival called her out for her thoughts in a 1999 book called Short Answers to the Tough Questions. “Children who willingly participate in sexual acts have the right to make that decision as well, even if it’s distasteful to us personally,” Ruwart wrote. “When we outlaw child pornography, the prices paid for child performers rise, increasing the incentives for parents to use children against their will.”

    There was a distinct “false and ugly accusation” being hurled, but it involved neither the WaPo nor any Ruwart quotes. Various people were accusing Ruwart of favoring child pornography in some way, but of course no Ruwart quote supports such a smear, which is why no Ruwart quote ever accompanied it.

  8. Sean Shepard

    Should this not be considered another effort started by Phillies that creates conflict and infighting within the organization?

    It has not been my perception that Root has himself promoted personal attacks on others and, quite the contrary, seems to be always be on the defensive against those who resent his energy, enthusiasm and success with the media.

    As the great Joe Hauptman, long time friend of the LP and former state chairman of Indiana stated in a great speech recently … (paraphrased) “I am surprised the world makes it around the sun sometimes because it spends so much time revolving around all of you.”

  9. Brian Holtz

    Fact-based efforts to vet our candidates are to be commended.

    My focus in Denver was the Platform, but it shouldn’t have been hard for delegates to figure out which candidate made the statement quoted below in the set of graphics that I handed out on the floor:

    Contrast that with the amount of factual content in another graphic that circulated right before the convention:

  10. Thomas L. Knapp

    I don’t recall hearing the Washington Post rumor in Denver, although several people did pull out the “supports child pornography” canard in my hearing.

    My perception was that it didn’t hurt Ruwart much, if any — most people knew it was bullshit — but that it did hurt Root to the extent that his campaign was viewed as involved in spreading the smear.

    I would not be surprised if it cost him double-digit first ballot votes, and placed still more second, third, etc. ballot votes forever out of his reach.

  11. Buck Turgidson

    I have, along with many others, have grown tired of Sipos and his whining. His hatred for Wayne Root is so obvious. Tommy Boy, you count me as one vote for Root.

  12. LOL

    THIS ARTICLE is a last minute convention floor smear.

    Fact is one thing. Innuendo, smoke-blowing, and rumor-mongering are quite different.

    I just urge people to check facts for themselves. If it’s fact, believe it. If not, give it to Sipos to make an IPR article out of it.

  13. Is the LP nuts

    I would be much more concerned with the “behavior” of George Phillies, than Wayne Allyn Root.

  14. Tom Blanton

    The last paragraph in the Time Magazine article linked above sums up the reality that many LP members fail to comprehend:

    If the Democratic and Republican parties have any ideology, it’s an ideology of power — their policies shift and twist in the wind according to what they think will appeal to the biggest slice of the electorate. Libertarians have no power, but they have consistency and principle. If they lose that — and, presumably, the general election as well — they may be left on November 5th with nothing at all.

    Nothing at all is exactly what the enemies of libertarianism would like to see libertarians left with.

  15. Alexander S. Peak

    LibertarianGirl writes, “everyone would have heard that rumor and noone I know did.”

    Are you implying that Mr. Sipos made it up, that Ms. Lynne Moiser did not actually tell him that she had heard it? Hopefully that is not your intent.

    Again, I do not believe we should jump to conclusions. There is no evidence that Mr. Sipos has made up a story about hearing from Moiser that this rumour was afloat, just as there’s no evidence that the rumour (assuming it existed) was created by any of the campaigns.

    What I’d suspect, but cannot confirm obviously, is that Moiser heard the same rumour as Holtz but misinterpreted it and thought she heard that Ruwart was a “child pornographer.” I’d also suspect that by the time Sipos asked Moiser to vote for Ruwart, it was down to three candidates. From there, Sipos jumps to the conclusion that either the Root campaign or the Barr campaign was behind a vicious smear.

    Regards,
    Alex Peak

  16. Tom Blanton

    I hope people will avoid last-minute smears and choose instead to get all smears in early. A smear delayed is a smear denied.

    It has come to my attention that certain campaign material has been posted online which, as it turns out, is nothing more than a childish attempt to provoke laughter at the expense of Wayne Root. At least we can all be thankful that this smear was not withheld until the last minute. The image can be viewed here:

    vvvvvv.Root4Root.gov

  17. Eric Sundwall

    I do recall the Washington Post being mentioned as a ‘what if’ in the famous Cory memo that went out to the LNC. Given Brian’s Jodie Foster handout, it’s easy to see why one might conclude that certain camps might be responsible for the pornographer conclusion that some apparently reached. They may be facts according to Brian, but perception and the eventual mis-perception is at play here. That’s politics I guess.

    I’m happy to say I ripped out five layers of floor that weekend and just watched CSPAN in amazement when Root started in on the ‘master-Barr’ talk and then the ‘BANG’ , at the podium. Wow. Thankfully I had knee pads on when my jaw went to to the floor.

    I was disappointed the most when all the candidates failed to answer the tragedy of the commons questions the night before at the debate. Proudest moment was Barry Hess speech . . .

  18. Timothy Maguire

    Wow. I have never seen so many half truths in one article before. Let’s set the record straight, M’kay? Ruwart is NOT a child pornagrapher. BUT, she does defend the legal right to use children for prostitution and pornography. All under the guise of the right of minors to contract.

    I know. I heard her say it. At a state convention. In front of the entire delegation. In 2008. While running for president.

    During the presidential debate at our state convention, many of us liked her answers. But we had also been alerted to a blog that had reported on statements made in her book. She was selling books there, so I bought one. It wasn’t taken out of context, it was true, she defends in writing the right of a child to engage in pornography. I can scan it for you. But it’s an older book, so we asked her. She still defended the position, and talked about the rights of children to enter into contracts. We were mortified.

    This was a good month before the convention, this was no last minute rumor. Did someone mess up the details during the game of telephone on the convnention floor? Maybe, but it probably wasn’t malicious.

    To insinuate that Root or even Phillies started an untrue rumor “at the last minute” is nothing short of irresponsible.

  19. Half Tooth

    TM@19:
    “Wow. I have never seen so many half truths in one article before. Let’s set the record straight, M’kay? Ruwart is NOT a child pornagrapher. BUT, she does defend the legal right to use children for prostitution and pornography. All under the guise of…”

    As soon as you used the preposition “under the guise of” you started your own interpreted projections. It is not Dr. Ruwart you are judging, it is your own imagination.

    Welcome to the world of rumor mongering and posts made with half truths. It is a very easy thing to fall into all the while thinking you are 100% spot on.

    Rumors circulating earlier, does not indicate that rumors are not also circulated later. Nor does it indicate that they are not circulated “at the last minute”. Nor does it indicate that they were not circulated with purpose.

    Perceptive fallacy is an SOB.

  20. Brian Holtz

    I don’t see any mention of WaPo in the Cory memo as it was published on IPR.

    The two quotes in my graphic @9 aren’t “facts according to Brian”. They are facts according to any copy of the 2004 platform you care to check, and any copy of Ruwart’s book you care to check.

    Half Tooth, TM’s claim is that Ruwart “does defend the legal right to use children for prostitution and pornography under the right of minors to contract.” Do you dare deny that this is a fact?

    All this reality-denying relativism reminds me of the Simpsons episode where Bart is mad at Homer for forgetting to pick up Bart from school. Homer’s defense: We could sit here and try to figure out ‘who forgot to pick up who’ until the cows come home. But let’s just say we’re both wrong and that’ll be that.

  21. Timothy Maguire

    No imagination. I heard her explicitly say that children have the same right to contract as adults do. So did a roomful of others. I ask her to clarify her position if I have a bad memory.

  22. Tom Blanton

    The Ruwart quote on the “Restore the 2004 Platform” graphic does not mention adults, so it is hard to determine whether she “does defend the legal right to use children for prostitution and pornography under the right of minors to contract.”

    Perhaps the best person to ask about a child’s right to contract would be a minor incarcerated for prostitution. I understand that most middle-class men with daughters find the idea of child prostitution outrageous (at least publicly). But, do they believe any child engaging in such behavior should be incarcerated, while at the same time holding that an adult engaging in prostitution is merely engaging in a victimless crime and should not be incarcerated?

    The same goes for the “legalizing heroin for children” meme. Should kids be thrown into prison, where they are likely to be abused, for possessing heroin? What about marijuana? Is it acceptable for drugs to be legal for adults, but not for children?

    Setting aside judgments on the morality of children committing victimless crimes, why should they be treated more harshly under the law than adults? The issue of adults exploiting children is an entirely different issue, if that is in fact the objection to what Ruwart has written about.

    I’m not so sure that Ruwart is advocating tolerance for adults who exploit children and it seems the line of questioning on this matter is silent about adults.

    It seems to me that the accusations of favoring child prostitution at Ruwart are much like the accusation that one favors people getting sick and dying if opposed to Obamacare.

  23. Tom Blanton

    Perhaps Holtz can provide a graphic which quotes Ruwart as saying adults have the right to exploit children sexually if the child goes along with it, or something similar.

  24. Brian Holtz

    This is a handy gauge of Blanton’s understanding of libertarian ethics. When an adult sells narcotics to a child, or pays the child for sexual performance, Blanton apparently doesn’t understand how most libertarians would assign the roles of aggressor and victim in the transactions.

  25. Brian Holtz

    Q: How can a libertarian argue against child pornography?

    Ruwart: Children forced to participate in sexual acts have the same rights and recourse as a rape victim. We can, and should, prosecute their oppressors. Children who willingly participate in sexual acts have the right to make that decision as well, even if it s distasteful to us personally. Some children will make for choice is just as some adults do in smoking and drinking to excess; this is part of life. What we outlaw child pornography, if the prices paid for child performers rise, increasing the incentives for parents to use children against their will.

    Q: Should children be allowed to work, vote, marry, have sex, drive, own a gun, have the right to enter contracts, etc.?

    Ruwart: Libertarians acknowledge that children have rights, such as the ones you’ve enumerated, but often disagree as to how they apply. In practice, children’s rights are limited by their inability to take responsibility for their choices. For example, a child who wishes to work, but can’t convince his or her parents to provide the necessary transportation, will be unable to exercise that right.

    Q: How do you determine when children are ready to enter into contracts? Will the laws specify the age of majority? Would parents decide? The child?

    Ruwart: In practice, you would decide if a child is old enough to enter into a contract with you. Is the child willing and able to provide the contracted service to you? If so, what kind of recourse would you expect from the courts if the child refuses to provide the contracted service? The age of majority for marriage, work, etc. is most often established by custom of the society and will vary with the individual’s circumstances rather than being dictated by law.

  26. Brian Holtz

    When this controversy erupted in 2008, Ruwart defended herself by saying that pre-pubescent children could never be competent to consent to sex because they aren’t old enough to have “desire” for sex.

    The gaping hole in her defense is that children of very young ages can have a competent desire for money to buy food so they don’t starve.

    It’s also unclear if Ruwart thinks that parents should have any authority to prevent (say) a 12-year-old from engaging in sexual commerce. When she talks about “convinc[ing] his or her parents to provide the necessary transportation”, she apparently thinks that pedophiles would be unwilling/unable to provide the transportation themselves.

  27. Tom Blanton

    When an adult sells narcotics to a child, or pays the child for sexual performance, Blanton apparently doesn’t understand how most libertarians would assign the roles of aggressor and victim in the transactions.

    I don’t address that question, and you have failed to adress my question, Holtz.

    Apparently, you can’t understand the meaning of this:

    The issue of adults exploiting children is an entirely different issue, if that is in fact the objection to what Ruwart has written about.

    Most adults reading that would understand I am specifically NOT addressing the issue of adults or how “most libertarians would assign the roles of aggressor and victim”.

    I take it from your Kabuki dance around my question that you do believe that children should be incarcerated for the commission of victimless crimes. Perhaps you also believe that adults should be incarcerated for victimless crimes, whether a minor is involved or not. If so, then at least you aren’t a hypocrite on this issue, Holtz.

    I suppose that if Holtz’s daughter, at 15 years of age, were to send a topless image of herself to her 15-year old boyfriend’s cellphone, Holtz would call the police, if he found out about it, and insist that she be arrested and prosecuted for creating and distributing child pornography.

  28. Half Tooth

    BH@26:
    How do you derive condoning child prostitution out of those several different questions and answers?

    You EXTRAPOLATE condoning child prostitution if you use your imagination and create links that Dr. Ruwart did not.

    In some places she is talking about how the age of consent might be determined without the use of law. Not that there shouldn’t be mature consent.

    She states that unwanted sexual contact with a young person is rape and that a child that does not yet have sexual maturity is contact that is unwanted de facto.

    In another question completely, she talks about contracts and young people. NOT about sex. Do children get to enter into contracts? I pushed a lawn mower door to door as a child to earn my pocket money. This is a far more reasonable example of what Dr. Ruwart is expressing in my opinion.

    You cannot combine the questions with made up scenarios and still pretend that you are representing Dr. Ruwart’s positions.

  29. Michael H. Wilson

    May I point out that the age of childhood has changed over time and it is only within the last 100 years that someone 17 years of age was considered a child. For males manhood began around 13 in many societies and it is subject to change again.

    Also I think you will find that Allen Dershowitz has questioned the idea of child pornography and as I recall suggest that there is a free speech issue involved that the public and justice is ignoring. I just don’t have time to check that out right now. Maybe someone else can do so.

  30. Tom Blanton

    It’s also unclear if Ruwart thinks that parents should have any authority to prevent (say) a 12-year-old from engaging in sexual commerce.

    Putting questions of political and moral posturing aside, it seems Ruwart’s opponents are more concerned about what she doesn’t say than what she does say, and yet they fail to question her about what she doesn’t say. I suppose it is more convenient to make a case against her when one can put words in her mouth or speculate about how she might answer a question when it is unclear what exactly her stance is.

  31. Thomas L. Knapp

    Ruwart’s mistake, if she made one, was attempting to address questions concerning child sexuality and child pornography in a Short Answers to the Tough Questions format. There are some questions which “short answers” just don’t cover very well.

    I remain of the opinion that the whole thing hurt Ruwart’s opponents who were perceived (rightly or wrongly) to be behind the attack far more than it hurt Ruwart.

  32. Spin, spin, spin, spin .......... Lake

    Thomas L. Knapp // May 14, 2010:
    “…….. Short Answers to the Tough Questions format. There are some questions which “short answers” just don’t cover very well ………”

    I cannot stand Missourian Knapp’s double talk, and I hate his associates, and have come to loath him in general.

    But his written style and occasional logic are just brilliant, and that is when I probably dislike him the most!

  33. Ignorance people who LIE

    You people who lie because you can’t get your way, is no better than the government we already have that is trying to control us. Yes! you liars should remove yourself from the libertarian party and join the socialist where you belong,

  34. Mary Ruwart

    Just because she has a degree does not mean she is a good doctor. There are a lot of quacks out there. Her being one of them.

  35. paulie Post author

    If you are not Mary Ruwart, please do not post under her name, since she is someone who could reasonably be expected to actually post here herself.

  36. For What It's Worth

    For what it’s worth, ‘age of consent’ is a modern phenomenon. In the early twentieth century it was still legal in many states to marry a child under the age of 10. One or two states, I believe, even set the bar at 6.

    I’m not saying I condone sex between 40 year olds and pre-teens, but it wasn’t that long ago that this was viewed as common. It was only in the ‘Progressive Era,’ when others starting deciding they knew what was best for their neighbors (alcohol prohibition, drug prohibition, etc.) that modern consent standards began raising the bar to 16-18.Anyone who’s ever taken a Community Psychology class could tell you as much.

    Anyways, it’s beside the point because most (if not all) of the Ruwart-bashing on this issue is derived from an out-of-context quote applied to artificially-constructed scenarios and concepts.

  37. Spin, spin, spin, spin .......... Lake

    Ignorance people who LIE // May 14, 2010:

    “You people who lie because you can’t get your way, is no better than the government we already have ……….”

    [Lake: ain’t that the truth; but why are you addressing only Libs ??????? Don’t you think a wide spectrum of non Democans and non Republicrats visit a site monikored ‘Independent Political Report’ ???]

    Concerning Mary Ruwart // May 14, 2010:

    “Just because she has a degree does not mean she is a good doctor. There are a lot of quacks out there. Her being one of them ………..”

    [Lake: when did you last broach the authorities ???????? ]

  38. Scott Lieberman

    “For What It’s Worth // May 14, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    Anyways, it’s beside the point because most (if not all) of the Ruwart-bashing on this issue is derived from an out-of-context quote applied to artificially-constructed scenarios and concepts.”

    **************************************

    I am not going to speculate about the “artificially-constructed” scenarios described in some of the above comments.

    However – comment #26 quotes every word of the relevant questions and answers in Dr. Ruwart’s book. Plus – I don’t have the book, but someone reading this can verify this – Dr. Ruwart goes out of her way to state in the Preface or Introduction that each “Answer” can stand by itself.

    In other words, what part of “in context” do you not understand?

  39. Timothy Maguire

    I’m amazed at the spin attempt.

    When I read that passage of her book, I did wonder about some of the things she didn’t say. She was at the Indiana Convention in 2008, SO WE ASKED HER.

    She stated in clear terms that she believes that there should be no laws against child pornography and/or sex acts between adults and children (as long as the child says “okay”). She made it clear she wasn’t endorsing the behavior, but she remained firm that there should be no laws prohibiting it.

    If the LP endorses that view, then we are done as a party.

  40. Brian Holtz

    It’s fraudulent and unlibertarian to post under someone else’s name. Shame on whoever wrote @35 for trying (however clumsily) to defame Dr. Ruwart.

    Mr. Maguire, it’s clearer to frame this issue in terms of child prostitution rather than child pornography. The latter raises questions about whether mere depictions of a real crime can themselves be crimes, and whether computer-generated depictions of fictional crimes can themselves be crimes. Tom Knapp has wrestled interestingly with these questions, and I agree they don’t permit short answers.

    Child prostitution and child starvation, not so much. My short answer to that is:

    Communities may choose the age, between 14 and 18 years, at which a person is no longer rebuttably presumed to be a child, and instead is rebuttably presumed to be an adult. Parents or guardians have the right to raise their children as they see fit unless they abuse, neglect, or recklessly endanger their children, who in turn have the right to petition a court to establish their maturity and become emancipated, with all the rights of an adult.

  41. Alexander S. Peak

    I’m just skimming at this point. Hopefully I didn’t miss anything too important.

    Mr. Sundwall writes, “Proudest moment was Barry Hess speech . . .”

    Oh, I agree! That speech energised my soul.

    I think Mr. Blanton makes a very interesting point. Even if we all agree that persons under the age of, say, sixteen or whatever are completely incapable of consenting to such things as drug use, I still don’t think any of us would want to see a fifteen-year-old thrown into a cage for possession of heroin. While I think we can all agree that heroin is a dangerous substance, and that we sure as hell wouldn’t want to see our family members and friends using it—my mother fought heroin addiction for years, and I’m happy that she is now clean—throwing someone into a tax-funded cage is not the appropriate response.

    I have stated elsewhere that drug abuse is a family matter and a health problem, not a legal matter or a criminal problem. Counselling, rather than government guns, should be the means of handling such matters.

    I can only imagine what it would be like to have a child and discover that said child had gotten himself addicted to some drug. But I’m sure I would not hit my child because of this, or call the police. Instead, I’d try to get my child into some sort of re-hab programme—which I suspect would be far more effective than government guns anyway.

    I think “Half Tooth” makes a good point in #29. It would appear that Ruwart’s position is that children have rights (I’d agree), and that children are capable of consenting (I, again, agree). But it does not appear that she’s saying they are necessarily capable of consenting to everything. It would appear that she believes a child can consent to taking a paper route once the child is old enough to speak and walk, but that the child is not capable of consenting to sexual activity until the child reaches the maturity level in which he starts to have actual sexual desires. Now, we can agree or disagree with Ruwart here; we could say that she’s being too strict or that she’s not being strict enough; we could even say, if we wanted, that no human is capable of consenting to sexual activity, regardless of age; we can take any stance under the Sun, sane or crazy; but what we cannot do, I’d think, is claim that I have misrepresented Dr. Ruwart’s views.

    While I think I would be quite upset to discover that my fictional son had gotten addicted to heroin, I really wouldn’t be upset at all to discover that my fictional son had sex with his girlfriend, so long as he used protection. Were I to discover that my fictional son were sexually active, I would have a conversation with him about making responsible sexual decisions. On the other hand, were I to discover that my fictional son had sex with his school teacher, that might be a tad more problematic, if for no other reason because I’d have to wonder what sort of woman would want to have sex with a teen, and whether she might have any mental or emotional problems that might cause my son or the rest of my family some sort of problems. Obviously, I’d like to avoid a scenario in which some emotionally deranged woman tries to take out her problems on my boy.

    I agree with Mr. Knapp, this is not a matter that should have been addressed in a book of short questions.

  42. Alexander S. Peak

    Mr. Holtz writes,

    “Communities may choose the age, between 14 and 18 years, at which a person is no longer rebuttably presumed to be a child, and instead is rebuttably presumed to be an adult. Parents or guardians have the right to raise their children as they see fit unless they abuse, neglect, or recklessly endanger their children, who in turn have the right to petition a court to establish their maturity and become emancipated, with all the rights of an adult.”

    While there are aspects of this that I do not find wholly satisfying, I have no problem including it in the big tent that is libertarianism. My biggest problem with it is this: I believe it is the natural right of every child to run away, to emancipate him- or herself, regardless of what a given court may say to the contrary. Under your system, what happens if the court disagrees with child X regarding whether he is ready to be emancipated? To speak bluntly, the child will be treated as a run-away slave who is forced to return to his master’s plantation. Obviously, it’s not your point to promote slavery in any way, shape, or form; it’s obvious, from your previous comments, that you’re ultimate desire is to decrease aggression as much as possible by what appears to you the most practical means available. Keeping this objective in mind, I would urge you to slightly alter your position.

    I should note that in a society where children do not need permission to emancipate themselves, I do not predict that many necessarily would. It was my view growing up that the phrase “My house, my rules” is only fair and legitimate if I have the right to separate myself from your house. I think most children—at least most children old enough to entertain the idea of running away—are capable of recognising that trade-offs exist in the real world, and that by seceding from one’s parents, one surrenders a supply of food and housing. The child might be receiving these things for free, or for the small price of choirs. But, either way, unless the rules imposed are particularly burdensome, it’s worth it to stay with the rules and the roof rather than to forego both.

    Even if you don’t ultimately alter your stance, I hope this is at least some interesting food for thought. 🙂

    Best,
    Alex Peak

  43. Thomas L. Knapp

    Quoth Brian Holtz,

    “Tom Knapp has wrestled interestingly with these questions, and I agree they don’t permit short answers.”

    For those who are interested, here’s an example, written well before the 2008 “Ruwart smear” incident.

    To the extent that that controversy is worth continuing to address (which is only to the extent that it keeps being brought up, here’s Dr. Ruwart from May 8th, 2008:

    For years, myself and other libertarian candidates have pointed out that “when guns are banned, only criminals will have guns.” The shift in popular perception has come about primarily because courageous Libertarian candidates are willing to teach the American public about the benefits of liberty, even at the cost of being “slimed” by the media. I am proud to be counted among those candidates, proud to be saving lives, especially the lives of our children.

    Today, other bans, such as the ones against child pornography, are touted as panaceas to “save the children.” Like drug prohibition and the ban on firearms, these bans backfire, harming the very innocents they are intended to help. Anyone who believes in liberty can see the pattern. Bans and prohibitions drive vices underground, where participants have no legal recourse when they experience exploitation.

    Bans make criminals out of 17-year-olds having consensual sex with 15-year-olds, because the younger partner is presumed too immature to make an informed decision. These draconian laws destroy the lives of our young people by making them carry the label of “sex offender” for the rest of their lives. Yet as late as the last century, it was not at all unusual for American boys and girls to marry and start families in their early teens!

    Bans based on arbitrary age limits aren’t needed to protect those too young to make informed decisions about sexual conduct. Pre-pubescent children, for example, don’t have the physical or emotional maturity to even understand what sex is all about. When an adult engages in sexual conduct with a young child, we don’t need a law specifying an age limit in order to convict those adults of rape. All we need to do is show a jury that the child wasn’t competent to consent.

    I submit that anyone who vehemently disagrees with the above statement should probably look for a party other than the Libertarian Party to support.

    Whether or not Dr. Ruwart’s “short answer” was well-framed is a relevant question when it comes to a presidential candidacy — it goes to her communications skills.

    Whether she should have even tried to address the question in “short answer” format is also relevant — it goes to judgement.

    But we’re now well beyond the point where anyone can claim that Ruwart “supports child prostitution” or “supports child pornography” and not thereby out himself as either an illiterate or a fool.

  44. Brian Holtz

    Alex, I can tell that you’ve never had to deal with the situation where your five-year-old sits down in a store aisle or a park sandbox and refuses your order to come with you to the car.

    As long as your theories insist that children are miniature adults, they will remain broken.

    I’ve waited two years for a Ruwart defender to address the point that a prepubescent child can have financial desires even if she doesn’t have sexual desires. I guess it won’t be happening in this thread either.

    If an adult is unfortunate enough not to have sexual desires, would Ruwart say that adult is incapable of consenting to sexual commerce? Consent is about the ability to think about one’s interests. It’s not about the ability to have appetites. This is Ethics 101. It’s clear that Ruwart was grasping at straws when she latched onto sexual “desire” in an attempt to retrofit an implicit age-of-consent patch onto her broken belief that ability to consent should not be a function of (cognitive) age.

  45. Buck Turgidson

    Nice job Tommy Boy! Your little blog about last minute campaign has reopened the Mary Ruwart child porn debate. So instead of intellectual discussion of LNC Chair candidates, we are agian debating whether or not Mary Ruwart advocates child porn and prostitution. Gee, I wonder who Mary Ruwart supports LNC Chair. Again, Nice Job Sipos!

  46. paulie Post author

    Gee, I wonder who Mary Ruwart supports LNC Chair.

    Actually, I’m not sure. Good question.

    I haven’t seen an endorsement from her for any of the chair candidates.

    It’s a safe bet she is not for Root, and I don’t think she prefers Hinkle either.

    I don’t know if she has expressed any preferences between Phillies, Myers and Hancock. Anyone know?

  47. paulie Post author

    So instead of intellectual discussion of LNC Chair candidates

    There are plenty of threads on here for that. People are welcome to use them. More coming.

  48. Alexander S. Peak

    Mr. Holtz,

    The store is private property. Refusing to move is an act of aggression against the owner. You have the authority to use force to move your child away from someone’s private property as long as the force you use is proportional to the force initiated. You don’t have the authority to punch your child for this offense, since such a retaliation would not be coherent with the proportionality principle. But do you have the authority to drag your child? I’d say yes.

    With that said, I wish to add that, as a young child, the “Okay, well I’m leaving without you…” threat would have worked on me every time. But, I admit that my own experiences hardly mean that all children would react the same as I would have.

    You write, “I’ve waited two years for a Ruwart defender to address the point that a prepubescent child can have financial desires even if she doesn’t have sexual desires. I guess it won’t be happening in this thread either.”

    I guess I waas not as clear about my own views as I could have been.

    I write, “It would appear that she believes a child can consent to taking a paper route once the child is old enough to speak and walk.”

    I will add that I concur with this view.

    So, there you go. I have officially taken the view that a prepubescent child can have financial desires. Satisfied? 🙂

    Best regards,
    Alex Peak

  49. paulie Post author

    With that said, I wish to add that, as a young child, the “Okay, well I’m leaving without you…” threat would have worked on me every time.

    You were a better kid than me. I was disappearing for hours at a time to explore empty highrise building by age 5-6 🙂

  50. paulie Post author

    a prepubescent child can have financial desires even if she doesn’t have sexual desires.

    Brian has a good point. Most sexual performers/sex workers are primarily motivated by the money, not by lust. If we grant that a young child can make rational decisions about a paper route, why wouldn’t it be economically rational for that same child to make a lot more money as a sex worker?

    The rebuttable presumption Holtz proposes at 42 seems sensible. The quote from Ruwart that Knapp presents at 45 shows that she somewhat agrees, although in different terms: IE the rebuttable age of maturity is fixed at the age of puberty, if I understood correctly.

    That is about the age where in most societies throughout human history children became adults – moved out to work, marry and have families of their own, were judged old enough to contract, etc.

  51. paulie Post author

    @42: “Communities may choose the age, between 14 and 18 years, at which a person is no longer rebuttably presumed to be a child, and instead is rebuttably presumed to be an adult.”

  52. Brian Holtz

    You have the authority to use force to move your child away from someone’s private property

    How many truck-sized holes in that response?

    1) That gets your kid out of the store, but not into your car.
    2) Someone else could snatch your kid first.
    3) This doesn’t handle the case of your kid sitting down (or wandering off) in a public right-of-way.

    Need I go on? Do you really not see how this discussion must lead to you conceding that parents have special authority over their kids that we would consider force-initiating if all involved were adults? 🙂

    I’d accuse you of being deliberately silly, but unfortunately, this is how Ruwart apparently thinks, like when she writes: “a child who wishes to work, but can’t convince his or her parents to provide the necessary transportation, will be unable to exercise that right.”

  53. Alexander S. Peak

    “Someone else could snatch your kid first.”

    I assumed you were with your kid. When I was a kid, I was never outside of the eyesight of my family. So, if the kid were to sit, you’d notice almost immediately.

    “This doesn’t handle the case of your kid sitting down (or wandering off) in a public right-of-way.”

    When you say “public,” do you mean privately-owned-but-for-public-use or government-owned? If the former, it is still private property, and my statement still stands. If the latter, the matter becomes more muddled, but since you are unfortunately forced to pay taxes, and since the state has no legitimate ownership of it, you can regard it as your property.

    “That gets your kid out of the store, but not into your car.”

    I know, that’s why I didn’t comment on that. You claim there are many many truck-sized holes in my response. Yet, this is the only hole you’ve mentioned. The other two are not holes.

    But I’ll help you. There was another hole in my argument which you failed to comment on: “What if the property owner does not object to Holtz Jr. sitting there? Then Holtz Jr. is not technically infringing upon anybody’s rights, no?”

    There were only these two holes. None other.

    “I’d accuse you of being deliberately silly, but unfortunately, this is how Ruwart apparently thinks, like when she writes: ‘a child who wishes to work, but can’t convince his or her parents to provide the necessary transportation, will be unable to exercise that right.'”

    You know what she meant: “a child who wishes to work; but can’t convince (A) his or her parents, (B) his or her potential boss, (C) his or her vehicle-owning friend, or (D) someone else to provide the necessary transportation; will be unable to exercise that right.”

    Yours sincerely,
    Alex Peak

  54. Brian Holtz

    When I was a kid, I was never outside of the eyesight of my family.

    In your dreams. Tell me again if you still believe that after you’ve raised some kids of your own. (I can’t believe I’m debating with an allegedly serious person whether a parent’s right to maintain physical custody of her child is merely a side-effect of being the closest adult to the child…)

    2) Right-of-way means that the private property owner has no authority to evict the kid.

    I leave aside another truck-sized hole about the practicality of non-owner bystanders being allowed to homestead such eviction enforcement.

    There is also the hole that nearly all private property is completely surrounded by more private property, so these vigilante evictions will often cause more trespassing.

    Are we done yet? Can we just agree that parents have special authority over their kids that we would consider force-initiating if all involved were adults?

    Regarding Ruwart’s jaw-dropping statement about transportation as a parental lever over children, I repeat what I said @27: When she talks about “convinc[ing] his or her parents to provide the necessary transportation”, she apparently thinks that pedophiles would be unwilling/unable to provide the transportation themselves.

    It occurs to me that I don’t think I’ve ever heard of Ruwart ever having been a parent.

  55. Buck Turgidson

    Sorry Sipos, to paraphrase one of your boyhood idols, Yoda. “Bruce Cohen, Not I am”.

  56. Spin, spin, spin, spin .......... Lake

    Thomas M. Sipos // May 15, 2010:
    ” ………….. a great Bruce Cohen impression. You’ve captured his childlike persona ………”

    Once again Lib types have missed the real world connection! Individually and or separately, Bruce Cohen and Brian Holtz are a horrible icons of West Coast Libertarian thought!

    Individually and or separately, they are not known to be ‘overly honest’. Mimicking Cody Quirk and Doctor Grundmann, these two Israel First America Second California Zionists are traitorous political activists.

    Like other Zionists and Ideologues, such as Reform Deform Party sneakaholics, John Dennis Coffey, John Blare, John Bambey, and Valli Sharpe Geigler, that present opinions (and hopes and dreams) as verifiable facts.

    In California the Greens (completely out of business by the mid teens ????????) are known as incompetent Clown College graduates. The Kansas sunflower proclaims to the world a tribe of effeminate gardeners. Out side of the green enclaves, non verbal communications include the ‘eye roll’ and smirk and smug expression.

    Among overly religious political activists, the word ‘Libertarian’ is responded to with fingers making the sign of the crucifixion. Others gesture with the brain twirl, similar to the intra partisan reaction to Mary Rowland’s misread ‘child prostitute’ musings or the finger pistol (denoting W. A. R. and his kill jock gang).

    Nationally Greens are known as Dem Lite; Libs as GOP Lite. Why has neither grabbed a significant portion of TEA Party mania ????

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