Tom Knapp: ‘Yes, this is a litmus test’

Posted by Tom Knapp at Kn@ppster. Knapp has held various internal offices in and sought public office under the banners of the Libertarian and Boston Tea Parties. :

People who refer to themselves as “libertarians” spend a lot of time arguing over exactly what they mean by “libertarian.”

Personally, I try to be fairly “big tent,” figuring that people who once self-identify as libertarian tend to get more consistently libertarian after doing so, if they’re a) accepted and b) encouraged to explore libertarian ideas, instead of just slapped around for whatever deviations they still cling to.

So, when I disagree on this or that issue with someone who self-identifies as a libertarian, I generally try to frame that disagreement not as a negative verdict on the other person’s libertarianism, but rather as a possible error on their part as to how libertarian ideas apply to that particular issue.

But the fact is that there are some people who call themselves libertarians who … well, just ain’t libertarians. And the facts on some issues are so incredibly clear that it’s possible to use those issues as litmus tests. If you’re on one side of the issue, you may be a libertarian. If you’re on the other side, no, you aren’t.

One such issue is — to use the phrase fraudulently coined by its opponents — is the “Ground Zero Mosque.”

We’ll get to the fraud in a moment, but it’s really a secondary thing, a side effect. The important part in treating it as a litmus test is this:

If you support private property rights and freedom of religion, you may be a libertarian.

If you don’t support private property rights and freedom of religion, you aren’t a libertarian.

Period.

Cordoba House, the project being fraudulently referred to as a “mosque” by those attempting to prevent its construction, is planned for construction on private property and with private funds.

The opponents of Cordoba House are attempting to stop its construction by persuading a government board to declare the building currenly standing at the project’s prospective location “historic” so that the owners can be forced to “preserve” it and forbidden to demolish it and build a structure more to their liking there.

The opponents of Cordoba House oppose private property rights. Their opposition to private property rights stems from their opposition to freedom of religion. They are, therefore, not libertarians.

They’re also either liars or idiots, and the evidence points strongly to the former. Here’s the skinny:

Cordoba House is not a “mosque.” It’s an “Islamic cultural center,” which is no more a “mosque” than your local YMCA is a “cathedral.”

The construction site for Cordoba House is not at “Ground Zero.” It’s two blocks away, on Park Place between West Broadway and Church Street (and, FWIW, farther away from “Ground Zero” than St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church or St. Paul’s Chapel).

The opponents of Cordoba House generally claim to have knowledge of Islam beyond that of us non-Muslims who don’t obsess over who’s worshiping where. For example, they like to cite chapter and verse on the historical penchant of Muslim conquerors for building mosques on prominent conquered sites.

If they know that much, then presumably they’re not idiots — and if they’re not idiots they also know by now that Cordoba House isn’t a mosque. From that, it follows that they are just lying about it because lying seems more likely to get them what they want.

If they can use Google Maps (and if they can blog, they can surely use Google Maps) they also know that Cordoba House’s construction site isn’t at Ground Zero. From that, once again, it follows that they’re lying because they know that the facts aren’t as emotionally compelling as the fairy tale they’re pushing.

The whole “Ground Zero Mosque” meme is fraudulent in the classic sense: It’s an attempt at theft by deception. By convincing people that a cultural center is a mosque, and that “Ground Zero” is located two blocks north of where it’s actually located, they hope to build popular support for their call on government to steal some things — a piece of land, a building, and the religious freedom of the land/building’s owners — for them.

And fraud, a/k/a theft by deception, isn’t libertarian either.

(end of Knapp’s article).


In related news: George Phillies writes in IPR comments:

Meanwhile the LP has stood up for private property and freedom of religion
http://www.lp.org/blogs/kyle/intern-blog-build-the-islamic-cultural-center and is being vigorously attacked
–by its own National Committee.

By its own Committee? From LNC-Discuss and the LNC, where my sources asked me to paraphrase on this issue,

To start with the good, to his credit Dan Wiener urged that we should argue against legal limits based on religious issues’ [Indeed, the article is not well-served by its title, which is much closer to ‘allow to build’ than ‘build’.]

But David Nolan urges that we should avoid ‘unnecessary controversies’ , because this issue is outside the platform. To which I say ‘I’m sorry, but a libertarian party that thinks freedom of religion and use of private property is outside the platform has missed the boat.’

and Kevin Knedler apparently says that our candidates do not need to add this issue to their “explanation” list.

Wayne Root claims that this issue is prominent on his list of “no no’s” that destroy and damage our reputation with what he views to be mainstream voters.

And Aaron Starr, who is now Treasurer of the Libertarian National Congressional Committee, questions if this topic will resonate with the American public — one might propose that among the millions of Americans who are Islamites, the answer is a resounding affirmative.

To finish with other end, Alicia Mattson asks “Do any of us deny that there are fundamentalist Islamic sects that are extremist, advocate and carry out terrorism, and randomly murder innocent people???”

to which I answer: Fundamentalist sects? Yes, anyone more than marginally literate and familiar with the issue would question her claim. The people who do shooting at Americans are doing it as members of political organizations, e.g. Al Qaida, the Afghani Student Party. The people in Iraq who shoot at us include socialists, people whose country we conquered, and if you must bring up claims about Shi’a Islam, well, the reasonable analogies are that Shi’ite Islam is in many ways other than the actual teachings of its Prophet like Orthodox Christianity, while the Saudi Wahabbi Islam with its emphasis on the holy text –nothing but the book– is very close in its ’stay with the text’ teaching to the teachings — for a different faith — of Martin Luther.

The LP blog referred to by Dr. Phillies above is available for public comment on IPR here.

Also, in the last week, New York gubernatorial candidates Warren Redlich (Libertarian), Kristin Davis (Anti-Prohibition) and Carl Paladino (Taxpayers)
have commented on the issue.

106 thoughts on “Tom Knapp: ‘Yes, this is a litmus test’

  1. Pingback: Kristin Davis: ‘The Truth Behind The Mosque at Ground Zero’ | Independent Political Report

  2. Mike Theodore

    I don’t know what’s sadder. The fact that you have Conservative commentators and politicians making an issue out of this or the fact that there are Libertarians like WAR who echo those Republican ideals.

  3. Erik G.

    An LP that’s afraid to take a strong & correct stand on this is an LP I don’t want to belong to. Kudos to LP headquarters and shame on many members of the LNC. There’s absolutely no question now as to my extreme opposition to WAR labeling himself a libertarian.

  4. Robert Capozzi

    hmm, I guess I pass this particular Knapp litmus test! 😉

    Still, on the list of issues that are likely to grow the LP and advance liberty, this matter seems on the inconsequential side of the ledger, IMO. I’d be pleasantly surprised if the LP taking a stand on this issue caused our ranks to swell, but I’m not holding my breath.

    Pointing out how zoning is used to block peaceful construction can be a fairly good issue for Ls, but again I’d say it’s kinda low on the consequential scale. In a somewhat related matter, recall the schism in the LM over Kelo, where the paleos claimed this was a matter of “states’ rights.”

  5. Erik G.

    RC@5,

    It’s not that this is an issue that should be used to swell our ranks, but that taking any other stance would be very incompatible with libertarian philosophy.

    I don’t think anyone’s saying commentary on this specific issue should be a part of the party platform.

  6. Robert Capozzi

    eg, yes, I’m surprised that a person who calls him or herself a L would take the “other” side on this matter. Seems cut and dried to me.

    But, then, I was surprised that the Rockwell crowd were aOK with the Kelo decision.

    So, it’d be one thing to not get embroiled in the Cordoba House matter, another to fall in with this form of zoning fascism AND religious intolerance.

    I’d like to hear the counter-argument, because I can’t get there myself.

  7. paulie Post author

    Commenting on issues in the news is one of the things political parties and candidates do to get noticed.

    Watching our readership stats, it’s a major issue right now.

    It makes sense for the LP to comment on current issues that draw attention and correlate them with our stances on more permanent issues (such as religious freedom and property rights in this case).

    That this would be controversial does indicate some imbalance in our left/right branding efforts.

  8. Robert Capozzi

    pc, candidates, perhaps. The party itself…not so much.

    We had the same challenge with the Kelo decision…a major element of the LM — one that seems to think of itself as intellectually pure and sophisticated — thought that Kelo was properly decided.

    There are other major news matters that are not obvious what “the” L position should be…Terri Schiavo comes to mind. Just because there’s a political brouhaha doesn’t necessarily mean the PARTY should opine on it. The Party should IMO mostly be about attracting members. Candidates should decide what issues advance their campaigns.

    Sometimes we might see L candidates taking opposing positions. I’m OK with some L pluralism.

    Still, I’ve yet to hear how a L could think the zoning fascists are on the virtuous side of the ledger on this one…I hope one will make the case for us so we can hear it. I’m biased, but I’ll listen.

  9. paulie Post author

    The Party should IMO mostly be about attracting members.

    Step one for doing that is to be noticed. Commenting on current issues is a good way to do that.

  10. paulie Post author

    Still, I’ve yet to hear how a L could think the zoning fascists are on the virtuous side of the ledger on this one…I hope one will make the case for us so we can hear it. I’m biased, but I’ll listen.

    I suspect Eric Dondero will come along and oblige you.

    If not, you can try

    http://www.independentpoliticalreport.com/2010/07/kristin-davis-the-truth-behind-the-mosque-at-ground-zero/

    Ms. Davis is not an L, but she did intend at one point to seek the L nomination, and says he agrees with 80% of the LP platform.

  11. Erik G.

    Any negative attention we receive is going to be from people who either a.) don’t like us anyway or b.) think they’re a ‘libertarian’ like Beck or Palin, and that real libertarians are leftist whackos.

    The potential for positive attention, however, equals a lot of possible outreach to the ‘center-left’ who are strong on civil liberties but uncomfortable with ‘left-oriented’ economic policies.

  12. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    You write:

    “on the list of issues that are likely to grow the LP and advance liberty”

    For the record, I didn’t make this argument with the intent of “growing the LP.”

    At the moment, I am in doubt — but not the kind of doubt that keeps me up at night or anything — as to whether growing the LP and advancing liberty are inextricably linked goals, partial or wholly co-extensive goals, or mutually exclusive goals.

    I suppose this article is fit material for IPR in that it is “independent” and “political,” but the “Libertarian Party” categorization is inaccurate unless it’s meant to reflect the fact that I used to be an LP activist. Not even a stray thought about the LP crossed my mind when I was writing it.

  13. paulie Post author

    Tom,

    In regards to classification:

    1) Articles by you are relevant to IPR because of your past/present involvement with the LP and BTP.

    2) I didn’t want to make the headline too long, but the IPR article is your article PLUS an extended additional section which deals with the LP. If you have a better headline suggestion, I’m open to ideas.

  14. Thomas L. Knapp

    Paulie,

    I don’t have any suggestions — it’s fine as is., for both reasons you cite.

    However, I will probably continue to point out that I’m no longer involved with the LP for awhile, until I’m comfortable that everyone will remember that — the point being to keep people from evaluating the LP on the basis of what I do or write, and vice versa.

  15. Robert Capozzi

    pc, thanks. I wonder if actual Ls buy Davis’s argument, because I find them confused:
    A site near the former WTC is “hallowed” and the funding is coming from what some believe are dubious sources, therefore we support using zoning fascism (disguised as an “historic” designation) to block this Islamic center.

    Is that a fair summary? If so, I’d say it sounds hysterical, and not in a funny way.

    I’m for using legal means to monitor and check would-be terrorists and terrorist enablers. But Davis’s line of reasoning is nonsense, ADR, IMO.

  16. paulie Post author

    For another article on the anti-freedom to build side of the argument, see

    http://fvdb.wordpress.com/2010/06/28/dr-peikoff-on-the-nyc-mosque-bomb-it-out-of-existence/

    Re: calls by Objectivists Ed Cline and Leonard Peikoff to bomb the “mosque” if it’s built

    (H/T Stephan Kinsella in comments on Tom’s blog at http://knappster.blogspot.com/2010/07/yes-this-is-litmus-test.html).

    Also in those comments, Chris Moore writes:

    The other argument against the “mosque” is that it is being funded and run by radical Islamists hell-bent on destroying America, and will be used as a training ground for domestic terrorists. If that is indeed the belief, then wouldn’t it make sense to let them build the center? It would only take, like, 5 FBI agents to survey the comings and goings in a nice, big central location. Then we’d know exactly who the terrorists are! Kinda dumb for an underground group of secret terrorist cells to get together for a weekly volleyball match.

    The real issue is that the main guy behind the center said basically the same thing Ron Paul said after 9/11. You know, maybe shitty foreign policy played at least a tiny role in motivating these asshats. I guess you get a bit of a pass if you’re a kooky old white guy, but out of the mouth of a bearded A-Rab, well he must be a terrorist.

  17. Steven wilson

    If it is true that freedom cannot suffer criteria, then what exactly are the benefits of having a standard. If someone measures up on certain issues, but fails to measure on others, is there some kind of purgatory in political science.

    If being a libertarian is about a cookie cutter, then the party has ended. Root causes problems on the forums and candidate meet and greets, but a candidate must talk about issues no matter the environment. If someone on the national level wants to avoid an issue, that was their choice. If I follow, then that was mine. I don’t agree with Root on many things, but representing the Party on the trail is about the candidate.

    When I speak, it is my Liberty not ours.

  18. Jill Pyeatt

    I’m not usually in the practice of defending WAR, but I will point out that he begins his opinion piece by saying that this is his opinion as an American, and not as a Libertarian. I appreciate that distinction, and I take it to mean he has been listening to some of his critics.

  19. Jill Pyeatt

    The first paragraph of his article. That’s what I took it to mean.

    “As one of America’s leading Libertarian thinkers, perhaps I’m always expected to give the “Libertarian answer” to every issue. But sometimes one has to speak not as a Libertarian, Republican or Democrat, but rather as an American- preferably a common sense American. The issue of allowing a mosque to be built in the shadow of the 9/11 terrorist tragedy is one of those times.”

  20. Erik G.

    Wayne is such a fucking idiot that it makes my head heart.

    “However, there are also the rights and sensibilities of others to consider in a free society.”
    -exposing WAR for the neo-con, anti-private-property, fraud that he is

    More insane quotes from “one of America’s leading Libertarian thinkers”:

    “Common sense suggests this mosque, being built in this specific location, is NOT being built as a sign of friendship between Muslims and Americans…but rather as a sign of the lack of respect…a belief in our weakness…and an attempt to embarrass and belittle us.”
    -Actually, a large portion of the Cordoba website focuses on positive relations with the West

    “Yes, private individuals and organizations have the right to build houses of worship with their own funds. But one has to wonder where the money is coming from to build a 15-story building on some of the most expensive real estate in the country.”
    -Clearly, Wayne’s paranoia streak isn’t limited to questioning Obama’s attendance at Columbia or his secret inner political philosophy

    “I know I’d be the first to contribute to a foundation to keep this sacred land from ever being desecrated by a symbol of the very groups that attacked America on 9/11.”
    – Wow, WAR’s bigotry knows no bounds. Apparently in WAR’s mind, all Muslims are responsible for 9/11.

    “These are the only rational answers for common sense patriotic Americans who still believe in a free society. In situations like this, none of us can afford to be Libertarians, Republicans, Democrats, or politicians of any stripe. We are all proud Americans.”
    -Patriotism is for the lonely. As Albert Einstein once said, “Nationalism, on my opinion, is nothing more than an idealistic rationalization for militarism and aggression.”

  21. George Phillies

    And here is the statement Root made to the LNC

    From: wayne@rootforamerica.com
    To: wiener@alum.mit.edu
    CC: lnc-discuss@hq.lp.org
    Sent: 7/27/2010 3:56:59 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time
    Subj: Re: [Lnc-discuss] Blog post about Islamic Cultural Center

    Here is my official view- being published at my web site…and sent to media across the country:

    Why the 9/11 Mosque Controversy Is NOT About Religious Freedom…and Should Be Stopped!

    By Wayne Allyn Root, 2008 Libertarian Vice Presidential Nominee and Best-Selling Author of “The Conscience of a Libertarian”

    As one of America’s leading Libertarian thinkers, perhaps I’m always expected to give the “Libertarian answer” to every issue. But sometimes one has to speak not as a Libertarian, Republican or Democrat, but rather as an American- preferably a common sense American. The issue of allowing a mosque to be built in the shadow of the 9/11 terrorist tragedy is one of those times.

    The answer is simple for a common sense American- I support religious freedom, as all Americans should. But this is not a case of religious freedom. Yes, Muslims can build their mosque virtually anywhere in America- despite 9/11…despite the Times Square bomber…despite plots by Islamic extremists to blow up the New York subway system…despite everything happening in Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan. That’s what makes our country great. We do in fact support religious freedom. You can build a mosque virtually anywhere in America.

    However, there are also the rights and sensibilities of others to consider in a free society.

    Does “religious freedom” mean hate groups should build statues to Hitler in front of Jewish temples in America? Should Americans raise money to build Jewish temples and Christian churches at Mecca? Should Japan build a statue to the bravery of their pilots at Pearl Harbor? Should the U.S. build a statue to the bravery of our pilots at the site of Hiroshima? Aren’t those examples all about “freedom of expression,” “religious freedom” and property rights? Perhaps, but is it too much to ask for a little consideration and respect toward others?

    This proposed building of a mosque on hallowed ground is an ATROSITY towards America. To build a celebration of Islam within steps of 9/11 does nothing to increase religious freedom…it inspires hatred, divides our cultures, and increases the odds of violence and hate crimes. Common sense suggests this mosque, being built in this specific location, is NOT being built as a sign of friendship between Muslims and Americans…but rather as a sign of the lack of respect…a belief in our weakness…and an attempt to embarrass and belittle us. The financial district of Manhattan is not a residential area with a large number of Muslim residents for the mosque to serve. Therefore common sense suggests that the only possible reason to build it there (rather than in Brooklyn or Queens where there are large Muslim populations) is to show Muslim contempt for Americans by building a monument to Islam in the shadow of the site of their greatest triumph over America.

    It is an offense to build a mosque in that location- an offense to all Americans (including Muslim Americans), all Christians and Jews, all relatives of 3000 dead heroes at the World Trade Center.

    Yes, private individuals and organizations have the right to build houses of worship with their own funds. But one has to wonder where the money is coming from to build a 15-story building on some of the most expensive real estate in the country. We Americans believe in the separation of Church and State. If it turns out that this project is sponsored by a foreign government — either directly or through a state-sponsored organization that engages in terrorism — than the idea of this being an issue of religious freedom is a sham and an argument can be made that our Constitution would actually prohibit this mosque from being built.

    However, if this is privately funded by parties with no ties to a foreign government, I have to believe that we have enough people in this country who are offended by the prospect of a mosque at Ground Zero, that the money can be raised to buy this land at a fair price from the owners. I know I’d be the first to contribute to a foundation to keep this sacred land from ever being desecrated by a symbol of the very groups that attacked America on 9/11.

    We can also put public pressure on the property owners to sell to this new patriotic foundation funded by Americans. We can organize massive protests, filling the streets surrounding this property with patriotic Americans concerned that the hallowed ground of 9/11 never be used as a political tool to taunt or embarrass the United States, or as a place to preach intolerance towards Americans. I, for one, am ready to fly 3000 miles to New York to join the protest.

    These are the only rational answers for common sense patriotic Americans who still believe in a free society. In situations like this, none of us can afford to be Libertarians, Republicans, Democrats, or politicians of any stripe. We are all proud Americans.

  22. George Phillies

    Meanwhile the LNC has been presented with a motion

    “I make a motion to remove the intern blog post. ” The motion was made by Doug Craig, and needs a certain number of seconds before it is up for a vote.

  23. George Phillies

    @23 …leading libertarian thinker…

    If the competition is the leading lites of the LNCC and the LNC he has a point. Not a very bit one, though.

  24. Michael H. Wilson

    here’s the New York Times article on the issue.

    “The center, which could rise as many as 15 stories and has the blessing of local officials from the mayor on down, makes some people uneasy. The reasons are understandable, if not entirely admirable. Some opponents, mostly political conservatives, have exploited the discomfort with statements that are inflammatory or misleading, or both.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/27/nyregion/27nyc.html?scp=3&sq=ground%20zero%20mosque&st=cse

  25. Thomas L. Knapp

    George,

    Is “the intern blog post” the one that supports the libertarian stand and the LP platform’s position on the issue?

    If so, it obviously shouldn’t be taken down.

    Wayne was at least courteous enough not to invoke his LP positions when advocating the use of government force to suppress property rights and religious freedom. If his position wasn’t so fucking hideous, that part at least would be commendable.

  26. George Phillies

    I believe the blog post under consideration is the following one. The headline is perhaps a bit stronger than the article supports.

    “Intern Blog: Build the Islamic Cultural Center!
    posted by Kyle on Jul 26, 2010

    Recently, there has been uproar over plans to build an Islamic cultural center blocks away from Ground Zero in New York City. While the city council and Mayor Bloomberg are in favor of this project, conservative leaders such as Sarah Palin and other media pundits criticize its location by stating it’s “ too raw, too real.”

    Many of the same people who are attempting to block this project also hold great reverence for the Founding Fathers. However, the Founding Fathers undertook great risks to secure religious tolerance for our country, something they were not granted in Britain.

    This entire debate rests on two founding principles: religious freedom and property rights.

    The attacks on 9/11 and its victims should not be ignored, however, we cannot lay blame on the entire Islamic community for the terrible acts that occurred on that day. The Islamic cultural center would be a great way for others to learn about Islam and ultimately build bridges between the United States and the Muslim World. Islam by principle is not an extremist religion and not all Muslims should be portrayed in such way.

    More importantly, those who have ownership of the site should have the freedom and the right to build what they wish. Property rights should be respected as a right for all citizens, not just a few. Our platform clearly states, “The owners of property have the full right to control, use, dispose of, or in any manner enjoy, their property without interference, until and unless the exercise of their control infringes the valid rights of others.” The Islamic cultural center does not infringe on the rights of others.

    As Steven Chapman describes in his article at Reason, “Palin is not a slave to intellectual consistency. Change the church to a mosque, and put it a couple of blocks from the site of the World Trade Center, and she suddenly loses all patience with the rights of religious believers.”

    Libertarian Party candidate for New York State Governor, Warren Redlich, also weighed in on the issue stating, “…I have asked some people if they would object if it was a synagogue, church, Jewish community center, or YMCA. All of them say that wouldn’t bother them. So the reason for opposing this facility is because it’s associated with the Muslim religion. That violates freedom of religion under the First Amendment.”

    More on Warren Redlich’s position on the issue can be found here and here.

    This blog post was created by Libertarian National Committee Interns Marissa Giannotta and Josh Roll”

  27. Michael H. Wilson

    I suggest leaving it up because it was written by a couple of interns. Let’s give them some credit for standing up where other fail and two there is nothing wrong with a cultural center being built on that land.

  28. Eric Sundwall

    This is a big issue in NY.

    http://blog.timesunion.com/capitol/archives/29957/lazio-challenges-cuomo-to-mosque-only-debate/

    One of the larger ‘Tea Party’ groups in NY was going to have a debate tonight and neither Lazio or Paladino accepted. I’d like to think it was because Warren said he would go. He’d run circles around those two.

    While rc doesn’t see this as a tent building experience, my experience on the ground is that reactionaries need to be challenged on THIS issue. Their lame reasoning is horrifying in this regard. Kudos to TK for brandishing this notion.

    If a third party can’t exist to drive issues and ideas and simply must suck up words in the face of all reason for some illusory benefit down the road, then why bother ?

    Being afraid and catering to some naive sense of the ‘better’ way will only make us pandering and jittery souls pushed around by third rate thinkers and blank idealists.

    This is a perfect fight for Libertarians and hiding won’t do any good. I for one am willing to throw down once an issue like this emerges, if you’re faint of heart because you want to attract voters into your prissy enterprise . . . well good luck with that pipe dream.

  29. George Phillies

    Some LNC Members would disagree, e.g., the following.

    I note, by the way, whining from at least one LNC member that their actions are being found out by the membership. In my opinion, it is greatly to the advantage of the membership to find out which members of our National Committee believe in the First Amendment and which of them manage to leave the impression whether correct or not of being Islamophobic racists.

    Doug Craig has moved to have the LNC staff remove the blog post.

    In my opinion, Mattson’s claims in the following about the beliefs of Islamites are misinformed. I seem to recall that Kill Them Kill them all and let God sort them out is Christian, as is witch burning, Avigdor Lieberman’s final solution to the Palestinian problem is nominally Jewish, the Hindu-Islamite events of the late 1940s in India were vigorously supported by many on each side.

    From: agmattson@gmail.com <mailto:agmattson@gmail.com
    To: LNC-Discuss@hq.lp.org <mailto:LNC-Discuss@hq.lp.org
    Sent: 7/27/2010 12:00:31 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time
    Subj: Re: [Lnc-discuss] [APRC] proposed Intern Blog: Build the
    Islamic Cultural Center!

    I must echo the complaints of my colleagues on this, and I'll re-emphasize a couple of points.

    While I agree with the freedom of religion and property rights aspects of the article, I strongly object to the LP website declaring that "Islam by principle is not an extremist religion…"

    Do any of us deny that there ARE fundamentalist Islamic sects that are extremist, advocate and carry out terrorism, and randomly murder innocent people??? Not all Muslims do those things, but let's not pretend the extremists don't exist.

    It was poor judgment to post this blog entry, and it harms the LP for this to continue to exist on our website.

    I ask that our chairman direct staff to remove this article from our website.

    -Alicia

  30. Robert Milnes

    Tom K., good article. Agreed.
    I guess I pass the litmus test.
    I wonder why Root et al haven’t tried eminent domain?
    OOPS! Don’t want to give a leading libertarian thinker any ideas….
    Congrats to the Interns, too. Good work.

  31. Jill Pyeatt

    By the way, Wayne has checked in to his Facebook page and says:

    “Interesting. Libertarian anarchists and leftists hated this commentary…yet it could be the most popular and well received I’ve ever written- with HUNDREDS of positive responses sent to my email- from the “Silent Majority”- Libertarian-conservatives, Republicans, Conservatives, Tea Partiers, and common sense independe…nts…not to mention New Yorkers by the dozen”.

    I, for one, don’t believe him. I’ve seen very few supporters of his view, and it’s all over Facebook.

  32. Thomas M. Sipos

    Root: “It is an offense to build a mosque in that location- an offense to all Americans (including Muslim Americans), all Christians and Jews,”

    Really? All Americans? All Christians? Has Root taken a poll?

    I’m both an American and a Christian, and I’m not offended by the building of a mosque near Ground Zero.

    I see this building of a mosque as our message to the world that we refuse to hate, and refuse to see Muslims or anyone else as other than individuals.

    Root: “However, there are also the rights and sensibilities of others to consider in a free society.”

    Really? So Root is worried about the “sensibilities” of Muslim-haters? Is he also worried about the “sensibilities” of racists or anti-Semites or homophobes?

    My “sensibilities” are offended if the rights of any of my fellow Americans, who in this case happen to be Muslim, were denied by the government.

    My “sensibilities” are offended that Root is even on the LNC.

  33. Starchild

    Wayne Allyn Root a “leading Libertarian thinker?” If W.A.R. has been coming up with brilliant ideas that advance libertarian thinking, he hasn’t shared them with the rest of us that I’m aware of. His main themes appear to be “Root and winning are good”, and “Obama and the left are bad”.

    Yet seeing Root’s oversize ego on display once again is preferable to his argument for putting nationalism and jingoism ahead of libertarianism. While he does at least call for raising money to consensually buy the land near the World Trade Center site from its owners rather than just outright denying them the use of their own property as they see fit, his contention that having a mosque there would be an “ATROSITY (sic) towards America” (those words appearing on his blog) is absurd, and not just because the planned center is not a mosque.

    Atrocities involve actual living victims — an abstraction like a country cannot by definition be the victim of an atrocity. The 9/11 attacks were committed by fringe Muslim extremists. Mainstream Islam has about as much connection to Al Qaeda’s extreme Wahabism as mainline Protestant churches in the United States have to the Christian fanatics who kill abortion providers.

    Does Root feel that Methodists, Baptists, etc., should be prevented from opening churches near where anti-abortion killings have occurred?

    Would he oppose the American flag being displayed, or government buildings erected, near places famous for abuses committed by the U.S. government in the name of the United States, such as along the “Trail of Tears” routes (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trail_of_Tears_National_Historic_Trail, http://www.nps.gov/trte/upload/TRTE_ContextMap_20091104.jpg)?

    But you already know the answers to these questions. Root’s indignation is selectively blind. His demand for “consideration and respect toward others” is not meant to be applied as a universal principle, but merely to provide a fig leaf for nationalist posturing by conservatives.

    I have to say though, it’s refreshing to see the “Winning Is Everything” faction of the Libertarian Party being the ones feeling the need to complain about something put out by the LP national office for a change! That tells me somebody’s doing something right.

  34. Thomas L. Knapp

    Tom S,

    While it’s by no means the central issue here, I will reiterate it one more time, and ask you not to fall into the fraudulent rhetoric employed by those who wish to employ government force to prevent the construction of Cordoba House:

    THE PROJECT IN QUESTION IS NOT A MOSQUE

    Anyone who say it is a mosque is either ignorant or lying.

    Even if it was a mosque the libertarian position on it would remain unchanged, but it’s still a good idea to point out that the claim that it is a mosque is false, and that it is also an attempt to procure a valuable consideration (government action and/or public support for government action to prevent its construction) by lying to create an emotional response … which means that it is an attempt at theft by deception, i.e. an act of fraud.

  35. Jill Pyeatt

    Wow, I’m heartened. There at least a dozen threads on this subject on Facebook, and I have counted only about that many supporters of Wayne’s article. I’m glad his rant got some attention.

    Wayne keeps talking about the people he says he appeals to, who he is convinced he will persuade to come to the LP:
    Christians, mothers, small-business owners. Well, this Christian, small-business owning mother is offended by WAR’s bigoted views. I deny that they are Libertarian views.

  36. Thomas M. Sipos

    Thomas Knapp, yes I know it’s not a mosque. In my case, I was neither ignorant nor lying. I was careless. Sorry.

    That said, the difference between mosque and cultural center doesn’t matter to the haters. I’ve heard some of them on talk radio saying that it’s neither — that it’s really a jihad training center.

    Root plays up to these yahoos, because there are more of them than of us, so “that’s where the money is.”

    I’ve long said that Root is merely using the LP to platform himself to a career as a right-wing media pundit.

    I’ve long said that Root will try to play it both ways, for as long as he can, but should he ever have to choose between offending libertarians vs. his Fox News fans, he’ll offend libertarians, because Fox News can do more for his career.

    For that matter, I suspect the right-wing Fox News crowd is where Root’s heart is too.

    It’ll be interesting to see how Root advises the LP’s Congressional races. The LP is believed to draw votes from the GOP — and the right-wing wants the GOP to take back Congress this year. The Fox News crowd will be saying that “this election is too important to lose” and so everyone must rally around the GOP in November.

    I expect Root won’t do anything to hurt the GOP’s chances. He might suggest that the LP focus on those races with a “safe” GOP seat, so as not to “take votes away from” the GOP in tight races.

    Or, if his right-wing media career really looks to take off, his fame established, he may dump the LP entirely, its usefulness over for him.

    There’s always room in the media for pro-war “libertarians” who slam the LP for being “soft on defense.”

  37. Robert Milnes

    Isn’t it grand to have a leading libertarian thinker like Root running LNCC, advising candidates etc.?
    Instead of some non LP member, not a real libertarian….like ME!
    ?

  38. Robert Capozzi

    es: While rc doesn’t see this as a tent building experience, my experience on the ground is that reactionaries need to be challenged on THIS issue. …If a third party can’t exist to drive issues and ideas and simply must suck up words in the face of all reason for some illusory benefit down the road, then why bother ?

    me: Assuming “rc” is me, let me explain, then. It is very appropriate IMO for Redlich to make an issue of this as a campaign matter. It deals with NY, he’s running for governor. My point was that the national LP may not be the optimal institution to make hay on this issue, given limited resources.

    Let me say I find Root and Mattson’s words on this issue disappointing and confused. I certainly consider myself an American and I am certainly sensitive about 9/11’s aftermath. It’s also true that there are elements within the Islamic community that wish America and Americans ill. I don’t need any convincing on this score.

    But then it appears they go WAY off the tracks on this matter. This Islamic Center may well be in poor taste and ill-advised by the owners. It may — if built — become a target for domestic terrorists, just as a statue of Hitler in view of a synagogue might or a statue of Jefferson Davis in view of a African-American church might or a statue of Stalin in view of Ukranian-American church might. Etc.

    Personally, I’ve view those as forgiveness opportunities, but I certainly understand that others may not see it that way.

    But I’d ask Root especially: How far do you want to carry your line of reasoning? Are you saying that any institution associated with Islam cannot build a building within X miles of the WTC site? How many miles? All of Manhattan? How about renting space in proximity to the WTC, would that be verboten, too? How about EXISTING Islam-oriented facilities in or near the WTC site, could those be closed by government edict? If not any institution associated with Islam, then is there some financial source that triggers this ring-fence rule? If so, I’d like to hear a legal theory and legal ruling that has found that any/all funds from this source can be taken by edict of a ZONING board, hiding behind an historical designation…

    Arbitrary, Bolshevik-like edicts that disallow capitalist acts among consenting adults, that run roughshod over the rule of law, seem quite unAmerican to this American L. Guess I’d have to hear a LOT more justification for throwing the Constitution out the window…

  39. Thomas L. Knapp

    “My point was that the national LP may not be the optimal institution to make hay on this issue, given limited resources.”

    The Republicans disagree with you.

    They’re making hay with their constituency nationally on this issue, putting forward figures like Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich to demagogue on it.

    It’s a national issue, and one with a lot of buzz around it, whether the LP wants it to be or not.

    The LP’s choice is to be right on it, wrong on it, or irrelevant and unnoticed on it.

    There’s not actually a down side to the LP being right on it. The people who are wrong on it aren’t libertarians, aren’t likely to become libertarians, and certainly won’t ever become libertarians if they’re never confronted with libertarian viewpoints in opposition to their anti-libertarian viewpoints.

    I can understand why you’re pensive/paranoid about the possibility of the LP addressing all the weirdass non-issues that you make up to scare the bejabbers out of yourself with (“silo abandonment” and such), but Jesus fucking Christ, Bob, if the LP won’t stand up for property rights and religious freedom, it’s worse than useless.

  40. Robert Capozzi

    WAR: Does “religious freedom” mean hate groups should build statues to Hitler in front of Jewish temples in America? Should Americans raise money to build Jewish temples and Christian churches at Mecca? Should Japan build a statue to the bravery of their pilots at Pearl Harbor? Should the U.S. build a statue to the bravery of our pilots at the site of Hiroshima? Aren’t those examples all about “freedom of expression,” “religious freedom” and property rights? Perhaps, but is it too much to ask for a little consideration and respect toward others?

    me: No, it’s not too much to ask. If people are offended, they can and, if so moved, SHOULD ask. That doesn’t appear to be what’s going on here. Zoning fascists are employing a cowardly loophole to exploit this issue, near as I can tell.

    If Root wants to make a claim that this Center amounts to “fighting words,” that building this Center is likely to touch off riots and disturb domestic tranquility in the area, then objectors to the Center should make that legal case. I seriously doubt they will, because it ain’t even close to fighting words.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fighting_words

  41. Robert Capozzi

    am: “Islam by principle is not an extremist religion…” Do any of us deny that there ARE fundamentalist Islamic sects that are extremist, advocate and carry out terrorism, and randomly murder innocent people??? Not all Muslims do those things, but let’s not pretend the extremists don’t exist. It was poor judgment to post this blog entry, and it harms the LP for this to continue to exist on our website…

    me: It WAS poor judgment to make the initial statement, only because it’s inappropriate for a political party to pass judgment — positive or negative — on a religion. I happen to agree that there’s nothing inherently “extremist” about Islam. I also happen to agree that there are some who use and twist Islam to justify violence. Extremists do exist.

    Getting into the muck with confused right wingers who now pretty openly attack Islam is contra-indicated. There’s no reasoning with crazy people. Islam needs no defense, and it’s not the LP’s business to defend it. So, I sort of agree with my friend Alicia, but for very different reasons.

  42. Robert Capozzi

    tk: The Republicans disagree with you.They’re making hay with their constituency nationally on this issue, putting forward figures like Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich to demagogue on it….
    if the LP won’t stand up for property rights and religious freedom, it’s worse than useless…

    me: Still feelin’ misunderstood here, tk. Lemme try again. The analogy might be better understood between Palin & Gringrich and Redlich. It appears to me that Redlich is handling this matter well.

    If Barr wanted to be a news-cycle player, I’d hope he’d play it like Redlich. Root IS a news-cycle player, and I really wish he’d cease-and-desist on this issue. I’m embarrassed by what he’s saying on this issue.

    I’ve seen no evidence that the national LP is geared up to be a news-cycle player. Michael Steele and the RNC has attempted to be a news-cycle player, and I’d say they did a pretty bad job of it. Howard Dean was often embarrassing as a news-cycle player…every time I see him, I expect him to scream. Kaine seems more prime-time to me, but my point is national committees and their operatives are more appropriate as behind-the-scenes workhorses, not show horses.

    My point is a division of labor matter, not silo abandonment OR silo remediation 😉

  43. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    You may be right that the LP is not ready for prime time as a “news cycle player,” although I think it’s made dramatic strides in that direction since Wes Benedict took over as executive director.

    Unfortunately, the LP is now in a position where it has to either become a “news cycle player” or be discredited, for a reason that you point out yourself:

    Wayne Allyn Root IS a “news cycle player.”

    AS a news cycle player, he is aggressively attempting to position himself as “the voice of the LP,” right down to procuring a title (LNCC chair) that sounds close enough to the title he didn’t win at the national convention (LNC chair) and then doing his best to convey the impression that the former is, or is the equivalent of, the latter.

    He is using his aggressive news cycle play and his sleight-of-title to discredit the LP in a big, big way.

    Whether he’s doing so intentionally or because he’s an idiot is irrelevant. What’s relevant is that if the LP doesn’t defend itself, he’s going to either put a stake through its heart, burn its corpse to ash, and scatter that ash in the cesspool that is the pseudo-libertarian ass-end of the GOP, or else turn it into a shambling zombie shadow of itself in short order.

    So, if the LP wants to survive as anything beyond a schizo-conservative circle jerk remnant, it had better become a “news cycle player” in a big way and most ricky-tick.

    I’m not sure it can be done.

    Root seems to enjoy sufficient support on the LNC to provide semi-official cover for his anti-libertarian agitation, and possibly even to suppress, or at least stymie, attempts by other LNC members, LPHQ staff, etc. to counteract his destructive activities.

    I’m not sure a CLiPR-type project* would work again. CLiPr was fairly successful in addressing deficient party communications, but fighting total incompetence and/or intentional sabotage above the staff level is a whole different thing.

    I think maybe the LP may is just totally screwed. I’m almost sorry to no longer be involved in it. I hope there are some remaining activists with the will to kill it dead rather than let Root turn it into the GOP’s litterbox if it comes to that.

    Regards,
    Tom Knapp

    * The CLiPR web site is gone — I sold the domain and Twitter account for a nice chunk of change after it had been inactive for a year or so due to not being needed after the successful turnaround in LPHQ comm.

  44. LP Pragmatist

    ah don’t worry, there will always be books on small-L libertarian theory to read. That will exist forever. Just like there are books on Marxism.

  45. Robert Capozzi

    tk, hmm, guess I’m a bit more forgiving, and I don’t see Root as nearly as damaging as the Rockwell crowd and their apparent obsession with the Confederate Elite Insurrection and Calhounism.

    My operative premise is that peace will ultimately prevail, with much turbulence on the way.

    I would hope that Root will reconsider this apparent knee-jerk reaction. He might consider the wisdom and common sense of a taking of a faith-based institution’s private property by the government. Wrapping oneself in the flag over a fearful, even paranoid, thought does not seem at all indicated. Not at all.

    Generally, I’m for dialing down the rhetoric when it comes to intra-L matters. This may be a case where some tough love is necessary.

  46. Melty

    haven’t followed dis one . . . what’s so ‘historic’ on Park Place between Broadway n Church?
    ‘ground zero mosque’ talk, when it aint a mosque nor at ground zero, sure nuf sounds like pure anti-islamic hate, plenty of it to go round, latent n surfacing at times like these

  47. Thomas M. Sipos

    Robert: “It is very appropriate IMO for Redlich to make an issue of this as a campaign matter. It deals with NY, he’s running for governor.”

    This has become a national issue. I live in Los Angeles. I hear the local L.A. drive-time radio shows discussing this issue. A lot.

    Robert: “the national LP may not be the optimal institution to make hay on this issue, given limited resources.”

    What “limited resources”? It takes no more resources to post something on the LP site than on IPR.

    Nor does it take any resources for an LP “leader” who has been invited to speak on major media to stand up for libertarian principles.

    Robert: “Islam needs no defense, and it’s not the LP’s business to defend it.”

    You might also say that gays, Jews, blacks, property owners, et al “need no defense” in the sense that they’re entitled to their basic rights as a given.

    Yet it is the LP’s job to defend all those groups — and Muslims too — if their rights are being threatened by the state.

    If it’s not the LP’s job to defend every American’s basic rights, then why should anyone vote LP?

    Thomas Knapp: “AS a news cycle player, [Root] is aggressively attempting to position himself as “the voice of the LP,” right down to procuring a title (LNCC chair) that sounds close enough to the title he didn’t win at the national convention (LNC chair) and then doing his best to convey the impression that the former is, or is the equivalent of, the latter.”

    As I’ve long said, Root wants LP titles so he can get face time on the media, becoming the “go to guy” on libertarian issues, and leverage that into a professional punditry career.

    Root even (apparently) got Starr back into a titled positioned as the Treasurer of the LNCC. The LNCC is almost like a “shadow government” within the LP.

    Any chance the LNC can just disband the LNCC?

    Oh yes, does anyone remember how in 2008 Treg Loyden claimed to have heard Root say: “America should just let Israel alone, defend itself, and go nuke the heck out of those Iranian cockroaches. Blow ‘em all up… just nuke the place for a thousand years.”

    See: http://freestudents.blogspot.com/2008/07/libertarian-skunks-barr-and-root-in.html

    Root denied saying it, FWIW.

  48. Starchild

    Thomas Sipos @42,

    I think Root wants the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination. If he believes he can get it in 2012 or 2016, I believe he will stick around until then.

    Of course my hope is that enough Libertarians will see through his “schtick” (his term for what he has that will bamboozle people into voting for him) that he’ll see the writing on the wall and stop trying to run the LP sooner.

    But I expect you’re right that he will try to do what he can to discourage the LP from taking seats away from the GOP in November.

  49. Robert Capozzi

    ts: What “limited resources”? It takes no more resources to post something on the LP site than on IPR.

    me: Yes, you’re right: Just posting something on our website is quite easy. Having a well-reasoned, high-impact media campaign that breaks through the clutter…not so easy. Most of the work is in the preparation and pitching. Doing this well at a national media level is MUCH more difficult than it appears. Having a rapid-response team to brief and handle an articulate spokesperson is not something I see in the LP. Root seems to be doing this stuff on the fly and largely on his own, and it’s showing, in this case, not well at all. Winging it is contra-indicated.

    ts: Yet it is the LP’s job to defend all those groups — and Muslims too — if their rights are being threatened by the state.

    me: You misunderstand my point, which is more attitudinal than anything. As a religion, Islam need not “defend” itself, any more than Christianity or Judaism or Buddhism do. They are belief systems that their respective adherents believe enhance their spiritual lives and philosophical POVs. Of course Ls should protect the right to PRACTICE a religion, or to pursue happiness as one sees fit.

    The news cycle on this issue will likely, IMO, be short, shorter than Schiavo, shorter than ‘roids in sports, etc. From a comparative advantage and division of labor perspective, I’m skeptical that the LP could significantly affect the national dialog on this issue, even if we didn’t have Root flying WAY off the reservation on this one.

    My assessment if that as a tiny organization, we need to allocate resources to high-impact matters where we can either a) make a difference in the debate or b) attract a lot of new members or both.

    Mine is a technical communications and marketing point, not an ideological one.

  50. Steven wilson

    The national level LNC is just like our federal government. It is non-operational and dysfunctional. That is why we must stay local. Pandering to the media serves no purpose, especially with only one man at the mic.

    Mark Hinkle must step up and take charge. He must organize the state chairs and establish our own source of media to help locals stay connected.

    The natioanl level is a cancer. What do you do with cancer?

  51. Robert Capozzi

    sw, is it just me, or do you directly contradict yourself in graph to the next. First you say “That is why we must stay local,” then you say “Mark Hinkle must step up and take charge.”

    Make up your mind, man! 😉

  52. Michael H. Wilson

    Daniel Wiener has a follow up post on this issue at the LP website.

  53. Michael H. Wilson

    Personally I want to thank the two interns who took on this controversial issue. Job well done.

  54. Erik G.

    RC@55:

    The whole “directing of resources” thing is a non-argument, because this was done by unpaid interns in the national office. As a former unpaid intern in the national office myself, I can assure you this didn’t take time away from their other activities.

  55. Erik G.

    SW @56,

    I’ve long thought it’s ironic that libertarians, who are supposed to be focused on decentralization, so often care about the LP on a national scale.

    Granted, I understand why they do, as the media is more or less a national thing, but I still find it quite amusing.

  56. Erik G.

    TS @53:

    It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Root said something like that. Have you ever seen the Facebook argument Root and David Nolan once had? Root said all sorts of ridiculous things in reference to Israel and Jews (claiming, at one point that Jewish voters made up 50% of donations in American politics).

  57. Robert Capozzi

    eg60, yes, thanks, I’m aware of that. I was making a different point, which is these drama-oriented news cycles are not the best use of the party’s time as a general proposition. Some here seem to think that it is, and others seem to think that single blogs can be consequential. I can’t say I agree, although WikiLeaks is proving to be an exception to that rule.

  58. Alan Pyeatt

    It occurs to me that this issue is EXACTLY the kind of thing that would bring dedicated single-issue voters into our fold, just as being on the pro-liberty side of gun rights does.

    We need to make a serious effort to reach out to Muslims. We can give them a political home, and they can help us clear our home of the rats that this issue has revealed.

  59. Erik G.

    RC@63:

    I think single blogs can be very consequential if picked up by the right sources. Often, if Drudge or Politico see fit to pick up an opinion, it can thrust one into the national debate quite easily. Just look at the mini-scandal with Nikki Haley a little while back – it was all based on one blog/blogger.

    As for the greater implications of involvement in said debate, obviously we have our differences. While I understand that you are certainly on the right side of this argument, I can’t help but think that this is *exactly* the area where the LP should be taking a stand. As Tom and I have both said, the only people to react unfavorably to this aren’t going to join/like us anyway. In contrast, if we’re one of the few groups to take the right stance, and do so strongly, it could have an incredible impact on public perception of the LP. The Democrats are trying their best to wish the issue away so they don’t have to take a strong stand, and I think there’s certainly room for us to squeeze in as the voice of political opposition.

    It never ceases to amaze me (and this is not directed at you, RC) that so many Ls don’t mind heavy-handed Obama bashing to appeal to the ‘right’ no matter how much it could cost us credibility with the ‘left,’ yet anytime the LP says anything ‘left-leaning’ we pretend like we shouldn’t say it for our greater ability to appeal to voters. As if the many ‘right-leaning’ stances don’t operate the same way.

  60. Eric Sundwall

    rc – politics is always drama, why shouldn’t we play in the fields if we can ? WR and I make a conscious effort to do so when we can. We did it with the Lebron thing a few weeks ago.

    Until our fellow LP’rs step up and actually support us in some fashion (no complaints with regard to the ballot access help from the LNC btw), we’re stuck with a limited range of tools. We’re fighting a number of fronts this battle, to wit;

    1. Petitioning – we’re collecting collating, organizing and deploying all over the state. National, state and Redlich campaign funds are being utilized effectively. As usual, it suckish.

    2. Media – we have to compete for attention, additional new players complicate that effort. We have to be nimble, libertarian correct and connect with key media personalities. I think we’re doing so effectively. It would be nice to have a boat load of help from the blogger types who could lobby Austin Petersen to have Warren on with the Judge . . . that help has been sketchy.

    3. New Players – The jaggernaut Paladino is pumping money into a wrong headed anti-establishment campaign which is picking up a lot of the 9/12 ‘rs etc. The Davis campaign is out there mimicking Libertarian issues, but not being taken seriously by most – always a lurking potential problem with Stone pulling the strings . . .

    4. Intra-party squabbles – Sam Sloan has taken the LPNY and it’s members to court three times in the last month claiming to be the legitimate candidate. This drains resources from the party. Any luck, he gets the boot soon too. Seems to be what the judges are doing too.

    5. Spectre of constant failure – these are the claims that any libertarian effort in NY is wasted or useless. I guess I haven’t been plodding for 35 years in the trenches to quite accept this, but the people who have like Mark Axinn and Jeff Russell are good and dedicated people, they deserve recognition and support for everything they’ve done over the years despite the odds. We’re fighting the good fight this year folks . . . the occasional one handed clap from the likes of TK make it bearable.

    If WRoot does make his way to a protest in NYC decrying the ‘mosque’, yours truly will be on the other side of the street shouting him down for this bigoted stance he’s assuming. He may be on Fox that day, but he’ll also be on YouTube without the lights and cues to the wrong camera.

  61. Steven wilson

    I admit, in trying to keep my post short, it does confuse, so I will clarify. I apologize for any misstep.

    Point one…Mark Hinkle did win the chair but behaves like he lost.

    Point two…Root did lose the chair vote but behaves like he won.

    I would like to see state chairs have the authority to check such errors. This is why when I am at the candidate forums and meet and greets, I promote the state party, not the national.

    I talk about what Glenn Nielsen and Cisse Spragins did about the MIAC report. I talk about what the state party did about smoking bans and red light cameras. This is what I was talking about when I mentioned stay local.

    If Mark Hinkle wants to be a leader, then he better learn quickly that leadership is about strength in all situations. Not just top two or ballot access.

    Because Hinkle behaves like he lost, and Root behaves like he won, this is why I promote the state party. The national is a cancer. Until Hinkle shows strength, he doesn’t count. Until Root shows he can be a team player, he is a problem.

  62. Robert Capozzi

    ap: …pro-liberty side of gun rights does [bring dedicated single-issue voters into our fold].

    me: Musta missed that one. Membership has fluctuated in the 10-30K range and vote totals have remained low. Based on results, I see no evidence that being pro-liberty on gun rights has had an appreciable affect on our fold.

    Being on the religious freedom side of Cordoba is highly unlikely to swell the ranks of the LP with Muslims. Targeting members of a religion seems fraught with many dangers, mostly by alienating members of OTHER religions.

    IMO.

  63. Robert Capozzi

    es: …politics is always drama, why shouldn’t we play in the fields if we can ?

    me: I’m getting the sense that you are having a problem with Yes as an answer. After recovering from the bagel-chomping (bad) joke, I’d say you guys are doing a good job, all things considered.

    If a campaign can play with this week’s Page 6 drama, leveraging it to positive advantage, I’m supportive.

  64. Alan Pyeatt

    @Robert: We should appeal to Muslims because their property rights are under attack, not because they’re Muslims per se. I agree that it’s not going to bring in masses of support, but it will bring in dedicated support.

    If you have better ideas for increasing our support, I’m all ears.

  65. Erik G.

    I have tons of Muslim friends who tend to react very positively to many the many links I’ve posted on Facebook defending Islam from ignorant neo-cons. There’s little doubt in my mind they’d appreciate seeing the LP stand up for them.

  66. Tom Blanton

    Mr. Knapp writes:

    …Jesus fucking Christ, Bob, if the LP won’t stand up for property rights and religious freedom, it’s worse than useless.

    I completely agree. I would also add that those in the LP that support W.A.R. as he continues to masquerade as one of “America’s leading Libertarian thinkers” are also worse than useless.

    It is one thing to be merely useless, quite another to be worse than useless. It’s bad enough to have wimpy moderate absolutists in the libertarian movement, worse to have neocons pretending to be libertarians, even worse to have idiot small-government tea baggers that call for big government programs in the mix, but having libertarians that promote an extremist Likud viewpoint is simply over the top.

  67. Pingback: Daniel Wiener at Libertarian Party blog: ‘Islamic Cultural Center and the Heckler’s Veto’ | Independent Political Report

  68. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    You prove you’re completely missing the point when you write:

    “Being on the religious freedom side of Cordoba is highly unlikely to swell the ranks of the LP with Muslims. Targeting members of a religion seems fraught with many dangers, mostly by alienating members of OTHER religions.”

    It’s not a matter of “targeting Muslims.” It’s a matter of targeting Americans who support:

    1. Property rights; and
    2. Religious freedom

    The fact that the victims in this case happen to be Muslims is irrelevant. Do the words “first, they came for the Jews …” ring any bells?

    Yes, it’s possible that the LP could take a temporary hit or two for standing up for what’s right here.

    The ACLU took a temporary membership/contribution hit when it stood up for the victims in Skokie, too. Thirty years later, the verdict is damn near unanimous that the ACLU did the right thing … and it has about 30 times as many dues-paying members as, and a budget an order of magnitude bigger than, the LP.

    Sure, the LP can spend all its time fretting that anything it says might offend the gaggle of bigoted assclowns of the day, and saying nothing to avoid doing so.

    But that course of action leads effectively to dissolution — there’s always another set of bigoted assclowns waiting in the wings to scare the bejabbers out an LP that operates from the premise of fear.

    Be right or begone, for fuck’s sake.

    Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way.

  69. Robert Capozzi

    sw: Root did lose the chair vote but behaves like he won.

    me: Not my take. Looks to me like Root is a dynamo, with boundless energy. I’ve seen no evidence that he’s trying to usurp Hinkle or the LNC. Instead, he’s following opportunities as they present themselves, and he’s sprinting through the gaps, looking to pick up as much yardage as he can.

    In this Cordoba case, he needs to be tackled and thrown into the backfield.

    I’d love to see a moderate, centrist L who had Root’s energy and drive step to the fore. I suspect he or she could be Barry Sanders. None in sight, though.

  70. Robert Capozzi

    tk, it’s entirely I missed AP’s point when he said “We need to make a serious effort to reach out to Muslims. We can give them a political home, and they can help us clear our home of the rats that this issue has revealed.”

    Sounds like targeting Muslims to me. I guess it doesn’t to you…English is such a funny language, so open to interpretation and misunderstanding! 😉

  71. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    It doesn’t follow from the fact that you’re missing the point along with someone else, that you’re not missing the point.

    Maybe I can be a little more clear here:

    This issue is not dependent upon the victims being Muslims.

    If the victims were entrepreneurs wanting to build a strip club, the appropriate position from both a libertarian ideological standpoint and a practical marketing standpoint would be the same. Libertarians would be on the side of the entrepreneurs and the strippers, not on the side of the busybodies who think their aversion to nudity should trump everyone else’s property rights and freedom.

    If Sarah Palin bought the building and proposed to build a a medical/activity center for Down Syndrome kids like her youngest, same thing. Libertarians would be on the side of Palin and the kids, not on the side of the assholes who think they’re magically entitled to seize the property because having a bunch of Down Syndrome kids wandering around the neighborhood would crush their buzz.

    The LP doesn’t get to decide which issues will be controversial and explosive enough to require a response.

    It only gets to decide whether it gives the correct response, whether it gives an incorrect response, or whether it runs like hell and hides in the closet, occasionally poking its head out the door to scream “I’m relevant! Really! Pay attention to me! I’ve never offended anyone! CONTRA-INDICATED! CONTRA-INDICATED! I only say NICE things! I’m relevaaaaaaaaaaaaaant …”

  72. Pingback: Wayne Root: ‘Why the 9/11 Mosque Controversy Is NOT About Religious Freedom…and Should Be Stopped!’ | Independent Political Report

  73. paulie Post author

    The national level LNC is just like our federal government.

    No, one is a voluntary association – the other not so much.

    That is why we must stay local.

    Some resources are better not being duplicated at the local level, and many local parties don’t have the resources and continuity to match everything national does (or should be doing). Each has their place.

  74. Pingback: Blogosphere reactions to Wayne Root’s ‘Why the 9/11 Mosque Controversy Is NOT About Religious Freedom…and Should Be Stopped!’ | Independent Political Report

  75. Robert Capozzi

    tk: This issue is not dependent upon the victims being Muslims.

    me: Trouble taking Yes for an answer, Tom? I agree.

    tk: The LP doesn’t get to decide which issues will be controversial and explosive enough to require a response.

    me: ADR, I don’t agree with your opinion, which, I assume, you recognize IS an opinion. Certainly we as individuals do this all day long. We “pick our battles,” based on our resources and abilities.

    For ex., I am very opposed to the death penalty, on many levels, with no equivocation. Every day someone is either being put to death or is in a cell awaiting death. While this issue is horrific on some levels, it’s like a pebble in my shoe on others.

    Regardless of my feelings on the subject, my evaluation of the death penalty is that I — lone transplanted NY VAan, middle aged, white dude with limited financial resources– am unlikely to make a difference on this matter, no matter what I do. I table the matter.

    Instead, to the extent my time and resources permit, I share ideas with fellow Ls in the hopes that the LP and L ideas can become influential and possibly even a strong force in US politics.

    That’s about all my bandwidth allows at this time.

    Organizations — consciously or unconsciously — do the same thing. They evaluate their strengths and weaknesses; assess their resources; and act on what is indicated and what is not.

    Individuals and organizations that DON’T do this burn out, often very quickly, overreaching, overextending, depleting what strengths they do have.

    tk: The LP doesn’t get to decide which issues will be controversial and explosive enough to require a response. It only gets to decide whether it gives the correct response, whether it gives an incorrect response, or whether it runs like hell and hides in the closet….

    me: In your opinion. In mine, we introduce a few more variables…Is there a clear L view on the matter?; Is the matter a strong teachable moment, or does it involve countervailing issues?; Do we know enough about the subject to make a credible presentation?; Is the issue important enough to re-allocate time away from a LESS important issue?

  76. Bob Weber

    J.J. Myers@ #33:

    Hear, hear! I’m flabbergasted that you didn’t get elected to an At-Large seat on the LNC.

  77. Bob Weber

    Jill Pyeatt wrote at 19:

    “I’m not usually in the practice of defending WAR, but I will point out that he begins his opinion piece by saying that this is his opinion as an American, and not as a Libertarian. I appreciate that distinction, and I take it to mean he has been listening to some of his critics.”

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

    Jill, you are far too generous to Root. The tactic of speaking “not as a Libertarian, but as an American” is an especially contemptible bit of Base Rhetoric.

    http://www.thefreemanonline.org/featured/the-ethics-of-rhetoric/

    It makes sense to say, “Speaking as an X, I take position Y” only if taking position Y is a logical consequence of being an X. Example: “Speaking as a libertarian, I oppose the War on Drugs” is a meaningful statement because being a libertarian means you oppose the War on Drugs. It also logically implies that supporting the War on Drugs means you are un-libertarian. So far, so good.

    But to say “Speaking as a libertarian, Bach was a greater composer than Rachmaninoff”, makes no sense because, speaking as a libertarian, you can have nothing to say about their relative artistic merits. It also follows that declaring “No, Rachmaninoff was a greater composer than Bach” is not un-libertarian. (A libertarian person can always argue the question either way, just not as a libertarian.)

    Likewise, to say “Speaking as a blond(e), I oppose the War on Drugs” is a nonsensical statement because being blond has nothing to do with opposing the War on Drugs, however morally correct the position. Likewise, to support the War on Drugs is not “un-blond”, it’s just wrong.

    So what does Root mean by “As an American, I oppose the mosque”? Taken literally, this is nonsense on the level of “As a blond(e), I oppose the War on Drugs.” Literally, it would mean, “I’m an American national, therefore I oppose the mosque”, along with its logical corollary, “I do not oppose the mosque, therefore I am not an American national.”

    This is clearly NOT the meaning of Root’s statement. To repeat, it’s an especially shabby and contemptible bit of Base Rhetoric. Root is implying than “being an American” implies having a particular set of values, and also by implication a higher set of values than mere libertarianism, (morally virtuous, of course) which just happen to coincide with those of Wayne Root, who is being told by the Voices in His Head that the mosque is a nefarious way for Moslems to say, “Neener, Neener, Neener!” to All of America. The logical corollary is that those who do not oppose the mosque are “un-American”, in that they are morally deficient in not sharing Root’s opinions. (I deny that “being an American” implies any particular set of values, any more than would “being a Latvian”, but I’d like to think that those who do believe this would instead condemn those who oppose the mosque.)

    To sum up, Root, Peikoff, and others of their ilk are intellectual swindlers, pandering to the worst sentiments in contemporary America. To fully analyze the dishonesty in their arguments would require an essay many times longer than their arguments themselves, and I’ve probably gone on too long already, so

  78. Bob Weber

    The website deleted the end of my post, which was

    “I’ve probably gone on too long already, so (30).”

  79. Mik Robertson

    To his credit, Wayne clearly pointed out he was not speaking as a libertarian, or in his capacity as a member of the LNC, or in any way as his response being a position of the LP.

    The fatwa of bin Ladin, al-Zawahiri and others to all Muslims in 1998 was called against all Americans and their allies, so it is not completely out of line to respond as an American. That said, I don’t think this is a position that is going to address anything, only reinforce fears and hate.

    There are others in the LP who hold ideas like things that are a part of nature and created by no one should be in private ownership, contrary to a long line of libertarian thinking. These ideas often are presented as being a position of the LP, yet those people who espouse them are not subject to a ‘litmus test’.

    I can’t help but think that this issue is being overamplified by some detractors of Wayne Root just because they don’t like Wayne Root. Wayne is clearly not the only one who has this gut reaction, and apparently is not the only one in the LP or even on the LNC who has this gut reaction.

    I don’t think denying the cultural center the site is a good position to take, much less a good public policy position. However, I would not make this a litmus test to determine who is a libertarian and who is not.

  80. Thomas L. Knapp

    Mik,

    You write:

    “There are others in the LP who hold ideas like things that are a part of nature and created by no one should be in private ownership, contrary to a long line of libertarian thinking. These ideas often are presented as being a position of the LP, yet those people who espouse them are not subject to a ‘litmus test’. ”

    … and other stuff with a definite LP orientation.

    Just to be clear, I did not write this article with the LP in mind.

    (long pause)

    Sorry I was gone for a bit. I was about to say that the only thing I consider less relevant to the freedom movement at the moment than the LP is X, but damned if I could think of an X to use.

  81. Robert Capozzi

    tk: …the only thing I consider less relevant to the freedom movement at the moment…

    me: Ah, the pesky “relevant” concept…it’s hard to avoid, ain’t it?

    Whether, say, writing agorist tracts or blogging about the virtues of a stateless society are MORE relevant than the LP to freedom is a matter of personal preference, inclination, and assumptions.

    Perceptions make reality since reality is necessarily perceived. No getting around it.

  82. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    It doesn’t follow from the fact that I don’t identify writing agorist tracts or blogging about the virtues of a stateless society as more relevant than the LP, that I find them less relevant than the LP.

    Perhaps I find them equally relevant.

    OK, OK, so I don’t.

    Even if the tracts and blogging are only marginally relevant, they’ll likely remain marginally relevant for a long time.

    Neither “states’ rights is the essence of libertarianism” nor “an argument can be made that our Constitution would actually prohibit this mosque from being built” were relevant at all, for even a microsecond.

  83. Robert Capozzi

    tk, it’s all good. For all I know, being a yoga instructor could be the best thing someone could do to promote a peaceful, free social order. For another, walking the streets with a sandwich board saying “The End is Nigh” might be indicated.

    Whether an agorist tract will be “marginally relevant” now or ever would probably depend on how one assesses what “relevant” is. I find it less challenging to make an assessment in the here and now than 100 years from now, but others may have built a better crystal ball.

    Yes, the extremism inherent in states’ rights or nativism may not be vices, per se, but nor are they virtuous, near as I can tell. Both seem backward-looking, and therefore contra-indicated.

    But, just as Ricky would tell Lucy that she had some “splainin’ to do,” the states’ rightists and nativists seem unable to cobble together a coherent rationale for their views, leaving us to fill in the blanks. They just seem angry and frightened to me, having a bad nightmare.

    With some good fortune, they too will wake up, sooner rather than later.

  84. Starchild

    Eric Sundwall @68 writes,

    “If WRoot does make his way to a protest in NYC decrying the ‘mosque’, yours truly will be on the other side of the street shouting him down for this bigoted stance he’s assuming. He may be on Fox that day, but he’ll also be on YouTube without the lights and cues to the wrong camera.”

    Excellent, Eric! Thanks for your commitment to be there to stand up for libertarian principles if needed to make sure Root is not the public face of the party on this issue.

    Tom Knapp @75 and @78 —

    Excellent points!

    Bob Weber @84 —

    Ditto! Especially the following:

    “Root is implying that ‘being an American’ implies having a particular set of values, and also by implication a higher set of values than mere libertarianism, (morally virtuous, of course) which just happen to coincide with those of Wayne Root, who is being told by the Voices in His Head that the mosque is a nefarious way for Moslems to say, “Neener, Neener, Neener!” to All of America. The logical corollary is that those who do not oppose the mosque are ‘un-American’, in that they are morally deficient in not sharing Root’s opinions. (I deny that ‘being an American’ implies any particular set of values, any more than would ‘being a Latvian’, but I’d like to think that those who do believe this would instead condemn those who oppose the mosque.)”

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