Libertarian Party condemns shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords

Press release from Libertarian Party national HQ:

WASHINGTON – Mark Hinkle, Chair of the Libertarian Party, issued a statement condemning the shooting of Congressional Representative Gabrielle Giffords, and others in Tucson, Arizona. According to reports, federal Judge John Roll and five others were killed in the shooting, and several others were seriously wounded.

“The Libertarian Party condemns the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords and others today. We are saddened by the loss of life, the suffering of those who survived the shooting, and the grief and sorrow of their family and friends.

“This shooting was wrong, and is the kind of abhorrent political violence that threatens our freedoms.

“The Libertarian Party opposes the initiation of force and violence whether it is politically motivated or for other reasons. To become a member of the Libertarian Party, people are required to sign a statement certifying that they oppose the initiation of force to achieve political or social goals.

“Regardless of the motives and other circumstances surrounding the killing, the Libertarian Party maintains its steadfast defense of the Second Amendment and the uncompromising right to gun ownership. In a free society, citizens should be free to arm and protect themselves, their families, and their property. Sadly, because of restrictions placed on responsible gun owners by all levels of government, many people avoid carrying weapons that could be used to stop mass shootings.

“Our condolences go out to the victims and their families. We wish them a speedy and full recovery.”

70 thoughts on “Libertarian Party condemns shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords

  1. Robert Capozzi

    sc, you didn’t find this to be excess verbiage:

    “Sadly, because of restrictions placed on responsible gun owners by all levels of government, many people avoid carrying weapons that could be used to stop mass shootings.”

    This seems like a bit of a quagmire to me. My impression is that AZ is a low-regulation of 2A rights state. Others there COULD have been carrying, I suppose, and perhaps stopped Loughner, I guess.

    Pointing to counter-force possibilities seems inappropriate to me in this particular release. This sentence weakens an otherwise fine effort, IMO. There will be inevitable calls for stricter gun control in the aftermath of this senseless shooting, but I would prefer to address them at a more appropriate time.

  2. Thane Eichenauer

    Robert Capozzi,
    That quote was the high point of the whole statement. Here in Arizona a person could easily have been carrying. Don’t you think that one person shooting back at a criminal at work would cause a person in the midst of committing a crime to get distracted or loose motor control due to a hole in part of his body?

  3. Brian

    Tea Party rhetoric didn’t kill 6 people and wound Giffords, a gun did. The Left is to spineless in this country to do anything about it or even speak out about reforming gun laws. The Libertarian party condemns the shooting but has a fetish for the implement. When the Chinese invade, the Ron Paul freak down the block will be running (with all his guns) in the same direction as everyone else. America’s gun fetishism is to blame. Have fun with this one, everyone

  4. Robert Capozzi

    te6 :Don’t you think that one person shooting back at a criminal at work would cause a person in the midst of committing a crime to get distracted or loose motor control due to a hole in part of his body?

    me: As a matter of speculation, yes. As a matter of fact in this case, no.

    “…could be used…” is VERY weak. Possession of a bazooka “could be used” to hunt elk, too. A lot of things in this world “could be.” Engaging is speculation about what could have been when there are a lot of dead people shot seems tone deaf to me.

  5. Thomas L. Knapp

    Brian@7,

    “Tea Party rhetoric didn’t kill 6 people and wound Giffords, a gun did.”

    In your imagination, maybe.

    In the real world, it was a person who killed six people and wounded Giffords. The gun was the tool he happened to choose to do that with, but it wasn’t the only tool at his disposal.

  6. Kimberly Wilder

    I liked the first half of the Liberatarian statement, and I am glad they made the statement.

    I disagree with the gun part.

    When there is so much gun violence in our country, and when something like this happens– where a gun made the event more bloody than another weapon would have–I think it is only logical to reflect on gun ownership.

    I guess I am in the middle of the gun issue. I do understand that part of liberty may include citizens having a right to a weapon. Though, I think some people go overboard and demand no oversight or reason in relation to gun ownership. (And, I think that part of it is due to the gun lobby, to the money manufacturers can make, more to just liberty principles.)

    The government, in point of fact, asks people to have licenses for owning pets, getting married, and hunting. There is a logic to having a system to regulate these things somewhat.

    It seems like owning a gun is a privilege – not just a birthright. And, people should have to have some screening, or perhaps even an accompanying responsibility. For instance, if you are going to own a weapon that can kill a lot of people fast, you have to get trained in tactics and ethics, and it will be understood that you are ready to volunteer for the militia or army if needed.

    Just thinking…

    I may not have all the answers. Though, it can’t make sense to ignore the many recent instances where a mentally unstable person has acquired a gun and caused great harm.

  7. Robert Capozzi

    A person killed many with a gun. That seems hard to deny. IMO, a person has a right to defend him/herself, although what he or she takes off his or her property seems reasonable to regulate in some form. Walking the public streets with a bazooka seems loopy and incomprehensible, for ex.

  8. Robert Capozzi

    g, I agree generally. If I were somehow elected to the VA House of Delegates and there was a vote banning bazookas on the streets of the Old Dominion, I’d vote aye. Some might say that such a vote would be “unprincipled.” I can’t say I’d agree with their opinion on the matter, however.

  9. Gene Berkman

    Including a simple statement that the Libertarian Party supports the 2nd Amendment may have been appropriate. Considering that Arizona allows concealed carry makes the statement about concealed carry laws completely irrelevant in this case, even possibly wrong headed.

    Additionally, if a citizen had pulled out a gun with the intent of stopping the shooter, to others it would have looked like a second gunman. In real life events often happen in a way not so easy to determine as in thought problems.

  10. Robert Capozzi

    gb, excellent point. While counter-force may be an argument for protecting 2A rights, we kid ourselves if we position it as the panacea it is not.

  11. Robert Capozzi

    te, I generally agree. In the case of toting a bazooka down Broadway, “freedoms” clash, and I’m simply not convinced that the freedom to tote a bazooka trumps the freedom to not be threatened in a reckless manner. Do you feel otherwise?

  12. Thane Eichenauer

    RC,
    Mark Hinkle didn’t mention a bazooka. I am not prepared to advocate in favor of the right to keep and bear a bazooka. You are the one to bring up that weapon.

  13. Robert Capozzi

    te, yes, but when one takes an absolutist stance, one invites extreme examples to test just how far one’s absolutism goes. The meaning of 2A is at least somewhat open to interpretation, it appears, for at least you and me.

  14. JT

    Kimberly: “Though, it can’t make sense to ignore the many recent instances where a mentally unstable person has acquired a gun and caused great harm.”

    I don’t think it can make sense to ignore that surveys show at least 100 million U.S. residences have at least one gun in them. How often is someone injured/killed with one of them? The percentage is infinitesimal, even though depictions of gun violence are frequent on some television shows and in some movies. Sometimes a law-abiding citizen will foil a criminal with one, but often the criminal isn’t even shot.

    Meanwhile, criminals don’t obey gun laws–a point that gun-control advocates ignore. Those criminals who want them buy them on the black market and then do what they do. So aside from an adult having a right to buy a weapon for self-defense, it’s not even practical to make it difficult for people with no record of violent criminal history or serious mental illness to buy one.

    Gene: “Additionally, if a citizen had pulled out a gun with the intent of stopping the shooter, to others it would have looked like a second gunman. ”

    Who cares what it may look like in the couple of seconds someone pulls out a gun for defense (assuming anyone isn’t too scared and ducking for cover to pay attention to what you’re doing)? If you can shoot the gunman dead and then stop, then it’s obvious who you are–a hero.

  15. Robert Capozzi

    jt: If you can shoot the gunman dead and then stop, then it’s obvious who you are–a hero.

    me: The bigger point is that alluding to speculative counter-force that may or may not go well is tonally way off in this release. Bringing it into the equation when it’s possible that MORE may have died than did if multiple guns’d been on the scene is not helping our case for 2A rights. Playing to the extreme MAY help with the hardest of cores, but not with the vast center. IMO.

  16. paulie Post author

    rhetoric didn’t kill 6 people and wound Giffords, a gun did.

    It just jumped off the shelf and fired itself?

  17. Gains

    RC @19,21:

    A law that prohibits brandishing weapons in a threatening manner is within principle for all weapons including bazookas. Don’t you think?

  18. Robert Capozzi

    g26, of course. In public, it’s “within principle” that prohibitions on carrying are also reasonable. In private, I’d say anything goes, unless it’s inherently a danger to neighbors. Private nukes and other WDM I have NO problem outlawing. Someone in a posh Park Ave. apartment can have a gun, maybe a machine gun. Carry it out into public, and the owners can govern your behavior within reason. Reason will vary…in Nome, AK, maybe a machine gun strapped to your back is ok with the street’s owners. Manhattan’s streets…not so much.

  19. volvoice

    Atta boy Mark… The n.a.p is essential for our party’s survival and growth. The TEA Party has nothing like this as a ‘guiding’ principle and are clearly in defensive mode at the moment. Sarah Palin may not recover from it. Libertarians have the correct moral position… we ARE ‘The Party of Principle”…..It is as true today as it ever was and the Party can stand up for what is right…By teaching the public our foundation in the first part of the statement, we can then stand firmly behind the second part…Nutjobs like this guy need to be denounced in no uncertain terms.

  20. JT

    Robert: “The bigger point is that alluding to speculative counter-force that may or may not go well is tonally way off in this release. Bringing it into the equation when it’s possible that MORE may have died than did if multiple guns’d been on the scene is not helping our case for 2A rights.”

    More guns on the scene of a crime doesn’t equal more death. It depends on the person who’s wielding the weapon. This is exactly the kind of scenario in which a gun in the hands of a person who isn’t a violent victimizer and is willing to use it is most important.

    What doesn’t help our case is allowing those who agitate for gun control to point to such tragedies as a basis for their view (as they often do) and to do so unopposed by those who defend the Second Amendment.

  21. Tom Blanton

    How can it be possible that these murders happened in Arizona after a law against murder was enacted in Arizona? Could it be that the shooter was unaware of this law?

  22. Robert Capozzi

    jt30: More guns on the scene of a crime doesn’t equal more death.

    Me: Yes, why do you feel the need to say this? I said “speculative counter-force that may or may not go well”…did you not understand that? Or are you deflecting?

    jt: What doesn’t help our case is allowing those who agitate for gun control to point to such tragedies as a basis for their view (as they often do) and to do so unopposed by those who defend the Second Amendment.

    Me: I don’t disagree. My point is different. This was a release putatively about the shooting, not the meaning of 2A, and certainly not about speculation about what might have been had more arms were on the scene. We surely cannot know what might have happened during the tragedy had had others “carrying weapons that could be used to stop mass shootings.” This comes across as highly defensive rhetoric, using a possible scenario and speculating about what might have been.

    Many are dead or wounded in Tucson. I would have preferred that the Hinkle would have made a gracious, compassionate statement, and reiterated that Ls don’t believe in “oppose the initiation of force to achieve political or social goals,” and left it there. A follow-up release addressing any calls for irresponsible gun control might well be appropriate. Combining the messages hurts both messages. Deflection and using tangents is a poor approach, IMO.

  23. Robert Capozzi

    tb: How can it be possible that these murders happened in Arizona after a law against murder was enacted in Arizona? Could it be that the shooter was unaware of this law?

    me: It seems likely that Loughner knew of the law, but he seemed to not be able to accept it as virtuous, as he seemed very confused, likely insane. Do you have another take?

  24. Eric Dondero

    This was a well-written, forthright, and to-the-point release. It leaves no doubt where we Libertarians stand in relation to this terrible tragedy.

    Good job Libertarian Party HQ, Mark Hinkle.

  25. JT

    Robert: “Yes, why do you feel the need to say this? I said “speculative counter-force that may or may not go well”…did you not understand that? Or are you deflecting?”

    Deflecting what? I reject your premise that it may have led to more death. I know your skepticism applies to everything, but as I said, it depends on whether an armed person is a violent victimizer or not, and whether that person is willing to use the weapon in defense or not. To the best of my knowledge, none of the people on the scene were violent criminals other than the shooter, but none of them had a means to defend themselves from him.

    Robert: “This was a release putatively about the shooting, not the meaning of 2A, and certainly not about speculation about what might have been had more arms were on the scene.”

    When some people use the tragedy as a basis for more gun control, they’re all inextricably linked.

    Robert: “Combining the messages hurts both messages.”

    Sorry, but I disagree. I don’t think a press release that merely says, “The LP condemns the shooting” is worth squat. I think it’s safe to say virtually every organization condemns that, and adding one more such statement to the mountain of statements that have already said that is hardly good “messaging.” A good message should add something different, and that’s something the LP can do in this case.

  26. Robert Capozzi

    JT: I reject your premise that it may have led to more death.

    ME: Fair enough. Then there really is nothing more to discuss.

  27. Tom Blanton

    Posted @ 33

    tb: How can it be possible that these murders happened in Arizona after a law against murder was enacted in Arizona? Could it be that the shooter was unaware of this law?

    me: It seems likely that Loughner knew of the law, but he seemed to not be able to accept it as virtuous, as he seemed very confused, likely insane. Do you have another take?

    Sorry Bubby, I forgot to insert a sarcasm disclaimer. I can’t guess what Loughner was thinking, but I do know that gun laws won’t prevent gun violence any more than murder laws don’t prevent murder.

    It’s actually amazing that more politicians aren’t shot down considering their ability to destroy the well-being of those they lord over. If the rubes of America ever figure out how badly their leaders have sold them out and ripped them off, there may well be a frenzy of murder.

    It could even get really nasty with a civil war between those who insist that government is a God-like entity that is sacred and those who loathe and despise government. The irony is that it is those humanitarians that decry violence who are pro-government and support institutionalized violence against those who would prefer just to be left alone in peace. Hypocrites!

  28. Robert Capozzi

    Tb38, you can be SUCH a Sphinx sometimes! Yes, I thought you might be going in that direction. I’d say laws against murder are not expected to STOP murder, but to minimize it.

    Whether the minimization works depends on one’s interpretation. The US has a rather high murder rate, quite a bit higher than western Europe and places like Japan and SK, although lower than many Latin American nations. It’s hard to say why…there are a lot of theories.

    Rather than getting into un-provable theories, I prefer to advocate for property rights, with exceptions for extraordinary property rights like the right to possess WMD. 2A works great on one’s property for most “arms,” not so much in public, where there are OTHER property rights.

    This statement might get you flagged: “It’s actually amazing that more politicians aren’t shot down considering their ability to destroy the well-being of those they lord over. If the rubes of America ever figure out how badly their leaders have sold them out and ripped them off, there may well be a frenzy of murder.”

    Yes, civil wars can be quite nasty. One between those who view government as “sacred” and those who “loathe” the State might look more like a very contained turf war between the Sharks and the Jets, though, since so few fit either “gang.” Near as I can tell, the vast majority are in the middle.

  29. JT

    Robert: “2A works great on one’s property for most “arms,” not so much in public, where there are OTHER property rights.”

    What’s the evidence for this claim?

    John Lott, who researched the effect of right-to-carry laws across states, found significant reductions in crime rates over time as a result. His view is confirmed by other research, including this:
    http://johnrlott.tripod.com/Plassmann_Whitley.pdf

    Whether the effect is “not so much” as firearms in private homes or not (I don’t know), there’s still a substantial reduction in crime rates over time resulting from citizens being able to carry guns off of their own property.

  30. Robert Capozzi

    jt, putting aside critiques of Lott’s study (I have no opinion on the empirical findings), it depends on the meaning of “works.” I have not heard of large numbers of NYC residents clamoring for the “right” to carry in public. The notion of sitting across the subway train from a person with a machine gun doesn’t work for most NYCers, I suspect. Do you believe otherwise?

    This is not to say the NYCers are empirically correct…they may not be. Nor am I suggesting that governments sometimes have rules about behavior in public that is ill advised or against the majority’s will…they do, quite often, actually.

    My point is it’s my view that 2A only applies to private property. I don’t think anyone has the “right” to carry anything anywhere. If you do, I’d like to hear your theory.

    If the day comes when the roads and all transit are privately owned, we may have a different situation to evaluate.

  31. Robert Capozzi

    more…

    A thus-far unrefuted point I’ve made with absolutist and/or abolitionist Ls:

    What say you about driving on the any side of the road, so long as no one is hurt? If the State, acting as agent, can’t set some baseline rules for public behavior, then a left driver in a right driving nation is “within his/her rights,” yes? There would be no moving violations at all, only a requirement that damages’d need to be compensated. Of course, the damages could easily outstrip a driver’s ability to compensate, which opens up further cans of worms….

    Rules on public property are designed to maintain a semblance of domestic tranquility, I’d say, and to facilitate some amount of trust when venturing into public spaces.

  32. JT

    Robert: “jt, putting aside critiques of Lott’s study (I have no opinion on the empirical findings), it depends on the meaning of “works.” I have not heard of large numbers of NYC residents clamoring for the “right” to carry in public.”

    So by “works” you’re referring to popular opinion? I thought you were referring to effectiveness against crime.

    My family is from NY. With a couple of exceptions, I haven’t heard of large numbers of NYC residents clamoring for freer markets period.

  33. Robert Capozzi

    jt, yes, NYCers may not be overwhelmingly free market fans, but I’d say they are sensible AND free market to not want machine-gun-toters on their streets. That’d be bad for business and likely life generally, IMO.

    Works involves in this case a sense of what the public thinks is reasonable. You might believe that the absolute right of machine gun toting down Broadway IS effective against crime, but I doubt Lott’s study could be used to make that case. Data does not tell the whole story, it requires analysis and judgment.

  34. JT

    Robert: “NYCers may not be overwhelmingly free market fans…”

    Not “overwhelmingly free market fans”? If you think most New York City residents are fans of even FREER markets, then I think you’re out in space. New York City isn’t one of the national leaders in regulation, taxation, and overspending for no reason. So by your appeal to popularity (argumentum ad populum), Libertarians in NYC shouldn’t advocate freer markets at all.

    Robert: “You might believe that the absolute right of machine gun toting down Broadway IS effective against crime, but I doubt Lott’s study could be used to make that case. Data does not tell the whole story, it requires analysis and judgment.”

    Why are you focusing on “machine-gun toting”? Is this like you referring to principled Libertarians as “abolitionists” to make a point easier? You don’t need a machine gun to be able to defend yourself and others from violent criminals.

    Analysis is something done with data (i.e., information gathered from observation). Otherwise it’s not “analysis,” it’s “imagination.”

  35. paulie Post author

    I have not heard of large numbers of NYC residents clamoring for the “right” to carry in public.

    I have. Remember the reactions to the Bernie Goetz case?

  36. paulie Post author

    I haven’t heard of large numbers of NYC residents clamoring for freer markets period.

    Free markets in NYC used to be pretty common – street vendors, gypsy cabs, and the like. Ironically, or perhaps not so ironically, “pro-business” mayors since Giuliani have done a lot to shut them down.

  37. paulie Post author

    I’d say they are sensible AND free market to not want machine-gun-toters on their streets.

    I once saw a 60 minutes episode on Peshawar, a border region in South Asia where adults and children commonly carried machine guns, mortar, artillery launchers, grenades, etc – which at the time was relatively peaceful.

    There are many other examples of places and times when it was common for ordinary people to carry guns in public, and crime was low.

  38. paulie Post author

    You don’t need a machine gun to be able to defend yourself and others from violent criminals.

    True. “Machine guns” are usually more effective against government gangs. A compact semi-automatic is usually sufficient against freelance force initiators. In most cases it does not even have to fired to be effective.

  39. VTV

    Main stream media tried to link this to the Zeitgeist Movement. This is what Peter Joseph had to say:
    PUBLIC STATEMENT FROM THE CREATOR OF THE “ZEITGEIST FILM SERIES”, PETER JOSEPH:

    RE: THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA ASSOCIATION CREATED BETWEEN “ZEITGEIST” AND THE TUCSON MURDERS

    It has come to my attention that various mainstream news organizations are beginning to run an association between my 2007 performance piece/film, “Zeitgeist: The Movie” and the tragic murders conducted by an extremely troubled young man in Tucson, Arizona. They are also slowly beginning to bleed the obvious line between my 2007 documentary work, my film series as a whole and The Zeitgeist Movement, which I am the founder. Frankly, I find this isolating, growing association tremendously irresponsible on the part of ABC, NBC and their affiliates – further reflecting the disingenuous nature of the America Media Establishment today.

    It appears to have begun with a comment on NBC news referencing my film along with other “influential” films as well, such as Richard Kelly’s film “Donnie Darko” and then spreading to ABC News where it singled out Zeitgeist: The Movie and the Series itself, stating:

    “Osler pointed to an online documentary series called “Zeitgeist” as a possible influence on the man.
    The series rails on currency-based economics.
    “I really think that this ‘Zeitgeist’ documentary had a profound impact on Jared’s mindset and how he viewed that world that he lives in,” Osler said.”

    abcnews.go.com/US/tucson-shooting-friend…ed/story?id=12597092

    When we reflect on the history of seeming random violence or other forms of highly offensive, irrational, aberrant behavior, we see a common pattern of reaction from the public and media in their attempt to explain such extreme acts. Rather than deeply examining the Bio-Psycho-Social nature of human social development and the vast spectrum of influences that create and morph each of us in unique and sometime detrimental ways, they take the easy way out. The first thing do it simply ignore all modern scientific social understandings of what generates human motivation in both positive and negative regard, for to do so can only call into question the social system itself and hence the “zeitgeist” (meaning: spirit/intellectual climate of the time/culture) at large.

    Generally speaking, it is historically accurate to say that the Mainstream Media simply isn’t in the business of challenging the Status Quo. The limits of debate are firmly set. Virtually all ideas, persons or groups who have succeeded in changing the world for the better, later to be hailed as heros in the public mind, started out being condemn by those in the Mainstream Media who latch on to the dominant world view of the time. Even Martin Luther King Jr., a peaceful, loving, wonder of a man who contributed more to our social progress than likely any humanitarian in the US history, was followed by the CIA and publicly humiliated as a “Communist” which he even had to defend in front of a Congressional Committee. In fact, you can rest assured that if King was alive in the current paradigm today and seeking an equal form of justice- he would be given the name: “Terrorist”.

    So, again, rather than taking the scientific view, the Mainstream Media often seeks out or implies one point of blame and runs with it. After all, it is much easier, presentable and more simplistic for the public to think that the troubling reality of seemingly random acts of mass murder is the result of a “singular influence” and hence the logic goes that if that one influence is removed, then the world will be back in balance. This gives the public a false resolve and position of focus in an otherwise ambiguous, complex world of social and biologic influences. And as far as the scapegoat itself, very often any group, media or dataset that is counter-culture or even hints at wishing to challenge the status quo, is a magnet for such blame.

    For example, musical groups of a counter-culture nature have been a favorite scapegoat for acts of murder/violence historically. In 1990, the rock band Judas Priest was actually taken to court for their “role” in the self-inflicted gunshot wounds in 1985 of 20-year old James Vance and 18-year old Raymond Belknap in Reno, Nevada. In 2008, the band Slipknot was publicly tied/blamed to a high-school murder in South Africa. Even the Beatles song “Helter-skelter” was associated to the murders incited by Charles Manson. It goes on and on… and, frankly, it’s simply pathetic – avoiding the true nature of the problem- which is the Socio-Economic Environment itself.

    Make no mistake: The Social System is to blame for the rampage of Jared Loughner – not some famous online documentary which is known as the most viewed documentary of all time in internet history. Are the other 200 million people who have seen the film also preparing for murder sprees? I think not.

    In my new film: Zeitgeist: Moving Forward, I feature a prominent Harvard Criminal Psychologist by the name of Dr. James Gilligan who headed the Centre for the Study of Violence at Harvard Medical School for many years. In his life work of personally engaging with the most dangerous, violent offenders the US system produces, he found some basic trends. The most common is the social issue of “shame”. Our socio-economic system inherently breeds social division and there is a natural demeaning of others generated as a result. It is a scientific fact that mass murderers and those who many just dismiss as “evil” today, are the product of years of being shamed, humiliated and demeaned. Their acts of violence is a reaction from these highly oppressive feelings and the real resolve to such acts can only come from removing the real source of such emotional hurt. You will notice that most other countries don’t come close to the level of violence we see in the United States. The US is the capital of violence with 30-300 times more acts of violence than any other country. Why? We have produced more serial killers in america than all other countries combined. You will notice the Mainstream never asks this question.

    If anyone would like to understand why more and more people in the modern world end up like Jared Loughner and why these patterns are only going to get worse as time goes in this system, I suggest the book “Violence” by Harvard Criminal Psychologist Dr. Gilligan.

    In conclusion, let it be stated that the Zeitgeist Film Series is about critical thought regarding various social issues which challenge many erroneous notions held as fact in the modern culture. It also explicitly promotes non-violence, human unity and prosperous human development based on truth and science.

    Anyone who wishes to really understand the works can view them for free online at zeitgeistmovie.com and my new film, which will detail how a new, humane social system can work, will be 315 theaters in 60 countries and 30 languages starting Jan 15th 2011. http://www.zeitgeistmovingforward.com

    I am also in contact with my legal team and am also considering legal action against ABC.

    -Peter Joseph

  40. Robert Capozzi

    jt45: Why are you focusing on “machine-gun toting”?

    me: Whenever an absolutist lays down an absolute marker (an inconsistent one, as I’ll demonstrate later) you are inviting your absolute to be tested at its extreme.

    jt: Is this like you referring to principled Libertarians as “abolitionists” to make a point easier?

    me: I don’t. I’m a principled L, but I’m not an abolitionist L. I borrowed the term from Rothbard. I find it more accurate than “radical” or “hard core” L.

    jt: You don’t need a machine gun to be able to defend yourself and others from violent criminals.

    me: Need? Are you serious? Since when does “need” have anything to do with this subject? Many don’t HAVE arms at all, so they apparently don’t believe they “need” a weapon.

    Here’s the point: Most Ls I know believe in property rights. Most believe in the principle embodied in the 2A, although the interpretation can vary. My interpretation is that anyone can have a gun on their property for WHATEVER REASON THEY WANT. A person or business can EXCLUDE or ALLOW the right to bear arms on their property, if they choose.

    Public property is controlled by the State on the behalf of the citizens, at least for now. I’m a federalist on this matter…if a State or jurisdiction chooses to adopt regulations for the type of weapon it allows on public property, I’m OK with that. It tends to be that densely populated areas have more restrictions on guns on public property. I do not support states or jurisdictions having restrictions on PRIVATE property generally, although I make an exception for truly inherently dangerous weapons of mass killing, probably including bazookas through WMD.

    These densely populated areas MAY be making a mistake, based on Lott’s analysis. I have no position on that. It does seem reasonable to exclude SOME guns in public…machine guns, for ex., seem too inherently dangerous in dense places especially. It is unfortunate that public property involves imprecise “popular” means to determine what is allowable on public property, except I cannot imagine a different standard UNTIL all public property is privatized, which is an unlikely situation for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, the popular will will have to do.

    It seems clear that a consistent, principled L needs to respect property rights!

    I submit that that is a consistent L position. If it is not, how is it not?

  41. Robert Capozzi

    vtv: The US is the capital of violence with 30-300 times more acts of violence than any other country. Why?

    me: US murder rates are high, but not THAT high; many nations have much higher murder rates.

    Yes, we live in a violent culture, and the reasons are many and indeterminate. The US spends half of the world’s expenditures on military spending, so that’s likely a factor. Governments take nearly half of our annual output, yet we’re supposed to be a “free”nation…that disconnect could easily be a factor.

  42. JT

    Robert: “Whenever an absolutist lays down an absolute marker (an inconsistent one, as I’ll demonstrate later) you are inviting your absolute to be tested at its extreme.”

    First, you pointing out “inconsistency” is just funny. Your contradict yourself frequently, which I’ve pointed out many times. Isn’t logical inconsistency too restrictive for your free-flowing mind?

    Second, what “marker” have I laid down here? My only points on this thread were that it would’ve been better if someone else had a gun at the crime scene, that the LP’s release in this case was a good one, and that research shows allowing people to carry concealed weapons substantially reduces crime rates over time. But I guess when your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

    Robert: “I’m a principled L, but I’m not an abolitionist L.”

    I don’t see what your principle is. Based on prior discussions, it seems you want less government intervention, to varying degrees, on some things but not on others, in which cases more government intervention might be necessary, depending on what can be traded and what popular opinion is. What’s the principle here?

    Robert: “I borrowed the term from Rothbard. I find it more accurate than “radical” or “hard core” L.”

    Rothbard was an anarchist. Some Libertarians are minarchists (police, courts, military) who are still in the radical camp. Other Libertarians might go somewhat beyond minarchism and still be considered radicals. Lumping them all together as “abolitionists” is deceptive and wrong.

    Robert: “Need? Are you serious? Since when does “need” have anything to do with this subject? Many don’t HAVE arms at all, so they apparently don’t believe they “need” a weapon.”

    I said need in the sense that defending oneself with a handgun is sufficient against violent criminals (a point that Paulie understood and you didn’t). And many people obviously don’t believe they need a weapon. Maybe they never will. But if they’re ever unfortunate enough to be in this kind of threatening situation, being shot at by a maniac, they’ll wish either they or another victim had one.

  43. Robert Capozzi

    jt55: First, you pointing out “inconsistency” is just funny. Your contradict yourself frequently, which I’ve pointed out many times. Isn’t logical inconsistency too restrictive for your free-flowing mind?

    Me: Hmm, I’m with Emerson about consistency…there’s consistency and then there’s foolish consistency. I strive to be consistent, and I do a good job of it. Sometimes, though, if one is too consistent – too rigid – and the answer comes back from a logic stream X and X is absurd, that tells me I’ve not asked the salient question. Inquiry involves isolating observations to draw conclusions. Many Ls are prone to do so because, in part, because they have restricted their inquiry too narrowly, IMO. I have indicated that my political philosophy is theoretical asymptotic anarchist/applied lessarchist. Near as I can tell, my views are consistent with that philosophy. If I’m not, I’d like to know where.

    I find it exasperating that you have not told me how my take and application of 2A either works or is flawed. I assume you see that it works, then, yes?

    Jt: Second, what “marker” have I laid down here?

    Me: My bad. Your argumentation sounds like some Ls who seem to believe that 2A applies in public as well as in private. Sorry if I projected that view on you.

    Jt: I don’t see what your principle is. Based on prior discussions, it seems you want less government intervention, to varying degrees, on some things but not on others, in which cases more government intervention might be necessary, depending on what can be traded and what popular opinion is. What’s the principle here?

    Me: The rule of law. Property rights tell me that property owners can set rules for what is acceptable behavior on public property. I once saw a critique by Tyler Cowen of something Bryan Caplan wrote in which Cowen noted that Caplan seemed invested in “false precision.” My sense is that you believe “principle” is an absolute thing, and I don’t. There are often OTHER considerations when assessing how one applies principle. For an extreme ex., I often use the “right” to private nukes. From an absolutist perspective, if the nuke is obtained without force or fraud, private ownership of a nuke should be OK. I don’t agree. Ethics and politics are not physics! That’s my assertion. Can you disprove it? Or do you agree?

    Jt: Rothbard was an anarchist. Some Libertarians are minarchists (police, courts, military) who are still in the radical camp. Other Libertarians might go somewhat beyond minarchism and still be considered radicals. Lumping them all together as “abolitionists” is deceptive and wrong.

    Me: Hmm, I can’t get my head “somewhat beyond minarchism.” Either one is an advocate of a stateless society (anarchist) or not. There are various sorts of minarchists, I agree. I find both ideas to be examples of “false precision.” They are low-utility constructs. That’s why as a practical matter, I’m a lessarchist. The rule of law can and will evolve, per Hayek. You are quite correct that I lump anarchism and minarchism together, because generally both advocate rapid and extreme changes to civil society. For a variety of reasons, I believe that’s poor strategy. I factor in likely dislocative effects to a rapid change in policy, abolitionists don’t appear to, as I see their views. Thanks for the opportunity to clarify my view.

    JT: I said need in the sense that defending oneself with a handgun is sufficient against violent criminals (a point that Paulie understood and you didn’t). And many people obviously don’t believe they need a weapon. Maybe they never will. But if they’re ever unfortunate enough to be in this kind of threatening situation, being shot at by a maniac, they’ll wish either they or another victim had one.

    Me: I understand it fine, thank you. When the public is considering rules for the right (I’d say “rules”) to carry, it’s a helpful concept. Some jurisdictions might say, all things considered, it’s OK to carry a pistol in public, but not a semi-automatic pistol; semi-automatic pistols can be kept in the home, however, per 2A. I consider that a reasonable view. What’s NOT OK is to say that one can’t have a semi-automatic pistol at home, UNLESS it can be shown that such possession is an inherent danger, like WMD.

    Paulie points to an exponent of civil disobedience. I hear that. If the rule is “no semis” in public and one chooses to carry one, that’s his/her business, but he/she should be prepared for the consequences.

  44. Robert Capozzi

    more…

    jt, look at Brother Blanton (apparent “consistent” abolitionism exponent) post 31. His sarcasm seems imbued with the sort of thinking that I believe underlies absolutist thinking. Murder is against the law, yet murder happens, therefore there is something amiss with laws against murder.

    The law against murder is a signal; no one I know of expects there to be NO murders because the law exists. The law simply says, “Don’t murder. If you do and you are caught, these are the consequences.”

    I support this law (although I oppose the death penalty). It may minimize murder, I’d say it likely does. It’s behavior that should be curtailed. So should reckless driving. Etc.

    Silly questions elicit silly answers.

    A stateless society (or something close) will likely have rules of behavior governed (almost) entirely by laws or something close to them. Disney World may choose to disallow weapons on the premises. Maybe that’s a bad idea; maybe Disney’s owners are guilty of a poor assessment. Maybe NYC is making a mistake not allowing guns on the streets, too…I have no opinion on the matter. I’m a “good” L, so I’m neutral, except I do respect property rights.

    Disney and NYC are different in some ways, but until Disney owns NY’s streets, I defer to the rules OR I disobey them knowing the consequences. If I lived in NY, I would consider agitating for liberalized rules if so moved.

    Why over-complicate things?

  45. JT

    Robert: “I find it exasperating that you have not told me how my take and application of 2A either works or is flawed. I assume you see that it works, then, yes?”

    Well I’m glad you also know how that feels.

    I don’t know what you mean by “works,” since above you said it applies to popular opinion. My take is that adults have an absolute right to own and carry weapons if they so choose–provided those weapons can be used in self-defense without directly endangering the rights of other people. Machine guns, canons, biological weapons, don’t fall into that category.

    If I understand you correctly, then you’re saying your support for the 2A applies only to private property and not to public property. That would make it virtually impossible to carry a concealed gun anywhere beyond one’s own land. I don’t agree with that from a moral or practical standpoint (which I view as complimentary) for the reason given above.

    Me: “I don’t see what your principle is…”

    Robert: “The rule of law. Property rights tell me that property owners can set rules for what is acceptable behavior on public property.”

    The rule of law is supported by people who don’t even want less government. All that maxim holds is that no person is above the law.

    Property rights tell you more than property owners can set the rules on their own property. They also tell you that you can do with your own money whatever you want, for example.

    Robert: “Hmm, I can’t get my head “somewhat beyond minarchism.”

    Check out Charles Murray’s “What It Means to Be a Libertarian,” for example. Contrary to minarchists who believe in a government with only functions intended to secure individual rights, Murray believes in some positive government action in what he claims are “public goods” such as education and environment. However, he advocates the total removal of government intrusion from most areas. I’d say that still puts him the radical camp.

    Robert: “Either one is an advocate of a stateless society (anarchist) or not.”

    I agree. So why do you refer to everyone in the radical camp as “abolitionists” if many of them aren’t anarchists? They don’t want to abolish the state, so they’re not abolitionists.

    Robert: “Some jurisdictions might say, all things considered, it’s OK to carry a pistol in public, but not a semi-automatic pistol; semi-automatic pistols can be kept in the home, however, per 2A. I consider that a reasonable view.”

    I don’t, for the reason given above.

  46. Gains

    JT and RC:

    Let me ask a few general philosophic questions to explore the metrics we are using. The gun and weapons of mass destruction examples are good for clarifying one extreme in this debate but what about the other side? The weapon analogies utilize an easily vilified and strongly imagined level of threat, but what about perceived threats that are not so clear?

    In your views where does the line fall for where the voters can limit rights in public? You are arguing the right to property and to self defense and it colliding with the desire of the public to feel safe. The public feeling safe takes on a lot of forms other than the blatant examples you are arguing with.

    Would you consider it just to limit declarations of faith in public? What if that faith had a strongly perceived history of violent action that the public felt it needed to protect itself from? If there were a surge in hate and distrust in the public mind, could Catholic priests be penalized for implied terrorist threats by wearing their frocks in public? How about Muslim women covering their heads in public? Jews from sporting Peyes or Yarmulkes/Hippahs?

    How about if the common perception were that brown people were considered naturally incapable of controlling their animal desires? Could we justly limit the use of public restrooms to races that are perceived to be naturally less prone to violence?

    Each of the above examples are more real life than examples of WMD and are a great deal more illustrative. Implied threat is a dangerous precedent. Just how do we define the right of the public to feel safe?

  47. JT

    Gains: “You are arguing the right to property and to self defense and it colliding with the desire of the public to feel safe.”

    I’m not.

    Gains: “Just how do we define the right of the public to feel safe?”

    There’s no right of the “public” to “feel safe.” There’s a right of INDIVIDUALS to BE safe from physical violations of his or her own person and property. If someone feels endangered by the mere presence of people of certain races, religions, or ethnicities, then he or she can deal with that however they wish without violating the rights of other individuals.

  48. Gains

    @69 extended…

    I think that my questions and their relevance to the threat of a weapon may seem incongruous, but I want to cast it in a perspective.

    Both the sight of a gun and the sight of a religious declaration are the same triggers for people in terms of fear. The line of what is acceptable varies down from bazooka down to speech depending on cultural expectation. But what is the principle for deciding such things? Is there a limit looking at it from the other direction for where the perceptions of safety becomes just or unjust?

    Looking at the (mostly) rhetorical questions I asked about religious declarations in public. Their fear is as real to them as the fear a man might feel sitting across from someone with a bazooka. The power of faith and speech is arguably even more dangerous and capable of far more destruction.

    For me looking at it from both extremes illustrates something more important than what is ideal or what is possible. It is the mechanism in which the line is drawn. The popular mind’s fear is the freedom killer not the bazooka, not the religious symbol not even the WMD. That as libertarians, outside of just politicking, to make any strides we have to also work on the public’s expectations in order to achieve our own.

    In this effort “extreme principle” is important for anchoring that which may be possible to the distilled maximum, and also that in implementation, that which is possible, is based on the real life situation.

    When we argue about where the line “should” be drawn, we are either talking about ideally or we are talking about what we think is possible right now. Both questions are equally important, they are often quite different from each other in each individual. Most people only seem to feel comfortable talking about one of them often conflating one for the other.

  49. Robert Capozzi

    jt58, I’m sorry, but, no, it would NOT be “virtually impossible” to carry off one’s property. It’s done right now, in many, possibly most, states and jurisdictions in the US! The property owners (the public) allow it!

    I’m curious if you contend that Disney World cannot bar arms from its grounds. Can they, in your mind?

    I contend that Disney World can either allow or bar guns. If Disney World can, so can the public from its public property. Just as the public — through its agent, the State — can set speed limits, it can regulate which weapons it allows to be carried, and how they are carried (concealed, holstered, etc.)

    As for my use of “abolitionist,” I am open to a different term. Suggest one, please. Anarchists and many minarchists want to hold high the banner of abolition most or all government rapidly. That’s the common thread, as I see it. I choose to use “abolitionist” over “extremist,” as the latter is pejorative. I also would note that the 19th century Abolitionists didn’t wish to smash the State entirely, either, so that term has precedent for restricted usage. Rothbard broadened it, and I’m OK with that.

    G59, I’d certainly consider it a bad idea for a jurisdiction to limit the declaration of faith on public property. I would, however, think it’s an even worse idea for State-sponsorship of declarations (or establishment) of faith. Using tax dollars to espouse religion violates my interpretation of 1A. But, I suspect Disney World would not want evangelizing in the park. They DO exclude people who are inappropriately dressed. More precisely, the public has a property right to set ground rules on how its property is used. If those ground rules violate others rights, then sorting that out is a matter for the courts, or an issue that requires a change to the Constitution. In this sense, I am a federalist constitutionalist.

  50. Robert Capozzi

    g62: When we argue about where the line “should” be drawn, we are either talking about ideally or we are talking about what we think is possible right now.

    me: Yes, well put. I don’t actually draw lines, but my political focus IS on what is possible now or in the short term. I will engage in theoretical conversation, too, but I do my best to be clear as to which plane of inquiry I’m addressing.

    It’s my contention that many in the LP want to talk theory while doing politics. That, I suggest, doesn’t work.

  51. JT

    Robert: “I’m curious if you contend that Disney World cannot bar arms from its grounds. Can they, in your mind?”

    Yes. It can bar whatever it wants from its grounds.

    Robert: “If Disney World can, so can the public from its public property.”

    This is a non sequiter. Disney World is the property of a corporation, isn’t it?

    Robert: “Just as the public — through its agent, the State — can set speed limits, it can regulate which weapons it allows to be carried, and how they are carried (concealed, holstered, etc.)”

    I don’t consider the “public” an actual entity. I consider the public a number of individuals. And I don’t think some individuals should control what other individuals do if they aren’t intruding on anyone else’s person or property.

    Yes, government officials CAN do that using the threat and execution of physical force. I don’t think they SHOULD morally/practically.

    Robert: “As for my use of “abolitionist,” I am open to a different term. Suggest one, please.”

    I think “radical” is okay. Or “principled” (your commitment to the “rule of law” fails as a libertarian principle for the reason I gave above). Or “consistent.”

    Robert: “Anarchists and many minarchists want to hold high the banner of abolition most or all government rapidly.”

    I don’t think someone who still wants to keep a government in place should be called an “abolitionist” because he wants it reduced “rapidly.”

    Robert: “I also would note that the 19th century Abolitionists didn’t wish to smash the State entirely, either, so that term has precedent for restricted usage.”

    Weren’t those abolitionists talking about slavery in particular and you’re using the term to refer to views of government?

  52. Robert Capozzi

    Jt65: I don’t consider the “public” an actual entity. I consider the public a number of individuals. And I don’t think some individuals should control what other individuals do if they aren’t intruding on anyone else’s person or property. Yes, government officials CAN do that using the threat and execution of physical force. I don’t think they SHOULD morally/practically.

    Me: I respect this view, but I find it nihilistic and unworkable. Your construct here seems to suggest that “public property” is nothing like “private property,” and so therefore any goes on public property. Rules of the road, carrying any sort of weapon, walking around naked, screaming anything at all…all these would be OK in JT World. None of the powers that a private property owner possesses would be in force on public property. Domestic tranquility could not be maintained, as public property would become a jungle. It’s not a construct that most would find appealling. Ultimately, I would like to see most if not all public property privatized, at which point our disagreement goes away. In the meantime, though, you don’t persuade me.

    Jt: “radical” “principled” “consistent” [instead of “abolitionist”]

    Me: None work for me, since I am those things, yet I don’t advocate extreme and rapid change in the near term. “Militant” might work. Or “constructivist.” Or “advocates for [inappropriate] application of long term ideas in the short term.” “Rabble rouser” “Zealot”. “unrealistic” “High time preference” are all directionally correct. If none of those work for you, I remain open to better labels that are not pejorative. In the meantime, I’ll use “abolitionist” to mean “extreme, rapid change with little-to-no-sense-of-practicality advocating Ls.”

    Jt: Weren’t those abolitionists talking about slavery in particular and you’re using the term to refer to views of government?

    Me: Yes. IMO, Rothbard adopted the term because he believed that staking out an extreme position was the most effective means to advance a political agenda. Strategically, he explicitly patterned his views after Lenin’s. Read his (infamous, IMO) strategy memo on the subject. IMO, advancing a political agenda is a negotiation. IF the negotiation is started too far from the seller’s minimum price, the seller won’t bother with the negotiator who positions him- or herself FAR away from the minimum. Negotiating in bad faith is a poor strategy, IMO. At best, it sets up a win/lose. Negotiators these days strive for the win/win. I find the modern approach more persuasive.

  53. JT

    Robert: “Your construct here seems to suggest that “public property” is nothing like “private property,” and so therefore any goes on public property.”

    I don’t seem to suggest that–I directly said it. I guess I erroneously assumed you thought that as well, since virtually all libertarians make that distinction. The Walt Disney Company can obviously do what it wants with it’s own property. I don’t know what I’ve said here that suggests to you that maybe I think it couldn’t.

    I guess it’s okay for a state or local government to pass a law that, say, nobody wearing a Muslim head scarf can walk on the sidewalks or use the roads if most people want that?

    Robert: “Domestic tranquility could not be maintained, as public property would become a jungle.”

    That’s your opinion. I disagree. And if you think someone can’t know what would have happened if a victim had a gun at the scene of the Tucson crime, I don’t know how you could know this either.

    “Jt: “radical” “principled” “consistent” [instead of “abolitionist”]

    Me: None work for me, since I am those things, yet I don’t advocate extreme and rapid change in the near term.”

    Well, I know you’d like to think you are, but you’re not. You couldn’t even name what your principle is when I asked you to, except to say you support the rule of law, which is a principle that people who don’t want less government can support. So we’ll agree to disagree here.

    Robert: ““Militant” might work. Or “constructivist.” Or “advocates for [inappropriate] application of long term ideas in the short term.” “Rabble rouser” “Zealot”. “unrealistic””

    I don’t think “militant” works, because the people you’re referring to aren’t necessarily belligerent and angry in how they deal with others. I don’t know what to make of “rabble rouser,” since it seems like a silly term an old man would use, daggummit! Zealot is pejorative, but I suppose it’s not totally inaccurate to refer to people who are deeply committed to and zealous about the cause of freedom.

    “Unrealistic” is an interesting one. I think it’s very unrealistic to think people will vote for Libertarian candidates if they offer moderate reforms to the status quo. The reason is that people have to be inspired to change their voting pattern–which can be ingrained for many years–from Republican or Democrat candidates (or not voting at all) to candidates of an alternative party that’s much smaller and not well funded. That takes a message and ideas that aren’t anywhere near the status quo and people who can communicate them persuasively. You seem to think it takes “positioning” individual issues slightly left or right to avoid appearing radical. That’s unrealistic.

    I have no problem with Libertarian candidates advocating certain transitional measures to a truly free society. They have to be big though, and clarity about the end goal of respecting individual rights–and thus of establishing true liberty–is important.

    “Jt: Weren’t those abolitionists talking about slavery in particular and you’re using the term to refer to views of government?

    Me: Yes.”

    Then it makes no sense to draw a comparison to what the term meant in the 1800s to what you’re referring to now.

    Robert: “IMO, Rothbard adopted the term because he believed that staking out an extreme position was the most effective means to advance a political agenda.”

    And again, Rothbard was an anarchist, so that’s an accurate description.

  54. Robert Capozzi

    Jt67, nope, as I’ve already said @ 63, I oppose governments and corporations discriminating based on faith and clothing practices.

    I’ve never seen a L claim that there should be no rules for public (vs. private) property…you’re the first. The Rockwell crowd comes close to that, arguing against the existence of drunk driving laws. I am constantly reminded of the nostrum, It takes all kinds.

    You seem to confuse “principle” with absolutism, so I can see why my non-absolute principles don’t seem to register on your screen.

    You misunderstand my POV on realism. Of course effective politics involves inspiring people. The poles might be status quo to no government tomorrow. Neither are likely to be inspirational to many people. I’d suggest that an L candidate is best positioned somewhere in between. I do think L ideas would be more popular if we moved toward the center but not TO the center. Do you see the difference?

    It may be that – as an absolutist – you don’t recognize how positioning works. You seem to have adopted Rothbard’s strategy: Define a “free” society with specificity, but acknowledge that transitional ideas are expedient to get there. That was his idea of being practical, but I don’t find it compelling or practical.

    The challenge is that the construct of a free society is a matter of debate even among the tiny sliver of the population who are self-identified Ls. If we don’t have agreement on the construct, how can we possibly expect to sell that abstraction to the general public? It appears you want clarity, precision, and certainty in an unclear, imprecise, uncertain world.

    Good luck with that!

  55. JT

    Robert: “I’ve never seen a L claim that there should be no rules for public (vs. private) property…you’re the first.”

    You haven’t seen me say that either. We were talking about guns and the fact that private owners can make whatever rules they want on their property. I said weapons that can’t be used without endangering the rights of others, such as WMDs, should be prohibited on all property.

    Robert: “You seem to confuse “principle” with absolutism, so I can see why my non-absolute principles don’t seem to register on your screen.”

    I think you don’t even know what a principle is.

    Robert: “The poles might be status quo to no government tomorrow.”

    Poles? I don’t care what Polish people think.

    Robert: “Neither are likely to be inspirational to many people. I’d suggest that an L candidate is best positioned somewhere in between.”

    Since I haven’t advocated no government–and you couldn’t honestly think I have–then I think so too.

    Robert: “I do think L ideas would be more popular if we moved toward the center but not TO the center. Do you see the difference?”

    Yes. Are you reading what I’m writing? I didn’t say TO the center. I said you want to move slightly left or right (or up or down) of it depending on the issue.

    Robert: “It may be that – as an absolutist – you don’t recognize how positioning works.”

    I’m an absolutist who isn’t against substantial transitional measures and understands how positioning works. And I think the best positioning for the LP is as a crystal clear difference from the other parties.

    The goal of marketing is to get people to buy; in this case, to vote for Libertarian candidates. I think that’s the best strategy so the people who are long-time loyal D & R voters may be motivated to give up their party (and hatred for the other one) and vote for us, while non-voters may be motivated to register and vote for us. I don’t think calling for slight reforms on issues A, B, C, D, E, etc. actually motivates anybody to that end.

    Robert: “You seem to have adopted Rothbard’s strategy: Define a “free” society with specificity, but acknowledge that transitional ideas are expedient to get there. That was his idea of being practical, but I don’t find it compelling or practical.”

    Okay, so we don’t find each other compelling or practical. I can live with that.

    Robert: “If we don’t have agreement on the construct, how can we possibly expect to sell that abstraction to the general public?”

    I don’t call it a “construct” because I’m not a social subjectivist. I think most Ls do agree on the idea of respect for individual rights as the social condition of a free society, even if in a couple of cases there’s dispute over how that concept is applied. Evidently, you’re not one of them.

    Robert: “It appears you want clarity, precision, and certainty in an unclear, imprecise, uncertain world. Good luck with that!”

    I think it’s unfortunate that’s how you see the world, but I’m doing very well so far.

  56. Robert Capozzi

    jt, surely you know that poles (lower case) means the extreme positions.

    This: “I said you want to move slightly left or right (or up or down) of it depending on the issue.”

    is false. I advocate Ls take positions in a L direction, preferably on the edge of plausible change in the short to intermediate term. I do believe we should advocate classically “right” and “left” views, which would serve to differentiate Ls from conservatives and liberals.

    This: “I don’t think calling for slight reforms on issues A, B, C, D, E, etc. actually motivates anybody to that end.”

    Depends on what you mean by “slight.” A 50% cut in spending would not IMO be “slight,” it would be extreme. Given the way the federal budget is structured, a 10% cut would be almost impossible to enact in one year, but it might be be effective positioning. We might need more troop carriers in the short term to bring the troops home, for ex., so some line items might have to increase. A 2 % cut might be too tame. Etc. etc. etc. (I’m not a budget wonk, so I don’t warrant these numbers, I throw them out for illustrative purposes.)

    Apologies for “good luck with that,” although I do wish you nothing but the best. I admit that I do associate absolutism with anger, and most absolutists I know seem to seethe with anger, often suppressed. Perhaps you’re an exception. Or perhaps I’m projecting. In this uncertain world, one never really knows, one can only take one’s best guess.

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