Will the Libertarian Party Be Banned From CPAC 2012?

From David Weigel’s blog at Slate:

I reported yesterday on new ACU President Al Cardenas’s “vetting” process for CPAC, and his statement that support for gay marriage or opposition to DADT are not “within the scope of what we believe the three legs of the stool of the movement are. Obviously, all eyes turned to GOProud when he said that. But I think that standard would create problems for libertarian groups, generally. Here’s what the Libertarian Party’s platform says about marriage.

“Sexual orientation, preference, gender, or gender identity should have no impact on the
government’s treatment of individuals, such as in current marriage, child custody, adoption,
immigration or military service laws. Government does not have the authority to define, license or
restrict personal relationships. Consenting adults should be free to choose their own sexual practices
and personal relationships.”

No social conservatism there.

He goes on to point out that Ron Paul’s Young Americans for Liberty and Campaign for Liberty could also encounter some difficulty with this new policy, depending on the manner in which the ACU vets participating organizations. Weigel also draws an important distinction about this debate:

Remember, the argument is over who gets to be a participating organization at CPAC, a status that comes with some influence over the conference, and not who gets to show up, speak, or rent a booth.

The LP typically limits its CPAC activities to a booth, so it should not encounter much difficulties under its present relationship with the conference. I will have a post up tomorrow on the reaction to the Libertarian Party at CPAC.

159 thoughts on “Will the Libertarian Party Be Banned From CPAC 2012?

  1. langa

    Actually, the platform does not contain “support for gay marriage”, nor does it contain opposition to gay marriage. Rather, it takes the (IMO correct) position that government should not be involved in marriage at all.

    However, it does appear that the platform contains opposition to DADT, so that would be the part of the platform that would seem most likely to offend social conservatives (along with the stuff about legalizing drugs and prostitution). But I really think the statement by Cardenas was aimed at GOProud, not the RP crowd or the LP.

  2. paulie

    NF,

    Not nearly enough. Here’s the closest thing I know of:

    http://www.independentpoliticalreport.com/2010/10/libertarian-sign-at-one-nation-march-in-dc-obama-out-of-afghanistan/

    However, Wes was there by himself; no other LP staff or volunteers chose to join him.

    I have heard second hand that inquiries had been made at e.g. http://ourfuture.org/jobsummit and no one was willing to rent the LP a booth. Even if this is true, there are numerous marches in public places – against the war, for marijuana legalization, for gay rights, for migration freedom. LP chapters can show up at these things with placards and literature, as can anyone.

    And to be fair, every once in a while I have heard that they do, although sharing write-ups pictures and videos from such actions at the national level so other locals can be aware of it would be good.

    Also, all thee types of events go on in the DC area (among others). Hopefully, we’ll see more of an LP presence at them in the future.

  3. Gains

    If the ACU thinks that restricting participation is a good way to increase participation, I would suggest that their leadership stop whatever they are doing professionally and get directly into government. Their capacity for self delusion would make bureaucrat a great career choice.

    Ultimately, it is the people that say “we wont come if X comes” that kill organizations. They motivation is not really the dislike of X, as much more often is them being a control freak and after X, it will not be long until Y and Z are ostracized.

    If anyone should be excluded from CPAC 2011, it should be Mike Huckabee and his crowd.

  4. paulie

    They already excluded themselves.

    But, since Huckabee was well known as a big tax and spend governor, maybe his “values voters” will be welcome at progressive conferences if libertarians aren’t.

  5. Gene Berkman

    There is no progressive conference equivalent to CPAC. Individual left wing organizations sometimes hold conferences, but I assure you that Libertarians would not be welcome at any of them.

    While we might make common cause with liberals on issues like opposing militarism or legalizing marijuana, they definitely would think we have no business at their events because of our opposition to the welfare state.

    If you ever hung out with left-liberals for any amount of time,this would become clear.

  6. Fun K. Chicken

    The Libertarian Party, Campaign For Liberty, Republican Liberty Caucus, Gary Johnson’s group, Reason/CATO people, Students for Liberty, Young Americans for Liberty and other libertarian groups should put aside their difference and hold their own conference like CPAC. Invite all single issue and advocacy groups that want to make government smaller, whether it’s in economic policy areas, social policy areas or military/foreign policy areas. Hold it in the DC area, as many such groups are headquartered there.

  7. Gene Berkman

    FKC – a good idea in principle.

    Bear in mind that CPAC got started in 1973 and took years before they got as many as a thousand attendees.

    Interestingly, at CPAC in 1975 there was a big discussion on whether conservatives should build a new party in opposition to the Republicans who had expanded government under Nixon.

  8. paulie

    There is no progressive conference equivalent to CPAC.

    See second link, comment #5

    I assure you that Libertarians would not be welcome at any of them.

    A) I don’t know, how much of an effort has been made lately to see whether that is still the case (presuming it actually was)?

    B) Even if that’s true, see #5 about public events where anyone is welcome.

    While we might make common cause with liberals on issues like opposing militarism or legalizing marijuana, they definitely would think we have no business at their events because of our opposition to the welfare state.

    The same could be said of conservatives and our opposition to the warfare state and coercive social/cultural policies. Libertarians did not become a major force at conservative gatherings overnight.

    If you ever hung out with left-liberals for any amount of time,this would become clear.

    Oddly enough, I’ve spent a lot of time hanging out with left/liberals, ranging from moderate liberals to far left. I used to be one, too. And out of the many times I have come to their events after becoming a libertarian and identifying myself as one, I’ve never been made to feel unwelcome for that reason.

    I’ve participated in everything from Green Party meetings to antiwar marches to Veterans for Peace to Earth Day, and at all of them people told me they were glad to see libertarian(s) there. At all of them, I found people that said they were more libertarian than anything else, but were more afraid of the religious right and the military-industrial and police-prison-industrial complexes than they were of the welfare state, so their organized political activity was on the left.

    At those times when I was able to do OPH at such events, I always found significant numbers of people at or near the left/libertarian borderline, and even some well within the libertarian quintile.

    Even on economic issues, we found areas of agreement, such as opposition to corporate welfare in all its many forms.

  9. paulie

    FKC: The Libertarian Party, Campaign For Liberty, Republican Liberty Caucus, Gary Johnson’s group, Reason/CATO people, Students for Liberty, Young Americans for Liberty and other libertarian groups should put aside their difference and hold their own conference like CPAC. Invite all single issue and advocacy groups that want to make government smaller, whether it’s in economic policy areas, social policy areas or military/foreign policy areas. Hold it in the DC area, as many such groups are headquartered there.

    Gene Berkman: a good idea in principle.

    Bear in mind that CPAC got started in 1973 and took years before they got as many as a thousand attendees.

    Interestingly, at CPAC in 1975 there was a big discussion on whether conservatives should build a new party in opposition to the Republicans who had expanded government under Nixon.

    Paulie: Just the people fitting into the categories FKC described who attended CPAC were several thousand people. Would they take the trouble to go to a libertarian-centered event along those lines?

  10. MN Indy

    CPAC is going to sabotage itself if it wants to make hay out of this gay marriage issue. They’ll make it a convention of circle-jerking dinosaurs and box out the youth.

    Seriously, hardly anyone under 35 cares about gay marriage. It’s not that shocking, not important, and seems inevitable to them.

  11. Gene Berkman

    Paulie @ 11 – I have been at dozens of antiwar protests during the Vietnam War, and several during the first Iraq War.

    The protests against the Vietnam War were more broad based – many liberals and not just the Marxists who organized them. It was fun to attend such protests, but there was little opportunity to actually promote libertarian views.

    The local antiwar coalition during the first Iraq War that I was involved in was almost totally Marxists, except for Libertarians and a few pacifists. I don’t regret taking part, but it accomplished noting, either to advance the antiwar cause or the libertarian cause.

    But marches and protests are not even close to being what CPAC is – a conference devoted to issues and ideas. The closest to that during the Vietnam war was a conference of the National Peace Action Coalition at UCLA in 1972. But it was almost totally composed of marxists from many l ittle groups, and more useful for gaining info on such people than for recruiting people to the libertarian cause.

  12. paulie

    The protests against the Vietnam War were more broad based – many liberals and not just the Marxists who organized them. It was fun to attend such protests, but there was little opportunity to actually promote libertarian views.

    The local antiwar coalition during the first Iraq War that I was involved in was almost totally Marxists, except for Libertarians and a few pacifists. I don’t regret taking part, but it accomplished noting, either to advance the antiwar cause or the libertarian cause.

    I think more inroads can be made on the attendee level, actually. I have always found like minded people at such events. You can hold up signs, pass out literature, gather contacts, and in many places (where they are held in public parks and sidewalks) put up a literature table and OPH booth.

    Even just announcing yourself as a libertarian can be a positive thing. I remember saying that at one peace march and the lady next to me said she didn’t realize there were antiwar libertarians. She new a “libertarian” back home and apparently he was a Dondero type. I told her in fact most of us are antiwar, and that she could check out the LP platform on this.

    I’ve had a lot of conversations like that.

    Before I was a libertarian, I attended many events as a progressive – marches against police brutality, for nuclear disarmament, against apartheid, for legalizing marijuana. The marijuana events were the only one where I encountered identifiable libertarians, although I wish they had been at all those events.

    It was only through repeated contacts, debates, and reading suggested by such people that I changed my mind over several years on a number of issues.

    How many more people are out there with the views that I held then who are just not finding any libertarians to talk to?

    But marches and protests are not even close to being what CPAC is – a conference devoted to issues and ideas.

    Again, America’s Future Now is a progressive equivalent to CPAC. It’s possible that libertarians are not welcome there. If so, forget them, and do the street events. Lots of minds there that could be opened, especially among young people.

  13. Mike B.

    Libertarians should forge temporary alliances with the left or right but with **caution**.

    Tea Party = Conservative Front Group, betrayal of smaller government principles. Social neanderthals.

    Antiwar group = Leftist activists concerned with American imperialism and empire but now Obama is in office “Were is the Antiwar Left”?

  14. paulie

    Libertarians should forge temporary alliances with the left or right but with **caution**.

    Agreed.

    Tea Party = Conservative Front Group, betrayal of smaller government principles. Social neanderthals.

    Some, not all. I find libertarians at both kinds of events. Not a majority at either, but they are there. Most of the ones I talk to there are not organized in any type of specifically libertarian activity.


    Antiwar group = Leftist activists concerned with American imperialism and empire but now Obama is in office “Were is the Antiwar Left”?

    Smaller, but still there. Libertarians should attend both the tea parties and the antiwar marches and encourage other people from both types of events to attend each other’s gatherings. After all, taxes pay for war.

  15. Gene Berkman

    “The marijuana events were the only one where I encountered identifiable libertarians…”

    Not too much of a surprise there. Besides the importance of the marijuana issue to libertarians, most Marxists are not for legalization, and if they are, it is not important to them.

    Most people involved in promoting legal marijuana are not very political, and can usually be convinced that Libertarians are their best allies in the political arena.

  16. paulie

    Same goes for many people concerned with peace, police brutality, gay rights, migration rights, and so on. I’m talking about the regular people attending the events. Libertarians should be there, and identifiable, to talk to all of them.

  17. P

    Gene,
    You seem to think that all activists are either Marxists or libertarians. Is that really the way to convert people?

  18. Michael H. Wilson

    The first time I set a table up at Portland’s Gay Pride event I got some odd comments. In fact two women came up to the table and one said to the other “They’re just little Republicans”.

    The last year I set one up we had half a dozen volunteers, spoke to the man who is now the mayor and invited him to speak at one of our meetings. Gave out a bunch of literature and had a great time and were welcomed with open arms and even got along with the group Radical Women. Even though they are socialist we had more than one friendly conversation.

    It is doable.

  19. paulie

    @22 Gene is correct, many of the organizers are Marxists. However, most of the crowds are not, and there’s no reason on earth for libertarians to ignore them.

    @ 23 Good point. Many times it takes repeated contact to make headway.

    @ 24 Freedom Fest is not quite the same thing. It’s not really a political action conference in the way of CPAC and America’s Future Now, and it’s also out west.

  20. Mark Seidenberg

    Gene Berkman

    @ 19 you state “most people involved in promoting legal marijuana are not very political.”

    From where do you come up with this view?

    I remember in 1972, YAF was split on the pot issue like they were in 1969 at St. Louis. Both
    sides on the issue were very political.

    Hanging around with Marxist is a told waste of
    time. All they want is a total police state. That
    was explained to me by the late Phil Luce.

    Bottom line the state should not own your body.
    The government should stop the murder of children pre-birth and get out of the business
    of prohibition of pot.

    Sincerely, Mark Seidenberg

  21. Sane LP member

    Let CPAC ban speech and Gays. So be it. Another sign that the old “conservative” movement will be like the T-Rex–gone!
    The libertarian movement and even portions of the Green movement are what reasonate with the under 35 and Gen Y crowd. Not some 19th century crap from a bunch of old crusty Republicans. Dinosaurs indeed.

  22. Mark Seidenberg

    TO: (IN)Sane LP Member

    CPAC should not ban free speech. However, the issue of human life should note be a debateable issue betwwen persons of good faith.

    That is why this libertarian whats noting to do with the LP. No wonder the LP membership is small. The vast majority of the libertarians believe that abortion is murder and to not hold the views of Ayn Rand on the subject.

    Sincerely, Mark Seidenberg

  23. Robert Capozzi

    ms28: The vast majority of the libertarians believe that abortion is murder and to not hold the views of Ayn Rand on the subject.

    me: Interesting data point. Cite?

    As for Rand’s view of abortion, I personally don’t buy that fetuses are “parasites,” but I am pro-choice. I do think that potential humans may need protection by law, and I think the law is about right at the moment. In this case, I’d be OK with changing the law based on prevailing definitions of when potential life should be protected over the rights of a woman to control her body. This is one case where changes to the law will require changes to prevailing opinion, which are very mixed at the moment.

  24. paulie

    Hanging around with Marxist is a told waste of time. All they want is a total police state.

    There are, despite their significant bad points, some major areas of agreement. Let us look at an example:

    http://pslweb.org/

    If you scroll near the bottom of the page, they have six topics that they categorize their stories in:

    Antiwar
    (Anti) Police Brutality
    (Pro) Immigrants Rights
    (Pro) LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) Rights

    Economy
    Labor

    On the first four of those six, I and most libertarians agree with them. I do however know that their support for those issues is a tactic to get in power, and certainly not borne out by the historical behavior of Marxist regimes when they are in power.

    On the economy and labor issues, we tend to disagree. I don’t oppose union labor organizing in general, but I do oppose the currently existing interlocking labor-corporate-government arrangement.

    Even on economic issues, there are some points of agreement – both Libertarians and Marxists oppose corporate welfare and corporate bailouts, for example. Where I part company with them is their belief that centralizing the economy in the hands of the state benefits the working class. The empirical record shows otherwise.

    Given that we agree with PSL on those first four topics – Antiwar, (Anti) Police Brutality, (Pro) Immigrants Rights, (Pro) LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) Rights – Libertarians should be just as active as PSL and other Marxist groups in attending (and, here’s a thought: organizing) mass demonstrations addressing those issues.

    Otherwise, we miss the opportunity to address the numerous people there who are not part of any Marxist sect but do feel strongly about at least one issue that we have in common with them. Why let the Marxists be the only ones to take advantage of the opportunity to recruit people there?

  25. paulie

    Bottom line the state should not own your body. The government should stop the murder of children pre-birth

    There are many people who don’t believe that fetuses are children, so banning the termination of pregnancy would then in fact be government acting as the owner of women’s bodies. Other people, including some Libertarian Party members, believe otherwise.

    The vast majority of the libertarians believe that abortion is murder

    That’s taking it a bit far. I have seen no evidence whatsoever that this is true.

    There are many reasons why libertarians are not in the Libertarian Party. One is that some libertarians are opposed to electoral politics and political in general. Another is that a significant number of libertarians believe in working through the Big Two parties, since they see the LP relegated to being either ineffective or a “spoiler” within the US political system.

    Some believe their time and money is better spent on single issue groups, educational foundations, think tanks, etc. A number of libertarians (which is a relatively small portion of libertarians overall, but large in proportion to the LP) have joined the LP or attended LP meetings in the past and been driven away by the factional fighting and lack of political effectiveness.

    Some don’t join because of one or two holdout issues (in your case abortion, but those issues vary).

    But, the single biggest reason why libertarians have not joined the LP is that they have not been asked to join. For example, there are numerous would-be, proto- and even full blown libertarians (who may or may not think of themselves that way) at mass demonstrations against the war, for gay rights, against police brutality, and for immigrants rights. The LP is usually not there to let them know our views and ask them to join us. I hope this will change.

    Other small-l libertarians may be found among the ranks of gun rights groups, those active in opposing high taxes and government waste, subscribers of small-l libertarian publications, registered but not dues paying Libertarian voters, former Libertarian Party members, and so on. There was an organized effort in the 1990s to recruit such people, but it was abandoned.

    To my knowledge, the only part of that which has been revived – and that, only within the last year or two – is trying to get former LP members to join again.

    As in many things in life, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

  26. JT

    Mark: “The vast majority of the libertarians believe that abortion is murder and to not hold the views of Ayn Rand on the subject.”

    Based on what? Your imagination?

    Robert: “As for Rand’s view of abortion, I personally don’t buy that fetuses are “parasites,” but I am pro-choice.”

    Ayn Rand never said fetuses are “parasites.” She said embryos are potential individual human beings, but not actual ones. Get your facts straight.

  27. paulie

    I think some people here may have missed this part of the story: “Remember, the argument is over who gets to be a participating organization at CPAC, a status that comes with some influence over the conference, and not who gets to show up, speak, or rent a booth…The LP typically limits its CPAC activities to a booth, so it should not encounter much difficulties under its present relationship with the conference.”

    If it does go further than that, maybe the libertarian political action conference should be held right next door to them at the same time 🙂

  28. NewFederalist

    “If it does go further than that, maybe the libertarian political action conference should be held right next door to them at the same time 🙂 ”

    In a phone booth 😉

  29. paulie

    I doubt that. FKC@9:

    The Libertarian Party, Campaign For Liberty, Republican Liberty Caucus, Gary Johnson’s group, Reason/CATO people, Students for Liberty, Young Americans for Liberty and other libertarian groups should put aside their difference and hold their own conference like CPAC. Invite all single issue and advocacy groups that want to make government smaller, whether it’s in economic policy areas, social policy areas or military/foreign policy areas. Hold it in the DC area, as many such groups are headquartered there.

    me @ 12: Just the people fitting into the categories FKC described who attended CPAC were several thousand people. Would they take the trouble to go to a libertarian-centered event along those lines?

  30. Michael H. Wilson

    Mark @ 28 wrote; “That is why this libertarian whats noting to do with the LP. No wonder the LP membership is small. The vast majority of the libertarians believe that abortion is murder and to not hold the views of Ayn Rand on the subject.”

    Mark I don’t know what group you polled on this issue, but I seem to remember a number of people complaining about Ron Paul’s position on abortion and dropping out of the LP when he ran in 1988.

  31. paulie

    In all fairness to Mr. Seidenberg, he said the vast majority of libertarians (small l), not the vast majority of big L Libertarians.

    He apparently believes that the Libertarian Party would be a lot bigger if we only changed our plank on abortion.

    I have no idea why he believes that.

    This is pure speculation, but it may have something to do with the number of registered voters in his American Independent Party in California versus the number of registered Libertarian voters there. If so, I’d refer him to our previous discussion on this point.

    Brief recap: I’ve personally registered thousands of voters in California, and observed many checking the AIP box. When I would ask them whether they meant to register with a political party started by segregationist George Wallace and (at least at that time) aligned with a national party that believes the US is and/or should be officially a Christian Nation, or whether they actually meant to register nonpartisan (officially called Decline To State A Political Party in California), the vast majority – perhaps 98 or 99 out of 100 – said they actually meant to register Decline To State, and the word “independent”” threw them off. Some would then request a new form to correctly register as Decline To State, whereas others would say they are busy and it really doesn’t matter either way to them.

    Furthermore, by any other measure – votes in most elections (here Mr. Seidenberg may be tempted to provide cherry-picked counterexamples), dues paying membership, money raised, number of candidates, number of active chapters, attendance at weekly or monthly meetings throughout California – the LP is bigger than the AIP.

    Mr. Seidenberg may also be tempted to claim that the reason why he believes most small l libertarians are against legal abortion is that Ron Paul raised more money and got more people to join the Campaign for Liberty than the LP. However, not everyone supporting Ron Paul agrees with his position on abortion, and there are many other reasons why some people feel their time and money is better spent supporting Ron Paul and the Campaign for Liberty rather than the LP, not all of them ideological.

    But rather than sit here and guess why Mr. Seidenberg would make such a counterintuitive claim, I propose we let him supply his own sources and reasoning.

  32. Don Lake, from private email

    B4 his SUCCESSFUL recall and down fall, corrupt insular insider and possible *whewwwwww* 2004 Presidential timber, California Governor Gray Davis was unethically involved in selecting the weakest GOP challenger.

    Davis’ choice? Son of the national Secretary of Commerce Bill Simon. Junior’s claim to fame, beating the bushes (no pun intended, this time) for funding on investments, in the 1990s, on PAY FONES!

    I can not make this stuff up ……….

  33. Gene Berkman

    Paulie @ 30 – The Party of Socialism & Liberation supports police brutality in China, North Korea, Zimbabwe and other “socialist” states. PSL split from Workers World Party, which fulsomely praised the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army for defending socialism at Tienanmen in 1989.

    There is more to politics than words. There is the context, and the history of the people saying those words.

    WWP has always made a big deal of their support for Gay Liberation, but they have aligned with the homophobic Russian Communist Workers Party.

    Libertarians support equal rights (not special rights) regardless of sexual orientation, we oppose police brutality, we support legalization of marijuana, and we are antiwar. That means we compete with the “liberals” and “progressives” for support of people who agree with us on those issues. It does not indicate that cooperation is necessarily the right approach.

  34. paulie

    Gene Berkman @ 46

    The Party of Socialism & Liberation supports police brutality in China, North Korea, Zimbabwe and other “socialist” states.

    Yes, I know. In fact, I addressed that in #30: I do however know that their support for those issues is a tactic to get in power, and certainly not borne out by the historical behavior of Marxist regimes when they are in power.

    GB, There is more to politics than words.

    My point exactly. The LP’s presence at events designed to deal with those issues would show that our stance on them is “more than words.”
    Many of the people there (I’m talking about the crowds, not the event organizers) don’t even know that we agree with them on the issues bringing them there that day. Others may know, but just think those issues are not important to us.

    WWP has always made a big deal of their support for Gay Liberation, but they have aligned with the homophobic Russian Communist Workers Party.

    True as well, although it was called the KPSS (Communist Party of the Soviet Union); again, see my previous statement in #30 which I quote again in this remark.

    Libertarians support equal rights (not special rights) regardless of sexual orientation, we oppose police brutality, we support legalization of marijuana, and we are antiwar. That means we compete with the “liberals” and “progressives” for support of people who agree with us on those issues.

    Again, my point exactly. So how do we compete? We can either A) attend the events that they have already organized and carry our own banners, pass out our own literature, etc or B) Organize our own events dealing with those same issues. I say do both A and B, although A is obviously much easier. Regardless of whether you think the answer is A, B or both A and B, I submit it is not C – “build a Libertarian Party platform and wait for them to come to us” also known as D “1. Announce a position 2. ??? 3. Rake in the members, votes, donations, etc.”

    It does not indicate that cooperation is necessarily the right approach.

    I’m not sure what degree of cooperation you think I am advocating. I am merely advocating 1) attending existing events, whether they are organized by commies or conservative Republicans, where there are regular non-organizer attendees who may agree with us more than they do with the event organizers and 2) Organizing our own events of a similar nature.

    It does not require me to believe that commies are actually anti-war, pro-gay rights, anti-police brutality or pro-migration freedom when they come to power — I know that they are not. Likewise, to attend Tea Party, 9/12 and other similar events, I don’t have to believe that Republicans actually cut taxes, spending and regulation when they are in power – I likewise know better.

    My point once again is that our presence at any of these events is for the benefit of the regular people attending them, not the already committed ideologues organizing them.

  35. Don Lake, from private email

    The California Peace and Freedom Party, via ctweber, an American military veteran from the Heart Land (the American Siberia?) married to a Russian wife, has many of the same ‘problems’ as eluded to above.

    I mean, I personally would love to drop the instrumental ‘Star Spangled Banner’ for the much more vocal / singable ‘Our Land’ by Woodie Guthrie. But I do not stroll down the side walk humming the Soviet ‘Internaionale’. Oh, ctweber does not hum. He knows the words.

    Why humming birds? Cause they forgot the words.

    Why ‘In God We Trust’? Cause all others pay cash.

  36. Robert Capozzi

    jt32: Ayn Rand never said fetuses are “parasites.” She said embryos are potential individual human beings, but not actual ones. Get your facts straight.

    me: I just threw out all my Rand books, but I certainly recall that that was her view. The Ayn Rand Center says this:

    “Banning any type of abortion to “protect the fetus” necessarily grants rights to the fetus–an utter perversion of individual rights. If a woman has no right to her own body, then by what logic does a fetus (which, by definition, is a biological parasite) have a right to the woman’s body? Properly, an infant’s rights begin after the fetus is removed from the mother’s body.”

    Are you sure?

  37. JT

    Me: “Ayn Rand never said fetuses are “parasites.” She said embryos are potential individual human beings, but not actual ones. Get your facts straight.”

    Robert: “I just threw out all my Rand books, but I certainly recall that that was her view.”

    If you recall that she ever said anything like that, then you paid even less attention to what she actually said than I thought you did. And any organization, even one bearing her name, isn’t her.

    If you want to know what Ayn Rand actually said about abortion, read the following:
    http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/abortion.html

    Agree or not, she didn’t say anything about “parasites.”

  38. JT

    And where’s Seidenberg been all day? I’m eagerly awaiting any actual evidence he has that most libertarians think abortion should be illegal.

  39. paulie

    JT,

    LOL. Be patient. As quaint as it may sound, there are people who don’t get on the internet every single day, much less on IPR.

  40. JT

    Me: “Agree or not, she didn’t say anything about “parasites.””

    I should amend that to say: Agree or not, she didn’t say anything about “parasites” in the context of abortion.

  41. JT

    Paulie: “LOL. Be patient. As quaint as it may sound, there are people who don’t get on the internet every single day, much less on IPR.”

    You’re right, Paulie. I suppose I’m just very curious about what he’ll say, and patience isn’t a strength of mine.

  42. Robert Capozzi

    jt52, ok, thanks for the link. If the quotes you site are accurate, Rand did say:

    “Never mind the vicious nonsense of claiming that an embryo has a “right to life.” A piece of protoplasm has no rights….”

    Pardon my poor memories from the late 70s and early 80s. I’d say 30 years is a long time, but you may well have a different take on that long of a timeframe.

    It could be that only MNR said fetuses were “parasites,” whilst AR merely labeled them as “protoplasm.” My (imperfect) memory does seem to recall her frequent use of the term “parasites” in other contexts, hence the potentially (slightly?) inappropriate conflation/mix up. I’m SURE you’ll correct my errant memory on this score…you might even be able to cite the number of times she actually published the word “parasites” off the top of your head! Good for you!

    Can we agree, though, that labeling a fetus as “protoplasm” has more or less the same effect as labeling the fetus as a “parasite”? Both strike me as entirely expendable things…you? I’d agree that “protoplasm” is a bit more neutral than “parasite,” though.

    Just to be clear, I’m pro-choice, up to a point. Yes, I do find puncturing a 8 month, 2 week fetus to be something to outlaw, but then I’m not one to see the world in stark blacks and whites.

    You may.

  43. Michael H. Wilson

    I find the discussion of Rand’s and Rothbard’s opinion on this issue to be sort of odd and Mr. Cappozi you keep referring to their comments on this issue. Problem is neither one of them had a degree in biology and I doubt they had much of an idea as to what they were talking about.

    I would object if a biologist told us that the U.S. free trade economy caused poverty because we do not have free trade and never had free trade for the most part.

    To take people seriously those same people need to have some knowledge of what they are talking about.

  44. Bryan

    Oh boy! the abortion debate.

    Is it just me, or is my interpretation of “when life begins” too much for conservatives? If the “unborn child” can survive outside the womb, it has successfully matured to a point of having rights. Until then, the mother (or carrier depending on your interpretations) has the right to have this mass of cells removed from her body.

    My concern regarding womens rights are, conservatives want to force women to carry unwanted “children”, but demand that the “mother” not engage in drug use while pregnant at the risk of jail.

    Also, any woman regardless of drug use, are expected by conservatives to carry the “child” to term, but then see no “welfare” type benefits in the name of “fiscal responsibility”.

    I guess a “conservative” can somehow justify this rather obvious contridiction.

    Oh, and social conservatives also want condom use, free condoms and sex ed removed from schools and public health facilities….

    Social conservatives make me want to PUKE!

  45. Thomas L. Knapp

    There’s no question or “interpretation” of “when life begins.”

    At conception, a distinct, biologically complete, genetically unique “human being” comes into existence.

    That’s a known, documented, irrefutable fact of reality. It will remain a known, documented, irrefutable fact of reality regardless of how inconvenient that known, documented, irrefutable fact of reality may be to any particular argument.

    Pro-choicers make themselves look like idiots when they try to contest that known, documented, irrefutable fact of reality.

    Pro-lifers make themselves look like idiots when they try to infer more from that known, documented, irrefutable fact of reality than can reasonably be inferred from it.

  46. LibertarianGirl

    k ,i just got home and ya , ive had a few drinks , too many to read this thread and figure out ‘HOW THE FUCK DID THIS TOPIS TURN INTO AN ABORTION DEBATE?’ lol ,

  47. whatever

    I think a lot of people are missing the point that libertarians @ CPAC aren’t just evangelizing, they’re networking.

    Also realize that CPAC functions as a show of political power for the libertarian movement vis-a-vis the straw-poll votes for Paul (and now Johnson?). Like the moneybomb idea, it’s a way of forcing the media and the “national conversatoin” to take notice.

    You can’t really draw a direct comparison of CPAC to something like a 420 march. It’s apples and lemons.

  48. paulie

    I think a lot of people are missing the point that libertarians @ CPAC aren’t just evangelizing, they’re networking.

    No one missed that. See suggestions above regarding a libertarian political action conference.

    Also, at least in theory, libertarians might at some point do the same at a liberal/progressive conference. Of course, they would have to be allowed in first.

    Also realize that CPAC functions as a show of political power for the libertarian movement vis-a-vis the straw-poll votes for Paul (and now Johnson?). Like the moneybomb idea, it’s a way of forcing the media and the “national conversatoin” to take notice.

    The CPAC poll is of increasingly little consequence to the media, although it’s not dead yet at this point; it still has some, diminishing, propaganda value.

    You can’t really draw a direct comparison of CPAC to something like a 420 march. It’s apples and lemons.

    No one was making a direct comparison. The conversation evolved around a bend, from discussing CPAC-style conferences to discussing left-outreach vis a vis right-outreach, in response to Gene Berkman’s points.

    However, since you bring it up, public libertarian presence in left-oriented “street scene” may lead to greater acceptance of libertarians within left-conferences over time. The two are not completely unrelated – there is some cross-polinization of people and ideas.

  49. Robert Capozzi

    mhw58: I would object if a biologist told us that the U.S. free trade economy caused poverty because we do not have free trade and never had free trade for the most part.

    me: Hmm, dunno about you, but I am not a biologist, lawyer, or economist, yet I have some opinions on many matters on which I have no formal expertise. When human life should be protected is mostly not a biology question, but a legal and “moral” question, IMO.

    Humans share laws intended to make things here more pleasant on the third stone from the sun. We generally allow other humans to kill plants and animals for food. We sometimes protect animals from cruelty. We have laws protecting parasitic protoplasm of the developing human variety. Some find those laws too strict, others too lax.

    Some attempt to make this matter a question of science; while biology is a consideration, it’s a question that mostly involves different opinions on what is virtuous and what is not.

  50. George Phillies

    @60

    There is indeed no question of when life began.

    About three billion years ago, give or take, at least on this planet.

    There’s also only a limited question of when a child becomes someone you can reason with, roughly when “Hot” gets the same response from the child as “HOT!!!!!”

  51. Robert Capozzi

    gp66: There’s also only a limited question of when a child becomes someone you can reason with, roughly when “Hot” gets the same response from the child as “HOT!!!!!”

    me: This generally comes well after birth, years later. Sometimes, it never comes due to birth defects.

    My understanding is there have been human cultures that considered infanticide to be virtuous in the case of birth defects. My sense is that in THIS culture, infanticide is offensive. Late term abortions are too close to infanticide, if my sense. Mid term abortions get gray. Early term abortions seem less offensive except for a strong minority in this culture.

    I respect their position, although I don’t agree. IF they want to change the law, they’ll need to change the prevailing cultural sensibilities.

    This one’s an intractable issue. I suggest dealing with it.

  52. Thomas L. Knapp

    GP @ 66,

    I don’t have a dog in the abortion fight.

    I do, however, pick a bone when either side in that fight attempts to conform the facts of reality to their position rather than the other way around.

    Human life begins at conception. Period. That claim is just as tautological, and no more scientifically controversial, than “2+2=4” or “a water molecule is composed of two hydrogen atoms and an oxygen atom.”

    Pro-life advocates often attempt to make that fact the end of their argument, when it’s actually somewhere near the beginning of any reasonable argument in favor of zygote/embryo/fetus rights.

    Pro-choice advocates often deny that fact and then build their subsequent argument on that denial. An argument from an obviously false premise is worse than no argument at all.

    I’m reasonably certain that the topic of abortion will not be resolved to general satisfaction in this thread, but on general principle I raise the bullshit flag when I see bullshit arguments parading by.

  53. Bryan

    TLK….I will accept your “bullshit” meter up to a point. If a cell or group of cells are in a living human, they are either alive or necrotic. Because abortions remove tissue from an area where it (without complications) would continue to form into a human, then yes, I’ll give you the argument that a potential human was “given life” at conception.

    But, when does this “potential human” make the change to human? Until this mass can survive without the mother/carrier, does it or should it be given rights? Should the mother/carrier be denied her rights and be forced into being an incubator?

    Except for your bullshit flag, you ended #70 with a bit of truth…this topic won’t be resolved on this thread, or any other for that matter. Most people have opinions on this question, and are either pro-choice, or pro-life, with a large % occupying the gray area (no late term, only in first tri-mester, only in cases of rape or incest, etc…).

    My bottom line is I’m a guy, I will never have to make this choice. Legal or not, really doesn’t effect me at all. So how can I or any man decide what a woman does with her body in consultation with a physician?

  54. JT

    Robert: “…you might even be able to cite the number of times she actually published the word “parasites” off the top of your head! Good for you!”

    I can’t cite that. I can counter any of your gross misrepresentations of what she did say though, bad memory or not.

    Robert: “Can we agree, though, that labeling a fetus as “protoplasm” has more or less the same effect as labeling the fetus as a “parasite”?”

    No, we can’t agree on that. She used that term in the context of the beginning of pregnancy referring to an embryo, which is a mass of mostly undifferentiated cells. Calling it “protoplasm” isn’t worse than how I just described it.

    People who think abortion should be illegal after conception (I know that’s not you) often refer to “pre-born babies.” They talk as if after the time of fertilization an actual baby just appears in a woman’s uterus and waits there for 9 months to be born. This is a bizarrely unscientific view, and one that’s far worse than saying an embryo is “protoplasm.”

    Michael: “Problem is neither one of them had a degree in biology and I doubt they had much of an idea as to what they were talking about.”

    That’s not a problem. You don’t need a degree in a subject to be able to identify the essentials of an issue. You don’t need a degree in economics to understand why government interference in markets causes economic distortions, do you?

    Thomas: “Human life begins at conception. Period.”

    Right. If any pro-choice person denies that, he or she is denying a scientific fact. Of course, the question of whether an embryo is an individual person with rights isn’t answered by referring to that fact.

    Still looking forward to Seidenberg’s evidence for his claim at post 28. Patiently.

  55. paulie

    My bottom line is I’m a guy, I will never have to make this choice.

    If you are sexually active with women that are able to get pregnant (IE not too old or sterile), you may have to help make that choice. If your wife, girlfriend, or even a random woman you hooked up with gets pregnant from you, she will probably weigh your opinion heavily in that decision. If she is anything more than a random woman you hooked up with and she gets pregnant from someone else, she may well count your opinion heavily.

    Even if you are not sexually active with a woman or women who can become pregnant, the same may hold true if she is your daughter, sister, good friend, etc. In that case, it doesn’t matter whether you are gay, sterile, asexual…your opinion could still make the difference.

    Theoretically, at some point your opinion could make the difference in an election that decides the question.

    If you biologically father a child, even with a woman you are not with, you could be paying child support for years. If you live with a woman who becomes pregnant and has a child, even if it’s not by you, you may also be paying child support (in a manner of speaking) for years. If you have a daughter or stepdaughter and she becomes pregnant, same thing.

    In many cases, women get pressured into either having or not having abortions by men.

    To say that men play no part in such decisions is just not true.

    Ultimately, it’s a woman’s decision, but it’s not that simple, certainly not in many cases in real life.

  56. Michael H. Wilson

    JT @ 72 you are correct. That was bad wording on my part.

    There are some people who suggest that humans are parasites on the planet. That may be true. Perhaps it was Rothbard’s intention to claim that we are all parasites. He was secretly a hardcore environmentalist and was looking for a backdoor way of promoting his beliefs.

    Hell I can just about guarantee that teenagers are parasites. And I’ll bet that I can find many parents who will tell us that their little ones are nothing but socialist pigs.

    Frankly I’m tend to stay out of this because most men have little or no understanding of what women go through in bringing children into this world. As much as we think we do, we are just skimming the surface. Mark me down as pro-choice. Now on to other issues.

  57. Bryan

    @74
    …Wife, girlfriend, or hook-up may not like my opinion. I would point out the facts, financial, lifestyle changes, parenting etc…Let them know that I will not recommend abortion, but it is an option…and it is their choice.

    …When faced with the question (without my participation), my advice was to think it all the way through. Look at all the options, and in the end it was their choice….I have noticed that some women I have known had some psychological “baggage” afterward…but I have also seen someone who has had more than one.

    …For me voting on this issue is a deal maker/breaker. If their is pro-choice on the ballot, that’s the way I vote.

    …While I wouldn’t be happy at all paying child support, I don’t think this is a question that should be determined by whether or not I want to pay. There may be financial facts that the woman should consider, but whether the “father” wants to pay child support shouldn’t be the single issue.

    Force or coersion should not be allowed. This is why I do think there should be a brief counciling session with a neutral nurse/professional before performing an abortion.

  58. Don Lake, from private email

    Postal Service must go

    I read with interest that the United States Postal Service is once again dripping in red ink with no solution in sight.

    May I offer a simple suggestion? Sell it.

    Sell the U.S. Postal Service to a private sector company. The days of George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson when we needed a federal delivery service are past.

    This action would result in three positive outcomes.

    •It will free the government from recurring financial losses.

    •It will transfer government jobs to the private sector.

    •It will improve postal delivery service.

    J. David Holt

    Parkville [Missouri, site of Park College]

    Read more: http://www.kansascity.com/2011/02/19/2667633/letters-sunday-feb-20.html#ixzz1EXBVZQia

    [Lake: no notice of LP, no ‘libertarian’ slant, no party out reach. Coming soon, LP complaints about being ‘ignored’. Kinda like leaving the house with out extra batteries and then griping when the flash lite / torch dims out!]

  59. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bryan @ 71,

    Facts are facts whether you “accept” or “give me” them or not.

    What comes into existence at conception, biologically speaking, is a “human being,” not a “potential human.”

    Whether or not that human being is a “person” with “rights” at that point is, of course, a different question.

    So is the question of what those “rights,” if any, might be, and the question of how those “rights,” if any, interact with “rights” of its mother.

    This “potential human” BS is just a way of trying to head those other questions off at the pass rather than face the difficulty of coming up with rational answers to them or admit that those answers seem insusceptible to our efforts.

  60. Steven Wilson

    If the conference wants to filter so be it. They have to market their product to the customers, not just one or two customers.

    In regards to specific topics of filter, abortion or gay rights will be a lost fight. From my experience there has never been any logic used in either debate from either side.

    FORCE or Force or force or phorce. Once you feel it, it doesn’t matter what kind it is or the origin of it.

  61. Bryan

    TLK…Regardless of whether you call it, a fetus, potential human, future human, unborn child, human being OR WHATEVER.

    I am not attempting to “head off” the other questions. Unless or until it can live/survive outside the womb of the mother, with or without medical equipment attached, I don’t think you can assume rights. A woman is NOT an incubator, and should have the right to have something within her body removed. If the “subject” can survive outside the “mothers” body then it should be given the necessary medical treatment to assure it’s best chance at survival.

    As I stated in 57, social conservatives are the leading voice behind abortion prohibition. But they are also opposed to sex ed and free condoms in schools, and birth control being easily available in general.

    As I alluded to in 76 I am not a “fan” of abortion, and hope to see a day when it is minimized to the point of being a non issue. But I want to see this happen by education, free distribution of controceptives (by non-profit agencies), and the reduction of “unwanted” pregnancies. I do not want to see laws dictating that a woman has fewer rights than a fetus, which may or may not develop to term.

  62. paulie

    I think in the absence of the general retarding effect that monopoly government has on the progress of technology and civilization, we would by now have had the ability to transplant a fetus from womb to womb, or to an artificial womb/incubator, at any stage of development. This would come with its own set of problems, but it would largely solve the current one.

  63. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bryan @ 80

    You write:

    “Regardless of whether you call it, a fetus, potential human, future human, unborn child, human being OR WHATEVER.”

    Words mean things. It is not a “potential” human being. It is an “actual” human being — regardless of whether you call it one.

    Calling it a “potential” human being is not without import. It indicates either ignorance of the fact or an attempt to evade/deny the fact. Neither of those bode well for whatever argument follows from them.

    “Unless or until it can live/survive outside the womb of the mother, with or without medical equipment attached, I don’t think you can assume rights.”

    I’m not assuming rights. When it comes to abortion, I long ago learned to stop assuming anything.

    A catalog of the unsupported assumptions found in various iterations of both pro-life and pro-choice arguments would easily — and in many cases has — come to book length.

    The problem with abortion as a political issue is that “I don’t know” doesn’t play well in clashes between policy proposals. “I do know, so X” plays much better, even if it’s not true.

  64. paulie

    Paulie @ 47 – The Russian Communist Workers Party is a successor party to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. RCWP is more explicitly pro-Stalin than the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, but it runs candidates under the banner of the CPRF.

    Wiki on RCWP @ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_Communist_Workers_Party

    Sometimes for me, going me to wikipedia is a bad mistake 🙂

    Since this comment was posted a little over a day ago, I’ve spent about 16 hours reading about political parties in modern Russia, in both Russian and English, on wikipedia, their own websites, and news reports. And I don’t have even so much as an article to show for it. About the only “action” I took besides reading was to “like” the Russian Pirate Party on facebook:

    http://www.facebook.com/rupirate

    As I suspected, the CPRF is by far the largest faction of communists in today’s Russia, but there are many splinter organizations.

  65. paulie

    @ 85 Thanks to the comrade for concerns.

    Don’t get me wrong, I spent some time reading about the Beer Lovers Parties in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Poland, among other things. And the latest exploits of Viacheslav Datsik were entertaining:

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

    It’s not that I take it seriously…it’s that I have seriously bad obsessive-compulsive disorder.

    And that’s no joke.

  66. Thomas L. Knapp

    Phillies @ 83,

    The ability to think might have something to do with the definition of “person.”

    It has nothing whatsoever to do with the definition of “human being.”

    The question your claim raises, in light of your BS in Life Sciences, is whether you are being dishonest on this question or whether you should be consulting your physician with regard to your cognitive status.

  67. Gains

    It seems obvious to me that the very construction of the universe put the responsibility for the unborn in the hands of the mother. Any law or social more based on any other pretense is irrational and irreverent.

  68. Observer

    You men can discuss pregnancy/abortion all you want, but, I’ll tell you, it is utterly terrifying to find yourself pregnant and alone. Ultimately, raising the child is the woman’s job, and it’s not my business what someone decides. Even if a man says he’ll help, he could disappear tomorrow. It’s a woman’s private business, between her and her God.

  69. Robert Capozzi

    Actually, we don’t know what goes on with “thought,” or where they come from, so I’d suggest we therefore cannot know with certainty whether a fetus “thinks” or not. A brain might seem to “think,” but observing brainwaves on machinery proves nothing.

    We can’t even know what “self awareness” is.

    Perhaps there IS such a thing as a “soul”; it’s above my paygrade to have a position on the matter.

    With that, the question of when a body gets legal protection is a very open question. While I thought the Roe decision was improperly arrived at, my view is it arrived at a reasonable conclusion. Other conclusions are reasonable, too.

  70. Matt Cholko

    Paulie- I too have been sucked into Wikipedia, a great many times. I often feel guilty after these episodes, like I wasted some precious time on something stupid. However, when you consider the alternatives (watching TV, getting sucked into Facebook, etc.) it’s pretty hard to say that time spent reading about political parties, or anything else really, is wasted.

  71. paulie

    Observer,

    Women can give up or abandon their children too, after they are born, legally or otherwise. It happens quite a bit. Of course there is more of a bond there, and the discomfort and pain of the pregnancy and childbirth is not something men have to deal with. Also, biologically it is much more against “hard wiring” for women to abandon their children than for men.

    But to say that men have no role in the decision is just not accurate.

    Even if you want it to be true, in real life, it isn’t.

    There are men who pressure women to have or not have abortions every day. “A brief counseling session with a neutral nurse/professional” does not in many cases outweigh strong pressures from someone the woman may want to go back to live with, may be dependent on emotionally and/or financially, may be scared to lose, or may be scared of in the sense of domestic violence. Often times a combination of several of those things.

    And there is definitely a disconnect for men when the law says a man has zero say in the decision of whether his child is b0rn, but parental responsibility (including financial even if the relationship ends, or even if there is no relationship) if the woman chooses to have the child. I’m not saying that necessarily it should be otherwise, but it is a frustrating dilemma for many people, and it leads to a lot of broken and dysfunctional relationships.

    Ultimately, I’m very weary of one-size-fits-all solutions that involve the heavy hand of monopoly government when there is substantial disagreement among large segments of the population what should be morally or legally permitted. I’m also wary of extremes that say that very early term abortions are no different than killing a born and functioning human being
    OR that a partial birth abortion is no different than removing a hangnail.

    This is one where I just don’t have all the solutions, no do I know that anyone else necessarily does either. I’ve been on both extremes of this issue, but at the moment I’m more in the middle.

    I think both sides spend way too much energy trying to keep it legal or make it illegal, rather than changing the culture so as to make it a decision fewer people have to be faced with.
    Even those who would make it illegal would not eliminate it, just drive it back underground to the back alley, as long as a large percentage
    of the population does not agree with them. So, the focus should be elsewhere.

    On the other hand, for some to say it is of no more moral consequence than using contraception also seems to me to be very wrong, as it goes against the personal experience many, many people have had.

  72. paulie

    I too have been sucked into Wikipedia, a great many times. I often feel guilty after these episodes, like I wasted some precious time on something stupid. However, when you consider the alternatives (watching TV, getting sucked into Facebook, etc.) it’s pretty hard to say that time spent reading about political parties, or anything else really, is wasted.

    This is true. I’m way backed up with stories to post here, and I can’t even call it writer’s block…copy and paste block?

    Plus I have more than a few conversations here that I’ve been meaning to follow up on.

    Its’ kind of ridiculous when I feel bad about not posting several stories every single day, when it’s actually just a hobby.

    I think I’ll get over it soon, but it doesn’t look like it will be tonight.

  73. JT

    Thomas: “It has nothing whatsoever to do with the definition of “human being.””

    Thomas, what’s the defining characteristic you’re using for a human being? Are you referring to human cells with genetic uniqueness? Please don’t take this as a snide question; I’m asking honestly and respectfully.

  74. JT

    And I suspect we’re not going to hear from Seidenberg. I hope I’m wrong, but I know he doesn’t take this much time when it comes to bickering with Grundmann.

  75. Don Lake, from private email

    genetic uniqueness? oh, the combination of xx and xy ‘contributions’ or may be a heart transplant or may be a pig valve or may be a blood / plasma transfusion from a chimpanzee?

    personal uniqueness? Like breathing air?

  76. Robert Capozzi

    Tk: It has nothing whatsoever to do with the definition of “human being.”

    JT: Thomas, what’s the defining characteristic you’re using for a human being?

    Me: It seems TK and I have a similar take. In my case, an “objective” biological measure of a bundle of cells and whether that bundle of cells (protoplasm! 😉 ) have, for ex., “brain function” is the wrong question. Some bundle of cells are not “human,” so we don’t assign them rights and protect those rights by law. The bundles we call “vegetable” or “animal” generally don’t have rights that are protected by law.

    Similarly, “human” bundles don’t get full rights protection in the US until they have been born and lived for 18 years. It’s an arbitrary standard, subjectively arrived at. Nothing magical that I’m aware of happens on one’s 18th birthday!

    At birth, an organism we call “human being” gets other rights protections at birth. Prior to birth, a fetus gets some protections when it’s considered to be six months after conception, and other protections at three months, as I understand the law. These are lines in the sand, somewhat informed by “objective,” “scientific” standards. Why not two or four or five or seven months? It’s my understanding that just like the transition from child (minority status) to adult (majority status), fetuses develop at different paces, yet legal standards don’t and CAN’T in any meaningful sense fluctuate with the pace of development. Even if batteries of tests could give us more precision, these tests take time, thereby exploding the integrity of the tests themselves! Similarly, the current standards of 3 and 6 months are generally not proveable! They are rough approximations.

    The search of precision in an imprecise world continues to elude.

  77. Thomas L. Knapp

    JT,

    A “human being” is, by definition:

    a) Human (“of the family Hominidae”); and

    b) a being — “a living thing that has (or can develop) the ability to act or function independently [syn: being]”

    Lazy pro-lifers claim, without any evidence or argument to support their position, that all “human beings” are also “persons” with “rights.”

    Lazy pro-choicers piss me off just a little bit more, though. Denial of inconvenient fact just seems even more dishonest than failure to fully elaborate convenient fact.

  78. Robert Capozzi

    tk, so, if you use your precise definition, then “being” comes down to the meaning of “can develop.” Who defines that? We not only have to contend with whether fetuses can develop independent function (at some vague future date), but there’s the nettlesome challenge involving people in “vegetative” states. If one MD says there’s no chance for independence in the future, is that former person now nothing, a being without rights? Or would 3 MDs have to make that claim? How about a 1% chance?

    If you’re going to go down the “precise” road, go all the way, else be labeled “lazy.” 😉

    btw, where’d you get your def. Websters says:

    1
    a : the quality or state of having existence
    b (1) : something conceivable as existing (2) : something that actually exists (3) : the totality of existing things
    c : conscious existence : life
    2
    : the qualities that constitute an existent thing : essence; especially : personality
    3
    : a living thing; especially : person

    No “can develop” there. Words are symbols of symbols, and it appears even then definitions are a matter of wide interpretation!

    IOW, “conscious existence” according to whom? Check your premises. If you can precisely tell me where “consciousness” comes from with precision, I’ll pay you a LOT of money, since it’s a question that has eluded seekers of truth for centuries, and still does!

  79. Here is a radical idea

    @ # 83, ” It is not a human being it can not think”.

    Does that not include most of the American voters? They don’t think. They just gravitate towards the “flavor” of the month or year in politics and vote for whoever gets on television the most, irregardless of principles.
    Most Americans are just stupid in the area of making rational decisions in politics.

  80. Robert Capozzi

    here, wow, you cast quite the wide net. “Bad” thought patterns = no thought, IYO?

    I guess I’d agree…that IS “radical” in a sense!

    I do wonder whether it’s “rational” to type i-r-r-e-g-a-r-d-l-e-s-s. 😉 Could be….

  81. paulie

    I hope I’m wrong, but I know he doesn’t take this much time when it comes to bickering with Grundmann.

    I’ve seen him come back and answer things days, even weeks later. A lot of times he likes to ignore points that he does not want to address.

  82. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob @ 99,

    You write:

    “tk, so, if you use your precise definition, then ‘being’ comes down to the meaning of ‘can develop.'”

    Only if you don’t bother to actually read it.

    “btw, where’d you get your def.”

    Wordnet.

    “there’s the nettlesome challenge involving people in ‘vegetative’ states. If one MD says there’s no chance for independence in the future, is that former person now nothing, a being without rights?”

    You’re conflating “human being” with “person” there.

    A human being in a “vegetative” state is still “acting or functioning independently” as opposed to in service to something else.

    The distinction involved in the phrase “act or function independently is the distinction between organism and organ, not the distinction between the ability to win on Jeopardy or the inability to to more than sit and drool.

    It’s interesting that you bring that up, though. I do seem to recall that Dr. Phillies vociferously supported Michael Schiavo’s “right” to murder his disabled wife.

  83. Kyle Hartz

    “Does the LP attend liberal or progressive events like this?”

    When I worked in the national office, we attended a lot of events with groups on the left. To name a few, the Rally to Restore Sanity, the National Equality March (support of LGBT rights), Sexual Freedom Day at the Woodhull Foundation, an event put on by EPIC in opposition to the TSA scanners (Ralph Nader was there), and many more.

    Personally, I prefer working with the left. A lot of people on the right are just generally abrasive. I find it to be more productive to teach a liberal about free markets than trying to tell a conservative why gay people and immigrants aren’t evil. Also, the whole ‘radical Islam’ hysteria combined with their desire to kill people doesn’t help.

  84. Porn Again Christian

    Personally, I prefer working with the left. A lot of people on the right are just generally abrasive. I find it to be more productive to teach a liberal about free markets than trying to tell a conservative why gay people and immigrants aren’t evil. Also, the whole ‘radical Islam’ hysteria combined with their desire to kill people doesn’t help.

    I agree.

  85. LibertarianGirl

    I wish that we’re true for me . It’s been my disappointing experience that its HARDER to teach liberals say why welfare doesnt work and why taxes are theft and why public schools dont need more money than it has been to convince conservatives that drug users and bedroom activities dont need gov intervention

  86. Thomas L. Knapp

    @104-108,

    There are probably a lot of variables involved:

    – Personal inclinations. You’re probably going to be more comfortable around people with same direction of cultural and political “lean.” That’s going to make it easier for you to communicate with them, and leave you feeling that the communication was more productive.

    – Geographical variation. In different parts of the country, the “zeitgeist” is going to be different, and that will affect the attitudes of whatever group you are hanging with. For example, in a very conservative area, a “left” group is probably going to have a more “besieged” feel to it, where in a very liberal area, that same kind of group will have a different dynamic.

    – The big issues of the day or in the area. If both “left” and “right” have their backs up about taxes, it’s going to be harder to talk anti-tax with the pro-tax people. If it’s the war, it’s going to be harder to talk non-interventionism with people on a jingoist roll.

    And so on, and so forth.

  87. Gains

    Tell them that society DOES need to take care of the poor and the orphaned just not by the guys with guns.

  88. Gains

    Woohoo! non-sequitor post fot teh win!

    LG @106: “It’s been my disappointing experience that its HARDER to teach liberals say why welfare doesnt work and why taxes are theft and why public schools dont need more money than it has been to convince conservatives that drug users and bedroom activities don’t need gov intervention”

    In my experience, the idea is not to turn a liberal into a conservative. Instead of pushing the the bleeding heart fear button by talking about doing away with all their compassionate works, talk to them about what is important to them.

    If you would like my advice, I say talk to liberals about doing compassion better, without guns. Tell them that the sick and the elderly DO need looking after… just not with serial numbers and computer attendants. Tell them that baseline education IS important, but to administer daycare with the same sort of people that administer jails, is insane.

  89. paulie

    Instead of pushing the the bleeding heart fear button by talking about doing away with all their compassionate works, talk to them about what is important to them.

    If you would like my advice, I say talk to liberals about doing compassion better, without guns.

    Also without monopoly. People on the left don’t like monopolies, and government is the biggest monopoly of all.

    It’s really the same principle as with conservatives…we don’t want their kids strung out on drugs or terrorists to attack them, likewise, we don’t want children going hungry and uneducated or dying of untreated disease, the environment being destroyed, workers and consumers being abused by corporations, and so on.

    It is all too easy to imagine that we don’t care about people’s moral or economic well-being if all we say is that we don’t want forced monopolies to solve these problems.

  90. JT

    Thomas: “JT,

    A “human being” is, by definition:

    a) Human (“of the family Hominidae”); and

    b) a being — “a living thing that has (or can develop) the ability to act or function independently [syn: being]””

    Okay, I understand. Random House Dictionary defines it this way:

    1. any individual of the genus Homo, especially a member of the species Homo sapiens.

    2. a person, especially as distinguished from other animals or as representing the human species: living conditions not fit for human beings; a very generous human being.

    So, according to RH, a human being is an individual person.

    Collins English Dictionary defines it as “a member of any of the races of Homo Sapiens; person; man, woman, or child,” with “child” defined as “a boy or girl between birth and puberty.”

    I’ve never seen it written before that, in effect, a mass of living cells that could eventually develop the ability to act or function independently is an actual being. That’s interesting.

    Thomas: “Lazy pro-choicers piss me off just a little bit more, though. Denial of inconvenient fact just seems even more dishonest than failure to fully elaborate convenient fact.”

    Well, I wouldn’t say that pro-choice people who conceptualize the term consistent with the Random House or Collins definition are therefore lazy or dishonest. But you can be pissed off about it.

  91. Don Lake, from private email

    Feb 21, 2011:

    “Does the LP attend liberal or progressive events like this?”

    [Kyle Hartz: When I worked in the national office, we attended a lot of events with groups on the left.]

    [Don Lake: Often the ‘problem’ is not LP, but the organizers of the events concluding, pre – judging, Libertarians as GOP Lite. Year after year the anti Iraq War week end protest did not include any one but Greens and Peace and Freedom Party. Don’t blame me, as I was in there trying to open the field up ……..]

  92. JT

    Paulie: “I’ve seen him come back and answer things days, even weeks later. A lot of times he likes to ignore points that he does not want to address.”

    Okay. I doubt this thread will be on anyone’s radar weeks from now, so I won’t hold my breath.

  93. Thomas L. Knapp

    “I’ve never seen it written before that, in effect, a mass of living cells that could eventually develop the ability to act or function independently is an actual being.”

    That mass of living cells isn’t something that “could eventually develop the ability to act or function independently.” It IS acting/functioning independently. It is not an organ in another body, it is a new organism pursuing its own agenda.

  94. Steven Wilson

    If the LP is ever taken seriously by the general population, it will be treated like an enemy, not an abstraction taking up booth space. You cannot call out corporate republicans and expect no return fire.

    The days of Root on Fox news will end and the “team spirit” of the RLC will also end. The tea party will separate for survival, and the C4L will set up a velvet rope.

    If there is no threat present, there is no need to be on guard.

  95. JT

    Thomas: “That mass of living cells isn’t something that “could eventually develop the ability to act or function independently.” It IS acting/functioning independently. It is not an organ in another body, it is a new organism pursuing its own agenda.”

    It’s not an organ in another body, but it’s not acting independently. The activity of that mass of cells depends on the organs of the body it’s in.

  96. paulie

    Being contained completely inside another person, and being unable to be taken care of by anyone else no matter how much they want to, is not independent.

    A fetus is independent in some ways, unique DNA being the chief marker that distinguishes it from any human organ or body part. But it is not independent in many significant ways before viability. This is different from the ways children are dependent on adults, or all people are dependent on each other, since after viability even someone who is completely dependent can have their care taken over by a new person.

    On the other hand Phillies

    It’s not a human being. It can’t think.

    As far as I know, no jump in cognitive development takes place at the point of birth. Is there something I’m missing here?

  97. Thomas L. Knapp

    JT,

    You write:

    “It’s not an organ in another body, but it’s not acting independently. The activity of that mass of cells depends on the organs of the body it’s in.”

    When you post a comment to this blog, you’re depending on a number of things (electricity, an operating system, a web browser, etc.).

    Does that mean you’re not acting independently?

    Does that mean you’re not a “human being?”

    “Acting independently,” in a biological context, means that an entity is acting according to its own agenda, not the agenda of a controlling organism. The embryo/fetus is dependent on the mother’s body for SUPPORT in its actions, but it is the embryo/fetus which is determining what those actions are.

    Sorry, but I’m not going to let you get around the facts.

  98. Porn Again Christian

    Abortion issue has finally been solved!

    Now, what else were we talking about?…

  99. JT

    Thomas: “When you post a comment to this blog, you’re depending on a number of things (electricity, an operating system, a web browser, etc.).

    Does that mean you’re not acting independently?

    Does that mean you’re not a “human being?””

    Okay…I’ll take this one seriously for a moment. In this case, I’m a human being acting independently to post a comment to this blog because I’m *choosing* to do so. Your example refers to the volitional independence of an entity that possesses it, not the biological independence of an entity that doesn’t.

    Thomas: ““Acting independently,” in a biological context, means that an entity is acting according to its own agenda, not the agenda of a controlling organism.”

    In a biological context, it means that its cellular activities aren’t contingent on another entity’s cellular activities. An embryo’s cellular activities are contingent on the cellular activities of the mother.

    Thomas: “Sorry, but I’m not going to let you get around the facts.”

    You don’t have to apologize. This doesn’t affect my main point about an embryo not being a person with rights, but I can still hold my own. I hope I’m not pissing you off. If I am, that’s okay too. Anyway, I’m not going to keep posting on this thread if something more interesting to me opens up.

    And YANKEES (but it deeply pains me to say I think the RS have a slightly better team right now).

  100. Thomas L. Knapp

    JT,

    I agree, the status of an embryo as a “human being” doesn’t answer the question of whether or not it is a person with rights.

    Personally, I’ve yet to see that question answered to my satisfaction either way … and I’d put the burden of answering it on those who desire state involvement in matters that stem from the answer.

  101. Fun K. Chicken

    That would be both sides. The side that believes abortion should be legal, except for a small number of anarchists, does believe the state should be involved in protecting abortionists from those who view them as murderers and act accordingly.

  102. Jesse Bush

    TLK

    There are probably a lot of variables involved:

    – Personal inclinations. You’re probably going to be more comfortable around people with same direction of cultural and political “lean.” That’s going to make it easier for you to communicate with them, and leave you feeling that the communication was more productive.

    – Geographical variation. In different parts of the country, the “zeitgeist” is going to be different, and that will affect the attitudes of whatever group you are hanging with. For example, in a very conservative area, a “left” group is probably going to have a more “besieged” feel to it, where in a very liberal area, that same kind of group will have a different dynamic.

    – The big issues of the day or in the area. If both “left” and “right” have their backs up about taxes, it’s going to be harder to talk anti-tax with the pro-tax people. If it’s the war, it’s going to be harder to talk non-interventionism with people on a jingoist roll.

    And so on, and so forth.

    That makes sense…

  103. Mark Seidenberg

    Paulie,

    At post # 43 you suggested that the American Independent Party was stated by George Wallace. That is not correct information,
    The party was started by the late William
    Shearer. Please recorrect the statement as
    to who started the AIP.

    Next, The United States Supreme Court in the
    case of IN RE ROSS, 140 U.S. 453 implied that
    the United States was a “Christian Nation” within the meaning of the treaty between the United States and Japan. If it were not a “Chrisian Nation” the United States Government would not the extrateritorial jurisdiction to let the United States Consul in
    Japan to order the hanging to the death of Mr.
    Ross, a British Subject. Note the events were
    prior to Japan adopting the German Code.

    Sincerely, Mark Seidenberg
    Vice Chairman, American Independent Party

  104. Thomas L. Knapp

    Fun K. Chicken @ 130,

    Yes, that’s one of the side effects of not having a satisfactory answer to the question. Presumably it also plays a role in tempting people to shortcuts to get a satisfactory answer to the question.

    As an anarchist, or course, I put the burden of proof on those who want state intervention in anything, and have yet to see that burden of proof met on any subject.

  105. Matt Cholko

    TLK – While I may agree with you, I think that making an anarchist argument and then stating that you’re right unless someone else can prove you wrong is a sure-fire way to be written off as a crazy, when talking to the average Joe.

  106. Cody Quirk

    At post # 43 you suggested that the American Independent Party was stated by George Wallace. That is not correct information,
    The party was started by the late William
    Shearer. Please recorrect the statement as
    to who started the AIP.

    = Mark, you got it right this time. Eileen was also behind choosing the name ‘American Independent’ as well.

    -Now if only you can improve your personal integrity and also adopt Bill Shearer’s ideology.

  107. Gene Berkman

    Mark Seidenbergi is correct that William K SHearer created the initial organization that qualified the American Independent Party for the California ballot, but he and his group were doing so at the behest of George Wallace.

    The Wallace campaign sent its own organizers into California, and Wallace spoke throughout the state to promote the registration drive in 1967. California had the earliest deadline for qualifying for the 1968 ekectuib.

    It was believed in 1967 that the Wallace Campaign would be run as part of a national American Independent Party. But Wallace vetoed a national convention, because he was afraid some of his extreme backers getting publicity would reflect badly on him. And no national committee was created during the 1968 campaign.

  108. Mark Seidenberg

    Cody Quirk

    No Cody you will never here me state as Bill Shearer stated (when I first tried in 2004) to
    have the State Central Committee adopt manual
    of Parilmentry Proceedure, “I am the manual of
    parilmentry proceedures.”

    Sincerely, Mark Seidenberg
    Vice Chairman, American Independent Party

  109. Daniel Surman

    Unfortunately, my personal life is creating great difficulty in getting up the article I planned to have up a few days ago, so expect an indefinite hiatus for it.

  110. Robert Capozzi

    tk103: You’re conflating “human being” with “person” there. A human being in a “vegetative” state is still “acting or functioning independently” as opposed to in service to something else.

    me: This is interesting. I simply don’t understand what you mean when you say that acting or functioning in the service to something else…esp. “service to.” The similarities between a fetus and a “vegetable” is that they are being served BY someone else. Both fetus and vegetable have life functions, yet both seem at least temporarily to be 100% dependent on others for survival.

    The question in my mind is when the law says these life forms should have their lives protected. I have no position on that for vegetables; for fetuses, I’m OK with the general rules governing the matter.

  111. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob @ 140,

    “I simply don’t understand what you mean when you say that acting or functioning in the service to something else”

    Your stomach not a “human being.” It is not acting “independently,” but rather in service to your body. Ditto your liver, your heart, etc.

    An embryo/fetus happens to be inside another human being, but it is “acting independently” — its job is to pursue its own development, not to digest that other body’s food for it, pump that other body’s blood for it, etc.

    “The similarities between a fetus and a ‘vegetable’ is that they are being served BY someone else.”

    With the exception of a few Robinson Crusoe types, I’m unaware of anyone who’s ever lived for any period of time without being served by others. Are there, then, no human beings?

    “Both fetus and vegetable have life functions, yet both seem at least temporarily to be 100% dependent on others for survival.”

    There are two ways of taking that claim.

    The first way is meaningless. I am 100% dependent on, for example, the President of the United States for survival (to the extent that he could ask for the nuclear football, punch in the codes, and nuke my ass until it glows, I am dependent upon his forebearance). In that sense — the sense of “there are a number of ways in which others could kill me or through inaction allow me to die” — there’s no human being on earth who isn’t “100% dependent” upon any number of others for survival.

    The second way of taking it — that each and every survival activity of the fetus or “vegetable” is done by others on the fetus’s behalf rather than by the fetus or the “vegetable” itself, is simply factually untrue.

  112. Robert Capozzi

    tk, yes, humans are interdependent and yet not entirely dependent on others. In this relativistic world, some life forms that we call “human” are less independent than others. Embryos and vegetables are more dependent on others than adult, able-bodied humans tend to be.

    When do we recognize the full rights of others by law, and when not? Interesting question…

  113. paulie

    At post # 43 you suggested that the American Independent Party was stated by George Wallace.

    Gene Berkman covered that part well.

    Next, The United States Supreme Court in the
    case of IN RE ROSS, 140 U.S. 453 implied that
    the United States was a “Christian Nation”

    I’m not too interested in verifying the veracity of that, given what I’ve seen from your other citations, such as the birther stuff. In any case, we should not have a government affiliated with any religion, and my point in #43 was that the vast overwhelming majority – 98 or 99% would be my estimate – of the people who put down American Independent Party on California voter registration forms I circulated, did not think they were registering with a political party and did not want to register with a political party – of any sort. Some of them thanked me when I explained the difference between American Independent Party and Decline to state, tore up the incorrectly filled out form with “American Independent Party,” threw it in the garbage and filled out a new one with “Decline to State,” which was what they intended in the first place.
    Others said they didn’t care that they had made a mistake and registered with a political party by accident, that the amount of time to fill out a new form was not worth it and that the important thing was that they be registered to vote period, and at their current address and name.

    It’s interesting that you chose to comment on that, and not to respond to several different people who all asked for the source of your claim that the majority of libertarians are for making abortion illegal.

  114. paulie

    The first way is meaningless. I am 100% dependent on, for example, the President of the United States for survival (to the extent that he could ask for the nuclear football, punch in the codes, and nuke my ass until it glows, I am dependent upon his forebearance).

    No, you’re 100% dependent on the president not to kill you, but you are not 100% dependent on the president to keep you alive. The president, the nuclear football, and the entire US government could be beamed off the planet and you could still survive, perhaps even prosper.

    In that sense — the sense of “there are a number of ways in which others could kill me or through inaction allow me to die” — there’s no human being on earth who isn’t “100% dependent” upon any number of others for survival.

    However, they are not dependent on one and only one possible other human being, except in very temporary emergency circumstances. In all others, after the point of viability, even if they are a permanently comatose “vegetable,” their care could be taken over by someone else. Thus, no one person is irreplacably responsible for them. The same can’t be said of a pre-viable fetus.

  115. Bio Unit

    knapp @60:
    “At conception, a distinct, biologically complete, genetically unique “human being” comes into existence.”

    Nope. At that point all you have is the building blocks that, coupled with the right circumstances for proper gestation, can develop into a unique human being, and occasionally more than one.

    Just because all the parts are in the garage doesn’t mean one has a car. It has to be built first.

    As for the conception argument, once the first three meioses happen and the zygote is split into 8 cells, only then does prenatal development actually begin, because seven of those 8 become the placenta, and even without uterine implantation, nothing happens. Only after those splits and implantation can the development of human life begin, and even that relies on a slew of outside factors from the mother. But all of that simply begs the question, which is currently unanswerable by four-dimensional science: when does a group of cells cease being a group of cells and become the whole human animal? Your answer may vary based on circumstance, belief, and speculation.

  116. Bio Unit

    George @83:

    “It’s not a human being. It can’t think.”

    That makes most Democrat and Republican Kool-Aid overdosers not human either. Yet they vote…

  117. Bio Unit

    BTW, there’s also a helluva difference between the involuntary cellular activity of growth, birth, and death vs. the voluntary human activity of thinking, moving, eating, peeing, pooping, etc. Conflating those two is one of the major mistakes the pro-lifers make in attempting to apply human rights to pre-human cellular systems.

  118. White American Rationalist

    Most of the White Separatist movement today has no logical or coherent position, on abortion.

    A majority, in the Right Wing oriented racialist movement, rightly perceive massive White abortion as further impacting the survival of the White race. Unfortunately, this position is more tied to those with a religious position, usually Christians. These same people are usually silent, on how the increased birth rate among non-Whites is just as deadly to our race’s survival, especially in North America. Even if they do speak about this issue, they do not address the obvious logic, which is that lack of abortion and birth control among non-Whites.

    On the other extreme, many support abortion, as a means of helping to limit an explosion of massive proportions. These people do not address the fact that future leaders and thinkers, of our race, are being destroyed by the millions. What is worse is that it is self induced.

    There is a logical answer. Very little abortion should be tolerated, among our White race, while at the same time, abortion and birth control should be promoted as a powerful weapon, in the limitation of non-White birth. Overt support of both non-White population control and non-support of abortion for Whites, has the same desired effect.

    Promoting WAR’s position confuses and angers the churches, with their anti-abortion position, and at the same time angers and frustrates the abortion proponents’ position, as well. WAR’s position on pro-White life is effective and workable.

    Imagine a few large signs showing up at anti-abortion demonstrations. For example, a sign which boldly states, “Support White Life” or “Stop White Genocide”. That would create an all new debate. At the same time, signs for a pro-abortion demonstration might state, “Free Choice For Non-White Abortion” or “Minorities Have Abortion Rights”.

    Among non-Whites, invest in ghetto abortion clinics. Help to raise money for free abortions. Abortion clinic syndicates throughout North America, that primarily operate in non-White areas and receive tax support, should be promoted.

    A note of caution: both sides in this issue, have a propensity for violence. When you join in a demonstration, on either side, have back-up with you. This is just in case the peace loving anti-Abortionists or pro-Abortionists become hysterical.

    The Brown and Black races are boiling over in every non-White country. There is no shortage of non-White people.

  119. Andy

    Wow, Tom Knapp bills himself as a “left libertarian” but he sure doesn’t sound like a “left libertarian” here as he is taking the pro-life stance which is traditionally indentified with those on the right, or in this case, “right libertarians.”

    I’m not saying that I disagree with anything that he’s said here, I’m just pointing out that this is not consistent with the “left libertarian” image.

    I suspect that the entire “left libertarian” image is bullshit. Tom strikes me as a guy who tries to act like he’s cooler than everybody else and the “left libertarian” thing is part of his shtick.

    I remember back when Ron Paul was running in 2007-2008 and the whole Ron Paul R3VOLution thing turned into the biggest thing to happen in the pro-liberty movement in many years, Tom Knapp sat back and pissed on the whole thing. He acted like it was just a bunch of “right wingers” (which was FAR from reality) and that he, a “left libertarian,” was just too good for it. Nevermind the fact that Ron Paul has done far more for liberty than Tom Knapp has done – or will ever do, nope, that’s not good enough for Knapp. Ron Paul and his followers are just a bunch of right wingers. Now Tom is taking one of the issue stances that Ron Paul takes that is traditionally aligned with most conservatives, as in being pro-life. The candidate whose campaign Tom Knapp worked on during that period was Steve Kubby, and Steve had the good sense to endorse Ron Paul, but not Tom, he had to piss on the Ron Paul R3VOLution the entire time. This reminds me of those kids who try to stay ahead of what “everyone” else is doing so they can look cool. It’s like, “Hey, that Ron Paul R3VOLution thing is hip now, well that does it. I’ll show everybody how I’m too cool for it. I start my own trends, dammit! I’ll show all of those Ron Paul R3VOLution hipsters who the REAL hipster is.” LOL!

    I’ve long thought that the whole “left vs. right” thing was bullshit, and I don’t like see it come to the libertarian world. Forget this left vs. right shit, how about just libertarian libertarian?

    Tom’s latest “I’m too cool for school” gimmick is that he’s quit the Libertarian Party and started a group which promotes non-voting. I don’t think that electoral politics is the be all and end all path to more liberty (although I do still engage in electoral politics as one strategy), but I think that Tom’s group is worthless.

    One of the reasons that it is worthless is because it invites people who don’t vote for a variety of reasons, including people who want more government than what is currently being offered on the ballot, people who don’t vote because they favor a dictatorship and/or a monarchy, and people who are just too freakin’ lazy to vote or pay attention to what is happening. If this were a group for principled, voluntaryist libertarians who promoted pro-liberty activism outside of electoral politics, such as fully informed juries, not paying taxes, counter-economics, forming militias and arming for a revolution, etc…, maybe the organization would have some merit. However, as the concept stands right now I’d call it completely worthless.

    A bunch of people not voting – particularly since the concept accepts people who are for bigger government as well as those who are lazy, passive sheep – will not accomplish a damn thing. History has been filled with tyrannical regimes where people didn’t vote. Heck, I bet that there are people in our government right now who wish that we didn’t have elections in this country so they could just declare a dictatorship and stay in office for life.

    Libertarian Party candidates may not accomplish much either, but at least they spread the libertarian message and bring more people into the cause of liberty, and heck, every once in a while a Libertarian Party candidate actually does accomplish something more than that. It looks to me like Tom’s group isn’t accomplishing jack shit, and it probably won’t accomplish jack shit. It seems to me that it’s just a way for Tom to sit back and say something like, “Hey everybody, look at me. I didn’t vote. You see, I’m too cool to vote. Pay attention to me! Look at me! Look at me! There are a lot of other people who didn’t vote! I’m promoting not voting and a lot of people didn’t vote so they must be following my trend. See, I told you that I’m cool!”

    Why is Knapp even still posting here? This is a website that covers minor party and independent candidates. Tom has quit the minor party that he was affiliated with and has disavowed electoral politics and now promotes non-voting, so why in the heck is he still here? He reminds me of a kid that has taken his toys out of the sandbox and said, “I’m taking my toys and leaving, and I’m not going to play with you guys anymore!” Then after making this proclamation and stomping around he continues to hang around the playground. This is so he can stand around and say, “I’m not playing with you guys anymore. Man, you guys are so lame. See how cool I am!”

  120. Thomas L. Knapp

    Andy @ 150,

    No, I’m not “taking the pro-life stance.”

    Pro-lifers treat the fact that an embryo is a “human being” as a sufficient basis for opposing even very early abortion. I don’t.

    Pro-choicers treat the fact that an embryo is a “human being” as an inconvenience which must be denied because it blocks off their own shortcuts to the conclusion they want to reach. I don’t.

    I’m neither “pro-life” or “pro-choice,” and I can tell you precisely when I gave up trying to settle the issue dispositively:

    The 2004 LP presidential campaign.

    As of early 2004, Michael Badnarik was pro-life from conception, based not on a firm conviction that personhood ran from conception, but from doubt and a “do the least harm” position.

    By March of 2004, when The Free Liberal interviewed him, he was coming around to the notion that first-trimester abortions, before the onset of detectable electrical brain activity in the fetus, were presumably okay, since personhood would reside in that brain activity.

    By the time I joined his post-nomination campaign later in the summer, one of the first jobs to hit my desk (and the only job from the campaign that I refused) was to re-write his abortion position to reflect the LP’s default pro-choice plank.

    From a political “sales” standpoint, I’d rather candidates figure out their fucking positions BEFORE, say, August preceding the election.

    From a philosophical standpoint, though, I found the fact that Badnarik couldn’t figure it out and keep it figured out quite liberating. If he can’t, why should I think it necessary that I must?

    As for the remainder of your comment, I’ll stick with the one phrase from it that it seems to confirm in spades:

    “I don’t think”

  121. Robert Capozzi

    tk151: If he can’t, why should I think it necessary that I must?

    me: Must? Surely not! Changing one’s position seems to be something we all do over time. It may be unseemly to run for president — even as a L — and to be changing one’s views midstream like you report that Badnarik did, Exhibit A for why I prefer polished candidates. On abortion, though, I kinda see it, since it is such a nettlesome issue. When I was a Randian/Rothbardian, I was convinced that transplanting fetuses was “the answer,” too, at least as a default position. I still kinda like the notion in concept, but so far as I know, it’s still a premature solution.

    Our views do change over time, then we die. Enjoy the ride.

  122. paulie

    I’ve long thought that the whole “left vs. right” thing was bullshit, and I don’t like see it come to the libertarian world. Forget this left vs. right shit, how about just libertarian libertarian?

    Try reading this: http://www.amconmag.com/blog/libertarian-left/

    Why is Knapp even still posting here?

    Because he wants to.

    Also, his comments tend to be on topic and intelligent.

  123. JT

    Andy: “I’ve long thought that the whole “left vs. right” thing was bullshit, and I don’t like see it come to the libertarian world. Forget this left vs. right shit, how about just libertarian libertarian?”

    Right on!

    The truth is that many libertarians still have a clear emotional attachment to Right (e.g. Root) or Left (e.g. Phillies). I really don’t get it. A libertarian should revile both Right and Left, because both advocate egregious violations of individual rights and freedom and are harming America. I have no sympathy for either side (I do think it’s important to do outreach to both conservatives and liberals and encourage them to embrace substantially less government across the board).

    As for the rest of your post, Andy, I agree with it except with the final paragraph that Thomas shouldn’t post here since he’s not affiliated with the LP anymore.

  124. Robert Capozzi

    jt: A libertarian should revile both Right and Left, because both advocate egregious violations of individual rights and freedom and are harming America.

    me: Revile? Really? Tell us more about why you think we should “assail with abusive language.”

    In my case, I’m a centrist L, and I prefer to transcend left and right. Assailing and abusing those who cling to “right” and “left” seems awfully hateful to me, though, and not especially persuasive. Do you like to be assailed and abused? Are you inclined to change your mind to line up with abusive assailers? Do you believe the Golden Rule is not in force in human relations?

  125. JT

    Robert: “Revile? Really? Tell us more about why you think we should “assail with abusive language.””

    Ya got me there! I should have said “disdain.” Of course, words don’t have definite meanings to you, so my definitions could be different from yours anyway.

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