Andy Jacobs: Libertarians need to make it clear that we are just as far from being Republicans as we are from being Democrats

Posted by Andy Jacobs in IPR comments on a previous post:

Libertarians won’t get anywhere if we just sound like Republicans, and this includes “Republicans who really mean it.”

If people just want somebody who sounds like a Republican, then they can vote for Republicans.

I want less taxes and spending, but one of the reasons that I want less taxes and spending is because much of the taxes and spending goes to fund wars of aggression abroad and a domestic police state at home.

The first part of the statement that I made above appeals to conservatives, but the second part of the statement is an example of how it can be spun to appeal to liberals and to show them why they ought to favor less taxes and spending.

Many conservatives will rally against the public welfare system, but then they will enthusiastically support big military budgets, foreign wars of aggression, and a domestic police state.

A lot of Republicans have found that they can talk about limiting government, cutting taxes and spending, supporting the Constitution, et cetera, during election time and then once in office they ignore all of this stuff. They will sound almost like a Libertarian on the campaign trail, but once in office they help make government bigger and bigger.

The key here is that they will sound “almost” like a Libertarian. They’ll talk about cutting taxes and spending. They’ll talk about the public welfare system and government employee unions. They may even talk about gun rights.

However, there are certain things they WON’T DARE SAY. They won’t talk about (re)legalizing all drugs. They won’t talk about ending US military intervention abroad and bringing all of the troops home. They won’t talk about cutting military spending. They won’t talk about eliminating the Patriot Act, the Department of Homeland Security, the TSA, the CIA, the NSA, or any other act or agency which is supposedly making us “safer”. They won’t say that gays should be able to get married, and that prostitution and porn should be legal. They won’t say that people should be free to gamble with their own money. They won’t talk about how big corporations are in bed with big government. And they won’t dare talk about ending the Federal Reserve System.

I found out about the Libertarian Party back in 1996 after I stumbled upon Harry Browne speaking at the Libertarian Party’s National Convention in July. What impressed me about Harry Browne and made me want to join the Libertarian Party is that he did NOT sound like a Republican or a Democrat. He was clearly offering something much different that the two major parties, something that was just as different from being Republican as it was from being a Democrat. If Harry Browne had sounded like a Republican (or a Democrat), I wouldn’t have joined the party, and I may have changed the channel before his speech was over.

I don’t believe that sounding like either of the major parties is going to get us anywhere. If those of us who want the Libertarian Party to be successful want it to actually happen then we’ve got to make it clear to the public that we are offering them something that is totally different from either the Republicans or the Democrats. We need to make it clear that we are just as far from being Republicans as we are from being Democrats.

I say all of this as somebody who has quite possibly done more one-on-one outreach to the widest possible spectrum of the population than anyone else in the party for the past 10 plus years. I’m not talking about going on TV shows or radio shows (although I’ve done both), and I’m not just talking about posting stuff on-line, I mean talking to people in person one-on-one where the other person can talk back. I’m talking about all over the country, in all types of areas (big cities, suburbs, medium towns, small towns, rural areas, and north, south, east, and west and all points in between). I’m talking about all economic groups, age groups, races/ethnicities, religions, political persuasions, etc…

So when I talk about this stuff I’m not just some guy sitting behind a computer screen spouting off without really having any personal experience or knowing about which I am speaking. I am a voice that has much experience behind what I say and these are my observations.

129 thoughts on “Andy Jacobs: Libertarians need to make it clear that we are just as far from being Republicans as we are from being Democrats

  1. Andy

    I haven’t read through the whole thing here yet but I already spotted one error.

    You should have cleaned this up or sent it to me to clean up before you posted it.

    I typed that up on the fly as a comment on a thread. If I knew that it was going to be turned into an article I could have cleaned it up and perhaps stated some parts of it more eloquently.

  2. Andy

    One other thing that I want to make clear is that when I say Republicans, I’m not talking about Ron Paul Republicans. I’m talking about mainstream Republicans. I’m talking about the warmongers, the police state bootlickers, the drug warriors, the corporatists, the neo-cons, and the theocrats. I’m also talking about the many liars and hypocrites in the Republican Party who say one thing and then do the opposite once in office.

    I realize that there has been a greater effort among pro-liberty folks and infiltrate the Republican Party than there has been with the Democratic Party, and the greatest success story in this effort has been Ron Paul.

    Having said this, outside of the Ron Paul Republicans (which make up a very small minority in the Republican Party), I consider the Republican Party to be just as bad as the Democrats.

  3. Melty

    There’s no overestimating the importance of this. Choose your words as a libertarian. Don’t speak in the words of other politcal persuasions. By putting out consciously chosen words loaded with what you stand for, you make yourself readily distinguishable, and it’s powerful. I’ve been saying this for years and it’s truly lovely to hear somebody else saying it.

    The keypoint not mentioned in the above, is in that the choice of subject matter alone does not suffice. For one example, you defeat your message if you say “defense budget”, a euphemism for war spending. Libertarians strangle their own message if they present it in euphemisms. So call it what it is, “war spending”.

  4. Andy

    “So call it what it is, ‘war spending’.”

    Good idea. We should always look for better ways to phrase things.

  5. NewFederalist

    Good piece. This is the reason I joined the LP 37 years ago. The fact that this approach has largely been abandoned is also why I left the LP 26 years ago. Harry Browne got me interested again but I did not rejoin. Perhaps the looming economic collapse will make the idea of despising both dominant parties “separately but equally” easier for the voters to accept. One can only hope some good will come out of the mess they’ve made.

  6. Steven Wilson

    Harry Browne had that effect on many people. Harry Browne was the real deal. A true leader. He believed in individualism. He had faith in each of us. We need another one.

  7. AroundtheblockAFT

    Observations:
    They “won’t dare say” whatever because they don’t believe whatever and neither do the vast majority of the people who vote.
    There is appx. one Libertarian Party member for every 30,000 U.S. citizens. We could double or treble that and still be way behind many organizations that have no interest in educating anyone else in their hobby or endeavor. But we have to reach and educate or ours is just another hobby. The only reason to sound like any other political group is to open a door through which we can walk and spread libertarian ideology. Some are more comfortable doing that with peace groups, with the GOP, with liberals, with the Tea Party, with religious sects, etc. These “others” are certainly going to feel more comfortable with – and therefore give an ear to – those they think have some common views.
    So, I guess what I’m advocating is that – if the LP has any chance of growing as a political party it has to find some common ground with non-libertarians in order to get them to listen.
    Frankly, though, nothing has worked well in forty years and it may be that libertarianism is virtually impossible to sell to any significant number of Americans who have been thoroughly infected with “Santa Statism.”
    What we really need right now is a dialogue on how to make libertarianism compelling, its features and rewards so obvious that almost any citizen with a brain can see the necessity for adopting it.

  8. paulie Post author

    I haven’t read through the whole thing here yet but I already spotted one error.

    You should have cleaned this up or sent it to me to clean up before you posted it.

    Actually I did clean it up (spent about 15-30 minutes on fixing spelling and grammar), but I can revise articles after I post them. So if you want to rework it, I can update it as well.


    I typed that up on the fly as a comment on a thread. If I knew that it was going to be turned into an article I could have cleaned it up and perhaps stated some parts of it more eloquently.

    I asked, and you said OK. Again, feel free to revise.

  9. JT

    What a great essay! I agree with everything in it, Andy.

    Most Americans view electoral politics as X vs. Y. The only way Libertarian candidates have any chance for success in our rigged electoral system–which puts the LP at a disadvantage before the starter gun is even fired–is if Libertarians are able to convince many people that there really are two political parties: the Democratic-Republican Party and the Libertarian Party. Therefore, Libertarian rhetoric and policies must be very clearly differentiated from those of the Democrats and Republicans, so as to merge the other two parties into one in the minds of voters.

    I also love your reference to Harry Browne. He was libertarianism personified and a truly great speaker and writer. I know he was very disappointed that he didn’t get more votes as the party’s candidate for President in 2000. Unfortunately, he was running in a super-tight election against Gore and Bush on a tiny budget. Yet he still managed to interest many people in the LP and presented a positive message that appealed to libertarians both on the right and left side of the libertarian quadrant.

    As far as the LP getting another one like him soon, Steven, don’t hold your breath.

  10. paulie Post author

    The fact that this approach has largely been abandoned is also why I left the LP 26 years ago.

    That seems like odd timing. You thought the LP in the Bergland era was more Republicanized than previously? Since you were there, and I’ve only read about it, I’d be interested in your thoughts on that.

    I’d always thought of Bergland and co. as purist libertarians. Actually, around that time he provided a “service” for me – I was a kid with a terrible coke habit, and his videos would come on in the middle of the night (usually back to back with LaRouche) and finally put me to sleep after binging for a few days. This happened more than once.

    At the time, my political views careened from fairly mainstream progressive Democrat to utopian socialist to anarcho-nihilist and back, sometimes coexisting incompatibly at the same time.

    The right was always “the enemy” – that is the “warmongers, the police state bootlickers, the drug warriors, the corporatists, the neo-cons, the theocrats, liars and hypocrites” as Andy says above.

    I knew that the Democrats were dominated by corporatists, militarists and drug warriors as well. However, I thought that when the baby boomers who came out of the counterculture and “infiltrated the establishment” got to the top, they would actually change things. With Clinton’s selection as the first man of that generation to be the Democratic presidential candidate, I realized I had been wrong.

    At this time, Bergland did another favor for me. I knew I couldn’t vote for Bush, Clinton or Perot, “the three blind mice” of the drug war. I was chiefly an anti-prohibition activist at the time. The Libertarians were the only anti-drug war party on the ballot, but I had known Libertarians through the drug peace movement for years and aside from that common position I always classified them as “right wing” – that is, part of the “enemy” side.

    Reading Bergland’s book “Libertarianism in one Lesson”, which was part of my LP inquiry package, helped open up my mind somewhat. It took a couple of years of reading through the books in that books “for further reading” section, plus many other articles, before I went from merely voting for Libertarians to fully considering myself to be one.

    Also, I know that I’ve read that the mid-1980s was when the LP platform was at its most hardcore.

    Thus, I’m curious as to what happened 26 years ago that made you consider the LP to be getting Republicanized at that point.

  11. Jerry S.

    You are correct sir ! Good article !

    I still say the reason the numbers are so small is the MSM is owned by the WAR machine and doesn’t cover alternatives (LP,GP,CP) to their bosses well being (WAR) in any positive way, if so not very often!

    The ones who builds the bombs, jets and helicopters, etc DO NOT want negative talk on “their” airwaves ! Hence the LPs message seldom if ever reaches all the masses. They drain the opposition with unbelievable ballot access laws cutting into their funds so much they can purchase very little if any ad time!

    “Whoever controls the media, controls your mind.” – Jim Morrison

    “There is no such thing, at this date of the world’s history, in America, as an independent press. You know it and I know it. There is not one of you who dares to write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinion out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar weekly salaries for similar things, and any of you who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job. If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my paper, before twenty-four hours my occupation would be gone. The business of the journalists is to destroy the truth; to lie outright; to pervert; to vilify; to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it, and what folly is this toasting an independent press? We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities, and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes.” – John Swinton, former New York Times Chief of Staff

    History of the Libertarian Party: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYQRzXd1UvQ&feature=related

    “In Haig’s presence, (Henry) Kissinger referred pointedly to military men as ‘dumb, stupid animals to be used’ as pawns for foreign policy.” – Bob Woodward & Carl Bernstein in their book The Final Days

    “I will begin to remove our troops from Iraq immediately.” – Barack Obama – Promise made during 2008 campaign speech

    “The tragedy of modern war is that the young men die fighting each other—instead of their real enemies back home in the capitals.” – Edward Abbey

  12. paulie Post author

    ATBAFT, to make paragraph breaks, simply hit “enter” twice. It should look like a paragraph break in the comment window, although I’m not sure whether it would work that way if you are posting from a phone or mobile device of some sort.

    So, I guess what I’m advocating is that – if the LP has any chance of growing as a political party it has to find some common ground with non-libertarians in order to get them to listen.

    Yes, but it has to find common ground as well as differences with both Democrats and Republicans. If the picture we paint is that one or the other of those is the lesser evil, a natural conclusion for people drawn to us is to vote for one of them so as to stop the other.

    Therefore, it makes a lot more sense to portray them as equally evil, while, as you say, finding common ground on some things with each.

    Frankly, though, nothing has worked well in forty years and it may be that libertarianism is virtually impossible to sell to any significant number of Americans who have been thoroughly infected with “Santa Statism.”

    I don’t believe that to be true at all. While it is true that a majority of people simply don’t agree with us, it doesn’t take convincing a majority. There are many, many more people that do agree with us that are not in the LP. Organizing them would give us the organizational strength to make real changes in this country/world. Many movements that made significant historical changes were and still are minority viewpoints, but they go organized, and, since most people are not politically organized, made a difference.

    What we really need right now is a dialogue on how to make libertarianism compelling, its features and rewards so obvious that almost any citizen with a brain can see the necessity for adopting it.

    We need to make ourselves marketable to our most natural constituencies and then – here’s the key – actually market to them. This is not being done nearly enough.

  13. NewFederalist

    “Thus, I’m curious as to what happened 26 years ago that made you consider the LP to be getting Republicanized at that point.”

    I didn’t say I left because the party was getting “Republicanized”. I left because it became obvious to me the party was going nowhere. The Phoenix convention in ’85 did it for me. Too many people fighting each other with such vitriol that there was little energy left for the two dominant parties. I don’t see that much has changed in the past 26 years.

  14. paulie Post author

    I agree, that’s a persistent problem in the LP.

    I think that something like the LP needs to exist though, and it’s harder to start from scratch, plus then you still have the same problem.

    As George Donnelly points out in the thread at http://www.independentpoliticalreport.com/2011/03/jury-nullification-advocate-julian-heicklen-indicted-for-passing-out-pamphlets/

    The answer is to lead by example – that is, be the change you want to see:

    “Want to make a serious effort to fight this? Start handing out fully informed jury pamphlets. But talk to someone (like me or Jake Witmer) who has some experience doing it before you start.

    Calls for people to copy Julian and friends fall flat – unless you yourself are taking up your own call.

    The way you find those 10 libertarians is by being one yourself!

    As an aside, after my arrest in Allentown last May (for videorecording Julian and Jim Babb doing the fully informed jury pamphleting), those 10 libertarians popped right up and got to work.”

    Although Donnelly is not a fan of the LP, or political parties in general, I would suggest that the same holds true for the LP.

    The only way to overcome the problems in the LP is to provide an example of the kind of LP you want. Otherwise, you are just contributing to the existing black hole of libertarian energy.

    As Marc Montoni explains it, only work works:

    See

    http://www.independentpoliticalreport.com/2011/01/marc-montoni-what-hurts-the-libertarian-party-extremism-or-lack-of-effort/

    Or, for a real life example, read

    http://www.independentpoliticalreport.com/2009/03/wes-benedict-texas-libertarians-rise-versus-californias-decline/

  15. AroundtheblockAFT

    “There are many, many more people that do agree with us that are not in the LP. Organizing them would give us the organizational strength to make real changes in this country/world. Many movements that made significant historical changes were and still are minority viewpoints, but they go organized, and, since most people are not politically organized, made a difference.”

    Paulie, I guess I’m in a pessimistic mood today.
    I’d bet there aren’t more than 1,000 LPers you could describe as do-ers. The other 90% – like in most organizations- are comfortable being along for the ride. Some do fall in and out of activism on an activity by activity basis, but in any group the leadership can usually count on only 10% to do the work.

    The LP’s vote totals show that actual dues payers are maybe 10% of those hard-core we can count on to vote Libertarian.

    We aren’t going to organize the world with a cadre of 1,000. We have to expand the cadre.
    You do that by being successful, visible, and desirable. Across wide swaths of America, the LP is invisible. There are few regular meetings where outreach projects are discussed and plans for new recruits made. I’ve always been hopeful the Operation Political Homeless booths would find and generate lots of new members. I don’t think they do. I wonder how much follow-up is made to get the 80% to attend something?

    When there isn’t the excitement of constantly engaging the outside world, then the LP turns inward and battles itself. Whatever flaws may exist with W.A.R.’s understanding of libertarianism, at least his energies are largely directed outward where the potential converts are and not inward.

  16. John Jay Myers

    AroundtheblockAFT, we can’t even win people over who describe themselves as libertarians. How are we going to win over those who self describe as something else?

    Think about the popularity that exploded for Ron Paul? Was it Waynes short list of Republican talking points that made Ron so popular? No.

    If someone told me that the Libertarian Party was about that list, I wouldn’t be a member. Nor would anyone else including the people Wayne is trying to court.

    We have a long road ahead to major party status one where we may get some people elected, we give others a way to vote against “the man”, we also exist to influence outcomes, educate and get people to be more libertarian. (hopefully)

    Otherwise there simply is no point to our existence. We are not here to try to compete for the mainstream voter. We are here to educate the mainstream voter to our point of view. And see that turn into a more educated loyal base.

    People are fed up with the two parties being nothing but rhetoric and sound bites, the only chance we have in pulling this off is by being the revolution party.

    I am sorry but it’s true, I can not envision a scenario where we start getting people elected that starts by diluting our message and sounding like everyone else.

  17. paulie Post author

    I’d bet there aren’t more than 1,000 LPers you could describe as do-ers. The other 90% – like in most organizations- are comfortable being along for the ride. Some do fall in and out of activism on an activity by activity basis, but in any group the leadership can usually count on only 10% to do the work.

    The LP’s vote totals show that actual dues payers are maybe 10% of those hard-core we can count on to vote Libertarian.

    We aren’t going to organize the world with a cadre of 1,000. We have to expand the cadre.

    My point exactly. There’s a lot more than 1,000 or 10k or 100k people that agree with us, so at this point the fact that a lot of people don’t agree with us is not the major stumbling block. Getting a larger share of those people who already agree active, excited and organized would take us a long way. It may even help us move the debate in our direction a lot more than seems immediately plausible.

    You do that by being successful, visible, and desirable. Across wide swaths of America, the LP is invisible. There are few regular meetings where outreach projects are discussed and plans for new recruits made.

    Again, my point exactly. I believe this needs to, and can, change.

    I’ve always been hopeful the Operation Political Homeless booths would find and generate lots of new members. I don’t think they do.

    They generate a lot of inquiries. The LP needs to have stuff for those people to do, otherwise the inquiries in most cases lead to faded interest quickly.

    Also, I don’t think OPH or other active projects where the LP talks to average people face to face, like post office protests, have been done nearly as much in the last few years. Again, something that can and should change.

    Are we using social networks effectively?

    The LP has over 140k people who “like” the LP on facebook. Is there a message feature for the party to contact them through facebook?

    I’ve suggested having youtube contests, and Wes said they will be working on that at some point.

    Graphics and videos can be shared over some kind of open source wiki.

    There should also be project contests – say, do you want to fund a Republican Wall of Shame or would you prefer a Democratic Wall of Guilt? See which one raises money faster, make it a race.

    The LP should work towards hiring field staff/sales agents for face to face marketing.

    Recently the LP blog featured an announcement about a Libertarian graphic artist willing to contribute graphics to campaigns. How many other people with how many other talents, skills or other things besides just money do we already have that could help in various ways? What have we done to find out?

    I don’t think they do. I wonder how much follow-up is made to get the 80% to attend something?

    Not nearly enough. Also, attend what? We need meetings where actions are planned, not bitchfests.

    When there isn’t the excitement of constantly engaging the outside world, then the LP turns inward and battles itself.

    Exactly. And vice versa.

    Whatever flaws may exist with W.A.R.’s understanding of libertarianism, at least his energies are largely directed outward where the potential converts are and not inward.

    I absolutely agree. However, I don’t think we’ll get converts by telling them the Republican Party is the lesser evil and the Democrats are a mortal danger. That will only get people to try to cut as down as a “spoiler” for the Republicans even more.

    We need Libertarians who are every bit as active and energetic as Wayne about outreach – individually or collectively – who also make the point that there is no lesser evil, but that Democrats and Republicans are two sides of the same bad penny.

    That is what I have been pushing for. Not sure how many of my comments here you read, but I’ve made this point many times, on many threads.

    415-690-6352 if anyone wants to discuss any of these ideas further.

  18. AroundtheblockAFT

    JJM, the RP movement shocked me. The leadership I saw contained few who had been active in the LP. Where did the rest come from?
    And, from what I saw, the majority of RP fans are libertarian leaning conservatives, not libertarians. Maybe “the rest” were those affected by years of the LP’s educational efforts but who hadn’t joined or accepted the whole
    ball of wax. Maybe many were affected by Libertarians who refused to treat all Republicans as the enemy and found some common ground.

    Like it or not, that’s how libertarianism will progress in the real world, even while it holds to its core principles. I don’t see anyone saying that the LP should refuse to engage, but I do see plenty who nevertheless don’t. They’d rather stand in a circular firing line and pickoff the
    “heretics.”

  19. paulie Post author

    The leadership I saw contained few who had been active in the LP. Where did the rest come from?

    There are tons of potential libertarian leaders we have not reached. Nothing shocking about that.

    And, from what I saw, the majority of RP fans are libertarian leaning conservatives, not libertarians.

    I’ve also come across a ton of them that are libertarian leaning progressives or straight up libertarians.

    Maybe “the rest” were those affected by years of the LP’s educational efforts but who hadn’t joined or accepted the whole
    ball of wax.

    It’s not so much that, as what you said earlier: The LP has been mostly invisible.

  20. AroundtheblockAFT

    “There are tons of potential libertarian leaders we have not reached.”

    O.K. Who reached them? They didn’t spring from the head of Zeus. Rand? Heinlein? Hayek?

    If we could figure this out, we could do a better marketing job. They hadn’t heard of the LP in forty years? Shame on us. Or maybe they did hear and weren’t interested. Why? Is our model as a “political party” seriously flawed? Would our time be better spent on pure education, creating thousands more libertarians who then pop up in Ron Paul-style movements within the two major parties?

    These are all more important questions to answer than arguing whether the views of W.A.R. or G.P. or M.R. or A.K. best reflect mainstream libertarianism.

  21. paulie Post author

    O.K. Who reached them? They didn’t spring from the head of Zeus. Rand? Heinlein? Hayek?

    In some cases, but in most cases nobody until Ron Paul. He had a bigger stage than any of those others with the Republican primary debates and all the news about the presidential campaign. And there are even more just like them out there that Ron Paul did not reach either.

    If we could figure this out, we could do a better marketing job.

    It’s actually not terribly complicated. We could already be doing it if we didn’t tie ourselves in knots so much.

    They hadn’t heard of the LP in forty years? Shame on us.

    Many people haven’t.

    Or have, but have little or no idea what the LP is about, in other cases.

    I meet them all the time.

    Or maybe they did hear and weren’t interested. Why?

    Too lame. Too much talk. Not enough action.

    Is our model as a “political party” seriously flawed? Is our model as a “political party” seriously flawed? Would our time be better spent on pure education, creating thousands more libertarians who then pop up in Ron Paul-style movements within the two major parties?

    I don’t think so.

    Yes, we need those movements too, but the existence of the socialist and communist parties was a major component of the successful movement to shift US politics incrementally in their direction.

    The larger parties need pressure both from outside as well as inside.

  22. Porn Again Christian

    “I want less taxes and spending, but one of the reasons that I want less taxes and spending is because much of the taxes and spending goes to fund wars of aggression abroad and a domestic police state at home.”

    That should be posted all over the place.

  23. Andy

    “AroundtheblockAFT // Mar 11, 2011 at 9:29 am

    Observations:
    They ‘won’t dare say’ whatever because they don’t believe whatever”

    This was exactly my point. A lot of Republicans will talk kinda, sorta, like libertarians on the campaign trail, but they only offer a watered down version of libertarian, and then once they get into office they betray the few libertarian principles they claimed to hold.

    “and neither do the vast majority of the people who vote.”

    What about all of the non-voters out there? They constitute a silent majority.

    Also, there are a lot of people out there who vote for Democrats and Republicans not because they really believe in them, but rather because they are trying to keep whichever of the two they perceive to be the greater evil out of office.

  24. Gene Berkman

    Clearly, Libertarians must attack the record of the Republicans, who under two Bushes have given us several wars and trillions in new debt.

    Republicans have also given us the War on Drugs and crusades against abortion and Gay Rights.

    At the same time, many libertarians continue to look to the Republican Party to oppose Democrat statism on economic and tax issues. They do so because The Libertarian Party has not moved beyond the level of protest votes.

    It is neither too much extremism or too much moderation in our views that limits our outreach. Our biggest limitation is lack of resources adequate to compete with the pro-government parties.

    Most money in politics is contributed by special interests that want something from the government. Since Libertarians propose to take away government’s powers to grant favors or subsidies, we will not get this special interest money.

    We are limited to contributions from ideological libertarians, and from people who have a special interest in decreasing government power – gun owners, people who use marijuana, gold bugs, and antiwar activists.

    We have to reach people who want less government in some specific area, even if they don’t agree with us on everything. We have to accept that such people will continue to support some major party candidates who agree with them on their issue, but we can hope to get some of their support.

    And we have to focus our efforts in a way that effectively uses our limited resource. Wasting money on a campaign for President, when our campaign can raise $2 million, and each major candidate can raise a billion dollars, is a waste of time and more importantly, it shows people that we are not serious.

  25. paulie Post author

    And we have to focus our efforts in a way that effectively uses our limited resource. Wasting money on a campaign for President, when our campaign can raise $2 million, and each major candidate can raise a billion dollars, is a waste of time and more importantly, it shows people that we are not serious.

    See Harry Browne’s reply to this at http://www.harrybrowne.org/articles/LibertarianVoteTotal.htm

  26. Gene Berkman

    Paulie @ 29 – I read it in 2004 when it was first online.

    Note that he says: “I still believe the presidential campaign is vitally important.”

    So it is a faith based initiative. People “believe” in running a Libertarian candidate for President despite the complete failure of 40 years of doing so in establishing the party’s viability.

    Every four years after a Presidential campaign, I hear people talk about how low the vote was, and how they are giving up because the LP is pointless. Harry Browne’s “belief” about the outreach of our presidential campaign does not change people’s very real response to the low vote totals.

    Well, I want to get on with my life, and that does not include any of the current third party hopefuls for President.

  27. paulie Post author

    Every four years after a Presidential campaign, I hear people talk about how low the vote was, and how they are giving up because the LP is pointless.

    And yet many people come in to the party because of presidential campaigns…like me in ’92 and Andy in ’96 (see main article above).

    BTW Richard Winger has noted that parties which stop running presidential candidates tend to disappear altogether shortly afterwards.

  28. Gene Berkman

    “Richard Winger has noted that parties which stop running presidential candidates tend to disappear altogether shortly afterwards.”

    That is not true at all. The Vermont Progressive Party has only nominated for President once – they put Ralph Nader on in 2000.

    The Minnesota Farmer Labor Party elected people to office consistently between 1922 and 1942, before merging with the Democrats. They never had a Presidential candidate on their ballot line – Sen LaFollette was on as an Independent candidate in Minnesota in 1924.

    The Wisconsin Progressive Party never had a candidate for President on their ballot line, but held a Senate seat and several seats in Congress as late as 1944, 10 years after forming.

    As for the good reasons Harry Browne gives for running a candidate for President, they are in every single case an assertion without an attempt to back it with facts. I have been involved in third party politics for 40 years, so I will go by my experience.

  29. paulie Post author

    The Minnesota Farmer Labor Party elected people to office consistently between 1922 and 1942, before merging with the Democrats. They never had a Presidential candidate on their ballot line – Sen LaFollette was on as an Independent candidate in Minnesota in 1924.

    The Wisconsin Progressive Party never had a candidate for President on their ballot line, but held a Senate seat and several seats in Congress as late as 1944, 10 years after forming.

    All those are one-state parties, so naturally it is less important for them.

    I noticed no national parties on your list, though.

    As for the good reasons Harry Browne gives for running a candidate for President, they are in every single case an assertion without an attempt to back it with facts.

    Not true at all. He cites numerous examples to back up his points.

  30. paulie Post author

    Clearly, Libertarians must attack the record of the Republicans, who under two Bushes have given us several wars and trillions in new debt.

    Republicans have also given us the War on Drugs and crusades against abortion and Gay Rights.

    True. And the Democrats have only paid lip service on peace and civil liberties as well.

    At the same time, many libertarians continue to look to the Republican Party to oppose Democrat statism on economic and tax issues.

    For those, there’s the Republican Wall of Shame:

    http://www.independentpoliticalreport.com/2011/03/republican-wall-of-shame-is-up/

    It is neither too much extremism or too much moderation in our views that limits our outreach. Our biggest limitation is lack of resources adequate to compete with the pro-government parties.

    It’s also lack of effort, and lack of willingness to use the resources we do have, much less learn lessons from others to use them intelligently.

  31. Gene Berkman

    I will note that I did vote for Harry Browne both times, and promoted his campaign both times. I wrote an editorial @ antiwar.com in 2000 urging a vote for Harry Browne.

    And I voted for every LP candidate for President since Hospers in 1972, except that I did not vote for the LP candidates in 1980 and 1984.

    That said, Harry Browne did not believe enough in the LP running a candidate for President to ever contribute money to such a campaign, and he never voted for a Libertarian Party candidate before he ran for President in 1996.

  32. Andy

    “Wasting money on a campaign for President, when our campaign can raise $2 million, and each major candidate can raise a billion dollars, is a waste of time and more importantly, it shows people that we are not serious.”

    I disagree. While the Libertarian Party obviously can’t raise enough money to run a competitive race for President against the Democrats and Republicans, it is still important for the LP to run a Presidential candidate. Why? Because the Libertarian Party’s Presidential candidate is one of the best vehicles for outreach that there is. Since we can’t raise enough money to win, I think of the Libertarian Party Presidential campaign as an advertisement for the Libertarian Party and movement. The Presidential race is the race which most of the public pays attention to so it would be a mistake to not run a candidate for President.

    Also, in some states the Libertarian Party can maintain ballot access if they get a certain percent of the vote in the Presidential race. This is another good reason to run a candidate for President.

  33. paulie Post author

    John,

    Yeah….exactly…we need a Libertarian that communicates that message effectively.

    I understand how that connects with regular people because I have talked to so many of them. Hundreds of thousands, maybe over a million in my life one on one face to face.

    Granted, most for only a few seconds, but certainly tens of thousands at least for 5 minutes or more.

    And I have to say of the Libertarians I have come across you do that and connect better than just about anyone I can think of. A couple of other people like Loretta Nall, but there are not many at all.

    I was talking to Doug Craig the other day and he agreed with me.

  34. JT

    Gene @ 28: “And we have to focus our efforts in a way that effectively uses our limited resource. Wasting money on a campaign for President, when our campaign can raise $2 million, and each major candidate can raise a billion dollars, is a waste of time and more importantly, it shows people that we are not serious.”

    Your fallacy here is assuming that if that $2 million didn’t go to the presidential campaign, it would be available for other party activities. This is a mistake many Libertarians make.

    The truth is that many people want to donate specifically to a presidential campaign. If there were no such candidate, a great many of those people wouldn’t donate that money at all to the LP. They like knowing their donation is going to a particular candidate for President.

    As Harry Browne said, this isn’t a zero-sum game. Whatever campaigns or initiatives Libertarians are enthused about, they’ll support. Whatever they aren’t, they won’t.

  35. JT

    Also, this is misleading:

    Gene: “That said, Harry Browne did not believe enough in the LP running a candidate for President to ever contribute money to such a campaign, and he never voted for a Libertarian Party candidate before he ran for President in 1996.”

    HB was apolitical before then–he didn’t support ANY candidate for President, not just Libertarian ones. For many, many years he thought electoral politics was pointless for pro-freedom individuals. Then he changed his mind. Elsewhere I’ve pointed out his reasons, but they include public polls on voters’ view of government, Ross Perot’s showing in 1992, the House Republican victory in 1994, and the LP gaining 50-state ballot access.

    In light of such factors and given his knowledge of libertarianism, his experience appearing on radio/TV to sell books, and his personal list of libertarian-leaning associates outside the LP who’d support his campaign, he decided he should run as the Libertarian candidate for President.

  36. George Phillies

    @38, @41 The Libertarian Presidential campaign brings out of the woodwork money and volunteers who would elsewise go unseen. Also, at some level the campaign is an efficient way of ensuring that every four years almost every American *can* vote Libertarian.

    Harry Brown and the LNC ran hundreds of thousands of dollars of ads in support of his campaign during the one time, every four years, when many Americans notice that we have a political process in America. Badnarik broke Browne’s general-election fundraising efforts, and was able to exploit the internet to the same advantage.

  37. Robert Capozzi

    jjm39: They are not going to get up off their couch for anything that sounds similar to the Democrats or Republicans.

    gp43: …the one time, every four years, when many Americans notice that we have a political process in America.

    me: Agree that the prez cycle is when more people are paying attention. That does seem to be the optimal time to GET their attention.

    Ls should differentiate, and almost all do. It’s a matter of degree. Differentiate too much and run the risk of wholesale alienation aside from the truest of believers. Differentiate too little and alienate the true believers.

    Get too specific and alienate even those who lean L. Get too general and alienate the firebrands.

    Our candidates should appeal to this “splinter in your mind” notion. That something is wrong. That we all “don’t like the idea that I’m not in control of my life.”

  38. Melty

    “…I can not envision a scenario where we start getting people elected that starts by diluting our message and sounding like everyone else.”

    “They are not going to get up off their couch for anything that sounds similar to the Democrats or Republicans.”

    A day ago, @3, I said a little about how to not sound like everybody else. I wanna say some more on that using catchphrases that appeared in this thread as examples.

    “The War on Drugs” is a catchphrase that’ll make you sound like everybody else and defeat your purpose if you’re for individual rights. Once you’ve so much as utterred it, you’re a quitter and a loser if you’re against it. Instead say “prohibition” and folks get that it’s a bad idea, plus you sound different from the rest just sayin it.

    “Gay Rights” is only good to say if you’re against. If it’s in context of marriage, just say “marriage”, as in “government out of marriage” and you’re on message. No buzzword needed. In other contexts I suggest a fresh buzzword, like maybe “sex choices” to express “govment outta da bedroom”. No need to single out a particular sexual preference when what’s needed is rights for all.

    Deliberate choice of words of this sort makes you instantly recognizable as a different brand of politico.

    In general, libertarians can be instantly distiguishable from the rest, and be self-promoting instead of self-defeating iff they…

    a) reject all euphemisms (“socialized medicine”, not “healthcare”, “black”, not “African-American”…), and…

    b) use only loaded words that’re loaded with libertarian gusto
    (example, “nanny state” and “corporate welfare” are fine ),
    and say not the ones that ain’t (which are many),
    or maybe make up a fresh one (“grandchild tax” I think is recent, and I just proposed “sex choices”).

    If you fail to follow these guidelines, no matter how otherwise eloquent you may be, your message gets so dilluted with antifreedom buzzwords and euphemisms(which are every one of ’em antifreedom) that you taste the same as any other politico.

    You’re word choices make you instantly recognizable as a political species. If you talk in Demcrat buzzwords you are one, or if in a Repub ones, you are one. Only if you talk like a libertarian are you one in effect. If vocal, libertarian identity entails consistant noneuphemism, and only loaded words that’re libertarian loaded. Your own words are your own choice, yet this, more than any one thing else, keeps freedom from ringing.

  39. Gene Berkman

    Melty @ 45 -Libertarian “buzzwords” are not the best substitute for Democrat “buzzwords” or Republican “buzzwords.” Words that convey meaning, even to people who don’t already understand your philosophy are much preferable to buzzwords and in-group talk.

  40. Gene Berkman

    GP @ 43 – in campaigns for President are z’n efficient way of ensuring that every four years almost every American *can* vote Libertarian.”
    then we may as well give up now.

    If every American really is exposed to libertarian views in the Presidential election, then 99.5% of Americans reject our views, or they don’t consider voting Libertarian for President an effective means of implementing those views.

  41. paulie Post author

    They do convey meaning but they also shape it in subliminal ways, so one approach is to quickly equate terms to make sure that your audience understands you, and then use your preferred descriptor from there. Another may be to illustrate what you are talking about with an example, and that way you’re sure your meaning isn’t lost.

  42. Gene Berkman

    JT @ 42 – the fact that the Libertarian Party in 1996 found its best choice to be someone who had never done anything to build the Party, who had discouraged people from being involved in the Party indicates that the Libertarian Party is clearly not ready to compete at that level.

    That said, Harry Browne was a far better candidate for the LP than Michael Badnarik, Bob Barr or anyone currently seeking the Libertarian nomination for 2012,

  43. paulie Post author

    If every American really is exposed to libertarian views in the Presidential election, then 99.5% of Americans reject our views, or they don’t consider voting Libertarian for President an effective means of implementing those views.

    Every American isn’t exposed, since we don’t have enough resources for that, but many are, and even the ones who don’t vote Libertarian for President in some cases end up voting Libertarian down ticket precisely because they heard the Libertarian presidential candidate, otherwise they wouldn’t have voted Libertarian at all.

    Others join the LP because of the presidential campaigns only, and later go on to become local candidates, or donate to them, or volunteer for them, etc.

    Harry Browne explains all this and gives many examples in the two articles I linked above.

  44. paulie Post author

    That said, Harry Browne was a far better candidate for the LP than Michael Badnarik, Bob Barr or anyone currently seeking the Libertarian nomination for 2012,

    I thought Badnarik was not a good choice at first, but he did surprisingly well in terms of donations and votes given where he started. Unfortunately, he wrecked it in 2006 with a Hacker-run congressional campaign that was a total disaster, ending his viability within the LP, mostly through no fault of his own.

    Bob Barr was a bad choice and I predicted he would be. It was really too bad that Kubby had the flu in Vegas (LSLA) and San Diego and was just learning to use the teleprompter, all contributing to a bad situation exacerbated by exaggerated rumors about his health (it was flu, not anything related to cancer, and he is most of the time healthier than a normal healthy person), legal situation (completely resolved by Denver, but the news came too late to get to most people in time), etc.

    That led to Ruwart and Barr being recruited into the race by some of the same people, who then turned against Ruwart.

    Barr won narrowly, and I thought and still think that was a mistake, which was exacerbated by an even narrower loss on the VP selection.

    The mistake was compounded exponentially when Barr chose Russ Verney as his campaign manager and stuck with him.

    As for 2012 candidates, it’s way too early to tell.

    Wrights seems to have it together, writes well, and at least has the means to get to state conventions all over the country and the willingness to do it. He’s ahead in that regard of where we were with Kubby and starting well before they did with Ruwart, so those are IMO positives. He’s not as far as I know dependent on what he raises at each stop to make it to the next one, unlike the pre-nomination Badnarik campaign.

    I’d like to see Myers run, but I don’t think he wants to, which is too bad.

    Root, like Myers, has great energy, and is not shy about putting himself out there, but I’d like to see further evolution in his message before I would be happy in supporting him.

    Duensing would shake things up for sure, and keep them interesting, but at this stage I don’t see him as likely to actually get the nomination – I would compare him to Ernie Hancock in the chair’s race last year.

    I fully expect there to be more candidates between now and May 2012. Looking back at precedent, in most years the winning candidates had either not yet started to campaign this far out, or were not taken seriously at that point. So chances are very high that it will be someone who hasn’t even been mentioned yet.

  45. Gene Berkman

    Paulie – with all due respect, Steve Kubby would have been a disaster as a candidate for President. He was the worst LP candidate for Governor since the LP qualified for the California ballot.

    The people you mention for 2012 – nobody who is not already a committed member of the Libertarian Party will take any of them seriously as a candidate for President. They just don’t have the credentials, or the ability to make people comfortable with giving them the type of power that a President has.

    And of course they won’t be able to raise any significant amount of money. The fact that you think the $1 million raised by Badnarik was a good total shows how far we are from being competitive.

  46. Gene Berkman

    JT @ 41 – “Your fallacy here is assuming that if that $2 million didn’t go to the presidential campaign, it would be available for other party activities.”

    Actually, I don’t assume that. I assume that people who give to the LP campaign for President are making a sacrifice, and might keep their own money for better purposes is they did not believe in the illusion that LP candidates for President would make the rest of America notice the Libertarian Movement.

    If Libertarians were more successful in running a few serious campaigns for Congress, the Libertarian Party and its local groups could raise much more than $2 million. But if people send in a contribution, and there is not even a mention of the Libertarian Party on election night news, they probably won’t be as generous in the future.

  47. paulie Post author

    Paulie – with all due respect,

    You probably mean that in a good way, but it still makes me LOL. 🙂

    Steve Kubby would have been a disaster as a candidate for President.

    We have a difference of opinion, but that’s OK. I’m more interested in 2012 at this point.

    The people you mention for 2012 – nobody who is not already a committed member of the Libertarian Party will take any of them seriously as a candidate for President.

    I agree that none of them are even remotely likely to be serious contenders to win the actual office. We obviously disagree that this would be the only purpose for having a presidential campaign. I tend to agree with all the other reasons given by Harry Browne in the two articles linked earlier.

    I do believe that any of them would reach many new people that will not otherwise have joined the LP or voted for Libertarians at any level, that year or in any future year. If they are willing to share their list with the party during/after the campaign, that effect will be multiplied.

    No, I don’t think that any significant number of people that cast a vote for any of them would do so thinking that they are likely to win. It would be more likely to be a protest vote signaling agreement with libertarian views and/or disgust with their other choices.

    For instance, in 1992 I did not fully agree with the LP, but I found them to be less bad than the three blind mice of drug war prohibitionism (Bush, Clinton and Perot), and there were no other choices on my ballot. My primary motivation in making an inquiry was because I needed a presidential candidate to vote for. At that time I had lived in Alabama for one year and didn’t know or care about any state or local races.

    Since I wanted to know what I was voting for, I ordered an inquiry package from LPHQ that contained Bergland’s book Libertarianism in one Lesson, which, along with books in its “further reading” section, ended up changing my opinions of many issues over the next couple of years. It made me easily comfortable enough with the LP to vote for them that year. But none of that would have happened if the LP did not have a presidential candidate.

    My motivation for caring about politics was due mostly to federal policies such as militarism and drug war/prohibition. I grew up up north, and couldn’t care less whether Bubba Joe or Jimmy Crack Corn was elected supervisor of boll weevils for Tuscaloosa County, Alabama. Did I think Marrou had a snowball’s chance in hell of being president? Of course not. But I would never be in the party or movement otherwise.

    Andy relates a similar story in the article we are commenting on, from 1996. I don’t think he was ever delusional enough to think Browne would be elected president that year.

    So when you say that nobody who is not already a committed member of the Libertarian Party will take any of them seriously as a candidate for President, I think there’s a lot you are missing there.

    They just don’t have the credentials, or the ability to make people comfortable with giving them the type of power that a President has.

    Since we know that the chances of any of them being elected are extremely remote to say the least, the credentials which matter most are how eloquent they are in explaining libertarian views, how quick they are on their feet, how resilient and energetic they are as campaigners, how well they can get to the point quickly, whether they are willing to share their list with the party, their temperament, ability to relate to different types of audiences, talent for grabbing and keeping attention, grasp of the issues, energy level, charm, relatability…things of that nature.

    Credentials such as “former major party member of Congress,” “former state legislator,” and the like are of secondary importance at this stage. They didn’t particularly help the LP in 1988, 1992 or 2008. Nor did they help the Greens in 2008. If Badnarik and Barr both sought the candidacy again, and I had no other choices, my vote would be for Badnarik. If Browne was reincarnated and was another choice on the same ballot, I’d pick him.

    And of course they won’t be able to raise any significant amount of money. The fact that you think the $1 million raised by Badnarik was a good total shows how far we are from being competitive.

    Again, that depends on what you mean by competitive. Of course we are not competitive with Bush and Kerry. But I do think we are better off for having presidential candidates for the reasons explained by Browne.

    Finally, we simply never know when one of these campaigns may make an unexpected breakthrough.

    Edison tried many prototypes which failed before he made successful inventions.

    If I gave up after a few failures, I wouldn’t be able to either walk or talk today.

    So, I’m not giving up just because we are not competitive in the presidential race at this stage.

    If I could complete a marathon, I would still consider it an achievement, even if I came in far behind the winners and never had anything like a real chance of crossing the line first.

    Perhaps in another 20 years, if things are still pretty much as they are now, I’ll be as cynical about the whole thing as you are now, but I sure hope not.

  48. NewFederalist

    “Perhaps in another 20 years, if things are still pretty much as they are now, I’ll be as cynical about the whole thing as you are now, but I sure hope not.”

    In another 20 years if things are still pretty much the same as they are now the LP will be looked at as being in the same league as the Prohibition Party. I don’t even mean that in a bad way.

  49. JT

    Gene: “the fact that the Libertarian Party in 1996 found its best choice to be someone who had never done anything to build the Party, who had discouraged people from being involved in the Party indicates that the Libertarian Party is clearly not ready to compete at that level.”

    I thought your mentioning Harry Browne in post 36 before was an indictment of him, so I replied to that. But here you’re saying it proves something about the LP–that it isn’t ready to compete at that level because it nominated someone who had done nothing to build the party beforehand and who had discouraged people from joining the party.

    To that I say:

    1. I don’t think he actively discouraged libertarians from joining the party in a big way. He just said he thought it was pointless prior to the mid-90s, for the reasons I mentioned above.

    2. I’m not someone who believes the Libertarian candidate for President needs to be someone who has been a party member or voter for a while. I have several other qualifications I deem as very important for a candidate for President (i.e., articulate speaker and polished appearance, strong commitment to reducing government across the board, ability to raise a lot of money prior to the national convention, aversion to conspiracy theories, no history of socially conservative or economically liberal activism).

    3. I don’t think the LP is ready to compete to win the presidency. Clearly it’s not. I do think it’s a great opportunity to get free publicity. As long as the candidate for President admits (if asked) that he or she isn’t going to win the election that year but still has good reasons for running, I think that’s a good thing.

    Gene: “That said, Harry Browne was a far better candidate for the LP than Michael Badnarik, Bob Barr or anyone currently seeking the Libertarian nomination for 2012.”

    Agreed.

    Me: “Your fallacy here is assuming that if that $2 million didn’t go to the presidential campaign, it would be available for other party activities.”

    Gene: “Actually, I don’t assume that. I assume that people who give to the LP campaign for President are making a sacrifice, and might keep their own money for better purposes is they did not believe in the illusion that LP candidates for President would make the rest of America notice the Libertarian Movement.”

    You did assume that when you said in post 28: “And we have to focus our efforts in a way that effectively uses our limited resources. Wasting money on a campaign for President, when our campaign can raise $2 million, and each major candidate can raise a billion dollars, is a waste of time and more importantly, it shows people that we are not serious.”

    Moreover, a sacrifice is giving up something you value for something you value less or not at all. If many Libertarians value supporting the Libertarian candidate for President financially more than whatever they donate, then it’s not a sacrifice–it’s a trade of money in exchange for a particular person’s time and effort to promote the LP and the need to reduce government substantially in various public forums–forums that almost no other Libertarians are invited to participate in.

    Donors and volunteers don’t necessarily think the Libertarian candidate for President will “make the rest of America notice the Libertarian Movement.” They might just think he or she will be able to expose many more people to the LP and what it stands for, thereby making the movement stronger and able to be more successful in the future.

  50. JT

    I should add that every Libertarian candidate for President CAN make the movement and party stronger and able to be more successful in the future. Whether he or she DOES depends on the approach taken as a candidate.

  51. Melty

    Gene @47
    As I said, “no buzzword needed” like in my example on marriage. This is usually best to convey a libertarian message, but as I said, it “may be” good at times to use a freedom oriented buzzword or make up your own. If it’s your style to use no loaded words, fine. Just don’t use Dem/Rep ones.

  52. George Phillies

    The reference to Winger appears to have been meant as a statement that *national* parties that stopped running candidates tended to roll over and die. The two 1-village parties in the village where I grew up never ever ran a Presidential candidate, which enhanced their viabilities. The parties cited above as counterexamples are more local.

    ““black”, not “African-American”” Of course, there are at least three even less modern owrds beginning with “N”, and it would be wrong to make that choice, too. Why don’t you just have the candidate campaign in white sheets?

  53. George Phillies

    @53

    At the Presidential level, the success of a libertarian campaign is determined by the quality of the staff, whether paid or not, and how the money was spent. Kubby could not have been much worse than Barr. With good volunteers supporting him, as happened to Badnarik, his campaign could have done better. For example, a Kubby campaign would likely have spent significant money on advertising.

    Also, it seems unlikely that if Steve had been a previous PResidential candidate that he would have appeared at the 2007 February NH event and endorsed a Republican, or shown up at a National Convention to trash his own party in his remarks.

  54. Melty

    The term “African-American” is misleading at best and offensive at worst.

    I’m white and most of my ancestors came over on boat in the 19th century from Germany and others earlier from France and Ireland. What am I? a European-American? Certainly not. A black buddy of mine says his ancestors came over from Europe in the 19th century too. We both take offense to the term “African-American”. To us he’s black and I’m white, and we ain’t gonna spend seven syllables for the sole purpose of going soft on the ears of whites.

  55. Andy

    “(i.e., articulate speaker and polished appearance, strong commitment to reducing government across the board, ability to raise a lot of money prior to the national convention, aversion to conspiracy theories, no history of socially conservative or economically liberal activism).”

    I agree with your first three points here, but I totally disagree with your “aversion to conspiracy theories” comment. Anyone who does not think that the government engages in conspiracies is extremely naive. A person who is that naive should not be a candidate.

    As for your last point, it depends on what you mean by having a past history of socially conservative or economically liberal activism. Most people don’t start out as Libertarians, in fact, many people don’t even know what a libertarian is. So if somebody was a Democrat or a Republican or something else at one time I would not necessarily disqualify them for it. The only way that I’d disqualify them would be if they were an elected Republican or Democrat or some kind of big “mover and shaker” in either of those parties that actively and effectively worked against liberty. Bob Barr fits this description (although I don’t think that his record was completely bad, although it was bad enough), and this is one of the reasons why I don’t think that he should have been the Libertarian Party’s Presidential candidate.

  56. Robert Capozzi

    I use the term “African American” as do many black Americans. Why is that offensive? Many prefer it, in this majority white population. If a black person doesn’t prefer AA, don’t use it.

    It’s all good.

  57. Andy

    “Also, it seems unlikely that if Steve had been a previous PResidential candidate that he would have appeared at the 2007 February NH event and endorsed a Republican,”

    Steve Kubby endorsed Ron Paul while he (Kubby) was campaigning for the Libertarian Party’s Presidential nomination (I totally agreed with and respected him for this)

    “or shown up at a National Convention to trash his own party in his remarks.”

    I think that Michael Badnarik’s remarks at the 2010 LP National Convention were much needed medicine.

    Here’s the speech from Badnarik to which I am refering. Watch both clips and judge for yourself.

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

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmqXS5XSn10

    I agree with most of what Badnarik said in that speech.

  58. JT

    Andy: “I agree with your first three points here, but I totally disagree with your “aversion to conspiracy theories” comment. Anyone who does not think that the government engages in conspiracies is extremely naive. A person who is that naive should not be a candidate.”

    Well, I stated that point in just a few words. By “conspiracy theories” I didn’t mean things like how Social Security is a Ponzi scheme and how the Federal Reserve a is a secretive devaluer of the dollar. I meant things like Obama was born outside of the U.S. and 9/11 was orchestrated by the U.S. government and the income tax is actually unconstitutional. If you think such things are what the Libertarian candidate for President should be talking about to the media, then we’re definitely at odds there.

    Andy: “As for your last point, it depends on what you mean by having a past history of socially conservative or economically liberal activism.”

    I meant someone like Bob Barr, or someone who has held a prominent leadership position in a socially conservative or economically liberal organization. That’s consistent with the end of your post, I think.

  59. Melty

    If you substitute “black” with “African-American” it makes no sense historically nor geographically. It’s a euphemism widely used by both Democrats and Republicans. Libertarian thinking comes across best in direct talk, so seize the opportunity to not sound like everybody else. You’ll do better with the black vote if you do. You come out ahead if you don’t stroke off the self-enthralled.

    And “African-American” is offensive, Robert. It offends the intellect and it’s a dis. How’s a Boer or a Berber sposta feel? How’m I sposta feel? It’s an unfree expression that disses everyone.

  60. Michael H. Wilson

    Might help keep the boys on message if we had ten top issues that the LP candidates campaigned on every two years so that the LP could get the message across, whether they were a presidential or congress critter candidate.

  61. Andy

    By ;conspiracy theories’ I didn’t mean things like how Social Security is a Ponzi scheme and how the Federal Reserve a is a secretive devaluer of the dollar. I meant things like Obama was born outside of the U.S. and 9/11 was orchestrated by the U.S. government and the income tax is actually unconstitutional. If you think such things are what the Libertarian candidate for President should be talking about to the media, then we’re definitely at odds there.”

    Well I disagree with you here.

    There is overwellming evidence that the income tax is being applied in an unconstitutional manner (as in that it does not apply to American citizens who work within the 50 states). The income tax is only constitutional if it applies to corporations and/or international commerce. This is backed up by multiple Supreme Court rulings which have never been overturned. There is also evidence that the 16th amendment was never properly ratified, but whether it was or wasn’t, income tax still does not apply to most Americans even going by the so called “law”.

    The official government approved conspiracy theory about 9/11 has been proven to be a lie. There are so many holes in that story it is hard to say where to start.

    WTC building 7.

    NORAD stand down.

    Insider stock trading on 9/11 going back to CIA connected bank.

    Military grade thermite residue found in WTC wreckage.

    Reports from firefighters, janitors, and others about bombs going off inside the WTC.

    Pools of molten steel found under the WTC wreckage weeks later.

    Certain government officials received warnings not to fly on 9/11/01.

    Plans to invade Afganistan were already in place before 9/11/01.

    I could go on and on….

    As for Obama not being a natural born American citizen, there is evidence that suggests this as well, however, I do not believe that it is as strong as the evidence about the income tax and 9/11. I believe that it bears further investigation but I would not turn it into a big campaign issue.

    I think that there are plenty of arguements against the income tax besides the legal arguements that I mentioned above, such as that it is not necessary, it is bad for the economy, and that it is theft, but I still think that it is relavent to point out that the government has been lying about the application of the income tax for years.

    9/11 has been used as the pretext for launching two wars of aggression in the Middle East and a vast expansion of the domestic police state. If it was another false flag government lie – which I believe that it was – then the whole house of cards for the government comes crumbling down.

    9/11 Truth is a popular issue as well. The 9/11 Truth Movement is now much larger than the Libertarian Party. If every 9/11 Truther voted for the Libertarian Party in 2012 the party would receive more votes than it ever has.

    I’d be willing to bet that if Jesse Ventura and Alex Jones ran on the same ticket for President and Vice President in 2012, and that if they made 9/11 Truth one of their top issues, that it would be huge.

    The Libertarian Party needs to grow a set of balls and confront this issue. I’m astounded at the number of bootlicking government fairy tale believers in the LP who either run away from the issue or parrot the official government line.

    It’s like, “We know the government is corrupt and evil and lies to us on a regular basis, but they told the truth about 9/11, dammit!”

    GET A FREAKING CLUE PEOPLE!

    9/11 Truth is also an issue that would clearly seperate Libertarians from Republicans and Democrats.

    Worried about members of the public being offended by such talk? I say who cares about these people, they aren’t going to support Libertarians anyway. They are bootlicking statists. If they are offended by questioning the official 9/11 story they’ll also be offended by the idea of legalizing all drugs or repealing all of the gun control laws. We want the reasonable open minded people, you know, the ones who are actually open to the concept of individual freedom.

    People who are skeptical of government and are open to questioning it are far better prospects for the Libertarian Party than people who happily pay “their” taxes and don’t question authority.

  62. Melty

    I think the LP ought to just pipe up in favor of an independent investigation of the jumbo jet fiasco, simple as that.

  63. Robert Capozzi

    m69: And “African-American” is offensive, Robert. It offends the intellect and it’s a dis. How’s a Boer or a Berber sposta feel?

    me: I apologize if you find African American offensive. It doesn’t offend me, my intellect, or virtually everyone I encounter. My North African friends prefer Arab-American. I have met South African whites, but the issue hasn’t come up.

    What’s been working for me (I think) is when I am having a conversation with an AA that involves describing race, I will use AA first, and then black after that.

    I notice a person’s race when I meet them, and I suspect most if not all do. There may come a day when we don’t notice race. When that day comes, these sorts of labels will be unnecessary. All labels are inaccurate. Black certainly is, as most African Americans are varying shades of brown. White is, too, except perhaps with albinos and those with porcelin skin. My skin, for example, has some pinkish and yellowish ranges, but sometimes I get tannish.

    You might want to reconsider your use of “euphemism.” What does AA substitute for that is IYO “harsh” or “offensive” or “blunt”? In my experience, black people do not take offense to the term “black.” However, using AA first signals to them that one is paying attention and is sensitive in the context of the times.

    Language continues to evolve. Read some Shakespeare. Do you know anyone who speaks that way?

  64. Melty

    Democrats and Republicans have led the way, innovating what to say and not say, and thereby what to think and not think, since radio. That’s why we have a “defense secretary” and not a “secretary of war” and in hundreds of ways else a convoluted world of dystopian words. Republicans worked hard for nearly twenty years to make “liberal” a dirty word and have succeeded. Now we have “progressive”, another term as bereft as “conservative”. Democrats morphed “Global warming” into “climate change” so any change could be global warming, and everybody follows along mindlessly repeating it. “Healthcare” became one word and in its constant utterance took on a powerful life of its own that blotted socialized medicine out of recognition so nothing else could even be thought. And on & on, “gay marriage”, “war on drugs”, “africanamerican” and a dumptruckload of other words not worth sayin til there aint nuthin ya know how to say r think that aint unfree.

    I’ll use Andy’s words, and say LP needs to get some balls. Dare to sound different. Be innovative in your rhetoric. This ‘s my gist.

  65. Robert Capozzi

    m, thanks for your counsel. I do my best with my language, as I’m sure you do, too. I see absolutely nothing L about how the language does or does not evolve. It has evolved, is evolving, and will continue to evolve.

    As I understand the label of “global warming” from one L scientist, he tells me the term was sub-optimal from the start. “Climate change” is more accurate, according to the theory. Such is the nature of complex matters, including large scientific issues. You CLAIM “so any change could be global warming, and everybody follows along mindlessly repeating it.” Has anyone publicly admitted that the terminology is a gigantic scam? Are the L scientists who accept global climate change theory as accurate “mindless” in your view?

    Consider whether you are simply speculating…

  66. Melty

    I’m not simply speculating. The obfuscation’s been amply exposed. I only include it here as another example of the euphemism treadmill. It’s just that folks just fall in line with the popular choice of words, oblivious to how words can constrict the realm of thought.

    This rhetorical stuff aint a gigantic scam. That’s the point. It aint nuthin lil guys like us cant do.

    Of course, you and I’ve been to many virtual conversations together on this and other topics, Robert, and even being of similar political persuasion, our thought processes are so different, we’re nearly polar opposites. Naturally we won’t agree on how best to present libertarian ideas this time either. I think it’s good, though, that we manage to arrive at some partial understanding of one another. Very partial though that understanding is, it’s more understanding than I receive from most on this particular topic, for some reason. I thank you for encouraging me.
    On this side of the world I see it’s now gotten past my bedtime.

  67. Be Rational

    911 Truthers are wackos.

    There was no molten steel, no thermite and no bombs went off in any of the buildings.

    The twin towers fell as a result of catastophic, cascade failure due to the impact of the airplanes. They were doomed to fall with or without the fires that also resulted. There were no bombs and neither bombs nor fires made them fall. The total failure of each building was inevitable following the impacts.

    Building 7 fell as a result of faulty design and a fire. An uncontrolled fire fed by fuel that was pumped unabated weakened a single support member that had no backup in a foolish cantilevered design in a building already so badly damaged by debris that it had already made the building unsalvageable.

    Obama was born in the US. Get over it.

    The Federal Income tax is the law of the land. There were some questionable tactics in its passage. SOP. It is now the law. Stop the conspiracy nonsense and focus on repeal.

  68. Robert Capozzi

    m77: I’m not simply speculating. The obfuscation’s been amply exposed. I only include it here as another example of the euphemism treadmill. It’s just that folks just fall in line with the popular choice of words, oblivious to how words can constrict the realm of thought.

    me: Yes, partial understanding rocks! I suspect that’s just about the best we can ever do.

    Perhaps the obfuscation has been amply exposed FOR YOU. For people like Phillies, Milsted, and Shere, it hasn’t. In my case, I don’t defer to their opinions, either. There certainly has been some obfuscation on the part of global climate change theorists and their shills. Whether that makes the phenomenon a fraud…can’t say. Don’t know. Can’t know, actually. We’re all just taking our best guesses on a moment by moment basis.

    Words do restrict inquiry, I agree. How issues are framed often is used to lead the audience to a certain conclusion. I’d say that’s unavoidable, since words are themselves simply symbols of symbols — imprecise metaphors.

    I would submit that being open to alternative framing enhances one’s persuasiveness, especially among the undecided. My practice is to challenge a framing that leads to more state and to reframe the matter in such a way that we are led to LESS state. Whether I use the term “African American” seems way beside the dynamic of this point.

  69. JT

    Andy: “Worried about members of the public being offended by such talk? I say who cares about these people, they aren’t going to support Libertarians anyway. They are bootlicking statists. If they are offended by questioning the official 9/11 story they’ll also be offended by the idea of legalizing all drugs or repealing all of the gun control laws. We want the reasonable open minded people, you know, the ones who are actually open to the concept of individual freedom.”

    How disappointing to read this after what I think is a very good essay.

    First, people who reject those ideas aren’t necessarily “bootlicking statists.” That’s a ridiculous claim, and one I think displays precisely the wrong attitude for Libertarians.

    Second, it’s also false to say that people who reject those ideas will also reject ending the drug war or ending gun control. I know people to the contrary.

    Third, it’s not a matter of offending anyone. I’ve looked into those issues too. I don’t think any of them are “reasonable.” But I don’t want to get into an extended debate over such things. Suffice it to say, I think the Libertarian candidate for President has enough controversial things to talk about without delving into them.

    Be Rational, I agree.

  70. paulie Post author

    Might help keep the boys on message if we had ten top issues that the LP candidates campaigned on every two years so that the LP could get the message across, whether they were a presidential or congress critter candidate.

    Everyone has their own issues they like to emphasize. I don’t think this would be feasible.

    Some people would simply not want to run on someone else’s predetermined list of issues, but actually an even more likely scenario is that we would eat up a lot of time arguing and re-arguing which 10 or however many issues those would be.

  71. paulie Post author

    As for Obama not being a natural born American citizen, there is evidence that suggests this as well, however, I do not believe that it is as strong as the evidence about the income tax and 9/11. I believe that it bears further investigation but I would not turn it into a big campaign issue.

    I’ve looked at a lot of this so-called evidence about Obama, and it has uniformly turned out to be low quality trash. Furthermore, it simply doesn’t matter, since Obama is just another puppet who will be gone in 2 or 6 years to be replaced by another one. If he was born in Kansas or on the dark side of the moon makes absolutely no difference in his views and policies. And the mechanics of such a conspiracy don’t strike me as plausible.

    I think that there are plenty of arguements against the income tax besides the legal arguements that I mentioned above, such as that it is not necessary, it is bad for the economy, and that it is theft,

    Let’s focus on those.

    As a practical matter, it’s the government which decides what is legal and what is not. There is no magical formula of words, legal tactics or theories that will keep you out of jail and/or keep them from taking your property, bank accounts and future earnings if you are charged with willfully not paying them. Lots of experts and non-experts have found this out the hard way. If you go with any such strategies, you are playing Russian Roulette, and you might get lucky or you might not. It’s not a good idea for LP candidates to focus on those legal arguments, because some people will dismiss them as wacko whereas other people will be drawn in, persuaded to try them, and may end up in jail or otherwise have their lives ruined as a result. Not something we want on the LP’s hands.

    On the other hand, I’m all for advocating and practicing civil disobedience. If an LP candidate refuses to pay taxes and urges others to do the same, knowing and acknowledging the consequences full well and without the delusion that any legal theory offers some kind of magical defense against government prosecution, I’m all for that.

    9/11 has been used as the pretext for launching two wars of aggression in the Middle East and a vast expansion of the domestic police state.

    This is true.

    However, it is very easy to get tied in knots trying to prove or disprove any particular theory of what did or didn’t happen that day.

    From a candidate standpoint, I think it is better to just call for new investigations.

  72. paulie Post author

    If they are offended by questioning the official 9/11 story they’ll also be offended by the idea of legalizing all drugs or repealing all of the gun control laws.

    Questioning is one thing.

    Peddling a counter-theory is a different matter.

  73. paulie Post author

    WTC building 7.

    NORAD stand down.

    Insider stock trading on 9/11 going back to CIA connected bank.

    Military grade thermite residue found in WTC wreckage.

    Reports from firefighters, janitors, and others about bombs going off inside the WTC.

    Pools of molten steel found under the WTC wreckage weeks later.

    Certain government officials received warnings not to fly on 9/11/01.

    Plans to invade Afganistan were already in place before 9/11/01.

    I could go on and on…

    Lot’s of valid questions to be explored.

    I’d rather we not claim we know the answers.

  74. paulie Post author

    Melty

    I think the LP ought to just pipe up in favor of an independent investigation of the jumbo jet fiasco, simple as that.

    My position as well. I don’t think it should necessarily receive government funding, but it should have greater access to records beyond what the average person or group has on their own.

    If it does receive government funding, that is a trivial portion of the overall government budget, so i would not be excessively concerned about that, given all the massive government spending that has occurred with 9/11 as a pretext. Not that two wrongs make a right, but we’re talking about not even a pimple on an elephant’s ass here.

  75. paulie Post author

    have met South African whites, but the issue hasn’t come up.

    I’ve met “white” immigrants from South Africa and Zimbabwe/Rhodesia who have put “African American” on things like college and job applications.

  76. paulie Post author

    Democrats morphed “Global warming” into “climate change” so any change could be global warming, and everybody follows along mindlessly repeating it.

    Actually, I think climate change is more accurate than global warming. And I think climate destabilization is even more accurate than either one. It indicates that the range of change becomes greater than normal, with wild swings sometimes causing even larger compensating overrreactions, a process that can easily careen out of control into ranges that would make most currently existing life on earth, including human, impossible.

    Not to be alarmist or anything 🙂

  77. paulie Post author

    As I understand the label of “global warming” from one L scientist, he tells me the term was sub-optimal from the start.

    My take as well. I studied it in college and grad school. About 15 years ago I kept current on the scientific literature, actually reading the major papers as they became available.

    “Climate change” is more accurate, according to the theory. Such is the nature of complex matters, including large scientific issues.

    Exactly.

  78. paulie Post author

    I’m not simply speculating. The obfuscation’s been amply exposed.

    I’m not sure what you mean. I was suggesting climate change as a better alternative to warming …before “climate change” was “cool,” as it were.

  79. paulie Post author

    There was no molten steel, no thermite and no bombs went off in any of the buildings.

    The twin towers fell as a result of catastophic, cascade failure due to the impact of the airplanes. They were doomed to fall with or without the fires that also resulted. There were no bombs and neither bombs nor fires made them fall. The total failure of each building was inevitable following the impacts.

    Building 7 fell as a result of faulty design and a fire. An uncontrolled fire fed by fuel that was pumped unabated weakened a single support member that had no backup in a foolish cantilevered design in a building already so badly damaged by debris that it had already made the building unsalvageable.

    Must be nice to be so certain of everything.

    LOL.

  80. paulie Post author

    My practice is to challenge a framing that leads to more state and to reframe the matter in such a way that we are led to LESS state. Whether I use the term “African American” seems way beside the dynamic of this point.

    True.

  81. paulie Post author

    Second, it’s also false to say that people who reject those ideas will also reject ending the drug war or ending gun control. I know people to the contrary.

    True as well. It’s very easy to overapply the bootlicking statist label to people who don’t deserve it.

  82. FKC

    Can we say filibuster, boys and girls?

    Filibuster!

    Paulie…stop hogging the comment threads.

    If IPR is not going to fire you fat felon ass like they should have a long time ago, at least take all the money we all know they are paying you (and please, stop denying they pay you) and post some new articles.

    Sheesh.

    With the millions of dollars we all know IPR has, why can’t they hire better help?

  83. Zane, LP member

    Good article.

    Some of the comments later in the thread about conspiracy theories are a little overboard.

    And Christine Smith was just rude.

  84. JT

    Zane: “And Christine Smith was just rude.”

    I don’t blame her for speaking her mind about Barr on the floor of the convention hall. Not sure if the podium on C-SPAN was the place to do it…contrast her remarks with those of Mary Ruwart, who was no supporter of Barr. There’s no doubting Smith’s commitment to liberty, but I generally found her to be too abrasive and belligerent as a libertarian speaker. She was a snappy dresser though.

  85. Andy

    “It’s not a good idea for LP candidates to focus on those legal arguments,”

    I disagree. Pointing out that the government lies about what its own laws are will help to turn people against government. You can prove that the government is lying by looking up the relavent court cases and code sections. A candidate could point these things out, and then point out how the government dodges anwsering questions about this stuff as they have done with Bob Schulz’s We The People Foundation ( http://www.givemeliberty.org ). This helps to destroy the credibility of the government and that’s a good thing.

  86. paulie Post author

    You can prove that the government is lying by looking up the relavent court cases and code sections.

    A) You can’t prove it, only make an argument for it, since many legal scholars disagree.

    B) Even if you could prove it, many people with still dismiss you as a wacko, while some others may be drawn to try legal strategies that will end up getting them in trouble and ruining their life.

  87. Andy

    “A) You can’t prove it, only make an argument for it, since many legal scholars disagree.”

    Yes you can prove it. Just look up the relavent Supreme Court cases and code sections. It’s not that hard to do.

    The “legal scholars” who disagree are people who’ve got a vested interest in the system.

    “B) Even if you could prove it, many people with still dismiss you as a wacko, while some others may be drawn to try legal strategies that will end up getting them in trouble and ruining their life.”

    Yes, many people will also call you a “wacko” if you say that all drugs should be legalized, or if you say that people should be able to carry guns without having to get a permit, or if you say that prostitution should be legal, or if you say pretty much anything else that is in the libertarian platform.

    More people resisting taxes would be a good thing. The Libertarian Party candidate could say something like, “It is up to you to decide whether or not you should pay, and you are at your own risk, but here are the facts….”

  88. Andy

    Aaron Russo interviews former IRS commissioner and tax attorney (from “America: From Freedom to Fascism):

  89. paulie Post author

    The “legal scholars” who disagree are people who’ve got a vested interest in the system.

    Not everyone who disagrees with you has a vested interest, and even if they do have a vested interest, that does not mean they are necessarily wrong. Many of the people who originate the legal arguments you cite have a vested interest in them, as they make their living selling tax shelter schemes (that frequently don’t work), books that tout the same, consulting, speeches etc to the same end; serving as defense attorneys in tax cases; or otherwise making a living of some sort from their legal theories. That does not necessarily make them wrong either.

    Yes, many people will also call you a “wacko” if you say that all drugs should be legalized, or if you say that people should be able to carry guns without having to get a permit, or if you say that prostitution should be legal, or if you say pretty much anything else that is in the libertarian platform.

    That’s a different category of position. Saying what should be is the proper business of political parties and candidates. Peddling questionable theories about what is already is a different matter. The legal positions are of dubious value; they don’t keep people out of jail in many cases (no single legal theory has a foolproof track record), they don’t tell us anything about what should be done; what purpose do they serve?

    You can certainly say taxes should be repealed. You can even say that people should stop paying taxes. But if you claim that some obscure court cases or legal sections allegedly prove that taxes are already illegal, it won’t be guaranteed to keep anyone out of jail, and it won’t change anything, so what good are you doing, especially as a political candidate or party? The government’s law is what the government interprets it to be. You can argue til you’re blue in the face, but that changes nothing in the real world, except for a few people who might go about believing they are protected when they aren’t.

    More people resisting taxes would be a good thing.

    I agree, but only if they do so out of principle, because taxes are morally wrong, and not under any delusion that they will be guaranteed to stay out of jail and keep their property.

    The whole idea is that unjust laws should be disobeyed. To claim that the regime misinterprets its own rules is generally meaningless; it’s like saying the mob does not live up to its code. Even if you are correct, you gain nothing whatsoever by discussing it, and the whole premise is wrong.

    What if the legal theories you have in mind are correct? Well, you can still get screwed by the government if you act on their assumption.

    What if they are wrong? Well, taxes are still morally wrong, and tax resistance is still morally right, while working to repeal taxes is still a worthwhile pursuit.

    Thus, nothing of any consequences changes regardless of whether such legal schmangling is “accurate.”

    The government’s law means what judges and government agents with guns say it means. That says nothing about what the law should be, and any misdirection onto abracadabra legal formulations just distracts from those two facts.

    In the real world, the law is what judges and regime goons say it is.
    In the ideal world, the law has nothing to do with what is on the regime’s books today.

    Thus, alleging dubious interpretations of what is on the regime’s books today is a deflection that rests on the false presumption that what is on the regime’s books is either somehow legitimate or morally correct in and of itself, likely to make the regime behave differently, or both. In fact, neither presumption is true.

    Even if something is on the regime’s books, that does not make it legitimate. Nor does it make it reality.

    It’s like appealing the Constitution of the USSR in a Soviet court. The Constitution of the USSR was never a good idea, and it held no practical power, thus, it would have been foolish to cite it in either a Soviet trial or in an attempt to end the Soviet system.

  90. Andy

    “Not everyone who disagrees with you has a vested interest,”

    They are statist bootlickers who can’t bring themselves to admit that “the Emperor has no clothes.”

  91. paulie Post author

    You’re overcategorizing again. Some of the people who disagree with you want taxes repealed. Some of them might even be tax resisters themselves.

    They just don’t agree that your legal theories are accurate or consequential.

  92. JT

    Andy: “They are statist bootlickers who can’t bring themselves to admit that “the Emperor has no clothes.””

    Why do you insist on categorizing everyone who disagrees with you in this way? You must have a hard time dealing with non-libertarians if this is your attitude toward them. Either that or you hide your convictions.

    And many people who don’t pay taxes because they buy into the idea that they’re illegal and are therefore protected do wind up in prison, including Libertarians I know of. Look at Irwin Schiff, who sought the Libertarian presidential nomination in 1996.

  93. Andy

    “paulie // Mar 14, 2011 at 3:38 am

    You’re overcategorizing again. Some of the people who disagree with you want taxes repealed. Some of them might even be tax resisters themselves.”

    No, they are delusional pansy “libertarians” who are afraid that so called “respectable people” will think that they are “kooks” if they go too far against what “everyone” believes to be true. They don’t have the balls to confront the fact that they live under an evil government which lies to them on a daily basis, including lying about what the “laws” are. They pay their taxes out of fear and are unable to process the fact that the system what the government claims is the “law” is nothing but a big fat stinking lie.

    “They just don’t agree that your legal theories are accurate or consequential.”

    I don’t have any legal “theories,” I deal in facts.

    This is the equivalent if you were out petitioning at some location and somebody came along and told you that you couldn’t be there and they you started to bring up relavent court decisions and parts of the law that said otherwise and the person replied, “I don’t agree with your theories. This sounds like a conspiracy theory to me.”

  94. Andy

    “And Christine Smith was just rude.”

    Christine Smith wasn’t being rude, she was giving those who needed it a reality check.

  95. Melty

    “African-American” and “climate change” are just two examples out of more than a dozen examples I’ve given on this thread of terms that aint straight shootin or that block out libertymindedness. I don’t think there’s any need to get into the fraudulance of the Intergovernmental Panel o Climate Change here. Just so minarchists get mindful of the power of loaded words. Euphemisms dillute a libertarian message, and most of the going loaded words are loaded against libertarian thought.

    Effective libertarian rhetoric, then is necessarily different in its wordchoices, therefore easily distinguishable from the rest. Such as “defense budget”, “healthcare”, “gay marriage”, “War on Drugs” block libertarian thought,
    while such as “war spending”, “socialized Medicine”, “gov’t out of marriage”, “prohibition”, frame libertarian thought.

    It’s a surruptitious black magic, this spin-charged political words game, and it’s key to be aware of these distinctions, and distinguish yourself as a separate brand by choosing your words elsewise. That’s my point.

  96. paulie Post author

    Why do you insist on categorizing everyone who disagrees with you in this way? You must have a hard time dealing with non-libertarians if this is your attitude toward them. Either that or you hide your convictions.

    Actually, Andy deals with non-libertarians all the time and does not have a hard time doing it. Of course, he doesn’t talk this way to most people. If he went around saying this stuff to most people he talks to, we would never be able to keep work locations or even keep him out of fistfights, LOL.

    And many people who don’t pay taxes because they buy into the idea that they’re illegal and are therefore protected do wind up in prison, including Libertarians I know of. Look at Irwin Schiff, who sought the Libertarian presidential nomination in 1996.

    Exactly.

  97. paulie Post author

    No, they are delusional pansy “libertarians

    Bullshit. Not everyone who disagrees with your legal theories is either delusional or a pansy.

    They don’t have the balls to confront the fact that they live under an evil government which lies to them on a daily basis

    Overcategorizing (painting with too broad a brush) again. Some of them do recognize that.

    They pay their taxes out of fear and are unable to process the fact that the system what the government claims is the “law” is nothing but a big fat stinking lie.

    The law in effect is what judges and government agents with guns say it is. The law as it should be also had nothing to do with what is on the books.

    The idea that what is on the books is the law in any meaningful way is wrong, and libertarians should not play into it.

    It is only useful to a very limited extent if you can use it to get the guys with gavels and guns to back down. Playing that game of chicken is not for everyone, and those who play it frequently lose.

    I don’t have any legal “theories,” I deal in facts.

    There are actually numerous different legal theories employed by tax protesters to justify their contention that the existing taxes are illegal. These theories don’t agree with each other. Furthermore, I know that you know this.

    This is the equivalent if you were out petitioning at some location and somebody came along and told you that you couldn’t be there and they you started to bring up relavent court decisions and parts of the law that said otherwise and the person replied, “I don’t agree with your theories. ”

    That has been known to happen. There have been times when I have had to back down when I shouldn’t have had to. Some of those times I probably would have gone to jail otherwise. In the Anaheim case I did not back down and I did go to jail, only for a few days, but I didn’t have the resources to keep going back to court to fight it, so I ended up having to pay a token fine even though I was right.

    Also, in Colorado, I was also right according to the prevailing legal rulings from the state supreme court at that time, but that did not stop them from hauling me to jail on an alleged warrant from one state naming a county in another state that doesn’t exist in that state and keeping me for three and a half weeks until the state that allegedly wanted me didn’t pick me up long enough that the judge released me.

    So while the penalties are not as severe, going around thinking court ruling will always protect you in petition rights conflicts is not always a good idea either. Sometimes they do get the “officials” to back down, so I try to use them until it looks like they are about to get real unreasonable, and I know you know what I mean.

  98. paulie Post author

    “And Christine Smith was just rude.”

    Christine Smith wasn’t being rude, she was giving those who needed it a reality check.

    Regardless of whether you think she was right or not, when she got on that podium after the nomination, yes she was being rude.

  99. paulie Post author

    Effective libertarian rhetoric, then is necessarily different in its wordchoices, therefore easily distinguishable from the rest. Such as “defense budget”, “healthcare”, “gay marriage”, “War on Drugs” block libertarian thought,
    while such as “war spending”, “socialized Medicine”, “gov’t out of marriage”, “prohibition”, frame libertarian thought.

    It’s a surruptitious black magic, this spin-charged political words game, and it’s key to be aware of these distinctions, and distinguish yourself as a separate brand by choosing your words elsewise. That’s my point.

    Got it, and generally agreed.

  100. JT

    Paulie: “Actually, Andy deals with non-libertarians all the time and does not have a hard time doing it. Of course, he doesn’t talk this way to most people. If he went around saying this stuff to most people he talks to, we would never be able to keep work locations or even keep him out of fistfights, LOL.”

    Well, that’s a relief. At least he keeps his evident contempt for all the “bootlicking statists” he meets to himself when he should do it.

  101. paulie Post author

    Most of the time.

    We all have some individuals that manage to get under our skin from time to time.

    Petitioning is actually great for training yourself to control that urge to unload on them.

    I don’t think any of us succeed with that 100% of the time, though overall I think there are far more times when we turn down the opportunity to pursue or escalate an argument than take it up.

    And saying something like “everyone who pays income taxes is a statist bootlicker or a pansy” would not be a very smart way to go out and pitch, LOLOL.

  102. Andy

    “Regardless of whether you think she was right or not, when she got on that podium after the nomination, yes she was being rude.”

    Oh come on, she was not being rude. She said what needed to be said.

  103. paulie Post author

    If she had something like that to say she should have said it before the nomination, or somewhere other than from the podium at the L P convention after the delegates made a choice.

  104. Andy

    “paulie // Mar 15, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    If she had something like that to say she should have said it before the nomination, or somewhere other than from the podium at the L P convention after the delegates made a choice.”

    I’m glad that she said what she said. It took a lot of guts to do that and she was right. I’ve run into people at Campaign for Liberty groups (who had never been LP members) who’ve told me that they saw those clips of Christine Smith talking about Bob Barr at the LP National Convention and they said that they agreed with her. They also said that if the LP had nominated somebody better than Barr that they would have support the LP ticket in the general election.

  105. Andy

    “And saying something like ‘everyone who pays income taxes is a statist bootlicker or a pansy’ would not be a very smart way to go out and pitch, LOLOL.”

    First of all, I would not say this if I was doing outreach among the general public.

    Second of all, I do NOT believe that everyone who pays income tax is a statist bootlicker or a pansy. I think that anyone who believes that paying income tax is a good, noble thing is a statist bootlicker, or perhaps a better way of saying it is that they are naive. I don’t hold it against people for paying income tax since not paying the tax could lead to them going to prison or losing their home. A lot of people are in situations where it would be very difficult for them to not pay income taxes. What does irk me is when so called “libertarians” look down their noses at those who are tax resisters, and also when these same “libertarians” ignore any of the legal arguements that say that the tax is not being applied (in most cases) legally and act as though saying that the income tax is not being applied legally and that the 16th amendment was not properly ratified is some kind of “wild conspiracy kook talk” when the evidence is readily available to those who dare to look it up and read. It also irks me when some so called “libertarians” deride those who make moral arguements about the income and refuse to pay because taxation is theft. The only reason that I can see for paying income is because you fear going to prison and having your assets seized. Being happy about paying taxes and thinking that it is doing good is naive at best, and anyone who calls themselves a libertarian should know better.

  106. Andy

    “Bullshit. Not everyone who disagrees with your legal theories is either delusional or a pansy.”

    I haven’t mentioned any theories. I have only discussed facts here. If I am talking about a theory I will label it as such.

  107. Andy

    “That has been known to happen. There have been times when I have had to back down when I shouldn’t have had to. Some of those times I probably would have gone to jail otherwise. In the Anaheim case I did not back down and I did go to jail, only for a few days, but I didn’t have the resources to keep going back to court to fight it, so I ended up having to pay a token fine even though I was right.

    Also, in Colorado, I was also right according to the prevailing legal rulings from the state supreme court at that time, but that did not stop them from hauling me to jail on an alleged warrant from one state naming a county in another state that doesn’t exist in that state and keeping me for three and a half weeks until the state that allegedly wanted me didn’t pick me up long enough that the judge released me.

    So while the penalties are not as severe, going around thinking court ruling will always protect you in petition rights conflicts is not always a good idea either. Sometimes they do get the “officials” to back down, so I try to use them until it looks like they are about to get real unreasonable, and I know you know what I mean.”

    This was exactly my point. You were legally correct in all of these instances. No, they didn’t keep you out of jail in some of those instances, but just because you went to jail it doesn’t mean that you were wrong. I know others who went to jail and later got the charges dropped because the judge or prosecuting attorney realized that the petition circulator was in fact legally correct, and in a few of these cases the petition circulator ended up being award monetary damages.

    This example shows what I’m talking about when it comes to the income tax. There are legal arguements against it. Sure, these arguements are not always upheld but it does not mean that those who make them are not correct. If they are correct (which I believe the evidence shows that they are) and they still go to prison it should just illustrate to people how corrupt the government really is. If you can show people the facts and point out examples of how the government is lying to them I’ve found that it makes them more angry at the government, and that’s a good thing from a libertarian perspective.

  108. Andy

    “Why do you insist on categorizing everyone who disagrees with you in this way? You must have a hard time dealing with non-libertarians if this is your attitude toward them. Either that or you hide your convictions.”

    OK, perhaps I sound a bit harsh here, but it is very frustrating to keep having to deal with people who call themselves libertarians who believe that the government is telling the truth about 9/11 and that the income tax is being applied in a perfectly legal manner and that the government does not engage in conspiracies. I’d expect this from non-libertarians, but when I see libertarians make comments like this it astounds me, and it especially irks me when these libertarians deride those who don’t believe the official government story about 9/11 or about the income and who know that the government does engage in conspiracies on a regular basis.

    I actually do quite well dealing with non-libertarians. Like I said above, I expect this type of stuff from non-libertarians. Even when I hear libertarians say stuff with which I disagree I generally don’t get into arguements over it. It is only when they push and push and deride that I get sucked into an arguement.

    I have gathered signatures on a heck of a lot of petitions and I’ve encountered every type of person imaginable. I generally avoid argueing with people because it is counterproductive (as in you get less signatures).

    “And many people who don’t pay taxes because they buy into the idea that they’re illegal and are therefore protected do wind up in prison, including Libertarians I know of. Look at Irwin Schiff, who sought the Libertarian presidential nomination in 1996.”

    I know that Irwin Schiff and others like him have gone to prison. However, just because they went to prison it does not mean that they aren’t correct, from both a moral standpoint and a legal standpoint. All it means it that the government is corrupt.

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