Kwiatkowski to Hinkle: LP “vulnerable to criticism for appearing unprincipled”

In an “open letter” to Libertarian National Committee chair Mark Hinkle, Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski (USAF, Ret.) argues that the Libertarian Party coddles a vocal party minority which favors foreign policy interventionism, and that this raises real image problems for the party. Former US Representative Bob Barr and Las Vegas gambling figure Wayne Allyn Root, the LP’s 2008 presidential and vice-presidential candidate, come in for specific criticism, and Kwiatkowski refers to the LP’s activities in the 2008 election cycle as “shenanigans.”

Embracing statists and nationalists quietly within the party is one thing; making them front and center as a leading voice of recruitment and policy means that these types of unprincipled non-libertarian perspectives become the LP in the minds of everyone.

The whole “open letter” is published at Freedom’s Phoenix.

Kwiatkowski, whose military career included work at the Pentagon and with the National Security Agency, became a public figure after writing about what she deemed the “corruption of intelligence” to justify the 2003 US invasion of Iraq. She was briefly a candidate for the Libertarian Party’s 2008 vice-presidential nomination and has been a recurring name in discussion of the 2012 nomination.

116 thoughts on “Kwiatkowski to Hinkle: LP “vulnerable to criticism for appearing unprincipled”

  1. whatever

    Is the LP more or less hypocritical than someone who repeatedly forswears electoral politics yet continues to post political articles on a site dedicated to electoral politics?

  2. John Jay Myers

    Am I the only one that thinks her calling the LP “unprincipled” for nominating Wayne in 2008, and addressing the letter to Mark Hinkle is a little ironic?

  3. Pingback: Kwiatkowski to Hinkle: LP “vulnerable to criticism for appearing unprincipled” | Daily Libertarian

  4. Thomas L. Knapp Post author

    whatever@1,

    Most journalists who cover electoral politics do not themselves run for political office, hold party office, etc.

    Most journalists who cover sports have never played in the NBA, NFL, NHL or MLB.

    I can’t think of a single White House correspondent who has ever been President of the United States, or who visibly aspires to be.

    When I come across something that I find interesting and that appears to fit IPR’s editorial needs, I post it — because I find it interesting and because it appears to fit IPR’s editorial needs, not because I’m personally involved in electoral politics.

    JJM@2,

    Kwiatkowski’s “open letter” appears to be a reply to Mark Hinkle, who apparently queried her concerning a speech she recently delivered.

  5. David Colborne

    To be fair, the LP is going to be “vulnerable to criticism for appearing unprincipled” no matter what it does. If it goes for an unwaveringly “principled” approach, it will likely alienate 99.5% of the electorate (especially if it goes full min/anarchist), at which point it will assure that none of its principles will ever be carried out. It’s difficult to find a less principled choice of action than one that’s guaranteed to end in defeat.

    Alternatively, if the LP attempts to “moderate” its message, no matter which issue it chooses to “moderate” or “de-emphasize”, it’s going to be “vulnerable to criticism” by someone that wishes the LP would take a firmer stance on that particular issue.

    Please note that this is not an attempt to comment on Root’s or Barr’s stances on foreign policy and how that relates to the LP – it’s just an observation.

  6. AroundtheblockAFT

    Lt. Col. Kwiatkowski would appear to be an ideal and credible spokesperson for non-interventionism. I don’t know how she earns her living these days; however, perhaps the LP should send her on a national tour of campuses (surely we have campus chapters?) and county chapters where there are enough members to pay her travel expenses. Surely we don’t need to wait until presidential campaigns to send speakers out on the road to advance libertarian principles?

  7. Robert Capozzi

    kk is entitled to her opinions, but when her opinions are non-serious, it strikes me she should make an actual case, rather than cast wild aspersions, like…

    KK: The 2008 LP presidential nomination of well-known conservative Bob Barr, and the promotion to Chair of the LP National Congressional Committee of the rabidly pro-war Wayne Allyn Root caused people of all political stripes to look at the LP and wonder whether the principle of the party was peaceful libertarianism, or just political experimentation and number-crunching.

    me: I guess we’d need to understand her def. of “rabidly,” and how long a person who has changed his mind is smeared with such a characterization. I would also want to understand how she KNOWS that “all” stripes have this impression. This seems just silly to me. I know prominent anti-war progressives who were saying supportive things about Barr, for instance.

    kk: Take your issues (http://www.lp.org/issues) and create a liberty friendliness rating on each issue for each congressman, much like the John Birch Society does on conservatism.

    me: If I need to comment here, nothing that I can say is likely to be persuasive! Sheesh!

    kk: I also think, that beyond the fleas the LP gets from lying down with characters like Root, and promoting him,…

    me: Lovely. Ad hominem, or Dale Carnegie….you decide!

    kk: we should be careful about our other bedfellows in DC. The Cato Institute does fine work, but it is not as effective in gaining Libertarian friendly legislation and votes as is Jim Babka’s interactive and aggressive DownsizeDC,

    me: Cato is a think tank, a c3. Downsize a c4, near as I can tell. Still, what KK’s yardstick for effectiveness would need to be presented, because Cato’s presence dwarfs Downsize’s on every level I can think of.

    kk: and nothing Cato has produced on constitutional foreign or domestic policy comes even close to what is done daily over at the Bumper Hornberger’s Future of Freedom Foundation in Reston, VA.

    me: Same comment. FoFF may be “even close” to KK’s value system, if this is her point.

  8. Thomas L. Knapp Post author

    DC@5,

    “Please note that this is not an attempt to comment on Root’s or Barr’s stances on foreign policy and how that relates to the LP”

    And please note that in the posting of this article, I didn’t comment on those things.

    Kwiatkowski’s comments are newsworthy for a site like IPR because she is a public figure who is associated with a “third” political party. That newsworthiness applies whether I agree with what she has to say or not.

    Now that we’re in comments, here’s one of my opinions:

    It is inaccurate at this point, or really any point after, say, mid-2007, to describe Wayne Allyn Root as “rabidly pro-war.”

    Over the course of Root’s association with the LP, his public pronouncements on foreign policy have become less and less interventionist and more and more non-interventionist.

    Even if one doubts Root’s sincerity on the issue, and I’m aware that many do, “rabid” implies forthrightness, vociferousness and an inability or unwillingness to fake the opposite position.

  9. John Jay Myers

    I think the irony is still lost here.

    She is addressing an open letter to a person whose very existence as the LNC Chair dissproves the point she is trying to make in the letter to the LNC Chair.

  10. John Jay Myers

    @8, despite the my other issues with the article, your analysis is correct. In public Wayne has not been “pro-war” by any stretch of the imagination.

    Let’s face it, you would never be able classify Wayne as anti-war and expect people to take you seriously, there is just too much water under that bridge.

    But it is ignorant to call him “rabidly pro-war”.

  11. Alan Pyeatt

    My questions are:
    1. Why isn’t Ms. Kwiatkowski on the LNC?
    2. Has Ms. Kwiatkowski run for office herself?

    One of the problems our party has is that there simply aren’t enough capable, principled libertarians running for the LNC, state ExComms, etc. I have often wondered why Ms. Kwiatkowski isn’t more involved in the LP. I would gladly vote for her to serve on the LNC, where she could work on our image and policy more directly. She’s a great speaker, comes across well on camera, and it doesn’t hurt that she’s also an attractive woman (see Eugene Jarecki’s 2005 documentary film, “Why We Fight”).

    I could also see her running as our VP (or even Presidential) nominee. She has great credentials and experience, and if we really want to appeal to the right, it sure doesn’t hurt to run a retired military officer.

    Although I disagree with Wayne on some issues (maybe BECA– USE I disagree with him!), he has inspired me to get more involved in the media, and so I’ve started doing public speaking and even a couple of radio appearances. I know Ms. Kwiatkowski’s been giving interviews and writing articles, but I hope her disagreement with Mr. Root’s statements will inspire her to become a national leader within the LP.

  12. Alan Pyeatt

    David Colborne @5: I disagree that we will necessarily alienate the American public with a principled approach. The real question is how we package that message.

    The American Revolution was essentially a minarchist revolution, so if we appeal to America’s traditional values (much like Ron Paul does), we can attract much of America. Having a retired Lieutenant Colonel leading the charge helps. That’s why I would like to see her take a more prominent role within the LP, even though I disagree with much of what she wrote in this letter.

  13. Kwiatkowski's Name

    @ 13 No one can spell or pronounce her last name. Case closed.

    Early in his career, Arnold Schwarzenegger was told to change his name for the same reason. Otherwise, he was told, he’d never have an acting career.

    Yet his name hasn’t exactly hurt either his acting, or political, aspirations.

  14. Robert Capozzi

    10 jjm, glad we agree. I like how fair-minded you are here.

    It appears to me that KK just kinda phoned this one in, without much thought. Based on my reading of her work and my one meeting with her, I find her to be a serious person. This childish broadside is beneath her otherwise dignified approach.

    I hope this doesn’t become a trend for her, because she’s damaging her credibility mightily with such a sophomoric effort, IMO. I’ll chalk it up to her having a bad day. We all have those.

    Root, I agree, tends to steer clear of matters of war. He probably recognizes that it’s not a strength for him, as he’s been moving from a hawkish background in a dovish direction. Perhaps he’s not totally stabilized on where he stands on matters of justified military action.

    This is understandable. For ex., I have moved from a Wrights-ish dove to something slightly less dovish, but still dovish. (This assumes a straightline continuum for such things, which is a notion I only use as a rough approximation. Such continuums are simplistic, IMO.)

    If there’s only ONE position on every single issue that a L can hold, then methinks our party will remain very, very small.

  15. NewFederalist

    @14- Karen’s acting career… oh, wait. Karen’s political career… oh, wait! 😉

  16. David Colborne

    @12: The trouble with “packaging” is, far more often than not, it means “moderating”. It doesn’t matter if you lead with an American flag, mom, and apple pie – if the first thing out of your mouth is “THE STATE IS ILLEGITIMATE!”, well… that’s true only for those that believe that’s already the case. The rest voluntarily (tacitly or otherwise) accept the role of the state in their lives, which means it’s legitimate for them. So, you lead with something else. Ah… but are you abandoning the principle that the state is illegitimate?

    A lot of people are uncomfortable with letting their neighbor starve, which they think is exactly what will happen if we abandon food stamps. So, you lead with something else – maybe a gradual decline in food stamp rates and some tax breaks that encourage people to donate to local food kitchens. Ah… but are you abandoning the principle that people should rely on themselves to feed themselves instead of the government?

    A lot of people are uncomfortable (probably a majority in most places in the US) with leaving Israel to its own devices. So, you lead with something else – maybe let Germany defend itself for a change. Ah… but are you abandoning the principle that supporting client states is illegitimate?

    A lot of people (used to be a majority, but perhaps not so much right now) are uncomfortable with just cutting and running out of Iraq and Afghanistan – they’d rather we do the best we can to leave on our own terms and achieve something that we can call “victory”. So, you lead with something else – maybe an accelerated timetable to get out of those countries, a road map that ultimately leads to all American troops leaving those countries, but not necessarily right this minute. Ah… but are you abandoning the principle that we shouldn’t be there in the first place?

    And so it goes.

  17. Michael H. Wilson

    Most of us who have worked in retail know that presentation is everything.

    We can get the message across without being rude, obnoxious, or leaving our principles behind.

    Sometimes it is like scraping old paint off a house.

  18. Kwiatkowski's Name

    New Federalist: @14- Karen’s acting career… oh, wait. Karen’s political career… oh, wait!

    Silly response.

    If a difficult or unusual name were an impediment to a public career, no one with a difficult or unusual name would have one.

    Schwarzenegger proves it’s not the name that holds one back in politics or acting.

    The reason Karen has no political or acting career may be because she never aspired to either.

    For that matter, people said that no one named Obama could be elected president of the U.S. “Obama” was said to be too foreign, too African, too exotic, or too similar to Osama.

  19. Marc Montoni

    I tend to agree with Karen… Kwiatkowski. (Hmmmm… name didn’t seem that hard to spell…).

    It doesn’t matter if you lead with an American flag, mom, and apple pie – if the first thing out of your mouth is “THE STATE IS ILLEGITIMATE!”, well… that’s true only for those that believe that’s already the case.

    The Libertarian Party’s one main purpose is to *find* those people who *already* believe the state is illegitimate. There are millions in that cadre; the two difficulties is 1) finding them and 2) convincing them to help us to dismantle as much of the state as possible.

  20. Marc Montoni

    As an aside, one area where I would diverge with Karen is her reference to Jacob Hornberger. I observed his campaign for US Senate in Virginia a decade ago, and Hornberger had no problem distancing himself from principle when it seemed expedient.

  21. Jill Pyeatt

    Thank you to Colonel Kwiatkowski for saying what many of us have been saying for years. I would also urge her to enter the political field either on our National Committee or a run for office.

  22. Michael H. Wilson

    re: 12 “THE STATE IS ILLEGITIMATE!”

    Bet I can make the case over these three wars the Feds are conducting, or maybe even the Drug War. How about housing regulations, or those pesky occupational licensing laws?

    Lots of thing the state does violates not only the constitution but common sense.

  23. Robert Capozzi

    12 ap: Having a retired Lieutenant Colonel leading the charge helps. That’s why I would like to see her take a more prominent role within the LP, even though I disagree with much of what she wrote in this letter.

    me: As a general proposition, I agree. In politics, it’s important to associate with non-haters or otherwise notorious organizations. Sometimes, of course, the notorious organizations get unfairly smeared or are woefully misunderstood. I warrant none of the following, but I do think who KK associates with represents POTENTIALLY poor choices on her part.

    * She writes for LewRockwell.com. I read that site, sometimes enjoy it, have friends who write for it, etc. But Lew — in his “paleo” phase — seemed to play footsie with hard-right haters, occasionally dallying close to hard-right themes, such as his praise of the King beating. He had to delist Bob Wallace for over-the-line hate. He seemed to admit vaguely to TNR that he knew who wrote the Ron Paul Letter NewsletterGate hate. If that was the only questionable association, I’d certainly give KK a pass. But…

    * She gave a lengthy interview with the LaRouche publication Executive Intelligence Review. I don’t know the full story of how this happened, and there is evidence she didn’t know EIR’s connections, but agreeing to this interview doesn’t seem like sound judgment to me. A good politician or pundit vets who he or she gives exclusive to. (Even Harry Reid has learned this lesson…the hard way: http://freeliberal.com/blog/archives/003277.php) And…

    * Now, in this letter, she cites the John Birch Society as a model for LP activities. Again, I am not saying she’s in the JBS. I’m not even presenting an evaluation of the JBS. I do, however, think it’s safe to say — fair or not — that the JBS is generally considered to be a fringe organization. I would think she would recognize that as well, so it seems like a very odd choice to cite to the LNC Chair the JBS as a model for future activities. I have never seen the JBS’s conservative “friendliness ranking system,” nor do I care to. From a methodological viewpoint, it might be a good approach. However, why cite that one, why not cite the next-best one to avoid even the hint of association with JBS? Sipos may know, but I can’t even begin to guess what thought process landed on THAT decision!

    KK has an interesting story to tell. It’s a story that — without this sort of association baggage — could be great support for advancing the cause of liberty.

    I would suggest that she be more mindful about her credibility, and avoid scurrilous and obviously-false or severely-misleading attacks on fellow Ls, however.

  24. Alan Pyeatt

    @17: While I agree with much of what you say, we are still left with the task of selling libertarianism and libertarian candidates to the general public. Therefore, the message and the candidates will be packaged in one form or another.

    In my 2008 Congressional campaign, I appealed to people’s sense of traditional values. I wasn’t able to defeat Adam Schiff, but that approach did seem to be somewhat effective in selling our ideas. Even in California!

  25. Alan Pyeatt

    RC @ 26: I agree that Ms. Kwiatkowski’s letter has several drawbacks for those who do not currently identify themselves as libertarians. However, she may not have intended this letter to be published. In that case, it’s not so important whether the JBS elicits a visceral response among Americans, or even whether she likes them. What’s important in that case is whether the JBS illustrates the point she’s trying to make. We should be able to learn from our friends, our enemies, and everyone in between.

    Either way, she probably needs practice refining her message both as a party leader and as a candidate. That’s why I hope she gets started ASAP.

    In fact, she could probably use WAR for an example of how to package her message. Despite out differences, I have to give him credit for improving his delivery. That’s one reason why I thought it was foolish and arrogant of him to think he should be our spokes man OR on our national ticket before spending some time in the trenches, learning what we’re about and how to appeal to us. If he had done that, I think his opposition would be far less entrenched.

  26. JT

    Marc: “As an aside, one area where I would diverge with Karen is her reference to Jacob Hornberger. I observed his campaign for US Senate in Virginia a decade ago, and Hornberger had no problem distancing himself from principle when it seemed expedient.”

    Marc, I’m interested in this. What are a couple of examples?

  27. Robert Capozzi

    28 ap, glad we largely agree. I would say rating Congress is among the VERY LAST things the LP should be doing. It should be quite obvious that most of them are terrible on the issues, individually and collectively. Sifting through a 100lbs bag of shit to find a few pearls seems like a colossal waste of time! We already know who the pearls are, anyway.

    This idea ranks right up there with digging holes and filling them back up.

    But, yes, I’m hopeful that KK will learn and grow, as she’s now a diamond in the rough.

    IMO.

  28. David Colborne

    @Everyone replying to me: Don’t take me the wrong way here – I’m not arguing that we should abandon our principles at the drop of a hat for the sake of getting elected. I’m simply stating the following:

    1. Politics is trench warfare. There are no “breakthroughs”, and certainly not prolonged ones. Debating occupation plans for Berlin when the Germans are “bleeding you white” in Verdun isn’t an efficient use of your time.

    2. Politics is trench warfare. Defense (the “status quo”) always has the advantage unless there’s something so wrong with it that a majority of voters agree that a) there’s a problem, and b) on the solution to said problem. Most of the time this isn’t the case. Even when it is, b) frequently only holds true just long enough for people to see b) in action and develop a fear of change. This is actually quite rational – it’s easier to make intelligent decisions in life when you have time to consider the rules placed before you and find the optimal path to navigate through them. If the rules are always changing, it’s impossible to know if your decision will be correct in the long run.

    3. Politics is trench warfare. It’s a war of attrition – it’s not about who’s first, it’s about who lasts. Patience and persistence pay off far more consistently than philosophical consistency and ephemeral “movements”. Just ask fans of McGovern, or wait five years and ask current Tea Partiers. Or, just ask someone that was around for the mid-’90s GOP “Contract with America”.

    4. Politics is trench warfare and we are outnumbered. Offense is expensive in trench warfare – unless you’re really careful, it always costs you more in men and materials than it costs the defense. That doesn’t mean offense isn’t worth it – limited probing attacks of opportunity were frequently used successfully to draw attention away from vulnerable parts of the front, or to draw the opponent into engaging in expensive offensive operations themselves. However, the end goal – especially when you’re outnumbered – is to get your opponent to exhaust themselves, not to exhaust yourself trying to press forward on all fronts.

    5. You don’t fight with the army you want – you fight with the army you have. There might be millions of potential supporters out there that believe the state is illegitimate and are receptive to a minarchist platform, provided someone out there presents one. Personally, I suspect it’s more likely that there might be millions of potential supporters out there that believe this incarnation of the state is illegitimate and are receptive to a platform that maintains most of the power of the state, but reduces its power in a couple of key areas and only to a limited degree. If the latter is true, we’re better off focusing on those key areas, advancing our causes there, and doing everything possible to make sure we don’t give up more than we absolutely have to on the rest of the front. Until those potential supporters turn into actual supporters, though, we don’t know what we have, so we’re better off treading as carefully as possible.

  29. JT

    Marc: “The Libertarian Party’s one main purpose is to *find* those people who *already* believe the state is illegitimate.”

    I don’t agree with this though. LP members don’t need to believe “the state is illegitimate.”

  30. Robert Capozzi

    32 jt, agreed. They don’t need to, and most don’t.

    Notice MM’s phraseology: “The Libertarian Party’s one main purpose is to *find* those people who *already* believe the state is illegitimate. There are millions in that cadre; the two difficulties is 1) finding them and 2) convincing them to help us to dismantle as much of the state as possible.”

    Notice the use of the word “cadre.” It’s a term that MNR used in his (in)famous “strategy memo,” published in the 70s. In some ways, that made sense IN THE 70s. There was no Internet then. Nowadays, those who either believe the State is “illegitimate” or that most of what the State does is “illegitimate,” are folks who are thinking rather deeply about the world and politics.

    I would be STUNNED if most of them didn’t know about L-ism.

    I agree with MM on point 2. However, in the cadre model, the cats are herded by non-leaky idealogues.

    In an Internet age, however, I suspect we are seeing a network model, where no one authority calls all the shots.

    Control freaks understandably don’t like the network model.

  31. Gains

    RC @33: “In an Internet age, however, I suspect we are seeing a network model, where no one authority calls all the shots.

    Control freaks understandably don’t like the network model.”

    I could not agree with your premise and conclusions more.

  32. Robert Capozzi

    31 dc, I agree with your analysis, except I quibble with the notion of “trench warfare.” It evokes images of being hunkered down, being defensive, and occasionally firing a salvo where the “enemy” seems weak.

    I prefer to view politics are a matter of offering a positive alternative to the status quo. Ls need only agree that we have a core idea that unites us — I suggest liberty enhancement — that our network uses to suggest a range of ideas to advance our core belief. Rather than imposing militaristic discipline down to the “proper” way to make up a cot, we could recognize that letting a thousand (liberty) flowers bloom allows for a range of experimentation and alternative approaches.

    This is not to say that discipline doesn’t have its place. Picking opportunities to advance liberty would be a good example. Advancing medical marijuana seems a better use of time than advocating for heroin vending machines in middle schools, for ex. It seems self-evident that the former is more likely to bear fruit.

    A network can tolerate outliers better than top-down cadres. In a room full of putative individualists, a network approach seems far more in line with the style of most Ls I know.

  33. David Colborne

    @35: Guerrilla warfare would admittedly be a more accurate metaphor, which ties in nicely with what you’re saying, but it tends to have some less pleasant connotations of its own. I usually go with “trench warfare” because it’s accurate enough most of the time, at least as far as illustrating the case for an incremental approach to politics, and it’s far enough removed from more recent geopolitical events that people don’t have strong opinions either way on the subject (“I’m not a terrorist/Vietcong/Sandinista/etc.!”). Past that, though, I do agree that, if you draw the “trench warfare” model out to include proposed leadership styles, it’s important to remember that most of the “leadership” in World War 1 was, at best, non-productive, if not openly counterproductive.

    I do think maintaining some mindfulness toward political defense is important, though. Too many people are far too willing to stick their heads up to become targets of political opportunity. Discipline and thoughtfulness, even in a decentralized system, always helps.

  34. Gene Berkman

    I am glad that Ms Kwiatkowski is concerned about the image of The Libertarian Party – it is a little evidence that she actually cares about it.

    I don’t find much other evidence. I have read some of her columns @ LRC and she never mentions The Libertarian Party. That is in line with the general stance at Lewrockwell.com, which is only to mention the LP when criticizing it for not being principled enough.

    Enough already! If you want to have a principled Libertarian group, go ahead and build one locally.

    KK totally loses me when she suggests that Downsize DC is somehow more effective than The Cato Institute. Cato does outstanding work promoting freedom, capitalism and peace. and I never see any real world evidence that Downsize DC even exists.

    Of course it is the party line at LRC to diss Cato. Lew and his buddies need to get a life.

  35. Robert Capozzi

    36 dc, I get the sense you know a thing or 2 about military matters. My association with guerilla warfare is more positive, however, as it’s my understanding that some of the Am Revolutionists employed the tactic.

    As a network sorta guy, I’m OK with others using military metaphors, but I see liberty advancing by appealing to hearts and souls. No force is needed, for peace is like honey.

  36. Michael H. Wilson

    Gee Capozzi you sound like an absolutist when you write No force is needed, for peace is like honey.

    C’mon now do ya really want us to believe that you think that way? 😉

  37. David Colborne

    @39: It’s a hobby. It’s also only a metaphor, strictly used for illustrative purposes. Put another way, you’re not going to see me telling people in my local LP affiliate to “fix bayonets”, “charge into no-man’s land”, “take out that nest”, “load up some canister” or anything absurd like that.

  38. Robert Capozzi

    Another dissection:

    KK: Because the LP has taken a very public stand that it is a party founded and based on principle, not popularity, it makes itself vulnerable to criticism for appearing unprincipled.

    me: Actually, the word “popularity” does not appear in the preamble, SOP, or platform. She’s taking some licence here.

    The def. of “principle” is: 1. A fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning.

    Non-aggression is a great “foundation,” but it’s hardly the whole story. The edifice that lays ON the foundation can take a number of forms. KK may want an A frame and I want an English Tudor! 😉

    With THAT out of the way, let’s unpack this “vulnerable” concept. Anyone at any time can (and probably will!) be criticized for his or her stance on anything. kk, for ex., has now been exposed as “vulnerable” for her opinion on the state of the LP. Some may agree with every word she has said in this “open letter.” Others find her arguments and past work riddled with hypocrisy and — at times — duplicity.

    Apparently, this doesn’t matter, because — in the KK construct — popularity does not matter. Only “principle” — as she defines it and practices it — does.

    On one level, I admire this stance. Put it out there…stick to your guns…come what may. Still, her inconsistencies are rather obvious, at least to some.

    I would ask KK, Why put it out there at all? What purpose is served by what appears to many to be straw-man argumentation? What is your motive? To be popular with those who AGREE with you? Or to persuade?

    Why mention JBS, for ex.? Is that code for some in-crowd who kinda likes JBS, or something else?

    I have to say, the more I look at this, I’m more confused by this missive than even by those who tried to purge Root a few months back. It seems, well, personal. I sometimes disagree with Root, but at least he has the good sense to not personally attack fellow Ls publicly that I’ve seen.

    Root says: “I’m kind of re-creating libertarianism.” FL and ID flip out.

    KK says: “Why haven’t we, as a party, asked Wayne to simply join one of the war parties?”

    Maybe it’s just me. Maybe this imbalance makes perfect sense on some level that I cannot fathom.

    I must need an interpreter…can anyone help me square this (infernal tautological) circle?

  39. Robert Capozzi

    41 mwh, ok, busted! The long version is: My preference is for no force is needed, for peace is like honey. Force is a last resort, and at this tme, force would be counter-productive, in my estimation. I would never rule counter-force completely out; honey remains my strong preference.

    Less elegant, admittedly. Chalk it up to poetic license.

  40. Michael H. Wilson

    Regardless of what Karen Kwiatkowski has written I think people should look at the goal and then see what has been produced to get to that goal. See it as a quality control issue.

    And there is a good case to be made for guerrilla marketing.

  41. Robert Capozzi

    45 mhw, if the goal is liberty, I humbly submit that nothing has to date advanced that goal.

    How “Why haven’t we, as a party, asked Wayne to simply join one of the war parties?” changes the trajectory, or bends the curve, is not obvious.

    How citing JBS is tantamount to “quality control” is also not obvious.

    Your theories welcome, despite my skepticism.

  42. Robert Milnes

    OK, interesting. Thank you Tom for bringing this to IPR. I do not get around-the interweb-much anymore. Been busy with my personal problems. This would have gone under my radar.
    A while ago I expressed reservations about KK as a rad. Mostly for not assisting a purge of rightists from the LP. What being a little too in the proximity with them-Lew.com.
    So I said she should leave Lew.com. And withdraw endorsement of Ron Paul.
    Here she has done something just as well. Come out against rightists -statists, nationalists et al, in the LP. Mentioning Root & Barr. & the 2008 shenanigans-debacle as I’ve called it.
    I’d have liked it more if she mentioned Nolan favorably & Paul with contempt. Ah, well.
    My position has not changed. I seek a woman rad. libertarian for vp on my independent ticket. First come, first served.

  43. Thomas L. Knapp Post author

    RM@48,

    You seem to assume that “radical libertarian” and “rightist” are mutually exclusive.

    In fact, many radical libertarians consider themselves “rightist,” and Kwiatkowski seems to be one of them. I think they’re making some important mistakes, but that’s just me.

    Kwiatkowski is over-qualified to be your second fiddle. She has a full military career with an added intelligence portfolio, a doctorate and a media presence. You have none of these. The question is not whether or not you need her, it’s whether or not she needs you.

  44. LibertarianGirl

    I agree with Jogn Jay , Hinkle has been very non-interventionism and as I used to think he was a little meek has turned out to be quite the Lion and Im SUPER-PROUD he’s our Chair. Plus shes got some nerve to say anything when she worked for the NSA and such . Surprisingly , even Bob Barr has done some pretty impressive things, and I NEVER thought Id say that

  45. Michael H. Wilson

    RC @ 46 writes; How citing JBS is tantamount to “quality control” is also not obvious.

    Robert it is obvious to me that she was using that as an example. It has nothing to do with quality control.

    If you come into my car show room and order a green car and I deliver a blue car and then explain to you that it is part way to your goal because when you mix blue and yellow you get green.

    What are you complaining about? Its almost what you wanted.

    The further out towards the edge we go the more the middle moves our way.

  46. Outreach to Nasty People

    Capozzi: [Kwiatkowski] gave a lengthy interview with the LaRouche publication Executive Intelligence Review.

    Root has appeared on the Mike Savage Show (widely regarded as homophobic), yet Root’s supporters defend this as “outreach.”

    If Root gets a pass for doing outreach to nasty crowds, so should Kwiatkowski.

  47. HumbleTravis

    I like the idea of doing reports on how Congress votes. This would not be difficult. Just pick out the significant legislation (i.e.- TSA body scanners, wiretaps, Patriot Act renewal, TARP, etc.) & show how people vote on it. You don’t have to show how they voted on every ridiculous thing that comes to the floor, just those that are most relevant (yes I realize that this would have to be defined). In addition to the list showing all of the representatives, you could try to plot them on the Nolan chart. This was actually done on the Freedom Democrats site a few years ago (2006) but it appears to have gone offline & in any case it was out of date.

  48. Tom Blanton

    Karen K. gave Mother Jones a huge interview – google “Lie Factory” in 2004 – I don’t think this makes her a progressive. In fact, she was a whistleblower on the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans – she was not giving interviews as a LP hack trying to get people to join an organization. The sad thing is that most LP Libertarians wouldn’t invest the time to check out what she was saying. At the time, many were worshiping at the alter of Neal Boortz, an errand boy for the Lie Factory.

    I don’t agree with this though. LP members don’t need to believe “the state is illegitimate.”

    But, the state is illegitimate. If LP Libertarians believe the state is legitimate, people might as well join the GOP or the Dems.

    Karen K. is not a political hack as so many heroes to LP members seem to be these days. She is dealing with ideas – you know, those same ideas that the LP says they aren’t in the business of educating people about while it is so busy electing candidates (that’s a whole nuther bad fucking joke from a different lie factory).

    There’s a boatload of libertarians in the world and the LP can’t attract them because the LP is more concerned about hacks like Wayne Root and clinging to the legitimacy of government.

    I read Root’s rants about Islamofascism when he first hit the scene. Then he figured out most libertarians didn’t want to hear his tired bullshit and he shut up. I’ve heard no mea culpas from him, so it isn’t unreasonable to think that an opportunistic hack like Root is simply telling his audience what they want to hear, or not telling them what they don’t want to hear in this case. That’s what all politicians do and that’s the reason why so many neolibertarians and neophyte libertarians belong to the cult of Root. They love what they think is his political cleverness.

    The legitimacy of the U.S. government is the defining issue that encompasses all others. If I wasn’t already such a cynic when it comes to the LP, I’d be shocked to hear a Libertarian say the government has legitimacy. What’s next? Maybe the LP could hold a rally in DC giving their collective consent to be governed.

  49. Michael H. Wilson

    Let’s build on Tom’s comment for a moment.
    Is the Drug War legal?
    How about farm subsidies?
    The three wars U.S. troops are fighting overseas?
    How about the Federal Reserve?
    How about entitlement programs?

    If these five big government programs are illegal does that make what the government does illegitimate? If what the government does is illegitimate can we take the next step and say the government itself is illegitimate ?

  50. Eddie

    How come I never hear of any Libertarians working with the Green Party to work on the issues that we agree on? Stop playing games and together, we can be more!

  51. JT

    Blanton: “But, the state is illegitimate. If LP Libertarians believe the state is legitimate, people might as well join the GOP or the Dems.”

    That’s absurd. You’re saying anyone who isn’t an anarchist yet wants to reduce government power dramatically by wiping out the majority of government departments and agencies would fit in better with the Republican Party or the Democratic Party? Are you living on Earth or are you posting from another planet?

    Ron Paul doesn’t believe the state is illegitimate. Ludwig von Mises didn’t believe the state is illegitimate (contrary to those at the institute that bears his name). Many other heralded libertarians didn’t either. I doubt you think poorly of them.

  52. Tom Blanton

    Legitimacy is in the eye of the beholder. It is based on consent. The question should be whether the American people consent to a government that substantively and openly ignores the very constitution which purports to give it legitimacy.

    Does the government act outside the scope of the constitution and does it act in accordance with the guidelines set forth therein?

    If the answer is no, yet the governed consent to this, then I suppose the government is legitimate.

    Merely because large numbers of ignorant rubes incapable of any critical thinking believe they are free does not make them so.

    Try googling “political legitimacy” to get some idea about this concept. I have the awful feeling that many people are unfamiliar with the concept. Especially those who think the government has legitimacy.

    Michael is on the right track above and he is only addressing the tip of the iceberg.

    Any member of any third party should realize by now that the rigged election system favoring the two establishment parties is in itself so egregious as to constitute a political system with no legitimacy.

  53. Tom Blanton

    Most anarchists believe the state is incapable of legitimacy. I believe most minarchists believe that the present government can be restored to legitimacy.

    Try googling “political legitimacy”

  54. Thomas L. Knapp Post author

    TB@60,

    “Legitimacy is in the eye of the beholder. It is based on consent.”

    Last time I looked, Rasmussen said that a little over 20% of those polled believe that the current US government enjoys the consent of the governed.

    The 75-80% who don’t believe that seem like a constituency large enough to be worth approaching.

  55. Robert Milnes

    Tom @49, many radical libertarians consider themselves rightists. You are making my point. & unless they distance themselves somehow, are likely to be assumed to be one, just another one.
    Kwiatkowski=libertarian
    libertarian=loser
    therefore Kwiatkowski is an overqualified loser.
    The idea of a ticket is to be complementary.
    I bring to the table many things she cannot & is not.
    I wouldn’t call a heartbeat from the presidency second fiddle. It is as close to parity as possible; disproportionate in favor of the libertarians.
    Unfortunately it is impure; so far rejected.

  56. Marc Montoni

    Capozzi: [Kwiatkowski] gave a lengthy interview with the LaRouche publication Executive Intelligence Review.

    Root has appeared on the Mike Savage Show (widely regarded as homophobic), yet Root’s supporters defend this as “outreach.”

    If Root gets a pass for doing outreach to nasty crowds, so should Kwiatkowski.

    Good one. But the point is lost on that particular writer, I suspect.

  57. Marc Montoni

    JT said:

    Marc: “As an aside, one area where I would diverge with Karen is her reference to Jacob Hornberger. I observed his campaign for US Senate in Virginia a decade ago, and Hornberger had no problem distancing himself from principle when it seemed expedient.”

    Marc, I’m interested in this. What are a couple of examples?

    Oh, there’s a few examples floating around. Hornberger’s act was all just a show — which is what lawyers like Hornberger are trained to do. Hornberger, after it became clear that his behavior had cost him the support of just about everyone in the LPVA, and that if he sought our formal endorsement for US Senate, he would lose, turned around and called Libertarians a bunch of immoral libertines. “Jacob Hornberger” , on Thu, 21 Mar 2002 10:52:10, said:

    “When it comes to the role of government in our lives, libertarians are moral absolutists — we know it’s wrong, for example, for government to take money from those to whom it belongs in order to give it to someone to whom it does not belong. But when it comes to the private, spontaneous order, all too many in the leadership positions of the Libertarian Party are moral and ethical relativists. That is, ‘Anything that’s peaceful is okay.’ Drug abuse. Prostitution. Adultery. Conflicts of interest. Lying. Secret and surreptitious laundering of money. Cover-ups. No big deal — after all, none of it involves force or coercion, does it?”

    That gives a taste.

    Perhaps the greatest annoyance was the simple, grade-school hypocrisy employed. Hornberger set standards for others that he (and his supporters) refused to apply to himself.

  58. Gains

    I feel very strongly that it is true that the further toward the edge you pull the more the middle moves your way.

    I also believe that at the same time, you must have well considered and easily digestible material and infrastructure for the middle to move into.

    The efforts of the Libertarian Party must exist on the edge and also all along the pathway to the middle. Everywhere a freedom seeker is seeking there we should be, pointing a little farther up the way.

    In that spirit I tend to reject anyone saying: “So an so is a such and such because they wont do this or that.” At least not when it is really just strategic advice.

    You want to call shots? Earn it. Then learn that no one is calling any shots, and get over it. You want to accomplish something? Got a project? Need to forward an issue?

    Get to work.

    The party should be making it its number one job to hook you up with like minded people so that you have an economy of scale. Introduce everybody to everybody and have a good time.

    BTW when I say the party. I mean everyone willing, not Mr. Hinkle, or WAR or our “leaders” in any specific. Each of us would be exponentially empowered if we learned the strengths of those around us, what they are in to, and spent a little energy empowering them to do it.

  59. Robert Capozzi

    53 mhw: The further out towards the edge we go the more the middle moves our way.

    Me: I see no evidence for this assertion. Leadership can involve getting out in front, but if the leader gets TOO far away, the followers scatter. Or, if a leader goes off the deep end, followers might see that and go in a different direction.

    54 outreach: If Root gets a pass for doing outreach to nasty crowds, so should Kwiatkowski.

    Me: Root didn’t get a pass. He also doesn’t launch PERSONAL attacks on those not in his camp in the L community that I’ve seen. Root has stopped appearing on Savage, near as I can tell. KK has launched a personal attack on Root. I don’t know what she was doing yapping to the LaRouchies. Suggesting mimicking the JBS just seems off-the-hook bizarre on every level I can think of.

    Do you not see these as imbalanced? If KK had said she’s disappointed that the LP has not been as anti-war as she’d like, that’s an in-bounds critique. (I don’t agree with that critique, but it’s well within bounds. The LP has been quite anti-war, near as I can tell.)

    56 tb: The legitimacy of the U.S. government is the defining issue that encompasses all others. If I wasn’t already such a cynic when it comes to the LP, I’d be shocked to hear a Libertarian say the government has legitimacy. What’s next? Maybe the LP could hold a rally in DC giving their collective consent to be governed.

    Me: I’m sure you mean to say that government’s “legitimacy” is the “defining issue” FOR YOU, yes? That’s good for you, as an anarchist. Most Ls are not anarchists. How that translates in your mind to non-anarchists wanting to “rally” to give their “collective consent to be governed” is, sorry, patently absurd black-and-white thinking at its most ridiculous and misrepresentative. Virtually all Ls want government to be smaller, most a lot smaller. The issue of “consent” is a theoretical sideshow, at least FOR ME, and, I suspect, most Ls. I, for ex., never “consented” to be governed, but I would like to see government smaller. Navel-gazing about whether I or anyone ever technically consented to be governed defines pretty much nothing, near as I can tell. 10,000 Ls could rally and burn their SS cards and passports and that accomplishes what, exactly?

    57 mhw: If what the government does is illegitimate can we take the next step and say the government itself is illegitimate ?

    Me: No, that’s not a “step,” that a huge leap. Would you say that if a person steals a loaf of bread, therefore he or she is not a human?

    62 tk: Last time I looked, Rasmussen said that a little over 20% of those polled believe that the current US government enjoys the consent of the governed.

    Me: I cannot say I’ve ever seen such a poll. Can you find a cite? I couldn’t. There ARE polls that say things like only 25% say the country is on the “wrong track.” There ARE polls that say only 20% say Congress is doing a good job. Leaping to the conclusion that 80% must believe government should be abolished is, ah, heroic.

    Consider the possibility that you are interpreting what you are reading through a distorted lens. Of course, we all do that to some extent, which is why we compare notes!

    64 MM: Good one. But the point is lost on that particular writer, I suspect.

    Me: You suspect incorrectly. I offer Root constructive critiques all the time, including his ill-advised past appearances on Savage. Next….

    67 g: I feel very strongly that it is true that the further toward the edge you pull the more the middle moves your way. I also believe that at the same time, you must have well considered and easily digestible material and infrastructure for the middle to move into

    Me: Let’s test that. Let’s take a simple example for illustrative purposes. My view is that the right to keep and bear arms is limited to one’s property, and “arms” can be defined by reasonable man standards. Practically, that means I believe 2A says anyone can keep firearms on their property, but certain weapons are inherently dangerous anywhere. So, pistols, rifles on one’s property > OK. Bazookas > not OK. Some Ls on the “edge” (I’d say “fringe”) believe 2A applies to any and all weapons anywhere, including WMD.

    If that’s the range of L thought, help us understand how leads to “the middle moves your way.”

    Some in the middle may find my view offensive, e.g., those who want very strict gun control. Others in the middle may find my view overly restrictive, e.g., NRA members, who may think they have the right to carry anywhere off their property. The extremes of the middle may not find my view reasonable, but I suspect the vast majority would find my view to be reasonable, if not their position.

    However, the right to WMD is shocking to virtually everyone. They would likely say, If 2A includes WMD, let’s amend 2A right quick, because that is one crazy idea.

    So, I submit that “further toward the edge” has limits. Go TOO far, and the middle is repelled, not attracted.

  60. Thomas L. Knapp Post author

    RC@69,

    “[Root] doesn’t launch PERSONAL attacks on those not in his camp in the L community that I’ve seen.”

    He’s done it many times, in comment threads where you yourself are also posting. If you don’t “see” it, it’s because when you get to it you put one hand over your eyes, scream “I WON’T LOOK” at the top of your lungs, and use the other hand to scroll the mouse down past it.

    This is the case regardless of how you want to define “personal attack.”

    Kwiatkowski’s attack on Root was no more “personal” than Root’s attacks on Ruwart — Kwiatkowski says that Root is “rabidly pro-war,” and you call it a “personal attack.” Root says that Ruwart is an anarchist, and you scratch your head and treat the claim as a reasonable and political statement rather than as a “personal attack.”

    When someone criticizes Root’s business record or practices, it’s a “personal attack,” even if it’s simply a documented claim disproving an undocumented claim Root himself has made.

    When Root launches on the person making that documented claim and makes broad, undocumented and often false statements (“I’m sure you’ve never started a business yourself, never risked your own money”), on the other hand, cue the silence from Capozzi.

  61. Tom Blanton

    Capozzi proclaims:

    I, for ex., never “consented” to be governed

    Every time you vote, you implicitly give your consent to be governed.

  62. Tom Blanton

    53 mhw: The further out towards the edge we go the more the middle moves our way.

    Capozzi: I see no evidence for this assertion.

    The evidence is the political history of America:

    the American Revolution
    slavery and then Jim Crow laws
    medical marijuana
    adult entertainment/literature
    womens’ suffrage

    Controversial and unpopular ideas often percolate in society for a period of time before being accepted. Agitating for things that are already widely accepted among those in the middle of mainstream politics does not move anyone in a particular direction.

    I don’t find it surprising that a radical centrist or moderate absolutist would disagree and reject the premise that Michael stated @ 53.

    This moderate absolutism, ever present in mainstream politics and media, has resulted in a moribund society perpetually stuck in a dystopian rut.

    When Thomas Paine wrote Common Sense, it was such a radical and controversial treatise that he didn’t put his name to avoid problems. It turned out to be a best seller. So, despite his fear of going against the middle, he published his ideas and arguments to great effect.

  63. Wes Wagner

    Tom #71 —

    This is like saying that of you throw a punch during a rape you support the system of violence and rape.

    I fail to see how your one liner is a valid argument.

    Tom #72 —

    I concur, radicalism is how you move people. If we moderate our ideas we are not striving to convince anyone as to our ways.

    The pragmatic side of me says to choose these issues based on the ones that are ripe and ready for movement. “There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come…” etc. etc.

    The LP has always done itself a great disservice by trying to “fight” against the more radical element of the party in a way that makes them feel the party itself is an enemy – hence we eat our own instead of our real enemy. (It really does become as absurd as The Life of Brian)

    When the “conservatives” and “moderates” of the LP learn how to embrace and manage their personal relationships with the radicals of the movement, and focus on only working on specific items of agreement while not alienating them on the other items, they will have discovered how to be effective in politics.

    Don’t ever expect the radicals to change — they won’t… it is their nature to be what they are. Further we need them because without them a movement has no strong heart and soul that attracts and converts real believers.

  64. Robert Capozzi

    69 tk: Kwiatkowski’s attack on Root was no more “personal” than Root’s attacks on Ruwart — Kwiatkowski says that Root is “rabidly pro-war,” and you call it a “personal attack.” Root says that Ruwart is an anarchist, and you scratch your head and treat the claim as a reasonable and political statement rather than as a “personal attack.”

    me: First, while many here, including Root critics, note that Root has not been “rabidly pro war” in recent years. I agree with people like JJM on that. That’s a severe misrepresentation by KK of WR.

    Second, this I see as a personal attack: “Why haven’t we, as a party, asked Wayne to simply join one of the war parties?”

    And this: “I also think, that beyond the fleas the LP gets from lying down with characters like Root, and promoting him,…”

    I’ll take your word that Root has called Ruwart an “anarchist,” though I surely don’t recall that. That doesn’t seem like an “attack.” You’re an anarchist, right?, proudly so. I’m a theoretical asymptotic anarchist. I just don’t see that label as personal.

    tk: When someone criticizes Root’s business record or practices, it’s a “personal attack,” even if it’s simply a documented claim disproving an undocumented claim Root himself has made.

    me: No, I can’t say I agree. As a public figure, questioning some of Root’s business associations seem in-bounds to me, especially if he runs for office. I don’t believe those are per se “personal attacks.” Nor, btw, is my pointing out that KK has openly praised the work of JDS.

    tk: When Root launches on the person making that documented claim and makes broad, undocumented and often false statements (“I’m sure you’ve never started a business yourself, never risked your own money”), on the other hand, cue the silence from Capozzi.

    me: If Root has done that (I don’t recall it), I find that a childish argument. As for my silence, you are just not paying attention then, Thomas. I critique Root’s views and rhetoric fairly regularly.

  65. Robert Capozzi

    70 tb: Every time you vote, you implicitly give your consent to be governed.

    me: That’s YOUR interpretation. I will say I have only voted L, never with any expectation that I was voting for someone who would win. I do it as a symbolic expression of my intention, which is that the State should be rolled back.

    As to whether I personally “consent” to the State, I have no position. I accept that some State seems necessary to keep the peace until I am reasonably sure that no State could do a better job of it. I generally don’t break laws, though I have been known to exceed the speed limit by a bit. I don’t steal or murder or assault. I pay taxes even though I object to the level of taxation for I don’t wish to live with the threat of prison. Marijuana makes me paranoid. Etc. Etc.

  66. Robert Capozzi

    71 tb: Controversial and unpopular ideas often percolate in society for a period of time before being accepted.

    me: True. But the magnitude generally evolves. Let’s take one of your examples: porn. There was a time when Playboy had pics of bare-breasted women, and that was considered “radical.” Now we have streaming full-on sex act videos. The bounds of capitalist acts among consenting adults evolve. Staking out the MOST extreme position sometimes happens, but it’s rare and often fails. But, when it DOES happen and it IS successful, it is spearheaded by single-issue groups generally, NOT political parties.

    Political parties are networks of reasonably like-minded folk advancing a broad agenda to address what ails us.

    I’d have zero problem if you started the Nonarchy Pod Society and had monthly supper club meetings in which you and your colleagues attempted to popularize the pressing, elemental issue of the day for you: withdrawing your consent to all government and all monopoly laws. I might even drop in for a meeting, depending on whether the menu was to my liking. For a few hours, I might engage with you and your fellow Podsters on the elegant, theoretical beauty of a stateless society. It might be a good time.

    If you decided to found the Pod Party, however, I would not be interested. It seems wildly premature to me.

  67. Robert Capozzi

    …more…

    TB, I’ve made this single-issue vs. party as network/coalition point MANY times on these pages. Thus far, it’s met with silence.

    Please address it this time, if not to persuade me, to persuade the peanut gallery. I submit that most will see your analogy is false UNLESS you can provide a credible rebuttal.

  68. Jake Witmer

    And now, another long comment designed for the few, the proud, the people-who-read-really-long-tirades, the libertarians!:

    @32 JT:

    Marc: “The Libertarian Party’s one main purpose is to *find* those people who *already* believe the state is illegitimate.”
    I don’t agree with this though. LP members don’t need to believe “the state is illegitimate.”

    In this formulation, JT is right. I’ll rephrase Marc’s comment so it satisfies all libertarians: “The Libertarian Party’s one main purpose is to *find* those people who *already* believe the [coercive] state[, as it currently stands,] is illegitimate.” Either the words “coercive” or “as it currently stands” are enough to act as qualifiers. After all, libertarians are the only party that agree with the concept of “consent of the governed”, meaning: we believe that one should be able to “opt out” of the state. This is vital to the concept of being a libertarian. Now, not all libertarians agree with a strategy of getting to that ideal overnight, but that’s the goal: the ability to lawfully withdraw consent and support from the state. (For instance, eliminating the income tax –and returning to the way things were prior to 1910, with no drug or gun laws– would go a long way to accomplishing this goal. –Even if we still had the death of freedom, as Prussian-style education, funded and regulated with State and local property taxation.)

    Embracing a government (or protectorate) by consent would not make the LP too radical for the general population, if we referenced the Declaration of Independence (and/or Thomas Paine) every time we advocated this. Many Americans I’ve met while petitioning wrongly believe themselves to be in favor of the core precepts of limited government. When confronted with the truth (that they really don’t have a valid conception of what America’s founders intended, or that their government education is inadequate), many of them want further information about the Libertarian Party.

    I believe that interest and curiosity usually precede adoption of our ideas.

    Therefore, the job of the LP isn’t only to “find” such “existing small-L libertarians”, it’s also to nudge them toward greater consistency, and nudge the existing small-L libertarians to greater activity. I haven’t met one LIBERTARIAN in 1,000 who can tell me what greater activity might consist of, though. (Which is why I’ve been writing a book on the subject for a long, lonely time. LOL)

    @37 Gene:

    Of course it is the party line at LRC to diss Cato. Lew and his buddies need to get a life.

    This entire thread excels at the two things that libertarians excel at:
    1a) infighting
    2a) applying an “all or nothing” view of reality to situational strategy, and then claiming that that flawed strategic view is a perfect moral view

    I hate to suggest this, but “What if libertarians excelled at standing in front of courthouses and proving their worth to the electorate in the only way possible, since they cannot offer patronage rewards once elected?” Julian Heicklen has repeatedly done this, and shamed us all, by comparison. Although this pamphlet needs a redesign, it is the finest thing I’ve ever read about jury rights, other than perhaps “Surviving Voir Dire” by Clay Conrad:
    http://isil.org/resources/lit/history-jury-null.html

    Such “activity” or “activism” is the only kind that is useful. It shows a path toward more individual liberty that is not totally dependent on breaking into the status quo system. Should we still try to break into such a system? Sure. But our strategy shouldn’t rely on it.

    The Libertarian Party needs to assess its position in reality, and honestly consider what the best way to bring value to the masses is. Then, it needs to pursue that strategy, paying close attention to the feedback it receives in local areas. This is a realistic method for winning increased individual freedom. If we proceed as we have been, as an “all-or-nothing philosophical debate club”, we will simply cement our status as totally irrelevant, in the public’s eyes.

    @58 Eddie:

    “How come I never hear of any Libertarians working with the Green Party to work on the issues that we agree on? Stop playing games and together, we can be more!

    We regularly work together on Sisyphean ballot access and free speech. See: http://www.google.com/#sclient=psy&hl=en&q=MD+libertarian+green+speech&aq=f&aqi=&aql=f&oq=&pbx=1&fp=712a8e58b97b8072

    We sometimes work together on opposing drug prohibition, although the Green Party does not officially endorse legalization, so they only favor what amounts to a band-aid on “the drug war as the problem”. The GP also does not officially oppose slave control (AKA “gun control”), so again, they undercut the libertarian moral high ground on that issue. As for the rest of the GP, typically, one third of the GP membership are “stupid libertarians” or “uninformed libertarians”. (I know this because I regularly speak to GP crowds, and almost always get about 1/3 of them on my side, leaving them in greater infighting than a libertarian supper club with 5 noobs in attendance. The way to do this is to assert that “anyone has the right to use any drug that they want to. It’s none of the state’s business what you do in the privacy of your own home…” —A statement to this effect strips away the drug users, and the radicals who believe in social tolerance and consistency. They then vehemently argue with the marxists who believe the community has a right to veto personal decisions, such as cocaine use –or the hobgoblin du jour, such as “meth”. …LOL)

    On uncontroversial issues where we pretty much agree (speech, government transparency), it’s typically wise to support the ACLU’s lawsuits in defense of free speech and open ballot access.

    A problem with working with the GP is that the LP is trying to run non-theives, and non-sociopaths for office. This sounds unfair and harsh to the GP, so let me explain: sociopaths want to run for office, using any party they can as both “legitimacy” and “ease of ballot access”.

    As one means of weeding out such self-interested sociopaths, the LP has a specific platform that defines their legitimate candidates’ views. Thus, when a candidate veers away from this platform into pursuing the self-interested theft that the system currently rewards and incentivizes them to pursue, the membership can and does cry foul (often more loudly than the situation merits –LOL). The Green Party has a platform that tries to dance around the fact that the GP leadership and core membership is a bunch of marxists who worship power, and have no other strong ideals. (I assert this because their ten plank platform is sufficiently more vague than the LP platform.) Don’t take my word for this: go through their “ten guidelines” or whatever they’re calling it now, and read them all. Then imagine to yourself that a self-interested sociopath wants to use the Green Party for ballot access in a geographic area where a Green is likely to win an election. How easy would it be for them to ignore any of the GP platform planks that they disagreed with, while appearing to support it? If you come up with an answer other than “very”, you’re not acknowledging the same reality I’m experiencing.

    @71 Tom:

    “Every time you vote, you implicitly give your consent to be governed.”

    Lysander Spooner eloquently disagrees with this idea, even though he also points out that the Constitution is without authority. Why adopt one of his memes, without the other? It’s obvious that many Ds and Rs “vote defensively”.
    http://lysanderspooner.org/node/44
    He points out that most people vote defensively, and in ignorance, but that nonetheless does not constitute “consent”, since there is no “NOTA” on the ticket, as Jesse Ventura (and the LP platform) suggests there should be. That would show who was there and willing to participate, while voting “no confidence” in any of the existing candidates. Of course, this still wouldn’t “imply consent” to the system, it merely shows that some people are willing to go to greater lengths to attempt to defend themselves from the worst possible choice. (If NOTA wins, then the post-election rules count for more. Is there then a repeat election with additional candidates added to the ballot? Do the ballot access laws get changed to less restrictive ones, or totally unrestrictive ones? Were it possible to “totally opt out” of the system –and pay no taxes and grant no other support, such as draft eligibility– you would then have a case that electoral participation endorsed election results.)

    …BUT WHAT ABOUT WAYNE ROOT?

    My general ideas on this entire debate:
    1b) Wayne Root is suitably libertarian to run on the LP ticket, as is Karen. If you compare Wayne’s stated positions on the issues, he scores in the libertarian quadrant on any Nolan Chart:
    http://rootforamerica.com/home/wherestands.php
    2b) Wayne appears to be less interested in bashing Karen than Karen is in bashing Wayne. Wayne is generally more “big tent” than his critics. The exception to this was when Wayne was running against Ruwart, and his staff interpreted his personal private distaste for Ruwart’s style of outreach as “an OK to engage in negative campaigning”. Unfortunately, Wayne hired a few horrible people onto his staff in 2008. He honorably chose not to “throw them under the bus”, and that choice gave his critics a lot of material to criticize. If you’ll notice, there has since been a lot less negative material from Wayne. I hope he doesn’t hire such negative people in 2012, assuming he runs again. (As an aside: If Wayne, or anyone else, hires Russel Verney again, I’ll be a firm believer in conspiracy theories about the CIA managing opposition campaigns via threats and intimidation. Just look up this bastard’s history on WIKIpedia and other online sources, and it becomes totally clear that he’s an agent of unlimited state power. …Root’s incompetent 2008 people were hired out of the National LP HQ.)
    3b) There is such a thing as a pro-intervention libertarian. I might not like it, you might not like it, but that doesn’t make it untrue. R. J. Rummel, Vin Suprynowicz (in 2002 at the IL LP convention, and sporadically beyond), and Christopher Hitchens (to some extent), are such animals. They exist. Moreover, they exist in an interesting and legitimate philosophical space, often changing their strategic views over time, as circumstances and information merit. None of them are for a central bank, but many of them don’t understand or acknowledge the central bank’s role in war-making (something that more information would correct for). (Certain near genius-level people the LP has not recruited yet fall into this category. I won’t mention who they are, because I don’t want attempts to “convert” or flame them. Suffice to say that they are working on strong strategies that could render the USA a domestic libertarian paradise, without electoral politics.) The core libertarian philosophical belief –that initiation of force is wrong– is not necessarily violated by support for collective defense, or preemptive defense, given an intelligent assessment of a legitimate threat. I agree with the legitimate pro-defense libertarians (of which Eric Dondero is not one) that radical Islam (and theocracy of any kind) is a serious threat to individual freedom. I simply disagree that collective war-making is a viable way of defeating radical Islam. So, I guess I am in the “messenger space” on this one.
    4b) Although I am not a pro-intervention libertarian (I most closely favor the views of Harry Browne and Marc Stevens, with Hitchens’ antipathy toward religious belief), I do not want the pro-intervention libertarians to be “attacked” or “run out of the party” by other libertarians. (In the case of Wayne, every attempt to run him out of the LP simply failed, because he’s vastly more tenacious than his opposition. –LOL. Kind of like the attempts to run various petitioners out of the LP petitioning world.) At most, I want their pro-intervention views attacked and changed (this was pretty much the history with Wayne. I believe the oft-vilified Cato was behind his honest change of stance to non-interventionism). To attack the pro-intervention libertarians is also to attack all the other ways in which they are undeniably and positively libertarian on domestic issues, reducing the effectiveness of our outreach efforts directed at people who are currently non-libertarian.
    5b) Electoral politics, in my view, is perhaps 25% of any libertarian strategy (a strategy to make America significantly more libertarian) that has a possibility of success. Wayne is suitably libertarian to provide this 25%. So is Karen. So are Gary Johnson and Jesse Ventura. If they aren’t good enough for you, you’re expecting too much! —-Don’t expect too much from politicians! If they are interesting and credible to the average Joe Taxpayer, then they probably have some pretty big warts (Johnson is now considered to be better than Ventura by many libertarians, even though he refused to pardon drug dealers in NM, and Ventura never used his pardon power, to my knowledge. Johnson pardoned 2 people for use, and “threatened” to pardon more. He could have done more, but he was pretty damned good, policy-wise and as a messenger! …Especially in comparison to what he was replaced with). It has taken Wayne a long time to win regular camera time at Fox News, and many other mainstream media outlets. This comes at the expense of his reading many of the philosophy books most of us have read (and he’s not poorly-read compared to most people!). He simply doesn’t have a lot of time for that kind of exploration. I think it’s to his credit that he abandoned the toxic Republican Party, and has joined and tirelessly promoted the LP. It’s to his credit that he changed his views on interventionism to non-interventionism. I’m glad he’s with us now. We’re stronger because of it.

    Those who oppose Wayne typically are of the SEK3 camp. That brings me to my last point:
    6b) Those who oppose involvement in electoral politics with the intention of winning office, should not be taken seriously when they oppose Wayne. All other criticisms of Wayne should be taken seriously and debated. Anti-electoral involvement libertarians support the marginalization of libertarian views, even when those views become dominant in society. With this attitude, the population could be 95% self-professed libertarians, governed in tyranny by 5% of anti-libertarians. This is both a cowardly and intellectually-cowardly view of reality. It amounts to “submissive libertarianism”. I agree with “Don’t Tread on Me” and “Remove The Tyrants From Office”. As such, a peaceful means of removing tyrants from office is vastly superior to a violent means of doing so.
    7b) Those libertarians who oppose winning elections, because they view elections as “the initiation of force” are silly, and thus exclude themselves from serious debate about the direction the LP should take. Do you have the right to prevent someone from dragging your child away to a life sentence for drug dealing, even if it means using force? YES. Can you say this while running for office? …Not unless you have bigger balls than most politicians typically have. Can you say this while running for office and win? Maybe, but it would make it a lot harder. Yet, these positions are consistent with any brand of libertarianism that is not 100% pacifist. Giant novels (Unintended Consequences, Atlas Shrugged, Molon Labe) have been written about this idea, and at least one of these novels are typically viewed as 100% libertarian, even by rabid followers of SEK3, or Ayn Rand (such novels have broad appeal, even outside of libertarianism, representing a “big tent” view of what a libertarian society should tolerate). We might as well admit: The use of defensive force is 100% morally justified, even in the form of a delayed “all or nothing” attempt (winning an election).

    When you hear someone say that the LP is “an educational institution”, —run! Such arguments are 100% illegitimate. Moreover, they make the libertarian making that claim –and other libertarians by extension– look ridiculous.

    If the LP was “an educational institution”, they might have easily saved $1,000,000 every four years on ballot access. Let’s say that they wanted to put the Libertarian name in front of voters, as “an educational institution” with zero chance of accessing the ballot or winning election. Could they have done that more cheaply than accessing the ballot? …DEFINITELY! Either the ISIL, Cato, Lew Rockwell, Mises.org, FoFF, or FIJA.org, or any other number of fine institutions could have gotten the Libertarian message out better than the LP. The purpose of the LP is to elect libertarians to office, in an attempt to reduce the size, power, and scope of the government. SEK3 has –with his memes– damaged that goal, and effectively reduced individual liberty in the USA. But that doesn’t mean we can’t “true our course” at any time. At least 40 years of ballot access has led to a knowledge of winning ballot access. Let’s use this knowledge.

    I personally favor running someone who can win the presidency, as the inflationary crash nears. Root, Kwiatkowski, or Ventura could do this, if they were to start early and run a serious race that targeted both Rightists, Independents, and Leftists. Root opposes outreach to the left, and appears uncomfortable with it. This is a shame, since many libertarians were once leftists, and many more leftists could easily make the shift. Other than that minor criticism, Root is a great candidate, especially in the West and Alaska –the areas of the country that could possibly “go libertarian” with the least resistance.

    I am very glad that –after dismissing certain destructive influences from his service– Root has mostly stopped any negative campaigning. This is to his credit.

    It dismays me to see some of the best libertarian messengers –Radley Balko and Karen Kwiatkowski– heaping scorn and derision on Root. (All the worse because Root was such a huge fan and personal promoter of Balko’s congressional testimony on youtube.) I invite anyone to take a look at Root’s “issues” page, and disagree with what is written there. Such disagreement would place one squarely outside the sphere of libertarian principle.

    Something I’d like to see:
    Libertarians publicly arguing only against things with which they disagree 90% or more. After some reflection, I think this would mean that they would continue denouncing the Federal Reserve, The DEA and ONDCP and prohibition in general, the loss of jury rights, the BATFE and gun prohibition, “mala prohibita” in general, the FDA, the EPA, regulation in general, racial profiling, and many other obvious evils.

    I think that, were this standard to be adopted and applied by every individual in the LP, fine individuals such as Karen Kwiatkowski and Wayne Root would have little reason to fight with each other. This would direct more resources at battling our tyrannical collectivist prohibitionist opposition.

    …Just my $0.02.

  69. JT

    Jake: “…we believe that one should be able to “opt out” of the state. This is vital to the concept of being a libertarian.”

    No, it isn’t.

    Jake: “I personally favor running someone who can win the presidency, as the inflationary crash nears…”

    Why would you favor running nobody?

    Jake: “…Just my $0.02.”

    2 cents? More like 200 dollars, LOL.

  70. Robert Capozzi

    JT, agreed, “opting out” is obscure, theoretical and not a prerequisite for being L. It’s anarcho-code…not that there’s anything wrong with that!

    I do favor Nonarchy Pods, but I’m 100% sure it would not become law anytime soon.

  71. Michael H. Wilson

    @ 68 RC quotes me; 57 mhw: If what the government does is illegitimate can we take the next step and say the government itself is illegitimate ?

    And then replies; Me: No, that’s not a “step,” that a huge leap. Would you say that if a person steals a loaf of bread, therefore he or she is not a human?

    Call my college logic professor will ya someone!

    Robert if someone does a dishonest act then you can say they are dishonest.

  72. Jake Witmer

    @JT

    Jake: “…we believe that one should be able to “opt out” of the state. This is vital to the concept of being a libertarian.”

    No, it isn’t.

    Well, I admit that this requires a lot of explaining on my part. Still, it wasn’t too radical of an idea for Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence, and that makes it less of a “hard sell” to Joe Taxpayer than virtually any one single individual platform plank in the LP Platform. Moreover, every single goal present in the non-aggression principle is subsumed by a “government of consent”, to the greatest degree humanly possible.

    But sure, I suppose that if everyone unanimously coercively-supported a “minimal state” or “minarchy” from which there was no ability to “opt out”, that would also technically be as libertarian as one where people could “opt out” of the financing. (Noone suggests that rapists should be able to “opt out” of law enforcement. Even most voluntaryists seem to believe that one should only be able to “opt out” of the financing of a state or DRO that they disagree with, not out of the enforcement of non-aggression or retaliatory law-enforcement involved with any just or righteous DRO or State.) …But we’re really dickering over semantics here, though (even more than libertarian-usual, LOL).

    I concede your highly-theoretical victory on this point, but only as a semantic one, divorced from all practicality, and dependent on the broadest definition of “libertarian”.

    @JT

    Jake: “I personally favor running someone who can win the presidency, as the inflationary crash nears…”

    Why would you favor running nobody?

    There’s this popular libertarian meme that goes something like this: As an inflationary crash nears, the public will become more amenable to considering alternatives to the status quo. This will theoretically be the case, because the status quo will be more obviously broken at such a point. Right now, especially to those who say, defend the TARP bailouts, it is not obvious that the status quo is broken, and hence an alternative (of which the libertarian alternative is one) is not sought.

    Jake: “…Just my $0.02.”
    2 cents? More like 200 dollars, LOL.

    Glad you think so. (Fiat dollars or Spanish thalers?)

    @Robert Capozzi

    JT, agreed, “opting out” is obscure, theoretical and not a prerequisite for being L. It’s anarcho-code…not that there’s anything wrong with that!

    Libertarian anarchists are a subset of libertarianism, as are libertarian minarchists. Both camps believe that their views most closely mimic a theoretical libertarian ideal. I am neither, I am agnostic on which form will be the final form, if either. I am an incrementalist and a voluntaryist, hence, I think the ability to opt-out is the only definite political corollary of libertarianism. How can you have liberty with coercive, mandatory taxation? I disagree that that’s possible. Yet, you can have such maximal liberty with elections, so long as elections and jury trials are not the end-goal, but simply the current “best possible means” of securing the end-goal.

    Even if I don’t support the state, and wish its downfall, the state might well exist, and it might well exist in a very libertarian form, if I am not punished for not supporting it. Moreover, it might well exist in a form consistent with the Declaration of Independence, (and to a lesser extent a clarified/modified US Constitution). To that end, I favor using public sympathy with those documents to our advantage.

    I think this is an interesting document, with the above goal in mind, as it proclaims a similar view to my own current one:
    http://lysanderspooner.org/node/39

    I do favor Nonarchy Pods, but I’m 100% sure it would not become law anytime soon.

    Nothing I wrote implied “Nonarchy Pods”. This is a popular misconception involved with the idea of “opting out”. I guess I should have been more specific in stating “opting out of payment and support, but not out of enforcement of commonly-agreed-upon moral law”.

    This is something of an incremental goal, towards self-government, by all who agree to self-govern to the minimal required extent, and coercive control of those who don’t (ie: Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, etc…).

    The problem most libertarians and/or anarchists have with this conception hinges on the idea that a .0001% non-NAP moral-world-view is equally worth defending as a 10% minority NAP moral-world-view. (NAP = Non-Aggression Principle) The latter is legitimate, the former is not. But most libertarian anarchists seemingly lack the moral arguments necessary to defeat statist defenses of legitimate law enforcement. They also can’t seem to separate the functions of the SVU from the function of the DEA, believing that the former will always be used to justify the latter. (I don’t think this is the case at all. John Douglas, one the originators of FBI serial killer profiling, is a very strong and outspoken opponent of “mala prohibita” AKA victimless crime laws. Yet, typically, libertarians are unfamiliar with his arguments, which come straight from the “Law and Order” prohibitionist camp that most vocally opposes libertarianism.)

    This is the distinction that separates Heinlein’s (era: “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress”), Spooner’s, and Thoreau’s views from Ted Bundy’s and John Wayne Gacy’s views. Heinlein and Thoreau wouldn’t likely have objected to legitimate police activity bringing serial killers to justice. All their writing is to the contrary. …But both of them didn’t want to pay into a system that punished John Brown. They didn’t overthrow that system, they simply failed to support it, and encouraged the “opting out” of such support. Yet the system, even without their support (and without the support of everyone who agreed with them) could still afford to enforce laws against the unmolested and free operation of murderers and rapists.

    This is because “the freedom to opt out” does not crash the system, unless the system is weak enough to crash (as a very un-libertarian system might be).

    (I recognize that this assertion is unsupported, but many people have written big thick books supporting it. Among them, Rothbard does a nice job in “For a New Liberty”.) The system that remains is simply much more libertarian, and smaller, trending towards Thoreau’s ideal “no government at all” (other than self-government). (Again, I am not backing up these assertions here. They are in-line with my conception of reality, but they are indefensible in anything less than book length in slow, serial, imprecise human language…)

    A government based on incrementally more and more emergent order would be the most resilient and adaptive and libertarian government of all. For instance, I believe that there would be the least rape and murder in such a government. I think that G. Edward Griffin is correct, in that such a government would resemble a mutually-agreed upon voluntaryist “protectorate” with a high degree of unanimity, if not perfectly unanimous. This probably requires human+ levels of intelligence (which are thankfully in the near future on earth).

    So, now, a careful reading of the above lets you know more about my core views, even if you don’t really know how I intend to implement them.

    Here’s a glimpse of my strategic beliefs:
    This is a cool site that represents the future of the libertarian movement’s most effective outreach:
    http://www.jurorsforjustice.com
    http://rootforamerica.com/home/wherestands.php
    When Professor Paul Butler, who hates Ronald Reagan, works together with Wayne Root, who loves Ronald Reagan, on the issue of jury nullification, which they both support, we will have a much more libertarian USA.

    I love you all, and wish you all the best of success at making the society I live in more libertarian than it is now.

    😀

  73. Marc Montoni

    Me: Let’s test that. Let’s take a simple example for illustrative purposes. My view is that the right to keep and bear arms is limited to one’s property,

    Ah, one of those areas where one stumbles “off the reservation”, eh?

    …“arms” can be defined by reasonable man standards. Practically, that means I believe 2A says anyone can keep firearms on their property, but certain weapons are inherently dangerous anywhere. So, pistols, rifles on one’s property > OK. Bazookas > not OK. Some Ls on the “edge” (I’d say “fringe”) believe 2A applies to any and all weapons anywhere, including WMD.

    I know of few Libertarians who call for no prohibition of WMD. It would be nice if one could refrain — at least occassionally — from making straw man arguments.

    In the recent past, I’ve offered what I think is a decent solution that addresses concerns about WMD, but the potential of this position has been ignored:

    The general principle is that if a weapon is so dangerous that it should be prohibited to individuals, it should also be prohibited to the individuals who run or are employed by governments.

    In addition, I believe Tom Knapp in one of the previous iterations of this WMD debate, that sometimes what we now consider to be WMD’s will eventually have industrial uses (such as nukes for moving mineral-rich asteroids around, or even “powering solar system travel”. Under those circumstances, yes, individuals *would* have a valid reason and right to have those ‘weapons’.

    If that’s the range of L thought, help us understand how leads to “the middle moves your way.”

    Someone needs to read a few texts on *how* radical ideas become mainstream. The worldwide abolition of slavery became mainstream not because proponents wuss-footed around what they wanted. They agitated for *decades* in every country for outright abolition.

    Some in the middle may find my view offensive, e.g., those who want very strict gun control.

    What you demand (guns only on one’s own property) *is* “strict gun control”.

    Others in the middle may find my view overly restrictive, e.g., NRA members, who may think they have the right to carry anywhere off their property.

    Are you saying that no one has a right to free speech on a public sidewalk?

    I find your view overly restrictive, and I’m not a dues-paid member of the NRA — I find them to be a quasi-gun-control organization.

    {Disclaimer: I am on their mailing list, if only to get their occassional alerts; but I have not and will not donate to them. I find “Virginia Citizens Defense League”‘s alert system to be much more timely and informative; and they don’t compromise — unlike the NRA.

    The extremes of the middle may not find my view reasonable, but I suspect the vast majority would find my view to be reasonable, if not their position… However, the right to WMD is shocking to virtually everyone. They would likely say, If 2A includes WMD, let’s amend 2A right quick, because that is one crazy idea.

    And once again, my answer to that question has, for a long time, been, if a weapon is so dangerous that it should be prohibited to individuals, it should also be prohibited to the individuals who run or are employed by governments.

    So, I submit that “further toward the edge” has limits. Go TOO far, and the middle is repelled, not attracted.

    If there is an “edge” position implied somewhere within the idea that all humans have fundamental rights that must not be transgressed, I haven’t seen it yet.

  74. Thomas L. Knapp Post author

    I agree with Robert that your right to keep and bear arms extends only to your own property.

    Your body is your own property — and if that body is on “public” property, then as a member of the “public” you are one of its owners with exactly as much right to keep and bear arms on it as any other member of that “public,” including the ones with badges or in uniforms.

  75. JT

    Jake: “I concede your highly-theoretical victory on this point, but only as a semantic one, divorced from all practicality, and dependent on the broadest definition of “libertarian”.”

    Well, I admittedly didn’t make an argument, so I wouldn’t say I won any theoretical victory.

    I just wanted to register my disagreement with the following: 1) the existence of a government that uses only defensive/retaliatory force according to objective, rights-protecting law requires the consent of everyone, 2) thus any individual can choose to live in a certain geographic area yet opt out of the political system entirely, and 3) the above is vital to being a libertarian. If you’re just talking about the financing of the system, that’s different.

    But I think you’re right that this isn’t an issue we should get worked up over now, LOL.

    Jake: “There’s this popular libertarian meme that goes something like this: As an inflationary crash nears, the public will become more amenable to considering alternatives to the status quo. This will theoretically be the case, because the status quo will be more obviously broken at such a point. Right now, especially to those who say, defend the TARP bailouts, it is not obvious that the status quo is broken, and hence an alternative (of which the libertarian alternative is one) is not sought.”

    I agree, Jake. But you simply said you want the LP to nominate a candidate for President who can win. At this point in time, there’s no Libertarian who can win that election–or even come close. If you think any such candidate is going to win that election with a few million bucks in their campaign and no real news coverage, then all I can say is: wrong.

  76. Robert Capozzi

    80 mhw: Robert if someone does a dishonest act then you can say they are dishonest.

    me: Sure, you can SAY whatever you want. If we are to label everyone who has done a dishonest act then virtually everyone is “dishonest.” Why do that? I always found the counsel “Judge not lest ye be judged” sound.

    Perhaps you don’t. I do predict you’re going to have a very full plate judging all those “dishonest” folks out there….

  77. Robert Capozzi

    81 jw: This is because “the freedom to opt out” does not crash the system, unless the system is weak enough to crash (as a very un-libertarian system might be).

    me: This is IMO an heroic assertion. The domestic tranquility functions that — for the foreseeable future — the State provides requires resources. Most of those resources come from compulsory taxes. I’m certainly open to alternative revenue sources, indeed I prefer them.

    Simply advocating an opting out (while abiding by all other laws) of ALL taxes while expecting the domestic tranquility functions to continue to be operational and in force seems utterly infeasible at this time. Advocating chaos seems unlikely to advance the cause of liberty, IMO.

  78. Michael H. Wilson

    RC @ 85 if someone has a habit of doing dishonest things then it is probably save to say they are dishonest and much of what the federal government does has nothing to do with its legitimate responsibilities under the constitution.

  79. Robert Capozzi

    82 MM, you misunderstand my views, let me clarify…

    mm: I know of few Libertarians who call for no prohibition of WMD. It would be nice if one could refrain — at least occassionally — from making straw man arguments.

    me: Agreed. Few. Making mine NOT a straw-man argument.

    mm: The general principle is that if a weapon is so dangerous that it should be prohibited to individuals, it should also be prohibited to the individuals who run or are employed by governments.

    me: IMO, A for sentiment. D- for practicality. The WMD horse is way out of the barn. The genie’s out of the bottle. States got ’em, more as the years roll by. Wish it weren’t so. Hand waving that they shouldn’t seems rhetorically ineffective to me, but you may feel otherwise. I do wish you luck in that quest.

    mm: Someone needs to read a few texts on *how* radical ideas become mainstream. The worldwide abolition of slavery became mainstream not because proponents wuss-footed around what they wanted. They agitated for *decades* in every country for outright abolition.

    me: True. And there was a range of thought about what to do about THIS SINGLE ISSUE. A single issue may or may not be illustrative for folks like us who want to maximize liberty across the board. Blanton thus far won’t take up my challenge of whether social change on one issue is or is not the same or similar to wholesale social change. It seems self-evident to me they are very different kettles of fish.

    mm: What you demand (guns only on one’s own property) *is* “strict gun control”.

    me: Dude I don’t “demand” a damn thing. I offer suggestions. But, no, there are many places in the US where folks cannot keep arms on their property. I would leave it to the states to set rules for carrying in public. My suggestion would markedly liberalize arms bearing, and is consistent with my reading of the Constitution and the reasonable man standard that undergirds much of jurisprudential theory.

    mm: Are you saying that no one has a right to free speech on a public sidewalk?

    me: No, I’m saying no one has the right to do anything they want when they are in public or on another’s property. Free speech does not mean that you can walk along side another person on the street screaming at them. You can, however, scream on your property, up to the point that you disturb your neighbors reasonable expectation of quietude.

  80. Robert Capozzi

    83 tk: I agree with Robert that your right to keep and bear arms extends only to your own property. Your body is your own property — and if that body is on “public” property, then as a member of the “public” you are one of its owners with exactly as much right to keep and bear arms on it as any other member of that “public,” including the ones with badges or in uniforms.

    me: Sorry, when I say “property,” I mean “real property and/or residence.” I can’t say I agree with your construct about public property. I’d say it functions like a condo association, until an elaborate network of Nonarchy Pods can be worked out, if ever.

  81. Robert Capozzi

    87 mhw: if someone has a habit of doing dishonest things then it is probably save to say they are dishonest and much of what the federal government does has nothing to do with its legitimate responsibilities under the constitution.

    me: It might be “safe to say” that people who appear to behave dishonest might be labeled as “dishonest.” That’s not my practice, although I certainly notice serial dishonest behavior. Those who engage in it, I avoid. Politicians fit that description. Near as I can tell, though, most pols don’t share our more literal interpretation of the Constitution; I avoid them for different reasons.

  82. Robert Capozzi

    88 tk: What are these alleged “domestic tranquility functions” that you imagine the state provides?

    me: Cops, courts and national defense.

  83. Marc Montoni

    88 tk: What are these alleged “domestic tranquility functions” that you imagine the state provides?

    me: Cops, courts and national defense.

    Given the way all too many government cops behave, if you could have left them off the list, we’d have something to talk about.

    I have said it often: If we are ever successful in breaking functions off the state to the point that the state became limited to providing defensive capability to first-strike offense, and providing a court system of *last* resort, rather than bother agitating for the replacement of those functions with private-sector alternatives, I’d be:

    – home watching HBO, or
    – play outside more with my kids, or
    – go out on more dates with my wife.

    And I say that even though even though I am an anarchist who believes there really aren’t any functions that require *any* coercively-funded government.

  84. Robert Capozzi

    93 mm: Given the way all too many government cops behave, if you could have left them off the list, we’d have something to talk about.

    me: Yes, one inappropriate action by a cop could be viewed as one too many. A nation of Gomer Pyles conducting “citizen’s arrest, citizen’s arrest” is a charming notion.

    But, then, as the Jackson 5 told us, “One bad apple don’t spoil the whole bunch, girl,” comes up for me. You would persuade me if every cop every time was a bad actor.

    Is that what you’re maintaining?

    Short of that, someone has to bring alleged criminals to the courthouse. Paging Andy Griffith….! 😉

  85. Tom Blanton

    Blanton thus far won’t take up my challenge of whether social change on one issue is or is not the same or similar to wholesale social change.

    Your challenge makes little sense to me as I am not really a single issue person. I would say social change on one issue is certainly similar to wholesale social change, but I’m not so sure there is such a thing as wholesale social change – unless brought about by crisis.

    I fail to see that what you are suggesting refutes the notion that if you don’t introduce a meme into the mix, it will not just appear magically by itself.

    Failing to address issues you deem too controversial seems to be your sine qua non. As you like to say, it’s all good. Do what you like. But, don’t expect me to do what you like. And don’t imagine that you know what my expectations are.

    Essentially, we have very different thoughts about how to change society and I am personally not seeing any change forthcoming from your strategy and I can only see a faint glimmer of hope that mine will produce my desired results, even in the long term.

    I see the prospects of political change instituted by the LP’s attempts at electoral politics going absolutely nowhere. The only hope is that society in general will become more and more freedom oriented. Remaining silent about freedom is not an option if you want freedom.

    You can argue with that if you wish, Capozzi. If you wish to be perceived by others as a person who does not wish to have too much freedom, that is certainly your option. Another option is to paint me as a crazy radical while you pose as the erudite sage of all that is reasonable.

    Do whatever it is that rocks your world, Capozzi. The bottom line seems to be that you don’t trust others having freedom and I’m willing to let others do as they wish as long as I can do as I wish.

    I suppose I should clarify that for you Capozzi as you love to stretch everything to the limits of reductio ad absurdium. I’ll introduce a concept you dislike, the non-initiation of force, into the mix. So, my concept of freedom does not extend to me detonating nuclear devices in your yard, shooting bazookas at your house, or even throwing a blanket over you and whacking you with a stick.

  86. Tom Blanton

    Blanton thus far won’t take up my challenge of whether social change on one issue is or is not the same or similar to wholesale social change.

    A challenge? This sounds like Brian Holtz silliness.

  87. Rob Gough

    She is putting together a top notch campaign team to challenge the incumbent for the REPUBLICAN nomination for the 6th Congressional District seat in Virginina. She has at least ten paid staffers in place, and more on the way. I have been told the campaign is well backed and well organized. She is FOR REAL.

    http://www.usbillofrights.org

  88. Thomas L. Knapp Post author

    Bob @ 93,

    I don’t find that any of those three, in the form that the state offers them, in any way enhance my domestic tranquility.

    Quite the opposite in fact.

    So, I don’t think I’ll order any, thank you so very much, and since I’m not ordering any I don’t really see why I should pay for them. If you want them, knock yourself out.

  89. Robert Capozzi

    103 tk, yes, I feel your pain. As you know, for people who hold your view, I in concept support the notion of Nonarchy Pods. If someone REALLY wants to opt out into Knappsterville, pop. 1, I will not resist your desire.

    I do see the world as consisting mostly of least-bad options. For the foreseeable future, I choose a path of rolling the State back to cops, courts, and the Coast Guard (ok, ok, NORAD, too).

    If we ever get there, we can have another conversation. I’ll even volunteer to help disassemble the Keep surrounding Knappsterville! 😉

  90. Robert Capozzi

    96 tb, I think I sort of agree that social change on one issue and wholesale social change share some similarities.

    I would say that social change — singly or wholesale — involves risk. Some have few risks, others great risk. Same-gender marriage, for ex., has few risks that I can think of, if the reform is successful. Same-gender couples would continue to cohabitate, only now with legal standing. The only “risk” I can think of is that the idea is not popular with some who have what I consider to be quaint views, sometimes hateful views.

    Abolishing all government has great risk, especially if done precipitously. I’m not sure I could enumerate them all.

    The one semi-pure example of abolitionism — ending chattel slavery — led to some very serious downsides. The decades-long campaign mixed with other issues created a witches brew that left half-a-million dead.

    Generic abolitionism sounds great in theory up on the chalkboard. In practice, not so much, based on results.

    Near as I can tell, your worldview does not seem to allow for prudence and patience. I may over-rely on prudence and patience. Where the right balance is I cannot say. It’d be great if our politics only boiled down to one simple formula, in this case, the NAP. Clearly, you’ve not convinced me that it does.

    Despite my repeated statements to the contrary, however, I do like the NAP…as a sentiment and as a general guideline.

    My “wish” if for all to have maximal freedom, actually. My trust knows no bounds! We certainly seem to disagree on the ways and means to achieving progress in that direction.

    Thanks for being such a great sport.

  91. Tom Blanton

    Capozzi @ 105 you write:

    Near as I can tell, your worldview does not seem to allow for prudence and patience.

    @ 96 I had already written:

    And don’t imagine that you know what my expectations are.

    How can you determine what my level of patience is without knowing what my expectations are?

    When I write the following, what leads you to believe that I expect major societal transformation immediately:

    Essentially, we have very different thoughts about how to change society and I am personally not seeing any change forthcoming from your strategy and I can only see a faint glimmer of hope that mine will produce my desired results, even in the long term.

    Capozzi, I can only conclude that you pay no attention to what you read or have some difficulty comprehending it. I, and I believe most people other than yourself, would like to see their vision of change occur as soon as possible.

    Again, I have articulated nothing to lead you to believe that I expect a great societal movement to my liking to occur tomorrow. I must admit that where my patience grows thin is with people who try to limit change by steadfastly adhering to self-censorship when it comes to forwarding the very ideas they claim to embrace in the mistaken belief that to do so will somehow cause others to adopt these same ideas.

    It is the long-term repetition of ideas that bring about acceptance and the possible adoption of these ideas by others. Merely telling people what they already believe may achieve acceptance of individuals validating the beliefs of others, but it sure as hell doesn’t change what people think.

    I double-dog dare you to challenge that, Capozzi. I await anxiously your twisted and convoluted attempt to build a strawman and then knock him down using your mind reading techniques in combination with your reductio ad absurdium strategy of taking a subject into the realm of fantasy.

  92. Robert Capozzi

    106 tb: How can you determine what my level of patience is without knowing what my expectations are?

    me: I can’t. That’s why I say “Near as I can tell.” I do believe we’ve established that you are an abolitionist, which, on its face — to me, is an impatient stance. Am I incorrect?

    tb: I, and I believe most people other than yourself, would like to see their vision of change occur as soon as possible.

    me: Sorry I’ve given you that impression. I share your desire for what I consider to be virtuous change ASAP. I thought I’d made that clear many, many times. Perhaps we both suffer from sub-optimal comprehension….but that’s OK, so do 6+ billion others! Near as I can tell. IMO!

    tb: It is the long-term repetition of ideas that bring about acceptance and the possible adoption of these ideas by others. Merely telling people what they already believe may achieve acceptance of individuals validating the beliefs of others, but it sure as hell doesn’t change what people think.

    me: Brother B, I’m purdy-dern sure we’ve put this matter to bed. But lemme try again. It appears you are setting up an extreme either/or here. Either (a) make the “pure” case over and over and over until the “sheeple” see the light, or (b) agree with the “sheeple” to gain acceptance.

    If I have this corralled properly, it should be obvious that there are a number of both/and alternatives to your construct. (Note: I don’t use the term “sheeple” as a matter of course, I’m riffing off the lovely, loving brothers and sisters I read in places like LRC.)

    Yes, all else equal, if I am attempting to persuade or share ideas that I believe are directionally more virtuous, I do first attempt to find common ground with those who don’t share my vision. I look for win/win situations. I don’t (generally) try to shock people out of their worldview to adopt mine. In fact, my practice is to recognize that my working theories are themselves works in progress, riddled with holes and weaknesses. Near as I can tell, all philosophical stances are, at best, flawed, and all rely to some extent on tautologies. (Did I say “all”? Hmm, amending…all that I am aware of…) I try to bring them along gently and willingly. I prefer not to harangue them, as I prefer not to be harangued. That infernal Golden Rule just keeps validating itself for me!

    Occasionally, when I stumble upon the rare absolutist, my tactics shift. Whether you recognize it or not, absolutism begs to be tested by reducio ad absurdum. Absolutism allows for no exceptions, so the most effective tool is the Torpedo of Truth > exposing the most extreme case as false, which should lead to the entire edifice crumbling. Of course, that doesn’t happen, because absolutist thinkers have invented elaborate workarounds to keep the structure standing, if shaky. Deflection and ad hominem attacks are often used as well.

    I treasure our time together. I learn more than you’ll ever know. Thank you!

  93. Robert Capozzi

    …more…

    tb: I am personally not seeing any change forthcoming from your strategy and I can only see a faint glimmer of hope that mine will produce my desired results, even in the long term.

    me: Ya know, you could be correct here. Perhaps my approach has 0% chance of success and yours has maybe 5%. Could be the reverse, too. While world events seem rather grim, I’m reminded of The Police tune’s reprise:

    “When the world is running down
    You make the best of what’s still around”

    I hope you are. I am.

  94. Tom Blanton

    I’m sorry, Capozzi, I just can’t resist responding to the rationalizations of another absolutist.

    You argue that because I am an anarchist, I am an abolitionist and therefore I am also an impatient absolutist.

    Well, because you insist on having some level of government instead of no government, would this not make you an absolutist on this issue? Therefore, I can safely conclude you are absolutist on statism – regardless of the size, scope or power of the government.

    Then you argue that absolutism begs to be tested by reducio ad absurdum, exposing the most extreme case as false, which should lead to the entire edifice crumbling.

    So, then I must argue against the absolutist on statism by exposing the most extreme case(s). It would seem a simple matter, although quite time consuming, to recite the many examples of well documented corruption, deceit, theft, torture, injustice, murder, fraud, lies, and abuses of power that government has demonstrated over the past 20 centuries or so in order to cause the entire edifice of statism to crumble.

    I must thank you for educating me, Capozzi, on how to destroy the misguided arguments of those absolutists who cling to the ancient concept of government and who are unable to come to terms with the truth that in practice governments cause more harm than good.

    Contrary to your vivid imagination, I only rarely corner people and address them as “sheeple”, admonishing them to give up their foolish beliefs and insist that they must embrace my ideology.

    I do often point out items I find in the news that indicate how truly horrible the government is, how inefficiently it works, how corrupt politicians are, etc. in order to let them reach their own conclusions regarding the legitimacy of government.

    One of my favorite questions to ask people (who are reasonably well informed about the manner in which our government conducts economic and foreign policy) is:

    How could we possibly be any worse off with no federal government than with the one we have had for the past 100 years?

    This question may well shock an absolutist who is incapable of imagining not being governed, but this question rarely shocks ordinary people who are aware of the well documented corruption, deceit, theft, torture, injustice, murder, fraud, lies, and abuses of power that government engages in on a regular ongoing basis.

    The first step in promoting a libertarian society is not convincing people to join the LP because the LP is such a wonderful group of mainstream non-radical non-threatening regular folks that want tax cuts. The first step is educating people that they have fallen victim to a state that uses lies, deception, and the threat of violence to subjugate Americans.

    Some people will never see the light. Some people actually want to be lied to to validate the the lies they already believe in. Some people think they are well informed because they watch TV and listen to talk radio.

    After 30 years of being a news/political junkie, I’ve learned that just when I thought I have become too cynical, I discover that I am not cynical enough.

    And to bring it all back to the topic of this thread, Karen Kwiatkowski, she was never a promoter of libertarianism or the LP, nor was she a political pundit when she was receiving national media exposure. She was a newsmaker. She stepped outside of her comfort zone to tell of her experiences in the Pentagon where she witnessed an effort by neocons to manufacture lies designed to promote an unnecessary war. At the time, she was dismissed as a kook by many libertarians and brushed aside as some kind of peacenik leftist. Now she is dismissed as some sort of right wing libertarian. The few conversations I’ve had with her gave me the impression that she was neither. I found her to be a pretty hardcore libertarian opposed to crap like the Fair Tax and extremely well informed.

    Instead of being derided for not promoting the LP when she was in the national spotlight, she should be applauded for exposing Douglas Feith and the Office of Special Plans. To the extent that it was even known that she was a libertarian, she should be applauded for bringing some credibility to the movement and for being extremely successful in educating people about the underbelly of a government so corrupt that a sane populace would have demanded that the Bush regime be prosecuted for the war crime of waging a war of aggression based on lies.

    In my mind, Karen K. is worth a hundred Wayne Roots and if she was too hard on Root for his early support of illegal wars, then let him come out and speak to that issue. Let Root explain why he supported illegal wars and why he no longer does – and not in some ambiguous manner that allows him to have it both ways and leaves his pro-war pals happy and his newer anti-war supporters thinking he has changed. You know, similar to the Obama supporters that thought he was all about ending wars.

  95. Robert Capozzi

    109 tb: Well, because you insist on having some level of government instead of no government, would this not make you an absolutist on this issue?

    me: Yer confusing me with someone else; I’m a TAAAList. I “insist” on no such thing. I don’t even “insist” on love, but I do highly recommend it.

    tb: Contrary to your vivid imagination, I only rarely corner people and address them as “sheeple”, admonishing them to give up their foolish beliefs and insist that they must embrace my ideology.

    me: Didn’t say you use the term. Some do. I’m not a fan; I find it condescending and sanctimonious.

    tb: How could we possibly be any worse off with no federal government than with the one we have had for the past 100 years?

    me: Oh, c’mon, Tom, you KNOW my easiest answer…nukes on the loose just too risky, IMO. If the State is constrained to cops, courts and the Coast Guard, perhaps we can put our heads together on how to tackle that one prudently.

  96. Tom Blanton

    Not so fast, Mr. Capozzi:

    109 tb: Well, because you insist on having some level of government instead of no government, would this not make you an absolutist on this issue?

    me: Yer confusing me with someone else; I’m a TAAAList. I “insist” on no such thing.

    So, you don’t insist on having at least some level of government?

    And yet, just a few words later I read the following:

    If the State is constrained to cops, courts and the Coast Guard, perhaps we can put our heads together on how to tackle that one prudently.

    Well, what is it? Either you don’t believe there should be any government, or you believe there should be a government consisting of cops, courts and a few sailors.

    It would appear that since you do insist on some level of government, you are in fact an absolutist on the fundamental issue of statism.

    So, you support the federal cops raiding your house at 3 a.m., beating the shit out of you, taking you to federal court where you are convicted of a crime you didn’t commit, and then being dropped into the ocean by federal government sailors.

    Now, I have left left the entire edifice of your argument for the existence government crumbling by invoking the fool-proof Capozzi method of testing by reducio ad absurdum.

  97. Tom Blanton

    By the way, under the Capozzi Plan, who will be rounding up the loose nukes? Will it be the cops, the judges or the sailors?

    The cops have enough trouble rounding up loose joints. Sailors are pretty good at rounding up loose booty on shore leave and that’s about it. Judges seem to excel at latching onto loose narratives from cops and loose arguments from prosecutors.

    The thing is that there is no Department of Loose Nukes now rounding up all the private nukes, so it’s not like this service would stop if the government crashed.

    We’ll never know how many nukes Bush stole and has hidden on his ranch, but assuming all the living ex-presidents took several nukes home, even if they were detonated it wouldn’t destroy much of America.

  98. Robert Capozzi

    111 tb: Well, what is it? Either you don’t believe there should be any government, or you believe there should be a government consisting of cops, courts and a few sailors.

    Me: One challenge we have is that we have differing thought systems, mine relativistic, yours absolutistic. Absolutists (and I was once one, so I think I have a sense of where you’re coming from) think in this sort of either/or way. I don’t, at least not any longer.

    That said, if you are asking me would I push the button to end the State tomorrow, my answer is No. I am open to the possibility that a stateless society could be sustainable, but, in my judgment, it would not be sustainable tomorrow, at least not for the territory known as the US. It would be imprudent, since a technological, civil society IMO requires a baseline of peacekeeping institutions. Per Hayek, I am mindful that such institutions evolve over time, not overnight. “Should” is a consideration, but so is prudence.

    Social change is a dynamic process that involves a sense of virtue, widespread buy-in of a believe that said change is functional, and, I’d suggest, a peaceful sense that such a change is equitable and harmonious.

    Deontological absolutists seem to maintain that a “moral construct” is all that’s required to advocate for an ideal endstate. I just don’t buy that framing of the matter at hand.

    My bandwidth limits my ability to fathom a peaceful, harmonious, equitable, functioning, free society that is stateless in light of the rapid and sometimes catastrophic technologies that are prevalent on this part of the third stone from the Sun. I do look forward to seeing Petri Friedman’s experiment reach fruition, however. He might change my mind on the matter. Even that, though, is unlikely, as I am not prone to leap to conclusions based on anecdotal evidence.

  99. TinFoilCap & JockeyShorts to Match

    Let’s see, her maiden middle name is Kathrine. So the LP gets her on the ticket with .004 and they will make headlines with the LP 2012 ticket for certain !

    The

    KKK – WAR

    is coming to your town soon !

    Why does the John Birch Society have a bad name, with people who knows very little about them? Who was John Birch anyway?

    Christian missionary John Birch was the first known American to be murdered by communist Chinese. The Society named after him is foremost anti-communist and pro-limited government.

    http://www.jbs.org/

    poke around and see what you can learn, then when you disrespect this organization at least you will know what you are against.

    Because the LP has taken a very public stand that it is a party founded and based on principle, not popularity, it makes itself vulnerable to criticism for appearing unprincipled. The 2008 LP presidential nomination of well-known conservative Bob Barr, and the promotion to Chair of the LP National Congressional Committee of the rabidly pro-war Wayne Allyn Root caused people of all political stripes to look at the LP and wonder whether the principle of the party was peaceful libertarianism, or just political experimentation and number-crunching. – Karen Kwiatkowski

    me-Was .oo4 pro-war when nominated as veep and later to his Party position or not?

    Why haven’t we, as a party, asked Wayne to simply join one of the war parties? – Karen Kwiatkowski

    me-silently many have thought such, over the past three and a half years.

    I have a suggestion for the LP HQ strategists. The focus on vote-getting at the national level has led the LP into precisely the situation that you are noting today (a criticism of the party within liberty circles). I would love to see the party concentrate on supporting local elections of libertarians (which it does nicely), and in DC, to serve primarily as a rating and clearance site for Congressmen and Senators. – Karen Kwiatkowski

    me- EXCELLENT suggestions. Grassroots activism is how to build membership!

    I also think, that beyond the fleas the LP gets from lying down with characters like Root, and promoting him, we should be careful about our other bedfellows in DC. The Cato Institute does fine work, but it is not as effective in gaining Libertarian friendly legislation and votes as is Jim Babka’s interactive and aggressive DownsizeDC, and nothing Cato has produced on constitutional foreign or domestic policy comes even close to what is done daily over at the Bumper Hornberger’s Future of Freedom Foundation in Reston, VA. – Karen Kwiatkowski

    me- Ms Kwiatkowski is entitled to her opinion based on her observations.

    Wayne Root, in particular, is allowed by the LP to speak for the party, and honest libertarians throughout the American population and within the LP are turned off. You suggest that my criticism of these anti-liberty, pro-state LP voices are the same as criticizing the GOP for being pro-life because some minority members of the GOP are pro-life. But when the GOP fields candidates and spokespersons, particularly at the national level, they toe the party line, and they don’t suggest that there is “room” at the philosophical table. Our own LP table is already small. Embracing statists and nationalists quietly within the party is one thing; making them front and center as a leading voice of recruitment and policy means that these types of unprincipled non-libertarian perspectives become the LP in the minds of everyone. – Karen Kwiatkowski

    me-She certainly says what I can agree with and I say that understanding the LP isn’t going to win the White House anytime soon, if ever. The LP, as the Socialists of the early 2oth century did, needs to stand on their principles at the national level to sway the sentiments of the people their way so the Rs and/or Ds will adopt and (re)legalize many of the LP planks . There is trouble in the air. Millions have lost their jobs and many losing hope in the Ds and Rs. The LP does have solutions to every problem facing this country. The only Party that shows NO crooked favoritism to any groups, only to the individual. Everyone is treated the same. No robbing Peter to pay Paul from the LP! They need to try and get those solutions out to over 200 million people and see what happens!

    Mark (Hinkle), my fundamental sense of betrayal and anger at the LP for its 2008 shenanigans and for its lack of creativity in the fight for freedom at home is far deeper than anyone would imagine from my limited criticism of the party, mentioned briefly in a long talk. May I take your note as an opening for real change within the LP Central Committee and a real commitment to win the battle for hearts and minds across the country? – Karen Kwiatkowski

    me- Oh that real change and commitment to win hearts and minds were the TOTAL focus of the LP every minute of everyday!

  100. Carol Moore

    Karen failed to – and others need to – make an actual list of what it is that Root has said that is not non-interventionist. I have been paying some attention and have seen him be careful about not supporting military intervention (unless I’ve missed or forgotten something). However, his insistence in facebook last year that libertarians NOT criticize Israel because Jews give half the money to the Demopublicans and his hysteria over the “9/11 Mosque” make me assume that once he has the nomination he will go where his heart lies at the least prompting: i.e., attack any danged Muslim nation that doesn’t kiss America’s butt, and especially bomb the hell out of that threat to America, Iran.

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