LP-Pres: Carl Person defends comments on legalizing bestiality

On November 8, Libertarian presidential candidate Carl Person posted a comment on the blog of his campaign manager, Dr. Tom Stevens. (The comment is under Stevens’ blog handle, but both Person and Stevens have confirmed to me that Person wrote the comment.) The comment was a response to a question about which “victimless crimes” Person would legalize. Person responded, in part:

The victimless crimes are prostitution, bestiality, sodomy, drugs, abortion, and the principles are that we shouldn’t be regulating what people do to themselves, and the cost of the regulation should be saved and returned to taxpayers, to reduce taxes, and enable the economy to grow with commerce instead of with prisoners, private jails and private jail guards.

Stevens asked Person for a clarification regarding his listing of bestiality as a victimless crime. Person responded, and Stevens posted the exchange on his website. Here are Person’s further comments on the matter, as reflected in that post:

When I mentioned “bestiality” I was referring to animals, not humans (Note: some statutes prohibiting bestiality include children within the definition.) Bestiality as a victimless crime would center on two elements: 1. “property rights” – limiting the practice to one’s own animals or with wild animals (not owned by anyone) and 2. “consent” and/or “non-injury” – if the animal is willing and is not injured in the process. If the animal is already dead, the victimless crime would become a variant of necromancy, and have to be analyzed in a similar fashion. I’m not a practitioner or advocate of bestiality and am only trying to apply Libertarian principles to a seldom discussed victimless crime.

The post also includes a lengthy quote by Queens County Libertarian Party Secretary Dallwyn Merck in support of Person’s position on bestiality.

Some IPR commenters questioned whether Stevens really spoke for Person in his decision to promote bestiality legalization as the centerpiece of his campaign. Accordingly, I contacted Person directly to confirm that the statements were his. In a candid e-mail exchange (part of which has been posted here by Stevens), Person confirmed that he had indeed made the comments. “Tom Stevens did not change any of my words,” he wrote. He also praised Stevens for his work as campaign manager: “Tom Stevens is my campaign manager, and has put in a substantial amount of unpaid work in the process. He continues to be my campaign manager and I have confidence in him. He recommends and suggests, but I as the candidate decide.” Person also disagreed with suggestions by IPR commenters that Stevens’ post was designed to discredit the candidate. “I don’t believe he [Stevens] is trying to sabotage my campaign,” wrote Person. In IPR comments, Stevens confirmed Person’s version of events: “Carl decides what issues he wishes to raise. I simply advise but he makes all final decisions.”

In the e-mail exchange, Person further explained his motivations for promoting bestiality legalization as part of his campaign. In his original comment about bestiality, wrote Person, he

threw in bestiality for the sake of controversy, believing that it probably is not in the Libertarian mind when it comes to victimless crimes, but perhaps upon my analysis could be added to the group of victimless crimes. I do not practice or advocate bestiality, and do not include under-age human beings (as the commonlaw crime of bestiality includes in some states), and am not advocating that bestiality be added to the regular list of victimless crimes, but from a Libertarian analysis it does appear that a limited amount of non-injurious, consensual bestiality would be considered a victimless crime. If Libertarian principles are enhanced by religious principles, then my analysis would be changed according to the religious principles involved.

…I’m the one who put in “bestiality” as a concept I learned in Harvard Law School more than together with property rights (involving captive as well as wild animals), and perhaps I opened up an unnecessary can of worms in my efforts to apply Libertarian principles in an entire theoretical way. There probably hasn’t been any enforcement of laws prohibiting bestiality in decades, but I am just guessing.

Finally, Person added that legalizing bestiality is simply a small part of his platform, as he intends to focus on “jobs, jobs, jobs.” He wrote, “You might want to look into candidates from any party to see if any candidate has a better, more practical program than mine for job creation. You will find none, I assure you. So, bestiality is of little or no consequence as a campaign issue, and you might want to look into the issue that is going to carry the election – jobs, jobs, jobs.”

Many thanks to Person and Stevens for responding to my questions.

135 thoughts on “LP-Pres: Carl Person defends comments on legalizing bestiality

  1. Jeremy C. Young Post author

    Note: a version of this story was posted previously on IPR, but I pulled it down until I could get confirmation from Person that the comments were his. Based on the correspondence detailed above, I am now convinced that the version of events I’ve presented here is correct.

  2. Jake Porter

    When you mention legalizing bestiality no one is going to pay attention to your jobs plan no matter how good it is. Not to mention it is impossible to make a libertarian case for sexually abusing animals.

    I just cannot figure out why a campaign would post something like this. If Person gets close to winning the LP nomination you can almost guarantee that one of his opponents will make an issue out of this and if you thought the attacks on Mary Ruwart were bad in 2008 imagine how bad this would be.

  3. Dr. Tom Stevens

    Carl Person is not making bestiality legalization the centerpiece of his campaign. I also doubt it will be listed on his campaign website as a platform issue.

    Also, Dallwyn Merck is not Chair of the Libertarian Party of Queens County. He is Secretary of that organization.

    Other than that, I thought the article was well-written.

  4. Deran

    Using “property rights” to support ones sexual proclivities seems a pretty grusome place to start philosophically. It seems to take “human exceptionalism” on toward something like supremacism?

    Especially as animals can’t give their consent, and your are not killing them for food.

    And especially as we humans are constantly coming to understand more and more about the levels of sentiency of other species, this sort of human exceptionalism seems very, primitive.

  5. Jake Porter

    If Person were to get the LP nomination almost any media interviews he gets will unfortunately ask his position on bestiality now that this statement is public.

    A sex scandal probably wouldn’t be anywhere near as devastating as the campaign’s own statements on bestiality.

  6. Steven R Linnabary

    Not to mention it is impossible to make a libertarian case for sexually abusing animals.

    Even gerbils?

    PEACE

  7. Michael H. Wilson

    Person wrote; “There probably hasn’t been any enforcement of laws prohibiting bestiality in decades, but I am just guessing.”

    Periodically there are news articles about this. One specific case a couple of years ago was about a person having sex with a horse and another recent case a man died while having sex with a horse.

    However I have to agree with Chuck Moulton.

    Finally it would make much more sense to deal with the practical application of Libertarian ideas rather than bring up unnecessary theoretical issues.

    Deran writes; “And especially as we humans are constantly coming to understand more and more about the levels of sentiency of other species…” This is so true. Marine mammals such as dolphins seem to have a sense of themselves as do some higher primates and not just humans. Our understanding of biology is constantly evolving.

  8. Aaron Starr

    Seriously? Bestiality? Are there 30 delegates insane enough to nominate this guy?

    Rule 7: NOMINATION OF PRESIDENTIAL AND VICE-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES

    No person shall be nominated for President or Vice-President unless at least 30 registered delegates join in the nomination in writing submitted to the Chair. No delegate may join in nominating more than one candidate for each office. The affixing of signatures to a nominating petition per this requirement shall be effected by a transfer of signature tokens issued by the Credentials Committee.

    NOTA is looking like a better option all the time.

  9. wolfefan

    1) The jobs plan is not practical. I’m sorry, but it’s ridiculous.

    2) Since Mr. Person says he’s serious, how would he have us determine consent on the part of the animal?

  10. NewFederalist

    Woof, woof! Me-OW! And anyone wonders why the LP is still insignificant some 40 years later?

  11. Erik Viker

    A candidate who lets this sort of thing become the message of the day does not understand the contemporary electorate. And such a candidate does not effectively represent the principles of the Libertarian Party, which may be found at http://www.lp.org/platform

    I trust the national convention delegates will virtually ignore Mr. Person’s candidacy.

  12. Kevin Knedler

    As a state chair, I am disgusted with this!
    I agree with #2, 3, 8, 12, 13.
    I have busted my ass for 6 years to get the LP “brand” turned around. And now this CRAP.
    Sometimes I think these knuckleheads do this on purpose or because it makes THEM feel good. Total disregard for the work of others.
    I don’t care what the reasons are. Nobody will read into it. They will see what many here see– disgusting. This is the kind of stuff that takes down a person or organization– IE: Penn State Football. But the knuckleheads don’t care, because they may not have anything to lose. Well, many of us DO .

  13. Kevin Knedler

    TOTALLY agree Erik !
    So all the people that bust their humps working to build a local group, a state party, a national party, help on campaigns, get lumped in with these knuckleheads.
    As I learned a long time ago, as a young man in Ohio: “one bad apple can spoil the entire bunch”. Something like that.

  14. Kevin Knedler

    An it is correct that animals don’t have much say in the human world. Just saw “Dolphin Tale” at theatre. Frankly, I think that Dolphins, Whales, Elephants, the great apes, and even hogs are smarter than SOME of the so-called “humans” on this earth. Yep, I’m pissed.

  15. wolfefan

    If with this in mind Dr. Stevens thinks that Carl Person is the best candidate for the nomination and puts in countless unpaid hours to support him, then it reflects on Dr. Stevens’ judgment as well. There are probably jokes to be made about being a Liberty Lion in this context, but I will leave them for someone else.

  16. ATBAFT

    Rick Santorum warned us! Seriously, Person should be treated as no more relevant to the LP than was David Duke to the GOP or Lyndon Larouche to the Dems.

  17. Kevin Knedler

    @ 21
    But this knucklehead may be on the stage with C-span cameras stuck in his face.
    Agree with # 12.
    Are there 30 other knuckleheads out there?

  18. Jake Porter

    @22 The “knuckleheads” could split their tokens among the “knucklehead” candidates like they did in 2008 and none of them get to debate on C-Span.

  19. Here's a radical idea

    Maybe this is the last we have heard of this complete buffoon from New York or whatever planet he is on. It will be a total embarrassment for him to show up at a national convention. He will be called out on this. I urge state party leadership to not let this dude poison your state conventions as you fight for liberty .

  20. Joe

    If the LP is a “Party of Principle” then this IS a victimless crime.

    If it’s just to be a party designed to get someone elected, then this is of course an insane position.

    So are we now going to back away from all unpopular positions?

    I suppose the bottom line for those claiming their hard work is damaged by this is to ask — What are you working for?

    Is it Liberty or is it just getting someone elected who as a commitment to slightly more liberty than the Republicans and Democrats?

    That said, I personally wish this issue were not part of the debate. But I also personally am looking to support a Party based on Principle and not the popular whim of politics.

  21. Here's a radical idea

    @ # 25. That is fine for you. Great. Will you be willing to take the media slings and arrows full time on this issue, if it got out of hand? Would you want to take this job upon yourself and free up the state leaders to do the job of getting people elected and addressing other relevant issues like our economy? The media will eat you alive is the answer.

  22. Sane LP member

    @ 12 22 23
    Looks like # 26 is the first to get in line to give the “Mr. Beasty” a token at the May 2012 convention. One down and 29 more to go.

  23. wolfefan

    Hi Joe @25 –

    Is the right to sexually abuse animals a principle of the Libertarian party? I am not an LP member – can you point me to the platform plank that says this?

  24. Sane LP member

    @ 29. That WILL be the headline for the LP and then the end of it. The exit doors will be thrown open of members leaving . . . and throwing up.
    Maybe that is exactly what Person wants. Could be. Sick sick sick.

  25. ralph swanson

    More hand-wringing by the LP right-wing amen corner. Next the idiots will be worrying about masturbation and telling candidates noty to mention it as an extreme Libertarian position (?). Persons is from where I sit a moron to attack “sodomy” using the releigious hate-term.

    Bestiality is already legal in much if not most of the US, it’s suddenly bad because the extreme-right in the GOP have been pushing anti-bestiality laws in theiur never-ending campaign to re-establish religion. Which is exactly what it should be called if a candidate is goiung to talk about it IMHO.

    They got the anti-bestility law just passed in Florida. A group is preparing to start an initiative against that to put the whole GOP right into ridicule. The law is so poorly written it arguably criminalizes all sex.

    Bah.

  26. Tom Blanton

    Carl Person left out another victimless crime besides gambling: necrophilia.

    It’s hard (no pun intended) to make the case that once rigor mortis has begun, that one can engage in non-consensual and/or injurious sex with a dead human – or animal.

    Person does touch on having sex with dead animals, but neglects to get into (no pun intended) dead humans.

    Perhaps he feels that subject is taboo, while sex with living or dead animals is not.

    These issues may make for an interesting topic for debate among the various libertarians seeking the presidential nomination. As long as they claim to not engage in such activities or endorse such activities, I doubt if there would be any big impact on vote totals in the general election.

    It would seem though that this topic turns off white nationalists as evidenced by the link @ #10. Maybe Person could win some points with this crowd by advocating killing black thugs like libertarian Neal Boortz has done.

  27. Robert Capozzi

    34 tb: Carl Person left out another victimless crime besides gambling: necrophilia.

    me: Great catch, Brother Blanton! Brother Sundwall has suggested in another thread that we “let Ls be Ls.” Brother Knapp says everything indeed does boil down to a simple yes/no.

    So, it might be useful for the “correct” L line be divined on the necrophilia issue, so that Ls can be Ls on the matter. Were I an adherent to NIOF-ism, it seems pretty cut and dried: no aggression involved > aOK, by the “principled” formula.

    Lord save me! 😉 This example SHOULD expose for all paying attention the limitations of deontological absolutism, but somehow it seems likely it won’t.

  28. JT

    Person: “I do not practice or advocate bestiality, and do not include under-age human beings (as the common law crime of bestiality includes in some states)…”

    Glad to hear it.

    Person: “…and am not advocating that bestiality be added to the regular list of victimless crimes…”

    That’s what you did.

    Person: “…but from a Libertarian analysis it does appear that a limited amount of non-injurious, consensual bestiality would be considered a victimless crime.”

    Quite aside from the fact that mentioning this idea at all would turn almost everyone off in disgust, this libertarian DOESN’T consider bestiality a “victimless crime” for the same reason I don’t consider sex with children a “victimless crime.” Neither animals nor children are capable of a rational understanding of and consent to sex. Therefore, sex with an animal or a child=crime with a victim. That’s my analysis.

  29. Robert Capozzi

    I wonder if every LP prez cycle has a certifiable candidate. Person’s making a case. Imperato last time. My fav was in 1983…James “Piggy” Norwood, a retired Marine/gym teacher from Waco, TX, claimed he had a 2 foot stack of papers that he referred to as “psychological warfare” that would, if nominated, would lead to his winning the election. Piggy DID however have a sense of humor about him, though.

  30. Alan Pyeatt

    Well, at least somebody figured out a way to get the LP some media attention.

    BTW, the saying that “there’s no such thing as bad press” does not apply to political parties.

  31. Tom Blanton

    So, it might be useful for the “correct” L line be divined on the necrophilia issue, so that Ls can be Ls on the matter.

    Well, Capozzi, I take it you don’t think this would be a good issue for libertarian outreach. Since you were once a hardcore Rothbardian, perhaps you can tell us where he was at on the necrophilia issue.

    In a stateless society, I think that necrophilia — human or animal — would probably be rare as it is now primarily due to social pressure.

    For example, people pimping out cadavers for sexual purposes would most likely be severely ostracized by the community, as would be the “johns” also. This would especially be true where the necrophiliac was also building weapons of mass destruction in his tool shed.

  32. Eric Sundwall

    In fact what I did say was ” let the chips fall where they may as long as we keep some semblance of focus and unity.”

    By focus and unity I meant ballot access and party structure. Certainly let anyone come and seek a nomination under the agreed upon rules.

    The LPO situation also comes to mind when I consider the divisive blows seemingly L’s ought not to engage in. I confess I haven’t had much heart to sort that one out in my mind.

  33. George Phillies

    There is an important lesson here.

    When you have candidates in prolonged campaigns, you get to learn their interesting ideas in advance. When you support someone who jumps into the race at the last minute, you can get surprised after they won the nomination.

    After all, suppose it was 2008. Suppose this had been Barr, learning after the same time delay about his idea on this topic.

    We would have found out…give or take in August. About the time the LP news announcing the convention results was reaching the doors of LP members.

    Well after the nominee had been campaigning.

    When you support a candidate who enters at the last minute, well, sooner or later this will happen to you.

  34. Jeremy C. Young Post author

    George’s comment @44 is exactly the reason I decided to post this story. I gave it some thought, truthfully, because as a non-Libertarian I didn’t want folks to think I was trying to sabotage the party. My conclusion ultimately was that it’s better for the party to find out about this now than at or after the convention. That goes for the media cycle, too — some bad press about this now won’t be as damaging as bad press about it in July of next year.

  35. Alaska Constitution Party

    Thankfully Alaska just outlawed bestiality. Too bad there are those whose intellectual exercises take them over the cliff and into the abyss. They have abandoned the Creator and His laws and engaged in vain imaginations, becoming fools…This is the real difference between the LP & the CP.

  36. Jeremy C. Young Post author

    I think the first part of your last sentence is the real difference, not the specific policy on this issue. Most Libertarians don’t support legalizing bestiality any more than Constitution Party members do. The key difference, I think, is that Constitution Party thought is biblically-based, while Libertarian thought is based on doctrines of natural rights.

  37. Tom Blanton

    Perhaps the real difference between libertarians and Constitution Party members is that libertarians understand that you can’t engage in vain imaginations such as thinking you can legislate morality.

    I certainly can’t imagine someone in Alaska who engages in bestiality suddenly stopping the practice because it is now illegal.

    Now the question becomes how will the state enforce a law against bestiality? Will sheep call the police?

    And when did bestiality become a hot button issue in Alaska? If it is truly a widespread problem, practitioners will most likely take their deviant behavior further underground.

    I personally find it amusing that smug self-righteous Christians now sit back and relax, satisfied that no bestiality could possibly be taking place now that it has been legislated against. What’s next? Maybe legislation preventing sexual penetration of pumpkins and watermelons is in order. Certainly the Lord frowns on vegetable sex.

    Of course, it is no problem that the entire global economy is on the verge of collapsing and our own government is busy killing people all over the world and destabilizing every third world nation that has a dimes worth of resources to exploit. The good Lord will certainly bless us for that. Just thank God that the bestiality problem in Alaska has been solved.

    I’m more worried about the abyss of absurdities that prevent rational solutions to serious problems.

  38. John C Jackson

    I’m a little surprised there isn’t more agreement, legally/philosophically ( not politically). I think it’s an insane issue to even mention when it comes to politics. I’ve always felt pretty “radical” and ideally anarchist, but I recognize the point of politics and parties.

    However,I could definitely see a libertarian argument against having laws against this behavior. Since when do libertarians enjoy expanding laws beyond what seems absolutely necessary. Just some thoughts: Do animals have rights? Do our laws only concern human beings or do they extend to other living things? What if I rape a dandelion? What living things get rights/where do you draw the line? Are animals property? why/why not?

  39. Robert Capozzi

    41 tb, sorry, I don’t recall whether Pope Murray did the math on necrophilia. While he strove to be comprehensive, alas, we are on our own on this issue. Indeed, I don’t recall his offering any “proofs” regarding the “correct” line on bestiality, either.

    Perhaps the Vatican, aka, LvMI, has some private Rothbard correspondence that will guide us lost souls on these important, trenchant issues so that we can hold high the banner of Everlasting, Abiding Truth. 😉

  40. Robert Capozzi

    50 jcj: Do animals have rights?

    me: From memory, MNR said no. Nozick said kinda yes.

    Do humans have “rights,” or are “rights” a useful contrivance? If they do have “rights,” show them to me.

  41. Robert Capozzi

    41 tb: In a stateless society, I think that necrophilia — human or animal — would probably be rare as it is now primarily due to social pressure.

    me: Makes sense to me, assuming a stateless society lasts a week before a statist society fills the vacuum.

    For a stateless society to be sustainable, we’d need something like the Second Coming of MNR. He could roam the world doing magic tricks whilst hypnotizing the state’s “thugs” to lay down their arms simultaneously. 😉

  42. Robert Capozzi

    44 gp, yes, time to vet seems like sound SOP. OTOH, was anyone really surprised by Barr’s positions? I wasn’t.

    It’s true that we still don’t know just how posh those “limos” were and how many times he took them, or whether they were stocked with Starbucks, champagne and caviar. Or were they glorified gypsy cabs to avoid waiting in the taxi line at the airport, ones that charged a $10 premium. 😉 The outrage!

    Ed Clark was very well vetted for the 80 campaign. Yet, he (offhandedly) uttered the sacrilegious term “low tax liberal” on national TV, and the rest is history. MNR went on a multi-year tirade, as he apparently had not signed off on this nomenclature.

    The good news is that if RP bolts late to the LP, we know all about him and his Dominionist friends and anti-choice “heresies.” If it happens, you have the full catalog that you can pull off the shelf at a moment’s notice…

    I am pleased that you seem to have made peace with GJ’s Gitmo stumble…. No doubt someone will savage him for being a FairTaxer.

    Hey, we’re Ls, we eat our own!

  43. Tom Blanton

    Based on the axioms provided by Robert Anton Wilson, I think we can safely conclude that if one doesn’t enjoy bestiality or necrophilia, one should not be forced to engage in these behaviors.

    Personally, I detest brussels sprouts. So, I don’t eat them. The same goes for bestiality and/or necrophilia. If a law was passed requiring me to eat brussels sprouts, I would ignore it. The same goes for bestiality and/or necrophilia.

    Capozzi, I am hoping you will contact Lew Rockwell to find out where MNR stood on this vital issue. Perhaps Walter Block has addressed this issue – it sounds like something that he would find important.

    As for the Fair Tax, I’m all for it as long as it only applies to those who favor it.

  44. Tom Blanton

    Libertarians who just like to watch might want to grapple with whether the surreptitious viewing of others for the purposes of sexual stimulation is a victimless crime.

    It would seem that the person being watched would not be a victim unless they discovered the viewer watching them. So, should “peeping tom” laws be revised to preclude enforcement unless the person being watched made a complaint?

    Where does Carl Person stand on this issue? This may a winning issue in the voyeur demographic.

  45. Q2Q

    Carl Person is the only candidate of principle. Bestiality is a real victim-less crime. I am just happy to see a candidate understand the kind of relationship me and my dog have. You go Carl!!!

  46. NewFederalist

    This thread just goes from bad to worse. Bestiality AND necrophilia in the same thread. Wow! Just wow! Reminds me of a Jody call when I was in boot camp… I don ‘t know but I’ve been told… Necrophiliacs like it cold! (We were a very enlightened company!)

  47. Non LP delegate

    Let’s keep this thread going. Let’s push this out to the main stream media. This will help confirm the thoughts that the Libertarian Party is full of nut jobs, kooks, druggies, and now people that like to take advantage of young kids and animals. Nice job guys. Keep it coming.

  48. langa

    The hysterical comments in this thread make me glad I am no longer affiliated with the LP, which has become “the party of principle (so long as the principle is popular and politically correct).”

  49. Jake Porter

    @61 Better we discuss this now and end Person’s campaign before the media and some voters are actually paying attention in March or April.

    The only thing that hurts us is when a few self described libertarians announce that they believe there is some “principle” in defending the sexual abuse of animals. So long as it is your animal and it consents to your sexual advances of course.

    There is no “principle” in bestiality or in defending the practice no matter how politically incorrect and unpopular the practice is. It is not a victimless crime. Not to mention any candidate that goes out of their way to advocate this issue lacks a basic understanding of how politics works and doesn’t deserve our Presidential nomination.

  50. Robert Capozzi

    62 L, I not sure what you mean here, but I would suggest that Ls invoke a PC stance more than other ideologies. For many Ls, we MUST buy into the NAP, and apply it in very specific ways. We MUST accept the “Statement of Principles” if we are to be “real” Ls.

    The term “PC” has become something to be derided in L circles, and yet those same circles have their OWN form of “L political correctness.”

    IOW, if one believes there is only one correct, principled position on anything, dogmatism is sure to follow.

    What’s being questioned here is not ideology per se, it’s judgment. Taboo subjects like bestiality are fair game in philosophical discussion. It’s really poor judgment, however, to bring it up in the context of an election, esp. one for president.

    If you disagree, please lay out an alternative interpretation of why it’s good judgment.

  51. Robert Capozzi

    55 tb: Capozzi, I am hoping you will contact Lew Rockwell to find out where MNR stood on this vital issue [bestiality].

    me: Hmm, well, I don’t consider the issue “vital” at all. I consider it a sideshow distraction. But, even if I contacted LR, it’s unlikely he’d respond to me. He never responded to this essay I co-wrote back in 08 re: NewsletterGate: http://freeliberal.com/archives/003165.php

    He may even recall that I once was named on a kind of “enemies list” that MNR published in The Libertarian Forum, so I’m not feeling the love coming back to me from Auburn.

  52. Melty

    My earlier comment on this thread got axed… first time that happened. . .anyhow, bestiality and necrophilia should be on the table face up. As for talking points, though, masterbation’s worth bringing up anytime anybody advocates abstinance.

  53. Melty

    comes down to this . … ….too many laws.
    I eat dog. …got a problem wit dat?
    I advocate a Delegislature.

  54. langa

    RC, two things to bear in mind:

    1. There’s obviously a difference between philosophically correct and politically correct.

    2. If a candidate/party has literally a zero percent chance of winning the election, there is no reason to worry about offending the electorate.

  55. Robert Capozzi

    69 l, sorry, what’s the difference between philosophical and political correctness? Both are opinions. There is no “correct” or “incorrect” that I can discern in such matters. If there are, please demonstrate them.

    And, no, I believe there is a GREAT reason to not offend the electorate. If we want to attract them to our ideas, then offending them seems like a very poor way of doing so.

    Further, while virtually all L candidates will lose, if the ideas are presented in an attractive manner, over time…who knows? Some may win. Or the Rs and Ds might co-opt L ideas, which is a form of “winning.”

  56. Non LP delegate

    So # 62 must feel it is OK for an adult person to force themselves on another person, including a child, an animal, or a pet. Not somebody I would want around my children. SickO

  57. Sane LP member

    So much for the LP Principle on non-agression. I would hope the Libertarian Party MEMBERS on this thread don’t agree that a person can force their way onto others. I hope so. It must be some anarchists or nut jobs that feel that it is ok.

  58. Kevin Knedler

    Hey # 69. Tell your thoughts immediately to the Indiana and the Ohio LP. They would love to hear it. Since they are electing people now to public office.

  59. Robert Capozzi

    73 kk, bridging, I wonder whether Ls who view the LP as protest-vehicle, where “radical” principle is held high, believe that winning elections is actually evidence that some L candidates are not running as true Ls. For them, winning would be prima facie proof of a sell out… Perhaps Langa will confirm or deny, with explanation…

  60. Robert Capozzi

    79 mhw, can you expand? Are you saying supporting Coleman was not good planning? Compared with what? If he got 49.9%, would you say the same thing?

  61. George Phillies

    From LibertarianStrategyMonthly.com
    Posted by Jake Porter on Nov 9th, 2011

    Indianapolis Libertarian City Councilman, Ed Coleman, appears to have lost his race tonight for another term on the Indianapolis City Council according to results posted to the WTHR Channel 13 website. The results had Republican Jack Sandlin winning 76% to 24% or 4,762 to 1,532 votes with 100% of the precincts reporting.

    Someone asked for and got $50,000 for a race against an incumbent, in a 6,200 vote district.

    The LNC spent more than $30 per vote on this.

    The TV ads can be discussed later.

  62. langa

    #70: We’ve had this debate before, and there’s no reason to rehash it again. You’re free to embrace nihilism, but that philosophy simply isn’t my cup of tea. We’ll just have to agree to disagree there.

    As for the claim that offending people causes them to close their minds to libertarian ideas, that might be true if support for legalized bestiality was Person’s number one issue (or even one of his main issue). However, considering that we’re talking about an offhand remark on a blog that is only read by a miniscule percentage of the population, the idea that such a remark would significantly reduce the chances of converting anyone to libertarianism is remote, to put it mildly.

  63. langa

    #71,72: Animals are not people, they’re property. If you guys feel otherwise, why are you wasting time arguing about something as trivial as bestiality. Shouldn’t you be marching in the streets, protesting mousetraps, or maybe bug spray?

    Also, the fact that you wouldn’t want someone around your children in no way gives you the right to lock that person in a cage, your tyrannical fantasies to the contrary notwithstanding.

  64. langa

    #73: The candidate that I was referring to was Person, who is running for President, not for school board or dog catcher.

  65. Tom Blanton

    Why would anyone who believed in animal rights want to run for dog catcher anyway?

    I’m thinking that someone desperately seeking the office of dog catcher could be a closet bestiality freak.

    By the way, langa is right @ 83.

    Far more embarrassing is the right-wing bloviations that spew from the mouth of one hyphenated libertarian that are heard by millions – at least according to the bloviator.

    Is it acceptable for millions of people to think libertarians believe Obama is a secret Marxist engaged in a clandestine conspiracy to destroy America, but totally unacceptable for a few hundred people to think that libertarians believe that bestiality is a victimless crime?

    I have had some fun ridiculing the notions that bestiality and necrophilia are vital issues that deserve serious philosophical discussion.

    If I catch any of you trying to boink my cat, I won’t call the cops. I’ll rip your nuts off for annoying my personal property. Maybe it’s time now for a deep libertarian discussion on whether a contract where someone sells themselves into slavery should be enforceable.

  66. Michael H. Wilson

    I was thinking about this after reading the Person’s original post “Maybe it’s time now for a deep libertarian discussion on whether a contract where someone sells themselves into slavery should be enforceable.”

    By the way I used to have two mastiffs and I don’t think anyone would want to f**k with them. It might have been fun to see someone try.

  67. Robert Capozzi

    83L: You’re free to embrace nihilism, but that philosophy simply isn’t my cup of tea.

    me: Nihilism? Me? Huh? That’s a first! Please help me understand how you get there. I’m a moderate lessarchist L, hardly a nihilist that I can see. It just kinda seems obvious that philosophies are opinions. Even if you disagree with THAT, it’s surely not obvious that that’s “nihilism.”

    L: As for the claim that offending people causes them to close their minds to libertarian ideas, that might be true if support for legalized bestiality was Person’s number one issue (or even one of his main issue).

    me: Glad we agree on that one. Now, if you assemble, say, 20 issues that offend, although perhaps not the the degree that “legalize bestiality” does, my guess is you end up in the same alienating place.

    There are always going to be issues for any politician or political party that will alienate. Oppose affirmative action > alienate many minorities. Oppose aid to Israel > alienate many Jews. Advocate same-gender marriage > alienate certain strains of the Christian community.

    It’s important to take some care in the positions one takes, but also how one’s position is soundbited.

  68. langa

    Straight from Merriam-Webster, definition 1b:

    nihilism: “a doctrine that denies any objective ground of truth and especially of moral truths”

    That seems to be a pretty accurate description of your philosophy, at least as far as I understand it.

  69. Robert Capozzi

    89 L, thanks. That’s a different def. than I associate the word with. I use it for the meanings below:

    ni·hil·ism? ?[nahy-uh-liz-uhm, nee-] Show IPA
    noun
    1.
    total rejection of established laws and institutions.
    2.
    anarchy, terrorism, or other revolutionary activity.
    3.
    total and absolute destructiveness, especially toward the world at large and including oneself: the power-mad nihilism that marked Hitler’s last years.
    4.
    Philosophy.
    a.
    an extreme form of skepticism: the denial of all real existence or the possibility of an objective basis for truth.
    b.
    nothingness or nonexistence.
    5.
    (sometimes initial capital letter) the principles of a Russian revolutionary group, active in the latter half of the 19th century, holding that existing social and political institutions must be destroyed in order to clear the way for a new state of society and employing extreme measures, including terrorism and assassination.

    Regardless, whatever you want to call it, I find it bizarre that anyone could say that there is an “objective” “moral truth.” How can a concept possibly be “objective”? Concepts have no substance, no mass.

  70. Thomas L. Knapp

    “How can a concept possibly be ‘objective’?”

    A concept is “an abstract or general idea inferred or derived from specific instances.”

    Objective, in the sense apparently intended, means “perceived without distortion of personal feelings or interpretation.”

    We could argue about whether or not there’s an objective morality, but the claim that there is certainly isn’t out of the mainstream. It is the mainstream.

  71. Robert Capozzi

    91 tk, oh, do I ever agree! Our society is VERY confused. It’s no wonder that there’s such an epidemic of anger. It’s no wonder that “history” pretty much equals “war.”

  72. Dr. Tom Stevens

    Look carefully at Carl Person’s list of Victimless Crimes:

    “The victimless crimes are prostitution, bestiality, sodomy, drugs, abortion…”

    What’s missing?

  73. Darryl W. Perry

    I’d also add “noodling” to that list, as well as growing your own food, hunting/fishing (without the use of a permit), operating a business without a license, not wearing a seatbelt, speeding (in most cases)… and those are just off the top of my head – given some thought, I could probably list several more.
    Just thought of one more: consensual polygamy

  74. Dr. Tom Stevens

    Without regard to political considerations, where exactly do you stand on the issue of classifying bestiality as a victimless crime?

    Is it a property issue? A consent issue? A harm issue? An animal cruelty issue?

    Speak up!

  75. Dan Reale

    @81 – Mr Phillies –

    Right. I was damn skeptical about that 50 large (we could win multiple races with that in CT, BTW). Had that been in the bank January 1st, it would have also meant statewide ballot access by March 1st (plus two congressional districts and some state rep/senate districts).

    Everyone else –

    Carl’s got some solid ideas, and I’m not taking away from that here. But there is such a thing as foot in mouth syndrome, which I believe the genesis of this discussion is.

    For example, Linda McMahon’s husband had that syndrome during her senate race in reference to a WWE skit depecting necrophilia.

    He said that the press took the depiction of necrophilia out of context – how you take necorphilia or the depiction thereof out of context being the next logical question.

    Obviously, that’s a hole when you start digging. At least Vince didn’t look for the opportunity to dig the hole from the onset.

    The takeaway is that there are some things that are controversial, but they do have a teachable moment (ie you defend the insane Westboro Baptist Church’s right to protest), and others you just logically know that they will offend beyond all reasonable doubt to a point where the lesson will be obscured (that is if there really can be a lesson there).

    I’ll go out on a limb and say that there’s a much easier way to start the discussion on victimless crime.

    Like Daryll @95 said, use hunting/fishing (without the use of a permit), operating a business without a license, not wearing a seatbelt, speeding (in most cases) – CONSENSUAL POLYGAMY even being PERFECT if the desire is to start sufficient controversy to initiate more discussion so you can illustrate the point.

    If you want to be ludicrous for that same exact purpose, freebasing laxatives after you cut them with draino is perfect (after all, the use IS inconsistent with the label).

  76. CT Debate to Be Televised

    Way to go, Dan!

    To: LP Activists
    Cc: LP State Chairs
    Sent: Tuesday, November 15, 2011 10:03 PM
    Subject: LP Presidential Debate (Dec 16th)

    The details for the LP presidential debate before our convention have been finalized.

    The debate will occur at 8:30 PM at the Comcast station in Bethel, CT (15 Shelter Rock Rd) on December 16th.

    Any candidate running for the LP nomination is invited to attend. Candidates are encouraged to arrive early (preferably 7PM).

    This debate will be the first presidential debate in Connecticut. It will also be live on television. All news media who wish to tap into the live feed should contact Kevin Gallagher at (kevin.gallagher AT xmail.com), who will be heading the production for this event. In order to maximize candidate the participation, we needed to arrange the date and location now.

    There will be no live audience; however, there may be a call in number, and you can submit your proposed questions to myself.

    Dan Reale
    Chair, LPCT
    headlinecopy@gmail.com
    860 564 5798

  77. Thomas L. Knapp

    TS@97,

    It seems to me that the default libertarian position — absent a persuasive argument for “animal rights,” which I do try to keep an open mind for — is that it’s a property issue and therefore a victimless crime (unless of course the animal is someone else’s property).

    That doesn’t mean that it’s an issue that is going to accomplish anything positive for a presidential campaign. Between the taboos it disturbs and the fact that it’s not really a federal issue, a smart presidential candidate will go a long way to avoid discussing it.

  78. Robert Capozzi

    100 tk: Between the taboos it disturbs and the fact that it’s not really a federal issue, a smart presidential candidate will go a long way to avoid discussing it.

    me: Yes, it’s not even reasonable to call it an “issue” at all. An issue is matter that there’s some (at least minimal level of) disagreement about it. I don’t recall this “issue” ever coming up in the public square, or even among Ls. It’s a non-issue, and treating it like an actual issue shows a profound level of tin-ear-ism. Or worse, some sort of bizarre persecution complex.

  79. wolfefan

    TLK @100 –

    That last sentence is the key. First, whatever one’s view, the discussion has no place in a discussion of what the federal government should/shouldn’t do. Second, bringing it up (again whatever the view) is a sign to me that the candidate is not serious about winning.

    One of the questions I ask myself about any candidate (but especially third-party candidates) is, “What if they win?” I try to figure out if they are serious about governing, if they are willing to make proposals that have a chance of being enacted and if they are willing to fufill the responsibilities of office as they currently exist, as opposed to as they exist in an ideal world of the candidate’s imagination.

    A nominee who is below age 35 won’t get my vote. A nominee who says “On day 1 of my administration I will abolish the IRS” won’t get my vote (as much as I might like the idea.) A nominee who says “It’s time for a discussion of the legalization of crimes like bestiality” won’t get my vote.

    I can understand the desire to discuss the application of theoretical principles to real-life situations, and there is a time and a place for that discussion. IMO a presidential candidacy where the candidate hopes to be taken seriously is neither the time nor the place.

  80. Robert Capozzi

    wf and tk, I do wonder, however, how this meshes with the notion of “principle.” If there is an absolute “right” and “wrong” in all behavioral matters, then it seems to follow that there is a “right” and “wrong” answer regarding bestiality.

    My radical question is: Is that so? Maybe there ISN’T a right or wrong in all things… Maybe bestiality and necrophilia are just things not to do because they violate the prevailing social mores…

  81. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC @ 104,

    “I do wonder, however, how this meshes with the notion of ‘principle.'”

    Most applications of principle are heavily reliant on subsidiary questions of principle and/or fact, and different answers to those subsidiary questions will lead people who agree on the top-tier principle to disagree on how it is applied.

    The obvious case to cite for that is abortion.

    There are libertarians who subscribe to the Zero Aggression Principle who believe that abortion is an initiation of force, and there are libertarians who subscribe to the Zero Aggression Principle who believe that it isn’t.

    The reason that libertarians can agree on the ZAP but disagree on its application in the case of abortion is that there are underlying questions such as “is the embryo/fetus a ‘person’ with rights, or just a blob of tissue?” and “even the embryo/fetus is a ‘person’ with rights, has the mother incurred any obligation to host said person for nine months whether she wants to or not?”

    With respect to bestiality, I’d say the key questions are whether non-human animals have rights or are just property; if they have rights, what those rights are; if they have rights whether or not they are competent to consent; etc.

    If non-human animals do not have rights and are “just property,” then the answer the Zero Aggression Principle returns is that bestiality (with one’s own property or with permission of the owner of said property) is not aggression, and that prohibiting/punishing bestiality (with one’s own property or with permission of the owner of said property) is aggression.

    Of course, as you are fond of pointing out, not all people reasonably classifiable as “libertarians” necessarily treat the Zero Aggression Principle as the standard.

  82. Mark Seidenberg

    It is not a victimless crime, as some of the posts
    above suggests. It goes on to many times. I spent over 12 years with the USDA had heard of
    the sad results of these acts, which are crimes that have human victims.

    These animals are owned by humans. Just days
    ago a man was jailed in Pueblo, Colorado for cunnilingus with a pit bull. The owner my have
    pit bull put to sleep, after the trial is over, because that what happens to animals after having sex with humans.

    Further, the owner of the animal can be charged
    with the crime of buggery (under the 1861 Buggery Act) as happened last September in Raheen, Ireland. This time a 43
    year old woman (mother of three) died, because
    of fellatio, viz., the owner put peanut butter
    on his Alsatian’s penis.

    Even Dr. Don Grundmann, Chairman of the Constitution Party of California, gave may more
    cases during a 2007 AIP State Central Committee meeting at the California Secretary of State Building in Sacramento.

    Sincerely, Mark Seidenberg,
    Chairman, American Independent Party of California

  83. Dr. Tom Stevens

    So which principled Libertarians would like to see these people arrested and sent to prison:

  84. Robert Capozzi

    104 tk: Of course, as you are fond of pointing out, not all people reasonably classifiable as “libertarians” necessarily treat the Zero Aggression Principle as the standard.

    me: NAP/ZAP could also be used as a first filter. I do this. It’s almost always very easy, though sometimes it isn’t, as with abortion. I’ve not tried to codify the next filters or a sequence of filters, but the next thought is to check the existing rules and their outcomes.

    So, in the case of bestiality, the NAP/ZAP comes back indeterminate. The question of whether laws against bestiality seem to be working comes back yes.

    The TAAAL-ist then says: This inquiry is a waste of time. Put it on the shelf.

  85. Robert Capozzi

    109 tk, virtually no one (except perhaps for Person and his advisers) thinks this is an issue. So, for now, the overwhelming majority are fine with the law as it stands. It’s working, by my estimation.

    The very idea of a State doesn’t seem to work for you. Like bestiality, though, the overwhelming majority seem to agree that the existence of a State works to maintain domestic tranquility. A State works, although the EXTENT of the State’s powers is an issue for most as well.

  86. Robert Capozzi

    111 tk, no, not quite. What works is that which seems to promote (or not unduly detract from) a serviceable, peaceful social order. Matters don’t need to rise to the pitchfork level to NOT work…very few rise to that level.

    Health care delivery isn’t working in the US, in my estimation. Foreign adventurism isn’t working. The tax code doesn’t work.

    IP laws may be at a tipping point of not working.

    Bestiality laws work.

    I wish I could give you more precision than that, but, sadly, such precision is — I’d suggest — impossible.

  87. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC@112,

    In that case, I’d have to disagree with you that bestiality laws “work.”

    In the absence of bestiality laws, there would be people having sex with animals — a victimless crime (unless you’re asserting that animals have rights) which harms nobody (except, perhaps, themselves) and disturbs the peace not at all.

    In the existence of bestiality laws, there are people having sex with animals and, as a consequence, being abducted and caged. That’s not very peaceful at all.

    I don’t rate the existence of bestiality laws to be as extremely damaging to a serviceable, peaceful social order as, say, the war on drugs, but I don’t see any reasonable case for the idea that they “work” in the sense that you’re claiming.

  88. Robert Capozzi

    113 tk, your standard for what is peaceful differs from mine, then. Laws are signals to the general population about what is acceptable and what ain’t.

    The law against murder dissuades murder but it doesn’t abolish it. Likely the law against bestiality dissuades but doesn’t abolish as well. Expecting 100% compliance seems foolish.

    Murder-law violations are probably investigated and prosecuted far more often and vigorously than bestiality violations are, for obvious reasons.

    I don’t know if anyone is in prison for zoophilia. My quick research elicited no information on the subject.

    My sense is that the prevailing social attitude supports the zoophilia laws, as well as the laws against murder. Until Person, bestiality was a completely non-controversial matter, and therefore peaceful.

    My use of the word “peaceful” means something different I think than how you use it. If people are overwhelming OK was a law and how it’s enforced (or not), I’d say that’s a peaceful configuration. If you view animals as property, and one person is in prison for zoophilia, you might say that’s not peaceful, if I’m hearing you correctly. I’m not an absolutist atomist, so I don’t share your interpretation….

  89. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC@114,

    “your standard for what is peaceful differs from mine, then”

    If, as you seem to indicate, your standard of “peaceful” is “it’s just fine for the SWAT team to knock down the door of someone who’s harmed no one, knock that person to the floor to the floor, put him or her in handcuffs and stick him or her in a cage, as long as ‘the prevailing social attitude supports’ it,” then yes, my standard of peaceful is very different from yours. And from Hitler’s.

  90. Darryl W. Perry

    The legal term is “buggery” and yes, there are people in prison for it. I remember a news story from 2009 when I lived in South Carolina man who was sentenced to prison for his 2nd conviction of buggery.
    He was also charged with (and I believe convicted of) trespassing because he was sneaking onto someone’s property to diddle a horse that belonged to the property owner.

  91. Robert Capozzi

    115 tk, histrionic much? 😉 SWAT teams?

    Look, the sheriff — whether he be paid by the State or Acme Insurance — will sometimes do things we don’t approve of. That doesn’t mean we should have no sheriff. It means, rather, that we need to have eternal vigilance.

    In a “perfect” world perhaps there would be no laws against zoophilia…I dunno. I’m at peace that there ARE laws against it, and so are most, overwhelmingly so, near as I can tell.

    If that makes us “Hitler” in your mind, that’s your cross to bear.

    Perhaps you can rejoin the LP, get on the Person bandwagon, and skool us all on the gross injustice of zoophilia. While you have impressive skills, and Person seems to have a big brain, I will take some very long odds that you will not be successful in your quest to reverse this gross injustice. 😉

  92. Robert Capozzi

    118 dwp, thanks. From the atomistic/Rothbardian perspective, that’s an easy one, yes? The nag weren’t his property to poke, as it were…

  93. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC@117,

    I’m not the one who brought bestiality up. Nor have I, in this thread, argued that “we should not have a sheriff.”

    In fact, I have argued that it’s an incredibly stupid subject to be mentioned in a political campaign, placed it at something like number three million four hundred and sixty two thousand nine hundred and four on my “list of laws to work for the repeal of,” entertained the possibility that it is not a “victimless crime,” and stated the element(s) that would be necessary to persuade me of same.

    In the absence of such elements of persuasion, none of which you’ve even attempted to provide, I do in fact default to the assumption that it is a “victimless crime” and that enforcement of the laws against it is therefore inherently “non-peaceful.”

    Perhaps it’s time you visited the real world — a world in which the militarization of American police forces is nearly complete, the use of SWAT teams is routine, even extending to matters like student loan delinquency and yes, in which people are abducted and put in cages for bestiality.

  94. Robert Capozzi

    121 tk, I’d say animals are not humans, so in that sense it’s “victimless.” I am, however, OK with the idea of animal cruelty laws, which may not fit neatly in any box. I find them to be peaceful.

  95. Jill Pyeatt

    Dr. Stevens, if someone videotapes the above mentioned speech, I’m sure many of us would like to see it. You can send it to anyone here at IPR, or send it to me at stone@altrionet.com, and I can post it right away.

  96. Dr. Tom Stevens

    Re: 125

    Thanks Jill. It that turns out to be possible, I will definitely get it to you.

  97. Robert Capozzi

    While I have no reason to believe that this is agitprop by a provocateur, I would say that this whole matter COULD be employed by said.

    This is VERY embarrassing, damaging…

  98. Michael H. Wilson

    Dr. Stevens would it be possible to have this Libertarian Bioethicist discuss the high death rate from medical errors and whether or not physicians should be charged with homicide?

  99. Pingback: LP-Pres: Carl Person fires campaign manager, apologizes for bestiality comments | Independent Political Report

  100. Richie

    I think you need to work on your analysis some more – it’s not thought through. Animals and children are totally different. I’m assuming you don’t think it’s ok to kill children for food, neuter them, and decide to euthanize them? We don’t seem to be concerned about “consent” for these things for animals – which let’s face it are much more detrimental to the animal. But if consent was an issue, you could infer it form whether the animal bites, scratches etc – or quite simply doesn’t “perform” . Laws on animal cruelty should be applied where the animal is actually harmed. I’m not pro bestiality, but if the animal doesn’t seem distressed or is actually enjoying itself – I don’t really see the problem with it, and I think anyone who does just hasn’t thought it though or is very close minded – where’s the harm?

  101. Richie

    JT@35
    I think you need to work on your analysis some more – it’s not thought through. Animals and children are totally different. I’m assuming you don’t think it’s ok to kill children for food, neuter them, and decide to euthanize them? We don’t seem to be concerned about “consent” for these things for animals – which let’s face it are much more detrimental to the animal. But if consent was an issue, you could infer it form whether the animal bites, scratches etc – or quite simply doesn’t “perform” . Laws on animal cruelty should be applied where the animal is actually harmed. I’m not pro bestiality, but if the animal doesn’t seem distressed or is actually enjoying itself – I don’t really see the problem with it, and I think anyone who does just hasn’t thought it though or is very close minded – where’s the harm?

  102. paulie

    But if consent was an issue, you could infer it form whether the animal bites, scratches etc – or quite simply doesn’t “perform”

    No, you can’t.

  103. H6

    I am all for ending prosecution of true victimless crimes like people having the right as adults to consume whatever they want no matter how “illegal” governments claim, and the right to keep and bear arms and carry weapons as long as it is for self defense and their own pleasure and not to attack others. But BESTIALITY and ABORTION ARE NOT VICTIMLESS CRIMES. They are victimizing the ANIMAL and the PRE BORN CHILD. What about their freedom and safety and protection?

    Our pets are not property, they are mutual persons who we care for and live with. We do not have the right to abuse them or use them. Livestock are not pets but should still be used without being abused. Sex with animals is disgusting and is abusive and exploitive. No, this is where I part with some libertarians. Sex with animals and children is vile and evil and disgusting and only adults over the age of 18 have the right to consume in their bodies what they want to, before that, they are under the authority of their parents and the Constitution.

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