(Libertarian) Party Trying To Set Identity

An article published by The Ledger of Lakeland Florida titled: “Party Trying To Set Identity” examines the relationship between the Libertarian Party and Ron Paul; and the two Liberty-related events to occur nearby in August —  PaulFest and FreedomFestival2012.

The article by Bill Rufty, political editor for The Ledger, states in part:

The interesting thing about the Libertarian Party is that its members can move easily back and forth between it and the Republican Party because there is a faction in the GOP that believes in at least a portion of the Libertarian Party philosophy.

The Libertarian Party’s slogan is: “Minimum government, maximum freedom.”

Less government appeals to conservatives, especially the fiscal conservatives. But some of the other ideas don’t appeal to the social conservatives.

I once asked Andre Marrou, Libertarian Party presidential candidate in 1992, why you could find people you might consider liberal in his party while also finding conservatives.

His good, joking answer had a point:

“Oh, the liberals want to control the money, and conservatives want to control the personal behavior. So we compromise: We don’t control anything.”

The entire article can be read here:

http://www.theledger.com/article/20120624/COLUMNISTS/120629655?p=1&tc=pg

Information on PaulFest and FreedomFestival 2012 respectively:

http://paulfestival.org

http://www.freedomfestival2012.com

And this IPR reporter’s favorite quote of the day (worth repeating even if Paulie now hears an echo in here):

“Oh, the liberals want to control the money, and conservatives want to control the personal behavior.  So we compromise: We don’t control anything.”   Andre Marrou.

Andre Verne Marrou (born December 4, 1938) was the Libertarian party’s Presidential nominee in 1992 and its Vice-Presidential nominee (running with Ron Paul) in 1988.  He was elected to the Alaska House of Representatives in 1984.

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

82 thoughts on “(Libertarian) Party Trying To Set Identity

  1. zapper

    The Libertarian Party’s slogan is: “Minimum government, maximum freedom.”

    I never knew the LP had an official slogan.

    However, this is a good sound bite summation to give voters a taste of what the LP stands for.

    Many voters know only this much or less about the parties and candidates they support. Many would vote for the LP with no more data than that slogan and they would probably understand at a basic level what that means and why they are Libertarians.

    It seems a common occurance for an LP candidate or spokesperson to begin with a group that basically agrees with and supports the LP and is ready to support, donate and vote LP. Then, with a long-winded speech and too much unnecessary verbiage they drive the new supporters away.

    The Libertarian Party – Minimum government, maximum freedom.

    Use good sound bites. Then, shut up and win.

  2. Mark Hilgenberg

    Zapper,

    It is a horrible slogan, hence why we are at .5%. Here is why.

    It all comes down to communication style.

    Most people active in politics and the largest segment of society are concrete communicators. Here is how Dr. David Keirsey describes this type of communication. “Some people talk primarily about the external, concrete world of everyday reality: facts and figures, work and play, home and family, news, sports and weather — all the who-what-when-where-and how much’s of life.”

    They are also cooperative in action, “they try to do the right thing, in keeping with agreed upon social rules, conventions, and codes of conduct, and only later do they concern themselves with the effectiveness of their actions.”

    “As Concrete Cooperators, Guardians speak mostly of their duties and responsibilities, of what they can keep an eye on and take good care of, and they’re careful to obey the laws, follow the rules, and respect the rights of others.” They make up 40-45% of the population.

    Most Libertarians are abstract communicators: “This group of people talk primarily about the internal, abstract world of ideas: theories and conjectures, dreams and philosophies, beliefs and fantasies –all the why’s, if’s, and what-might-be’s of life.”

    They are often Utilitarian in action: “act primarily in a utilitarian or pragmatic manner, that is, they do what gets results, what achieves their objectives as effectively or efficiently as possible, and only afterwards do they check to see if they are observing the rules or going through proper channels.”

    As Abstract Utilitarians, Rationals speak mostly of what new problems intrigue them and what new solutions they envision, and always pragmatic, they act as efficiently as possible to achieve their objectives, ignoring arbitrary rules and conventions if need be.

    This group makes up 5-10% of the population, yet they are the vast majority of Libertarians.

    How does this work out in a typical political conversation.

    Libertarian: “We need to cut government by 50%”

    Now in their thought process they are thinking abstract and tangentially, they see millions of forks in the road. Paths leading to various solutions, ideas abound in their vision of this simple statement. All of the benefits of the various liberty oriented ideas are wrapped up in that statement.

    Guardian: “What!!? You want chaos in the streets and people dying?”

    Their thought process is concrete, they “hear” cut government and they immediately envision the removal of things they feel help (police, Fire, defense, etc.). No forks, no alternative paths or solutions, just an immediate thought to the worst case scenario.

    Unfortunately few rational will look into this stuff being that they think it isn’t scientific but more like astrology. It is ironic considering that for the most part “they do what gets results, what achieves their objectives as effectively or efficiently as possible.” Maybe more of them will realize that they are not being effective or getting results.

    This must be why I am an idealist.

    “As Abstract Cooperators, Idealists speak mostly of what they hope for and imagine might be possible for people, and they want to act in good conscience, always trying to reach their goals without compromising their personal code of ethics.”

  3. zapper

    The reason the LP is at 0.5% is because the LP never advertises. We never reach more than 1% in any POTUS election with any form of communication.

    With an imaginary campaign, the style of imaginary communication doesn’t matter.

  4. Eric Sundwall

    In his third run for NY Governor as an independent, Thomas Golisano spent 65 million dollars and got 14% of the vote.

    Advertising is not the problem.

    Zapper’s identity would do well to suffer some reality.

  5. Be Rational

    @7 According to your article:

    according to Nielsen Co.— The average American watches TV for four hours and 49 minutes a day overall.

    So, it appears that Americans are fat, lazy and still watching TV a good deal of the day.

    Baby boomers watch more. They also vote more and have more money to donate. They are the generation of drug supporting, free love, antiwar hippies and a very large, vital demographic to hit as they age and realize the government has left them totally screwed financially.

    TV is where the LP will reach nearly everyone in today’s world with careful programing selection and targeted media markets.

    The LP won’t hit anyone without TV. That’s why the LP is at 0.5%.

  6. Paulie

    Under 30 demographic needs to be reached. Get ’em before they get too comfortable with a brand/preference.

  7. Be Rational

    @12 The Under 30s watch TV nearly as much as everyone else. They are included in the 4 hour plus average TV per day group.

    @11 Look at the ME Senate race this year and you’ll see how people change if they actually hear about an alternative candidate.

  8. paulie

    They often watch TV thru internet, tivo, dvr, flip channels away from commercials etc; if they watch broadcast stations it is usually through cable or satellite.

    Older people that grew up before these technologies were common, especially those who got used to watching TV before remote control was standard and when broadcast stations were all that there was, are a lot more likely to see broadcast TV ads.

    Not that no one under 30 will, it’s just a lot less common. They are much more likely to get their news from the Daily Show if they watch TV at all.

  9. Mark Hilgenberg

    @ 13

    The median age is over 50, that means half are over 50 and half are 18-50, I bet the smallest percentage of that half are 18-30.

    She was a former governor, can’t compare.

  10. Be Rational

    @14 They are still nearly all watching TV – broadcast major network TV.

    AFTER we run TV where nearly everyone can be reached, we can fill in the niches.

    @15 “She” is a “he” and He was elected Governor as an Independent – twice – the same way he’s winning this year as Independent.

    Nearly everyone can change if given the opportunity and reached with a message – over 50% in ME.

    The LP just needs to advertise.

  11. Paulie

    People are 9 times less likely to change after age 30 and “independent” is a lot easier to switch to than LP, especially in New England where moderate independents get elected to higher offices much more often than in other parts of the country.

    As for nearly all watching broadcast major network TV – particularly in a way where the ads are not routed through cable or satellite and not flipped or fast forwarded through – I don’t know where you get that from. An average for the whole population tells you nothing about what particular segments of that population do.

  12. Mark Hilgenberg

    @17

    I am all for commercials, heck I wrote two Pollie award winning Libertarian commercials, so it is not like I am against them.

    I just don’t think they are cost effective.

    Money would be much better spent creating short, funny, viral ads which drive traffic to our websites and ads which can be targeted to specific demographic groups on cable.

    The broadcast TV crowd is not our niche any longer.

  13. Be Rational

    @18 Every segment still watches major network broadcast TV in varying amounts. It’s the only place where you can reach every segment. That’s why it’s the place to begin, after which you fill in to reach certain underrepresented niches.

    @19 There is a reason that internet and cable ads are so cheap – They don’t work very well. They are useful and more expensive (ie less efficient) ways to reach niches.

  14. JT

    Paulie: “People are 9 times less likely to change after age 30…”

    That’s an interesting stat. Do you know where you got it? I’d like to use it, but I don’t like using stats unless I have some idea of the organization that stated it.

  15. Paulie

    JT

    I’m not 100% sure, but I think it was probably from a branding survey/research project done for the LNC in the mid-2000s. I think it may have been by Jeremy Keil.

    I’ve tried to find my source again and haven’t been able to find it either, but I do remember reading that as a statistic based on research.

    @BR

    Your info on how many hours of TV people watch says nothing about which age groups watch how much, whether they watch cable or broadcast, whether broadcast stations they watch are delivered through cable or dish (as I have observed being very common now), whether people actually watch commercials or skip over them with Tivo/DVR and similar devices or flip channels when commercials come on, and so on.

    Prices are an indication of what some things are worth, but not a perfect one. Decisions about ad prices are made by generally older executives and based on TV viewing surveys that may understate the degree to which people change the channel or fast forward/skip past commercials.

    You’ve never addressed the point that many people watch broadcast TV stations through cable or dish systems where the cable system’s ads supersede the broadcast station’s ads. Or the point about Tivos and DVRs and so on. ]

    I’ll also add that I do know a market segment of under 30 viewers who watch TV frequently and even watch the commercials. Unfortunately they are pre-teen children, and with few exceptions (I was one) they don’t pay attention to news and politics.

    Oh, and they usually get their broadcast TV stations through cable (or increasingly through satellite, internet or mobile device) as well.

  16. Eric Blitz

    My guess is that broadcast TV commercials establish credibility better than other mediums. Sad as it is, if someone see’s someone on TV, their credibility as a viable candidate goes up for many people. That alone is insufficient, but I think it should be considered. One might not need to swamp the screens as much as other candidates, but having some presence with a strong message would seem to me to be pretty important.

  17. Paulie

    If someone gets their TV through cable, the commercials they see will be through the cable company even if they are watching a broadcast station. So far no one has addressed that point.

  18. Don Wills

    It’s not the lack of advertising keeping LP vote totals down. It’s the message – completely open borders and meth for sale at the 7-11 – that turns off the 99% who vote for someone other than the Libertarian.

    Independents don’t have that baggage. That’s why they have some electoral success, whereas the LP has essentially zero partisan election success. It was that way 20 years ago when I started following the LP, and it will be the same in 20 years if the LP still exists then.

  19. Steven R Linnabary

    Hmm, Don Wills …

    I have yet to hear ANY LP candidate take such inane comments.

    I have heard police state proponents make the claim that is what the LP stands for, but never any Libertarian candidate.

    Perhaps you could provide a link?

    PEACE

  20. Michael H. Wilson

    The big problem is that different people come along and want to change the message. At one time it was “Peace, Prosperity and Freedom”. Then and maybe now it is “Socially Tolerant & Fiscally Conservative”. Or it is “Minimum Government, Maximum Freedom”. Of course there have probably been half a dozen other changes in the years between and many think libertarians need to be responsible so that word has been added.

    Most of these changes have not been thought thru and do not adequately address the goal we are seeking. The worst one of all is the “socially tolerant & fiscally conservative”.

    Now on top of that the web site is out of date and some info is historically inaccurate and the platform also has problems. Then there is the lack of literature and what is available is not significant and maybe inaccurate.

    If we do not have well researched information for the candidates or the people working a weekend booth the LNC is in a position of not offering support to the people who need it the most, their customers, volunteers and those who donate. When that happens the house will collapse as has happened.

  21. Victor Lazlo

    We need both good marketing AND good advertising. We need a liberty message that resonates with the voters. And we need to advertise that message including broadcast TV. That someone with a bad message spent 60 million dollars and went nowhere proves nothing, as does someone with a great message who did no effective advertising.

  22. Don Wills

    @27 – link is lp.org

    “… individuals not be unreasonably constrained by government in the crossing of political boundaries.”

    “We favor the repeal of all laws creating “crimes” without victims, such as the use of drugs for medicinal or recreational purposes.”

    In practical terms, the first sentence means no limits on immigration, and the second sentence means meth and heroin for sale at the corner store.

    @26 – you’re kidding right? You’re saying that in libertarian world meth won’t be for sale because of the threat of lawsuits? What libertarian legal theory would said lawsuits be brought under? That’s the most ridiculously un-libertarian justification for why drugs-for-sale everywhere won’t be harmful that I’ve ever read.

  23. JT

    Wills: “Independents don’t have that baggage. That’s why they have some electoral success, whereas the LP has essentially zero partisan election success.”

    I don’t think Independents have had the kind of electoral success that you’re implying they have had. A guy like Joe Lieberman from Conn. was a Democrat in the Senate for many years, so he was very well-known to voters. A guy like Angus King in Maine was very well-known to voters. Ditto for socialist Bernie Sanders from Vermont.

    Overall, Independents have had greater success in partisan elections than Libertarians, but in the grand scheme of politics it has also been practically nothing.

    Another issue that doesn’t get mentioned much as far as Libertarian electoral impact is Wasted Vote Syndrome. If the U.S. had a representational system similar to European countries, I think Libertarians would already hold a significant number of seats in Congress. But the current winner-take-all system tends to result in two broad coalition parties that win virtually all partisan elections.

    The only way I can think of to address that problem (other than getting Republicans & Democrats to completely change the system, which I think is impossible) is to effectively position the LP as being fundamentally different than either major party, not merely different in details on particular issues. Trying to get voters to think of both parties as the command & control establishment party & the LP as the other alternative while targeting those people who are likely to find that alternative appealing is the way.

  24. zapper

    There are two things that have held the LP back in electing Libertarians to significant offices:

    1) Incompetent leadership.
    2) Lack of advertising (and outreach of all kinds as appropriate to the campaign level.)

    Libertarian principles have not stopped anyone from being elected.

    However, there have been a very large number of poor quality candidates running against well funded incumbents who should not be expected to win in any case.

    When you see an LP candidate who is uneducated, in a menial job with no professional experience and no experience in holding any electoral office, with a website full of spelling errors and bad grammar, making foolish sounding statements during poor quality debate performances and public appearances, then lots of yard signs and otherwise effective door to door efforts are not likely to prevail against an experienced, well-funded college educated intelligent incumbent, even though we may agree with and support the LP candidate on principle.

    Wills failed in Wyoming. However he can prove himself – he can take some of his party members and get them elected to the WY State House of Representatives or higher office. He won’t have any principles standing in his way and he has plainly stated that he doesn’t need advertising. The only reason for him to fail is his own ability. When he fails again, who will he blame?

  25. zapper

    @24 Broadcast stations are generally carried on cable with the same ads appearing on both. The broadcast station would have no reason to allow the cable company to carry its station if it had to give up its advertising revenues for doing so. The cable company needs to carry the standard broadcast stations as part of its package to help convince subscribers to sign up – they will get better reception on cable and be able to access the broadcast channels without switching on and off cable. However they do sell ads on many of the other minor channels.

  26. zapper

    @32 The electoral college system and the division of the US into states means that in the US there are no actual national elections. This gives a third party great leverage and many options in establishing itself as a significant political party to be taken seriously. This is an advantage in the system that the LP has failed to recognize and utilize.

  27. Andy

    “In practical terms, the first sentence means no limits on immigration, and the second sentence means meth and heroin for sale at the corner store.”

    True. However, it should be pointed out that in a real free market, immigration would be regulated by the free market, as in private property and voluntary association. So in a real free market, some borders would be very “open” while others would be very restricted, and others would fall somewhere in between the two extremes. If we had a real free market I think that the economy would be booming so much that nobody would be worried about losing their job or finding other work or business opportunities if they did, so there’d be no reason to fear an immigrant “taking” somebody’s job. There’d also be no welfare state and no Affirmative Action, and no government intervention in foreign affairs creating enemies abroad, thus increasing people’s fear of terrorist attacks from foreigners.

    It should also be pointed out that meth and other hard drugs are illegal right now, yet it doesn’t stop people from using them, if anything, having them illegal just makes the problem worse.

    I realize that not everyone is going to grasp these concepts, particularly if they are not presented with the full story from an actual Libertarian who is good at explaining these concepts, but a lot of these people aren’t going to vote Libertarian anyway. Most of these people are going to vote for Republicans or Democrats and most of them aren’t going to change.

    Libertarians should focus on reaching out to independent and non-voters. This is the biggest potential constituency for the Libertarian Party. Also, there needs to be a big outreach effort to young people, as in people who are under the age of 30, or even better, under the age of 25. Young people are less likely to be married to the Democrip or Rebloodlican parties (to borrow from Jesse Ventura) and tend to be more open to libertarian ideas.

    Let the Democrats and Republicans have all of the people who want to control others or to be controlled by others, and who are frightened by the concept of liberty.

    The Libertarian Party is but one strategy for obtaining a freer society. If somebody can achieve more success at moving society in that direction with a more moderate message, or through some other means, then I say the more power to them. I still think that the Libertarian Party has a lot of untapped potential, so I’m not giving up on it, but I’m also not naive enough to believe that it’s the only way.

  28. Michael H. Wilson

    # 30 it is probably in a file cabinet with a lot of other ideas that someone didn’t like.

  29. Michael H. Wilson

    # 33 zapper you are right on target; incompetent leadership and lack of advertising/ outreach.

    I am not suggesting that everyone in leadership was incompetent but too many were and are.

  30. Michael H. Wilson

    # 31 we did not have our first checkpoint on the southern border until 1917 and the northern border has always been pretty much open until 911. Hell there are some communities where the border runs through the community.

  31. Mike Kane

    Could someone please educate me on why advocating for completely open borders is a bad thing?

    Historically, closed borders have been used by tyrannical governments to keep people from leaving those countries.

  32. Mark Hilgenberg

    @ 28 Michael,

    The problem with all of our slogans and most of our message is we use abstract communication. Every one of our slogans is an abstract theory, they mean something different to the listener, especially the 70-80% of the population who communicate in concrete terms.

    In Utah we have recently changed our slogan from “Less Government, Lower Taxes, More Freedom” to “Ending Coercion, promoting free agency, self-reliance and peace.” (Free agency is a term used by the LDS, so most people here understand the meaning). Anecdotally we have seen a very positive change by using this slogan.

    One example is at the Pride Fest, last year people were very hostile to us, questioning why we were there, yelling, and accusing us of being homophobes and bigots. They assumed we were the tea party since our slogan was so similar.

    This year with our new slogan on a big banner we had a 180 difference; people were very accepting, welcoming and curious.

    Our only hope is to learn how to give very concrete benefits followed by solutions (features).

  33. Mark Hilgenberg

    @ Don 31

    “you’re kidding right? You’re saying that in libertarian world meth won’t be for sale because of the threat of lawsuits? What libertarian legal theory would said lawsuits be brought under? That’s the most ridiculously un-libertarian justification for why drugs-for-sale everywhere won’t be harmful that I’ve ever read.”

    It is the concept of harm and responsibility, if a company did not have the liability protections granted by the government, they would not be selling items which would harm their customers.

    It is the same legal theory used for why we don’t sell poison in soda. Drug dealers are unregulated; there is nothing to stop them from selling harmful products. Re-regulation drugs would put them under the law of harm and responsibility.

  34. paulie

    Zapper,

    Wills failed in Wyoming. However he can prove himself – he can take some of his party members and get them elected to the WY State House of Representatives or higher office. He won’t have any principles standing in his way and he has plainly stated that he doesn’t need advertising. The only reason for him to fail is his own ability. When he fails again, who will he blame?

    I don’t think he said that he doesn’t need advertising, in fact he has already done some advertising on radio. I don’t know about TV. He is saying that advertising won’t help the LP because there are too many people who aren’t libertarians, small or big L, even including the ones who have never heard the word, so even if we had saturation advertising where our party and candidates had 100% name and issue identification we would still lose. However, he believes that with his party’s more moderate platform that victory is possible, at least in some places such as Wyoming, and that in those places it makes sense to advertise such a party as his.

  35. paulie

    Broadcast stations are generally carried on cable with the same ads appearing on both. The broadcast station would have no reason to allow the cable company to carry its station if it had to give up its advertising revenues for doing so.

    Some of the ads are the same, but some are superseded. I’ve seen it done where it wasn’t done smoothly and you can tell where they are cutting the one ad from the cable system on top of another one from the broadcast station.

  36. JT

    Hilgenberg: “It is the concept of harm and responsibility, if a company did not have the liability protections granted by the government, they would not be selling items which would harm their customers.”

    That’s a bizarre statement, Mark.

    Companies produce and sell anything within the boundaries of the law if they can generate profit from doing so (they may be willing to take initial losses if they think future profits will exceed them). That’s basic economics. However, consumers wouldn’t be able to sue a businesses for whatever happens to them when they voluntarily buy & use a product, unless it’s proven that a company intentionally deceived them by stating that the product was something other than what it actually was.

  37. Mark Hilgenberg

    JT

    It is not good business to kill your customers. A company would have to disclose the product or face liability.

    Do you really think 7-11 would be selling Meth?

  38. JT

    Hilgenberg: “It is not good business to kill your customers. A company would have to disclose the product or face liability.”

    It’s not good business to kill your customers, but customers may kill themselves with certain things. A company wouldn’t be able to misrepresent to customers what’s in the product & what its effects are. Some people would buy it anyway, just as they buy cigarettes today knowing that they often cause cancer, or high-carb foods/drinks today, knowing that they often cause obesity & serious health problems. There may also be ways that companies come up with to make it somewhat less injurious.

    Freedom means you choose for you, I choose for me, everyone else chooses for themselves.

    Hilgenberg: “Do you really think 7-11 would be selling Meth?”

    I’m not sure whether convenience stores would; it’s possible. I think drugstores would sell whatever drugs they could profit from selling, unless some private effort convinced them not to.

  39. Mark Hilgenberg

    @ JT 49

    If we have truly FREE MARKETS, things would look a lot different than we imagine. Companies would no longer have the government limiting or deciding on risk, courts would.

    I would imagine if a company wanted to sell Meth, it would have very strict private licensing and limits on sales.

  40. JT

    Hilgenberg: “If we have truly FREE MARKETS, things would look a lot different than we imagine. Companies would no longer have the government limiting or deciding on risk, courts would.”

    What? The only people who’d decide on risk in a fully free society would be you for you, me for me, etc. Barring the kind of fraud that I mentioned before, there would be no legal way to pin the blame on a business for voluntarily buying & using its product.

    Hilgenberg: “I would imagine if a company wanted to sell Meth, it would have very strict private licensing and limits on sales.”

    No, there wouldn’t be any “licensing or limits on sales.” A company could try to get its product certified by some independent company, like UL for appliances, if company managers thought that was important in order to sell more units to customers. But there would be no mandates on private companies.

    I’ll add that there would probably be some stores that would refuse to sell certain drugs because of a moral stand, just like some hotels refuse to offer adult programming for purchase in rooms.

    Exercise your own freedom to decide for yourself (as long as your decisions don’t involve initiating physical force or fraud) & bear the good or bad consequences for your own decisions (unless relatives, friends, charities, churches, etc. voluntarily help you in the event of hardship). That’s how it would be in a theoretical libertarian society. Obviously, that’s not even close to where we are now.

  41. Mark Hilgenberg

    @ JT 51

    “there would be no legal way to pin the blame on a business for voluntarily buying & using its product.”

    Sure there would, it is called the justice system. If a person can prove to a jury of their peers; force, fraud or coercion, they would be liable.

    The only way that won’t happen is if the government dictates who and why a suit can be brought. Or if the government creates artificial entities which limit the risk and liability of individuals owning or controlling said entities. (AKA, NOT free markets)

    “No, there wouldn’t be any “licensing or limits on sales.” A company could try to get its product certified by some independent company, like UL for appliances, if company managers thought that was important in order to sell more units to customers. But there would be no mandates on private companies.”

    As I said “very strict private licensing and limits on sales.” I said nothing about government mandates.

    Individuals would want their liability risk reduced and private licensing (UL Labs is a good example) would blossom.

  42. Don Wills

    Let’s say in some fantasy libertarian world I decide to manufacture and sell meth at the corner store. The product is pure, clean meth and is labeled as such with a warning on the label “Dangerous product – do not ingest”. Exactly what are the grounds for a lawsuit???

  43. JT

    Me: “There would be no legal way to pin the blame on a business for voluntarily buying & using its product.”

    Hilgenberg: “Sure there would, it is called the justice system. If a person can prove to a jury of their peers; force, fraud or coercion, they would be liable.”

    I said *voluntarily* buying & using its product. Obviously, that excludes force & coercion. I also mentioned fraud multiple times. A company couldn’t be held liable & compelled to pay for a customer’s injury if that customer voluntarily bought & used a product unless that person could prove that the company lied about what it was or what it would or could do. That would be a gross injustice.

    Hilgenberg: “As I said “very strict private licensing and limits on sales.” I said nothing about government mandates.”

    If it’s not a government mandate, then there’s no way to have licensing or sales limits. Private companies/organizations can’t make other private companies/organizations get licenses or limit sales. Each does what it wants to do as long as its non-violent & non-fraudulent & customers choose which ones get the most market share.

    Hilgenberg: “Individuals would want their liability risk reduced and private licensing (UL Labs is a good example) would blossom.”

    UL Labs isn’t “licensing.” It’s voluntary certification. A license is permission to use, own, sell (e.g., driver’s license, liquor license, gun license). A certification is just a group sign of approval. Some customers insist on them & others don’t.

    I’m sure the AMA or some other group would give certifications to medical doctors, but individuals could choose to get medical treatment from people who weren’t certified (who may be less expensive or offer some other advantage) if they wished.

    The only things any justice system would be concerned with in a fully free society would be acts such as murder, manslaughter, rape, theft, abduction, assault, fraud, trespass, etc. I don’t think this is even controversial among almost all libertarians.

  44. Mark Hilgenberg

    @ Don 53

    It would be up to a jury to decide but a case could be made that you are fraudulently selling a product you claim is not for consumption but you know it is only for consumption and no other use is known.

    I highly doubt you would take a risk on a product that would have almost zero profit, especially since it could be manufactured by the user.

  45. JT

    Wills: “Let’s say in some fantasy libertarian world I decide to manufacture and sell meth at the corner store. The product is pure, clean meth and is labeled as such with a warning on the label “Dangerous product – do not ingest”. Exactly what are the grounds for a lawsuit???”

    Nothing.

    I should add that I think the idea that suddenly America would be full of meth-addicts is as ridiculous as the idea that America is full of alcoholics. A small minority of people are, the vast majority aren’t.

  46. JT

    Wills: “The product is pure, clean meth and is labeled as such with a warning on the label “Dangerous product – do not ingest”.”

    It wouldn’t say “do not ingest” though. Any label would probably say something like “high potential for addiction and may cause harm from dry mouth to serious cardiovascular damage .”

  47. George Phillies

    @56 You had better have a legitimate use for the product when you sell it, or the attorney response is “your sign proves you knew it was dangerous, and had no other purpose, therefore, the liability should be increased” and that is the way liability works.

  48. Mark Hilgenberg

    @ George 58

    Exactly!! this has been my point all along, only government can reduce your risk, without goverment protections liability will be very high.

    I wonder why so many people think Libertarians are promoting the idea of selling “refreshing arsenic” on the corner store; when I see Libertarians promoting the idea of selling things like “refreshing arsenic”. Uggg.

  49. Missing the point with drugs

    Meth only exists because of government restrictions on industrial manufactured speed, you know, the type housewives used to take in the 50s and 60s and they give to kids today for ADHD.

    Decriminalize speed and the meth epidemic will disappear within a year (as soon as the prices drop enough to be competitive). Nobody actually wants to put drain cleaner and battery acid in their body.

  50. JT

    George: “You had better have a legitimate use for the product when you sell it, or the attorney response is “your sign proves you knew it was dangerous, and had no other purpose, therefore, the liability should be increased” and that is the way liability works.”

    We’re talking about in a fully libertarian society, George, in case you missed it. In a fully libertarian society, you could offer anything for sale under any conditions–you just can’t say that the product is something other than what it is or does something other than what it does. If you do that, you’re legally liable for any harm that results. If you don’t, then you aren’t.

  51. Mark Hilgenberg

    @ JT,

    If I have too, you are a one true pather and they tire me, if I don’t present liberty using your approved words (licensing for example) you are all over that.

    “I said *voluntarily* buying & using its product. Obviously, that excludes force & coercion.”

    It is up to the courts to decide. If you are selling poison as a consumer product and you know it has no other legitimate use, you could be held liable.

    “Private companies/organizations can’t make other private companies/organizations get licenses or limit sales. Each does what it wants to do as long as its non-violent & non-fraudulent & customers choose which ones get the most market share.”

    I didn’t say the companies would be required. To cover my but I as a business owner would require my customers, in order to buy a high risk product, to present me with some form of license that the free market would create. If I don’t trust the company that licenses (certifies to use your approved word), I would not sell them the product.

    Point being, liberty does not mean immediate access to everything you want at all times.

    “The only things any justice system would be concerned with in a fully free society would be acts such as murder, manslaughter, rape, theft, abduction, assault, fraud, trespass, etc.”

    As George pointed out “fraud” is up to a jury, just because you don’t call it fraud, that doesn’t mean a jury won’t, unless you have the government give you protections.

    “ I don’t think this is even controversial among almost all libertarians.”

    I know and that is a big problem.

  52. JT

    Hilgenberg: “If I have [to]…”

    You don’t have to.

    Hilgenberg: “you are a one true pather and they tire me…”

    I don’t know what you mean by true-pather (though I assure that I think you’re tiresome also).

    Hilgenberg: “…if I don’t present liberty using your approved words (licensing for example) you are all over that.”

    Sorry, but that’s not “my approved word”–that’s what licensing IS. You were presenting it as something voluntary, like what UL does. It’s not what UL does at all.

    What started this exchange was you saying:

    “It is the concept of harm and responsibility, if a company did not have the liability protections granted by the government, they would not be selling items which would harm their customers.”

    I said that wasn’t true.

    In order for a lawsuit to be brought against an individual or company, the suit has to state that the individual or company did something THAT IS AGAINST THE LAW.
    But in a fully free society (which is what we were discussing) ***THERE WOULD BE NO LAWS AGAINST COMPANIES SELLING ITEMS THAT ARE HARMFUL TO CUSTOMERS UNLESS THE COMPANY DID SO FRAUDULENTLY***

    Therefore, yes, a drugstore would be free to sell meth, or heroin, or whatever other drug. A customer would be free to buy it at that price or not. If the customer buys it & uses it without having been deceived as to what it is or what it does, then there’s NO FRAUD & NO LEGAL BASIS FOR HOLDING THE COMPANY LIABLE FOR HARM INCURRED BY THE CUSTOMER.

    What’s so difficult to understand about that???

    Me: “ I don’t think this is even controversial among almost all libertarians.”

    Hilgenberg: “I know and that is a big problem.”

    Well, I guess you just understand what a fully free society means better than almost all libertarians do, Mark. That must be very frustrating for you. Too bad.

  53. Mark Hilgenberg

    “Therefore, yes, a drugstore would be free to sell meth, or heroin, or whatever other drug. A customer would be free to buy it at that price or not. If the customer buys it & uses it without having been deceived as to what it is or what it does, then there’s NO FRAUD & NO LEGAL BASIS FOR HOLDING THE COMPANY LIABLE FOR HARM INCURRED BY THE CUSTOMER.”

    Once again, unless you have LAWS defining fraud to the letter, LAWS protecting the sellers of said product, they could be held liable for harm.

    In a truly free society we would not have those laws, so the deciding factor regarding liability will be the drooling patient in court with a smooth lawyer pointing out every flaw in the sales persons pitch and product, the jury would decide who is liable.

    Most people will not want to take that chance and sell high risk products, hence why we won’t see Crackcicles at 7-11.

    “Well, I guess you just understand what a fully free society means better than almost all libertarians do, Mark. That must be very frustrating for you. Too bad.”

    Yes, I do, thanks! 🙂 It is frustrating, especially when most so-called libertarians are just promoting corporatism, it is very frustrating.

  54. Mark Hilgenberg

    @ George 66

    But when the conserva…uh I mean libertarians get in will will have tort reform to make sure those pesky juries won’t interfere with “free markets”.

  55. Don Wills

    I rest my case on the original points that I made.

    Libertarians are rightly perceived by voters as being in favor of allowing nasty drugs to be sold over the counter and letting an unlimited number of people immigrate into our country. That’s why voters don’t vote for Libertarians, not because of a lack of advertising!

  56. Mark Hilgenberg

    @ Don 68

    Just because some people who self identify as libertarians don’t understand how liberty would actually work out, is no reason to put down liberty.

    Only racist care about the our immigration stance, they are our target market anyway.

  57. Austin Battenberg

    So we need to educate voters on the merits of eliminating drug prohibition, rather then just saying, “We libertarians want to legalize all drugs!” While I think it is possible to convince someone that ending drug prohibition is possible, doing it in a 30 second sound bite for television is basically impossible. That’s why we need to convince people locally, instead of hoping that one guy can change the minds of millions. That being said, the way Gary Johnson is handling the issue is very good.

  58. Mark Hilgenberg

    @ Austin 70

    Yes, very true.

    Here is my typical response.

    Like you, I am tired of seeing Pushers in School yards, and innocent people being killed by gang shootings. Right now we have an UN-regulated Drug market controlled by Gangs.

    I would like to live in a society where Drugs are regulated by Doctors and Pharmacies, not Gangs and Criminals.

  59. Don Wills

    Advocating for legalization of just marijuana is light years away from legalization of all drugs, including prescriptions and the nasty illegal ones.

    Voters are smart enough to understand the distinction, and to know that the LP stands for legalization of *all* drugs, not just marijuana. The LP or whoever can do all the education in the world, or all the advertising in the world, but it’s not going to make voters any more interested in electing Libertarians.

    For those who immediately spout the “harm reduction not jail” spiel – I get it – I’m not advocating one way or the other based on principles or reason. I’m simply pointing out the reality of American voters and why they won’t vote for a Libertarian.

    @68 – your last sentence was somewhat unintelligible, but I assume you were trying to communicate that those who want to control the borders are racist. Good luck with electoral success with that position…

  60. Austin Battenberg

    The thing is, a lot of the harder drugs came about because of prohibition. Crack and meth may never have been created if cocaine wasn’t made illegal.

    I think once people realize that the sky won’t fall when marijuana is legalized, they might be a little more tolerable letting the harder drugs at least become a health issue rather than a criminal issue. People are always for the war on drugs until someone they know who is a loved one is locked up for possession.

    I think you underestimate voters though. Do you really think they will or won’t vote for someone on just ONE issue? I mean, I know that its true of some people, but certainly not the vast majority of people. I think it mostly comes down to a credibility issue. Can the LP win? No? Then why vote or support them? That is the mentality most voters have. In fact, most people I know don’t even know what a libertarian is, or they think its another word for liberal. (I know this because when I have told people that I am a libertarian, the confuse me as a liberal and ask if I support Obama)

    Not everyone is political, and those who are don’t necessarily pay attention to third party politics.

    As for me, I’m happy with just legalization of marijuana, but philosophically, I DO believe everything should be legal. But you sit me down in a room with one person, and after about 30 minutes, I can get them (usually) to come our way on that issue.

  61. langa

    This whole discussion about selling meth in convenience stores is a little silly, since it assumes a world in which the laws are libertarian, but the people are not.

    In order to have a libertarian society, the majority of people must understand and embrace libertarian principles. That includes the principle that if an individual knowingly chooses to engage in risky behavior, that individual is solely responsible for any negative consequences that result from such behavior. If this principle were widely accepted, it is highly unlikely that any jury would hold a convenience store liable for any harm that resulted from the products that it sold.

    Besides, professionally produced meth would probably be much less harmful than the stuff that rednecks cook up in the trailer park, just as modern liquor is less harmful than the moonshine and bathtub gin that was sold during Prohibition.

  62. Thomas L. Knapp

    The whole “meth at 7-11” debate is just silly.

    There are probably ten convenience stores within two miles of my house, and I guaran-damn-tee you that I could go to the parking lots of at least two or three of them and buy any drug I want, no questions asked, RIGHT NOW.

    That is not going to change.

    The only question is do we want people to buy their drugs in known quantities and of known purity from the nice man behind the counter who will call the police or file a small claims court complaint in the event of a dispute, or do we want them to buy their drugs from the thug in the parking lot who will put two 9mm slugs in their head and walk away to the next parking lot in the event of a dispute?

    Those who support the continued criminalization of drugs support the latter situation.

  63. JT

    Me: “THAT IS AGAINST THE LAW.”

    Phillies: “Wrong. That’s why we have a law of torts.”

    How does that contradict what I said? There has to be some basis in law.

  64. JT

    Hilgenberg: “Once again, unless you have LAWS defining fraud to the letter, LAWS protecting the sellers of said product, they could be held liable for harm.

    In a truly free society we would not have those laws…”

    In a free society there would certainly be criminal & civil laws, including laws properly defining fraud & responsibility for personal injury as well as proper punishments. There wouldn’t be very many of them.

    You’re saying that in a free society defendants could be held legally liable for things that don’t violate any existing law? That doesn’t sound like a very free society to me.

    Langa: “In order to have a libertarian society, the majority of people must understand and embrace libertarian principles. That includes the principle that if an individual knowingly chooses to engage in risky behavior, that individual is solely responsible for any negative consequences that result from such behavior.”

    Good point.

    Knapp: “Those who support the continued criminalization of drugs support the latter situation.”

    Indeed.

  65. Thomas L. Knapp

    JT @ 77/78,

    I think you and Phillies/Hilgenberg are talking past each other a little here.

    They seem to think you’re calling for very specific laws, absent which prosecution/suit would fail, e.g. “the Ramming bar of the Model X9000 shall be located no more than 1/8th of an inch from the Bragg Sprocket; else a tort complaint for loss of digits shall be justified.”

    Whereas Phillies is correct that tort law is much more general than that, applying to any situation in which damages are done, and intent or negligence can be proven to the satisfaction of a jury.

    Not worth getting wrapped around the axle over.

  66. JT

    Knapp: “Whereas Phillies is correct that tort law is much more general than that, applying to any situation in which damages are done, and intent or negligence can be proven to the satisfaction of a jury.”

    Intentional torts result from acts such as assault, battery, trespass, fraud, etc, all of which are properly prohibited by laws.

    Assumption of risk is a defense to any negligence claims. It precludes anyone from recovering for injuries from a transaction they entered with knowledge and acceptance of risk.

    The bottom line is that there has to be a basis in law that allows for punishment or restitution. Some businesses would make/sell meth or whatever drugs if it made economic sense to do so & without any legal blame. The notion that people wouldn’t be able to buy addictive & potentially dangerous drugs in stores even if it was completely legal makes no sense. The notion that legalizing such drugs would have a positive impact on crime, privacy & government spending does make sense.

    Knapp: “Not worth getting wrapped around the axle over.”

    I’m not enraged over it. I used the caps for emphasis earlier & not to indicate fury. A little annoyed & frustrated maybe. You’ve seemed that way over things I thought weren’t a big deal before.

  67. Don Wills

    “The notion that people wouldn’t be able to buy addictive & potentially dangerous drugs in stores even if it was completely legal makes no sense.”

    +1

  68. Be Rational

    @80 The answer is ultimately unpredictable, but the likelyhood is this:

    There would be plenty of satisfying and safe substances available for use. These being legal would be cheap and readily available. Crime would be reduced to a fraction of today’s levels due to the elimination of the “prohibition” effect. So, while it would be legal to produce and sell meth it is quite unlikely that there would be any significant demand, consumers would choose the better alternatives and producers would be unlikely to bother with an product that had so little demand as to be unpofitable or that had a rate of return far lower than that possible from producing alternatives that are better, safer and preferred by customers.

    Legalization brings about a win/win/win situation for all. There are no losers. The public is learning this and with the vast majority in the US now waking up to realize that legalization is the way to go, with that majority now willing to make itself known in the marijuana debate, this is now a winning position for the LP.

    We should lead with the Marijuana legalization position along with Johnson/Gray and not be afraid to point out the complete positive and lack of negative results from legalization across the board, including the fact that the LP program would bring about the elimination of the demand for and consumption of unsafe products such as meth, while the draconian, backwards policies of the Ds, Rs and their Willsian immitators would ensure that our children will always be at risk from the unsafe world that prohibition creates.

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