John Jay Myers Stepping Down from Libertarian National Committee

This is from John Jay Myers’ Facebook page:

Tonight I resigned from the Libertarian National Committee. I am sad to have to do it. Unfortunately I just have not had time to do the job I was elected to do well. Someone who has more free time should take over my position.

I am proud of running Wayne Allen Root off of the committee and right to where he belongs… I am proud of the facebook page being much more edgy, and grateful to Arvin Vohra for being instrumental in that.

I am proud that we are going to buy a building and name it after David Nolan the founder of the party who became a close friend of mine in the 2 years before his death.

Unfortunately those are basically my list of accomplishments, I wish I had time to do more. I still very much support the party and believe that it needs to exist. If just to give people someone to vote for… even if it’s just to say “no” to the two major parties that seem to be completely full of vermin. A libertarian vote, a vote against war, a vote against corruption, may help to get the other two major parties to straighten up their act… or at least you would hope.

272 thoughts on “John Jay Myers Stepping Down from Libertarian National Committee

  1. Nicholas Sarwark

    John Jay will be missed, not least for thoughts like this:

    Chuck, Arvin and Paulie have all painted a very compelling case as to why Chuck Moulton is the best person for the job.

    That ALONE is the right reason to vote for Chuck.

    However, during the course of talking to some of my fellow LNC members the term “We want to wait until Tuesday to see if WE have the votes”

    It struck me that I don’t have a “we”, and if I am not part of the “we” and there is a we that I am not part of…. then they must be working together to do things that I am not going to favor. This was my problem with the last LNC. It is time to stick a fork in that “we” and call it done.

    I know that Chuck is not part of a “we”.

    So I am confident in my vote for Chuck.

    John Jay.

  2. Chuck Moulton

    John Jay Myers has been a great voice for the libertarian wing of the Libertarian Party on the LNC. He will be missed.

    I hope Paulie gets elevated from alternate to representative.

  3. Wes Benedict

    I’d like to see John Jay Myers stay on the LNC, but do less activity so he can manage the workload. I voted for him to be a bold voice on the LNC–not to do the work that a staff is probably better suited to accomplish. (Plenty people from all factions disagree with my suggestion that a staff is better suited to accomplish most activities as opposed to LNC board members.) If John leaves, that’s a shame, but I understand. John has been an outspoken and controversial critic, as can bee seen by his statements above. Some might say he has been too critical of the Root faction, but I think the criticisms of Root have proven to be warranted and needed, with even some of Root’s strongest former supporters finally having urged Root not only off of the LNC, but also off the Root-friendly LNCC (Libertarian National Congressional Committee).

    A more cordial LNC would be nice, but a review of the LNC discussions from years ago as well as recently makes me think that’s unlikely. Additionally, I do not support cordiality at the expense of a minority faction feeling free to speak up.

  4. Zapper

    Thank you to Mr. John Jay Myers for your service. I wish you were staying.

    I agree that any opening on the LNC should go to Paulie.

  5. Paulie

    I hope Paulie gets elevated from alternate to representative.

    Not sure I can afford the travel costs. So far I have made every meeting, and am planning to go to the next one as well, but only one of them was while I was busy with work. Since my work is sporadic I have to take advantage of it while I can.

    As an alternate I can skip meetings if I need to, and most alternates have not been coming to most meetings, but as a full member if I miss two in a row I’m off.

    As things are going, it’s coming up on six months since I’ve had a real (paying) job, and the last month of travel, even though a lot of things were covered, still cost me about 2k, which leaves me with about that same amount to my name and still no job.

    Also, I incurred another unplanned expense towards the end of my trip which I haven’t paid yet which will be about 500-1,000 dollars.

    And I have a trip to the next LNC meeting which I already said I would make.

    I’m not so sure I even want to stay on as an alternate. I only signed up for it because JJM asked me for my help. And I haven’t been effective in advancing any of my ideas to become motions.

    Also, Johnson of Texas has now been blocked for Alternate, At Large and Secretary. I will feel at least somewhat bad if I block him for Region Rep also. I was chosen for Alternate because I’m not from Texas and the state chairs felt that it would be good not to have both the Rep and Alternate be from Texas. However Texas does have about 80% of the members in the region, although it’s only one of five states, so it may be best for the full rep to be from Texas.

    On the third hand Texas people have been telling me they want to keep Johnson focused on Texas rather than national. There’s also his vote for the Reeves faction on cred comm, although he told me that was because he was not familiar with the issue and only heard one side of the story since Wagner et alwould not lower themselves to make their case to the committee.

    Lots to think about, and even if I run it will be up to my state chairs to decide, assuming Johnson and/or others run. I would feel more comfortable running if those who would like me to do it would help pay for the costs. But so far I have received one donation only for a grand total of $50 (don’t get me wrong, it’s much appreciated) towards my travel costs.

    This puts me in a really awkward dilemma and JJM denied to my face he would do this when I was at his place a week ago. He didn’t even call me about this. I haven’t been online in a few days so I learned about it because someone else texted me, so I had to go find a computer I could get online at a UPS store for ten bucks an hour. Can’t say I’m happy about that.

    Given some things I don’t feel like writing about which have happened in the last week I am in much more of a mood than usual to say screw everything.

    I’m really not to sure I want t0 be a petitioner anymore either, so I may be full blown homeless soon rather than semi-homeless as I have been for the last decade. In which case I seriously doubt I will want to have anything to do with LNC.

    But maybe I’ll work it out, we’ll see.

  6. Andy

    Paulie said: “Not sure I can afford the travel costs. ”

    This is a big flaw that I see with the LNC. I don’t see any legitimate reason in this day and age of computers and video conferencing for every LNC meeting to have to be in person. Having to travel around the country to attend LNC meetings is a major financial burden, and the cost of travel plus the extra time commitment of having to travel makes it so a lot of people can’t afford to be on the LNC, or do not have time to be on the LNC. Even if they can afford to attend the meetings, a lot of people may not see shelling out thousands of dollars for travel and motel when the meeting could be held online at little to no costs to not be a productive use of their resources.

    Why should serving on the LNC be a rich man’s club, or a club for people with nothing better to do with their time than waste hours traveling and hanging around in expensive hotels when the meetings could be held via computers and video conferencing?

    There are lots of able people in the Libertarian Party who would be great on the LNC but who either can not afford to go to all of the meetings, or who do not have the time to go to all of the meetings, or who do not see spending thousands of dollars per year on motel and travel to go to meeting to be a productive use of their resources. Why should these people be excluded from the LNC by what I’d call an artificial barrier caused by travel and hotel when they could sit in the privacy of their own homes on their computers and take part in LNC meetings?

    It is rather astounding that in a political party that had an abundance of computer geeks that so many people are committed to the old fashioned way of having meetings.

  7. Andy

    Paulie said: “This puts me in a really awkward dilemma and JJM denied to my face he would do this when I was at his place a week ago.”

    I don’t know John Jay Myers outside of his posts on the internet, but maybe at the time that you talked to him he had not made the decision to resign.

  8. Jill Pyeatt

    Take your time figuring things out, Paulie. I wish I could help financially, but one of us is still out of work at our house. I hope something good happens soon to perk you up.

  9. NewFederalist

    Andy’s point about virtual meetings is certainly a good one. In this day of Skype and other online video teleconferencing media I have to agree that at least some LNC meetings could be conducted online.

  10. Steven Wilson

    It is almost as if Vegas never happened. All of the cleaning was just cosmetic.

    To say a building is anything with no people is just sad. This LNC had expectations, fair or unfair, and it has proven to be worse.

    I will always respect Myers, but I will also keep promoting the end of National. The reasons are obvious.

    A building. Congratulations.

  11. Jill Pyeatt

    Andy is right. There’s no way I could afford the time (or money), but otherwise I’d love to be on a committee or two.

  12. Jill Pyeatt

    Chuck Moulton announced on the LP Radicals FB page that Blau has won the secretary position. I’ll post something here when I can confirm it.

  13. Andy

    “Jill Pyeatt // Feb 20, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    Andy is right. There’s no way I could afford the time (or money), but otherwise I’d love to be on a committee or two.”

    This proves my point. I think that Jill would be a fine addition to the LNC, but she has not sought to be on the LNC due to the cost of attending the meetings, both financial and in time.

    If it were possible to take part in an LNC meeting via video conferencing then somebody like Jill could be on the LNC.

  14. paulie

    Jill, I can confirm that David Blau won the Secretary race. It’s publicly available to anyone on the LNC Business list in real time (unlike the Discuss reflector, which has a time lag).

    I did not mean any one person or couple in particular as far as travel costs. Although I appreciate the thought.

    I brought up the idea of virtual meetings and it was shot down. See reflector archives.

  15. paulie

    Myers on LNC Discuss:

    During the past 6 months I have been struggling to get all of my business affairs in order, I am proud to say that I have. However, in doing so I have completely neglected the business of this party. I have neglected my family and other key parts of my life.

    Even though things are now running smoothly I want someone to represent this region who is going to be very enthusiastic, and have the time to put into it.

    At least someone that wont vote twice accidentally on every motion.

    Arvin and I really kicked off the Facebook, but to be fair that’s about all I did, Arvin has been the main content manager on facebook for at least 5 months. He is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

    I know there are plenty of people on this list who will be glad to see me go. To them I say, sorry I ruffled your feathers. I hope we can all work towards liberty in the future.

    I am just about 100% sure that Gary Johnson of Texas will take my place. That is not for me or you to decide, but the chairs in our region.

    I will continue to fight for and with the Libertarian Party, which is why I must resign, I feel like I have not done the party justice since elected.

  16. Thomas L. Knapp

    Andy @ 10,

    “Why should serving on the LNC be a rich man’s club, or a club for people with nothing better to do with their time than waste hours traveling and hanging around in expensive hotels when the meetings could be held via computers and video conferencing?”

    Because keeping it that way is a cheap and easy filtering mechanism.

    I’m not saying that everyone who has the money and time to be on the LNC is affiliated with one particular clique, but there is one clique that has a record of maximizing its own representation and effectiveness in the LP by making it as expensive and time-consuming as possible to participate.

  17. Andy

    I’d be curious to find out what the average expense costs are to attend LNC meetings. I bet that it could easily be $1,000 per meeting, maybe more.

    If there are 4 LNC meetings per years, that’s $4,000 per year, probably more, just to sit around at a meeting and do nothing that could not be done via video conferencing.

    I am in favor of having in person conventions, because those are good opportunities for the party to get publicity, but regular LNC meetings produce little to no publicity.

  18. Andy

    Another problem with having all of the regular LNC meetings in person is that it makes it more difficult for people who do not live in or near major cities to attend.

    LNC meetings are always held in major cities which are near major airports, which makes sense, but what about all of the Libertarians who do not live in or near a major city? It is a lot more expensive to fly out of an airport that it not a major airport

    I was in Fargo, ND last year and I found out that it is pretty damn expensive to fly out of Fargo. Fargo is the largest city in North Dakota and it has a population of around 105,000 people in the city limits. This may be a major city by North Dakota standards, but it is not a major city by national standards. The closest major city is Minneapolis, Minnesota, but it’s like a 3 or 4 hour drive from Fargo. Any Libertarian Party member who lives in North Dakota is going to generally have a more difficult time attending LNC meetings as compared to Libertarian Party members in more populous areas, and the same goes for any Libertarian Party members that live in Montana, Idaho, and some other places as well, especially Alaska and Hawaii.

    If most of the meetings were conducted via video conferencing it would be a heck of a lot cheaper and less time consuming and a greater number of people would be able to participate.

  19. Thomas L. Knapp

    Andy @ 22,

    “I’d be curious to find out what the average expense costs are to attend LNC meetings. I bet that it could easily be $1,000 per meeting, maybe more.”

    That estimate probably isn’t terribly out of line.

    I just ran some web air fare checks on flights from major airports to DC (I chose DC because it seems like a lot of LNC meetings are held there). There was a range of $250-500 round trip. Call it an average of $300.

    Most people are going to stay at a hotel (if the meeting isn’t in DC, it will usually be at a fairly pricy hotel, and most people will stay there rather than having to run back and forth). $100-$150 a night isn’t at all implausible, and you’re probably going to want to arrive Friday night and not leave until Sunday.

    So we are up to $500-$600 — and that’s if you don’t check any bags, don’t eat any meals, don’t drink any booze, if you don’t rent a car or pay cab fare to get to and from the airport, etc.

    Realistically, $800-$1,000 is probably more like it unless you car pool in (and from not terribly far away, as expensive as gas is these days), share a room or crash on someone’s couch, and bring a cooler with cold cuts, bread and beverages so that you don’t have to pay restaurant prices for food.

    I did it for about $250 or so once, but that was 12 years ago — I rented a car at a discount, drove from St. Louis to Atlanta and back, slept in the car both nights, and ate the cheapest fast food I could find.

  20. Andy

    Thomas Knapp said: “I did it for about $250 or so once, but that was 12 years ago — I rented a car at a discount, drove from St. Louis to Atlanta and back, slept in the car both nights, and ate the cheapest fast food I could find.”

    Yes, that was $12 years ago when gas was cheaper than it is now. Also, most people are not going to be so willing to rough it by sleeping in their car the entire time. Another thing to consider is what if the meeting was held during a time of year where it was extremely cold, or extremely hot? It would not have been even more unpleasant to sleep in one’s car when it is extremely cold or extremely hot.

    Another factor to consider is how much time did it take to drive from Saint Louis, MO to Atlanta, GA? A lot of time would be spent on the drive alone, and time is money.

  21. Thomas L. Knapp

    Andy @ 25,

    Precisely. I was citing $250 as something that was only doable a long time ago and with some accompanying discomfort.

    It was a nine-hour drive each way.

    It wasn’t bitterly cold in Atlanta but I wouldn’t say it was pleasant (downtown Atlanta is actually kind of a scary place to spend the night sleeping in your car).

    I wouldn’t have wanted to do it all the time, and the expense of doing it any other way was one reason I decided to resign as alternate not long after that. I think most people would have easily spent $500-600 to do it in reasonable comfort even back then, and prices are higher now.

  22. Andy

    I’m never been on the LNC, but I have attended a few LNC meetings, some at National Conventions, but others were just regular meetings. I never went really far out of my way to attend though, as these meetings were either held in a place where I happened to be anyway for some other reason, or within a 2 or 3 hour drive of some place where I happened to be anyway for some other reason.

    I always went on the cheap, but even so I still noticed how freaking expensive it is. For instance, I attended the LNC meeting last November in Arlington, VA, and I had to pay what I thought was a pretty outrageous fee to park my car in the hotel parking garage.

    I’ve also noticed that the food prices at the hotels where they have these meetings are expensive. I only ate at the hotel once when I was at the Arlington meeting, as I ate the rest of my meals at restaurants I found on streets that were walking distance from the hotel. These places were more reasonably priced, however, it should be pointed out that since I’m not an LNC member I did not have to sit through the entire meeting, so if I had been a member I’d have been tied to eating at the hotel more often.

    Some people may say something like, “Well spending $4,000-$6,000 per year to attend meetings is nothing. If you can’t afford it then work on making more money and don’t complain.”

    My response to this is that if one can easily afford to spend $4,000-$6,000 per year to attend LNC meetings (and I would not be surprised if some actually spend more than this), that’s great for them, but not everyone is in a position where they can do this. Also, it is not just the cost to travel and hotel, and the extra cost for food, there is also the amount of time that it takes for the travel and the meetings. You are basically talking about shooting several days, possibly more if somebody drives or rides a bus or a train to and from the meeting. If a person has to miss work during the time spent going to the meeting, that is more money lost in opportunity costs, which could amount to several hundred or even a few thousand dollars in lost income.

    Then what if a person has children? What if their spouse has to work and can’t take care of the kids, or what if they are a single parent? What if a person has pets and they don’t have anyone that can watch them while they are gone? What if a person has an elderly parent they are caring for? A person in one of these cases may have to incur extra expenses hiring a babysitter, a pet sitter, or a home care nurse in order to be able to attend an LNC meeting.

  23. Andy

    “It would not have been even more unpleasant to sleep in one’s car when it is extremely cold or extremely hot.”

    Should read: “It would have been even more unpleasant…”

  24. Andy

    Thomas Knapp said: “It was a nine-hour drive each way.”

    So you basically lost two days on travel, a day to get there and another day to get back (assuming that you drove 9 hours in one day).

    What if instead of living in Saint Louis, MO and driving to Atlanta, GA, you lived in say Bismarck, North Dakota, or Elko, Nevada, or Caribu, Maine? What if you lived in Fairbanks, Alaska or Maui, Hawaii? Any of these places would have been a hell of a lot more in convenient to have made it to that LNC meeting.

  25. Wes Wagner

    In general the manner in which the LNC operates (which I believe is by design because Starr’s pawn in Oregon operated that way too…) is intended to ensure that no one who has a family + business/career of any substantial nature can afford the time to deal with the games, long meetings, backbiting and general BS that is used to keep it all nerfed,

  26. Thomas L. Knapp

    Last weekend, I attended the regular national meeting of a committee that includes representatives from several left-wing organizations, including more than one political party. Not entirely analogous to the LNC, but not entirely dissimilar, either.

    Total cost — three hours of my time and the electricity, etc. used for a phone call of that length via freeconferencecall.com.

    I could see the LNC wanting slightly more robust technology — video-conferencing and that sort of thing — but it wouldn’t be terribly hard to hold meetings that way. The executive committee already meets by teleconference when necessary.

    One objection I’ve heard to going with phone or video conferencing is that LNC meetings are often held at proposed future convention venues so that LNC members can evaluate those venues. Without entirely writing off the merits of that objection, I do have to suggest that evaluating convention venues could be entrusted to staff. There would be some expense to that … but it wouldn’t really be an EXTRA expense, since some staff also attend LNC meetings.

  27. Andy

    I just did a quick glance at http://www.lp.org and it looks like there are 17 regular LNC members (not including alternates).

    If they each spend an average of $1,000 attending LNC meetings, that’s about $17,000 on expenses per meeting (and this does not include the cost of the meeting room which is paid for out of the party’s general budget, nor does it include the cost of bringing LP national staff members to the meetings which is also paid for out of the general budget, nor does it include the costs incurred by any LNC alternates who may attend the meeting just to take part even though they don’t vote if the person for whom they are an alternate is in attendance). $17,000 multiplied by 4 meetings per year is $68,000.

    Now I realize that since the meeting locations jump around the country to different major cities, so sometimes meetings will be held in places where one or more LNC members live or live near, so LNC members will save money in these cases, but I suspect that the $1,000 average on expenses is actually a bit low if anything.

    So it looks to me like over $68,000 per year is being squandered so people can bullshit around at some meeting in an over-priced hotel when the meeting could be held at a tiny fraction of the cost by using modern technology (like video conferencing).

    If $68,000 plus is going to be spent, I’d rather see it spent on actual political outreach to build the party than have it go to airlines, hotels, etc…

  28. Andy

    Thomas L. Knapp said: “Total cost — three hours of my time and the electricity, etc. used for a phone call of that length via freeconferencecall.com.

    I could see the LNC wanting slightly more robust technology — video-conferencing and that sort of thing — but it wouldn’t be terribly hard to hold meetings that way. The executive committee already meets by teleconference when necessary.”

    Exactly. I’m definitely in favor of having in person national conventions, and LNC meetings do take places during those conventions, and I’m not even necessarily saying that they should eliminate all of the other in person meetings (although they really could just limit them to having the only in person meetings during the National Conventions), but it seems to me that they could cut the in person meetings down to once a year, and to the rest of them by teleconference or video conference.

    “One objection I’ve heard to going with phone or video conferencing is that LNC meetings are often held at proposed future convention venues so that LNC members can evaluate those venues. Without entirely writing off the merits of that objection, I do have to suggest that evaluating convention venues could be entrusted to staff. There would be some expense to that … but it wouldn’t really be an EXTRA expense, since some staff also attend LNC meetings.”

    Oh this really does not pass the sniff test for me (as in it smells like bullshit). If they really needed Libertarian Party members to check out venues for possible National Convention sites in person there are LP members all over the country who could do this. Hell, I do a lot of traveling. Give me a damn check list and I’ll go check out some of the places. I actually did check out the site of the 2012 National Convention in Las Vegas several months before the convention and I would have rejected it because it was too far from the airport and too far from everything else in Las Vegas. If it was really so damn important to check out the convention sites and they don’t trust just anyone to do it, it would be far cheaper to send one national party staff member in to check out the venues rather than having the entire LNC pay out of their own pockets to get to these places, and then have to pay for national office staffers to go there as well out of the party’s budget. There’s a lot of information about all of these potential convention sites that one can find out just by going online and checking out various web sites (including reviews). Yeah, this sounds like a BS reason to me.

  29. Thomas L. Knapp

    Andy @ 32,

    While I fully agree with you as to spending priorities, I’ll play devil’s advocate here and argue that it might not be quite such a straight-line financial calculation.

    It may be that having physical LNC meetings does at least partially pay for itself in additional fundraising, both from LNC members themselves (for example, I seem to recall Jim Lark committing to a five-figure donation once pursuant to a project decided on at an LNC meeting — would he have felt moved to make that donation in response to that project if it was just being discussed on the phone?) and from members who get to come to the meetings, hobnob with the party leadership, etc.

    Not saying that the figure you quote is eclipsed by such a phenomenon. I really don’t know. And it does seem like if LNC members want to spend that much money on party stuff, other uses than big hotel meetings every quarter might be more attractive to them.

  30. Andy

    “Any of these places would have been a hell of a lot more in convenient to have made it to that LNC meeting.”

    Should read: “inconvenient…”

  31. Thomas L. Knapp

    Another financial virtue of physical LNC meetings:

    I seem to recall that at least once in the past, you’ve gone to an LNC meeting to lean on them to get petitioners paid after undue delays.

    You shouldn’t have had to do that, of course, but being able to corner them in a public place was probably more effective than continuing to wait for answers to your phone calls. And other people might similarly have issues that they think need to be addressed in that way.

  32. Mark Vetanen

    Ever see the John Cleese video “Meetings bloody meetings” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWYnVt-umSA

    It is often played in management training in larger companies as a means to try and organize a meeting so nobody is stuck there all day long.

    Meetings that last all day, or all weekend, just tell me that those attending are not preparing for the meeting, that there is a lot of work sessions going on in the meetings that should have been delegated long ago to another committee to deal with, and the parameters of the meetings are not clear or even defined.

    Ask yourself, if the LNC Inc. was a publicly traded company, and knowing what you know about this group, would you invest in them?

    Would you short their stock to the bottom?

    Ask yourself if you would run your own company like how the LNC is run. Do you know of any non-profit or political organization that is like the LNC?

    In my view the LNC does not exist, it is not a tangible thing or has life of its own. What does exist are people, and we are the people that fights for our liberty and freedom. That is where we should put our efforts towards, People! Not non-existent mind-created ‘inland empires’ that only deceive and fool people.

  33. Andy

    “Thomas L. Knapp // Feb 20, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    Andy @ 32,

    While I fully agree with you as to spending priorities, I’ll play devil’s advocate here and argue that it might not be quite such a straight-line financial calculation.

    It may be that having physical LNC meetings does at least partially pay for itself in additional fundraising, both from LNC members themselves (for example, I seem to recall Jim Lark committing to a five-figure donation once pursuant to a project decided on at an LNC meeting — would he have felt moved to make that donation in response to that project if it was just being discussed on the phone?) and from members who get to come to the meetings, hobnob with the party leadership, etc.”

    If a person wants to hobnob with other LP members, they can go to their local or state party meetings, or attend LP National Conventions, or go to other libertarian events like Freedom Fest or the Porcupine Festival.

    I really fail to see why it is necessary to spend a bunch of time and money going to LNC meeings to get inspired.

    “Not saying that the figure you quote is eclipsed by such a phenomenon. I really don’t know. And it does seem like if LNC members want to spend that much money on party stuff, other uses than big hotel meetings every quarter might be more attractive to them.”

    If the meetings could be held via video conferencing, and if this is something that would save people a lot of time and money, and if it would allow more people to be able to run for positions on the LNC, then I’m in favor of it, and I think that it would be a good thing in the long run.

  34. Andy

    “Thomas L. Knapp // Feb 20, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    Another financial virtue of physical LNC meetings:

    I seem to recall that at least once in the past, you’ve gone to an LNC meeting to lean on them to get petitioners paid after undue delays.

    You shouldn’t have had to do that, of course, but being able to corner them in a public place was probably more effective than continuing to wait for answers to your phone calls. And other people might similarly have issues that they think need to be addressed in that way.”

    Yes, this happened on two occasions, Pittsburgh, PA in 2007 and Arlington, VA in 2012, but couldn’t the same thing had been done if regular party members were able to video conference in as well? Also, isn’t it a rather sad commentary that this even needed to be done in the first place? Perhaps if they party didn’t spend so much money on things like meetings there’d be more money available to pay for things like ballot access (which like it or not, is a necessary function, and at least with ballot access some political outreach takes place, and it actually puts candidates on the ballot which is the primary function of the party).

  35. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    Andy: “So it looks to me like over $68,000 per year is being squandered so people can bullshit around at some meeting in an over-priced hotel…

    Well, sure.

    The LP has always, to a large extent, been a hobby for its participants. Virtual politics, like a video or roll-playing game.

    You travel to cool convention sites. Get to play in a replica of a real political convention hall — looks just like those halls on TV where real political parties hold conventions! You form alliances, re-write the platform, elect pretend candidates. Meet old friends. Stuff your face in the hospitality suites. Fill up up booze.

    Some people play fantasy football. Some people play fantasy politics.

    Lot’s ‘o fun!

  36. Steven R Linnabary

    I’m going to miss having JJM on the LNC. But I don’t blame him for leaving.

    Most folks don’t realize the amount of time that goes into LNC. It is easily several hours a day just reading emails.

    And if you have a family or business, something has to give. And trust me that Real Life has a way of helping you decide what needs to give.

    I really doubt that expense is much of an issue for most folks, unless you keep your income low enough the taxman doesn’t notice you.

    PEACE

  37. Andy

    Steven R. Linnabary: “I really doubt that expense is much of an issue for most folks, unless you keep your income low enough the taxman doesn’t notice you.”

    I disagree with you here. Let’s say a person makes $60,000 per year. That’s not rich, but it is a decent living and is above average.

    If they spend an average of $4,000 per year attending LNC meetings (and I suspect this cost to be lower than average if anything), that is almost 7% of their yearling income going to attending meeting, almost all of which could be held for a tiny fraction of the cost via video conferencing.

    Then there is the time factor that it takes to travel to the meetings, participate in the meetings, and then travel back from the meetings. Depending on what type of work they do to earn a living, this could take them away from working for several days, and depending on how much money they earn and the nature of the work they do, this could mean several hundred or even several thousand dollars in lost income due to opportunity costs.

    Different people have different living expenses and spending habits, but maybe this hypothetical person does not like the idea of spending around 7% of their earnings to attend meeting which could be held over video conferencing. Maybe this person does some kind of work where the nature of the work is that being gone during peak times could potentially cost this person several thousand dollars in opportunity costs.

    Maybe this person already donates a lot of their time and/or money to the Libertarian Party in other ways, and can not justify to themselves as to why they should have to pay thousands of dollars to attend meeting which could be held over video conferencing, and maybe they can not justify missing work days, which if they happen during peak times would cost them thousands more in lost income.

    I already brought up other ways that having all of these meetings in person in different parts of the country can cause problems for people, so I’m not going to rehash them.

    I don’t think that anyone could label a person who earns $60,000 per year as a bum. Again, it is not rich, but it’s considered to be decent money.

    This person could be a great Libertarian activist who’d be great on the LNC, but because the LNC has not caught up with modern technology they are basically priced out of seeking to be on the LNC.

    So yes, the money involved is most definitely a reason for some people to not even run for a position on the LNC.

  38. Andy

    Root’s Teeth Are Awesome: “You travel to cool convention sites. Get to play in a replica of a real political convention hall — looks just like those halls on TV where real political parties hold conventions! You form alliances, re-write the platform, elect pretend candidates. Meet old friends. Stuff your face in the hospitality suites. Fill up up booze.”

    I’m in favor of in person conventions. They are good for generating publicity for the party, and it is good to have a social gathering sometimes as well.

  39. Kevin Knedler

    Yes is it expensive. One should know what they are getting into. During one term, you should expect to travel to two national conventions, and approx six other LNC meetings.
    I used airline points and hotel points to cover some of it, plus one event was in Columbus, Ohio and I still spent $8,353 in travel, lodging, and registration. That doesn’t county the food. So that is just North of $4,000 in a year, if you count the two national conventions.
    Without national conventions, the LNC meetings cost me $3,609 over the term, or $1,805 each year. That is still a chunk of change. It would have been $500 a year more, if I had not had the airline and hotel points accrued from real job.
    And many people also support their state or local parties with time, talent, and money.
    This is the reality of the situation.
    Oh how I wish the LP would get into the 21st century.

  40. Andy

    “that is almost 7% of their yearling income going to attending meeting”

    Should read: “that is almost 7% of their yearly income going to attending meetings…”

  41. Andy

    Kevin Knedler said: “Yes is it expensive….. Oh how I wish the LP would get into the 21st century.”

    It looks like somebody who has actually served on the LNC agrees with me about shifting most of the meetings to video conferencing (or something similar) because they know what it is like to sacrifice all of the time and money that it takes to attend all of those meetings around the country in person.

  42. Eric Sundwall

    As an Alternate from 2006-2008 I traveled to three meetings (Alexandria, Pittsburgh & Vegas).

    By the end of the session I was only traveling to make some contacts and do some networking, I didn’t even attend the meeting in Vegas.

    For me it was the time over the actual money outlay. The issues, ideas and actions were all pretty much decided before the meeting on the email list or at the bar the night before.

    My time at home was far more productive and necessary than any determination by the body. I advocated a hybrid solution at the time, half video conferencing, the other half real meetings.

    There was never any convention in Pittsburgh in the end and that Hilton was under renovation plans. I did get to stop and interview Kent McManigal in some random park in the middle of Pennsylvania. After a radio interview, Bob Barr claimed he didn’t recall his vote on the Iraq war . . . I wish that I had piped up about that during that cycle.

  43. Eric Sundwall

    I would submit for the at-large position that Mr. Meyers has suddenly vacated, but I would rather be subject to a convention body than any LNC configuration asking me for a resume and a hackneyed personal dream . . .

  44. Seebeck

    @47 et al.:

    Agreed, but it’s also easy to cut costs if the LNC got smart about it.

    For example, when they met in Austin in 2008, I went. $250 airfare on JetBlue, direct. $50 for the car rental because the LNC doesn’t understand to book meetings at hotels with airport shuttles or near airports. Rather than stay at the Radisson, I stayed at the Super 8 down the block. Here’s the breakdown:

    Radisson: $98/night, $15 Internet, free continental breakfast
    Super 8: $50/night, FREE Internet, free HOT breakfast

    I got the better deal by far.

    At St. Louis I stayed 2 blocks away at the Holiday Inn for $110 less per night, used the light rail to/from the airport so no rental car, and unlike the rather small rooms I saw at the Renaissance, my Holiday Inn room was big enough for TWO king beds–you needed a GPS to find the bathroom.

    But as Andy said, there is no reason to go to videoconferencing. The technology exists, as simple as a conferencing service for phone and NetMeeting or similar for files,plus Dropbox for file sharing. As for Roberts Rules, simply suspend them and go to a round-robin format for inputs on items before votes–I’ve done that running state LP meetings in person and everyone appreciated being given their stake and say in it. Informal discussion, aka Committee of the Whole, simply works.

  45. Seebeck

    “there is no reason to go to videoconferencing”

    *there is no reason to NOT go to videoconferencing”

    damn typo!

  46. Andy

    “Seebeck // Feb 22, 2013 at 8:40 am

    ‘there is no reason to go to videoconferencing’

    ‘there is no reason to NOT go to videoconferencing’

    damn typo!”

    Can anyone come up with any rational reasons as to why the majority of LNC meetings should not go to video conferencing (or something similar)?

  47. Andy

    How much does the LNC spend per year on average to rent the meeting rooms at hotels where LNC meetings are held?

    What are the travel and lodging expenses for LNC staff members to attend LNC meetings (I think they usually have two or three LNC staff members at each meeting)?

  48. Thomas L. Knapp

    Andy @52,

    “Can anyone come up with any rational reasons as to why the majority of LNC meetings should not go to video conferencing (or something similar)?”

    Well, what is or is not rational depends upon what purpose one hopes to achieve.

    Your purpose, as I understand it, is to enlarge the pool of party members who would be able/inclined to serve on the LNC by making it less expensive for them to do so. And that, in turn, seems to be rooted in your view of the LNC’s purpose as being to prudently and frugally administer the affairs of the Libertarian Party.

    But there are people who have other views of the LNC’s purpose, and for the purposes they think the LNC has or should have, it may be entirely rational for the LNC to hold physical meetings at luxury hotels around the US.

    Some of those purposes might be sinister (e.g. protecting the power and influence of a particular clique), others may not (e.g. attracting donations from people who like physical meetings at luxury hotels).

    In an early comment, you hold that it’s irrational to condition one’s donations on such frippery, and I suppose you may be right.

    But whether it’s irrational or not, it’s a fact of reality that some people write checks at black tie fundraisers and $500 a plate banquets and luxury hotel meetings, and won’t write those checks in response to an email drive. THEY may be irrational, but it’s not irrational to cater to their irrationality if you want their money.

  49. Andy

    Thomas L. Knapp said: “Your purpose, as I understand it, is to enlarge the pool of party members who would be able/inclined to serve on the LNC by making it less expensive for them to do so. And that, in turn, seems to be rooted in your view of the LNC’s purpose as being to prudently and frugally administer the affairs of the Libertarian Party.”

    Yes. Another reason is to save the party money which is currently spent on meeting rooms and on bringing staff members to meetings. This cost is thousands of dollars every year.

    “others may not (e.g. attracting donations from people who like physical meetings at luxury hotels).

    In an early comment, you hold that it’s irrational to condition one’s donations on such frippery, and I suppose you may be right.

    But whether it’s irrational or not, it’s a fact of reality that some people write checks at black tie fundraisers and $500 a plate banquets and luxury hotel meetings, and won’t write those checks in response to an email drive. THEY may be irrational, but it’s not irrational to cater to their irrationality if you want their money.”

    I don’t think that money is typically raised at LNC meetings. I’ve attended several of them, and the only one that I saw any money get raised at was at the Pittsburgh meeting in 2007, and that was only raised because myself and some other petitioners attended that meeting and we had been owed money from a petition drive several months prior to this for which we had not been paid and this was to pay us.

    I don’t think that the function of LNC meetings is to raise money. This is something that is more appropriate for a national or state convention, which I am in favor of having in person at a hotel or some other venue.

    I really have not seen any evidence that LNC meetings raise money, and even if any money is raised at an LNC meeting, I doubt that it would be anywhere near enough to cover the all of the costs incurred by having the meetings.

  50. Starchild

    While I have strong hopes that his region will indeed pick Gary E. Johnson of Texas or someone else with similarly sound instincts to replace him, I will greatly miss John Jay Myer’s presence on the Libertarian National Committee. He’s been one of a handful of folks on the committee who I think have been right in their stances and voting most of the time, which makes him among the best LNC reps this term in my book.

    John Jay more than any of us spoke out about Wayne Allyn Root’s conservative-oriented representation of the party and made it clear that this was NOT acceptable from a Libertarian Party leader, which I do think played a role in W.A.R.’s eventual departure, although I grant it is possible W.A.R. intended to leave before November last year anyway so that he could give Mitt Romney a full, unqualified endorsement.

    I don’t fault John Jay for not getting more done. It’s not like it was really up to him. Such is the nature of being in the minority on most issues in a legislative body. I doubt I’ve gotten any more done than he has; probably less. Of course my appreciation for David Nolan notwithstanding, I can’t share his satisfaction in the LNC’s decision to purchase a headquarters building and name it after him. I think what would have mattered to David, and what will matter to those of us alive now and who will be alive in the future, is not being honored with such a commemorative naming, but being honored by the party he co-founded continuing to strongly champion the radical libertarian ideals he believed in.

    I’m not convinced that we were looking at the right questions when making the building decision, and I like even less the move to put the final purchase decision in the hands of a small group of insiders (the Executive Committee), not even the full LNC let alone allowing ordinary LP members to weigh in on this important decision. Mark Hinkle, the most forceful advocate of buying a building and sponsor of the motion that took the matter out of the hands of the full body, polled the membership at the time he was chair last term about whether all candidates for the LP’s presidential nomination should be listed on the party’s website (a plurality of members responding agreed with him that they should). Yet unless I am greatly mistaken, Mark has no desire whatsoever to poll party members on this arguably much more consequential decision, and would oppose such a poll being conducted.

    In any case, although John Jay was in the majority in the vote to buy a building, he makes reference to some on the committee being glad to see him go, and that’s no doubt true. I don’t know to what extent if any frustration with other LNC members has contributed to his decision to step down, but I can understand if it did. Despite W.A.R.’s departure, the LNC remains significantly populated by folks who I believe share many of the priorities he supported for the party, including some who outspokenly defended his actions when he was a committee member, and others who remained silent. And the committee just came within a few votes of electing Root/Rutherford ally Alicia Mattson as secretary again.

    I would be delighted if John Jay would reconsider, as he notes doing on a recent vote. If he sticks to his intention to resign, the absence of his dedication to libertarianism and plainspoken willingness to call it as he sees it will be the LNC’s loss. I’m glad that he remains committed to the Libertarian Party and the struggle for freedom.

  51. Starchild

    On the topic of holding LNC meetings by teleconference that appears to be dominating the comment section of this thread, I agree as a sitting LNC member that this would be a better way to go — especially since I’ve so far been unsuccessful at getting the body to reduce the amount of party members’ money that is spent on these in-person meetings. According to LP operations director Robert Kraus told me last summer, that averages about $2500 per meeting.

    As an institutional good-governance matter I’m more concerned about this than about the out-of-pocket costs to those serving on the LNC, but I agree that is a concern as well. Primarily because I’m sure it does preclude some good folks from being able to serve on the committee, and we should not tolerate a situation where there is an effective financial litmus test in order to be part of the Libertarian Party’s governing body.

    Paulie @8 is one of those who has plainly said that costs and affordability are an obstacle to his seeking to upgrade his position as regional alternate to seeking a seat as a full representative, and like John Jay he is one of the best members we have. Paulie, I hope you hang in there, and if you need support to continue, you can count on me for at least a few bucks although I’m feeling the cost burden myself.

    Like Andy @33, I favor having in-person conventions, but would support a move to hold the LNC meetings by videoconference. He and Tom Knapp and everybody else who’s weighed in here are right — it just makes sense. Perhaps as a trade-off we could have conventions once a year instead of once every two years, which would give the LNC a bit more opportunity for face time as well as allow for more frequent replacement of its members, which I think would be a good thing.

    Love & Liberty,
    ((( starchild )))
    At-Large Representative, Libertarian National Committee

  52. Andy

    Starchild said: “According to LP operations director Robert Kraus told me last summer, that averages about $2500 per meeting.”

    This figure does not include the cost of bringing LNC staff members to meetings, nor does it include the cost for printing materials used in the meetings (all of the printed material could be scanned into PDF files if meetings were held via video conference).

    If the meeting rooms cost $2,500 to rent (I suspect that this figure is on the low side), and if there are 4 meetings per year, this would mean that around $10,000 is spent per year on meeting rooms.

  53. Thomas L. Knapp

    Starchild @ 56,

    “I like even less the move to put the final purchase decision in the hands of a small group of insiders (the Executive Committee)”

    If that purchase decision involves a significant mortgage, it can’t be put into the hands of the executive committee. The bylaws require a 2/3 majority of the whole LNC to borrow more than $2,000.

  54. Starchild

    Tom @59 – I presume the majority’s argument is that the vote to authorize the building purchase and put the final decision of which building to select in the hands of the Executive Committee constituted agreement by the LNC to borrowing over $2500 for the mortgage. Although I disagree with the decision, I have to admit it seems like a valid position legally speaking.

  55. Starchild

    Andy @58 – My understanding is that the $2500 average cost per LNC meeting DOES include the costs of staff attending these meetings. If it does not, then the LNC’s current meeting practices are even more outrageous than I thought.

    I believe the hotels we meet at typically give us discounts on their usual rates for meeting room rentals in consideration of us being potential convention customers. Not that this makes their meeting rooms a good deal by any means when there are still lots of other places where we could meet for much less or nothing, but if you’re basing your comment on your understanding of what hotel meeting rooms normally cost to rent, that could be a factor in the cost of the room itself being in the hundreds, not the thousands, of dollars. But I don’t know for sure.

    If you or anyone else feels like calling LPHQ and asking for clarification, the number is (202) 333-0008.

  56. Andy

    Eric Sundwall said: “For me it was the time over the actual money outlay. The issues, ideas and actions were all pretty much decided before the meeting on the email list or at the bar the night before.”

    If it was all pretty much decided before the meeting started, then what in the hell was the point of having the meeting? Wouldn’t it have been a hell of a lot easier, cheaper, and less time consuming for everyone to have stayed home and voted over email than having everyone travel across the country to meet at an expensive hotel?

    “My time at home was far more productive and necessary than any determination by the body.”

    I suspect that most people have more productive uses of their time than traveling across the country to a meeting which could just as easily be conducted over the internet.

    “I advocated a hybrid solution at the time, half video conferencing, the other half real meetings.”

    So it looks like another former LNC member agrees with me. I’m glad to see that others see the folly in traveling across the country to conduct meetings in expensive hotels which could just as easily happen over the internet.

  57. Starchild

    Eric @49 – John Jay Myers was a regional LNC representative, not an at-large representative, so his region (Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama) will presumably be selecting a replacement by whatever method they collectively agreed upon when forming their region (usually the decision seems to be delegated to the state chairs).

  58. Andy

    “Starchild // Feb 22, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Andy @58 – My understanding is that the $2500 average cost per LNC meeting DOES include the costs of staff attending these meetings. If it does not, then the LNC’s current meeting practices are even more outrageous than I thought. ”

    Starchild, I seriously doubt that that is accurate. The flight costs alone for the staff members could easily exceed $1,000. Then there is their hotel rooms. I think that the LNC actually pays for the meals of the staff as well.

    I know that those hotel meeting rooms are not cheap. The party may get a discount on the meeting rooms if they rent a certain number of hotel rooms, but still, the meeting rooms alone could easily cost $2,500 to rent.

    I find it hard to believe that the $2,500 figure includes the cost of bringing staff members to the meetings.

  59. Andy

    I generally enjoy traveling. I think it’s cool to visit new places and meet new people, and I even think it’s cool to visit places I’ve been to before and see people that I already know.

    Having said this, the fact that I generally enjoy traveling (I say generally, because it can have its drawbacks as well, especially if you travel a lot) does not mean that I advocate inefficiency, because I do not. If it is more efficient to have most LNC meetings over video conferencing then I’d be in favor of it.

    Most of the comments that have been posted on this thread so far seem to agree with me.

    If I was some kind of independently wealthy playboy I’d like to run for the LNC, and if elected it would be great to travel to meetings. Heck, I’d probably make vacations out of them where I’d spend some extra time in each city before and after each meeting to check out the sights. I’d eat all of my meals at the expensive hotel restaurants and think nothing of it.

    The fact of the matter is that I’m not an independently wealthy playboy. Could I afford to go to all of the LNC meetings? Yes, I could do it, but I can’t say that it wouldn’t be a strain, and frankly, I think that I’ve got more productive uses for my resources.

    If I was going to shell out an additional $4,000 plus for Libertarian Party activism per year, I’d rather spend it on something other than going to meetings, as in I’d rather see my $4,000 plus spent on outreach activities. Sitting around at an expensive hotel debating and voting on things that could be debated or voted on over the internet or telephone just does not strike me as being a very productive use of resources.

    I’m also considered about the time and money of other people, so even if I was an independently wealthy playboy that could easily afford the time and money it takes to go to LNC meetings, I would still recognize that not everyone can afford this luxury in time and money. I want to increase participation in the Libertarian Party. I’d like for more people to be able to attend the conventions. I’d like for the Libertarian Party to have ballot access in all 50 states plus DC in every election, so that more Libertarians can run for office, and so more people can vote for Libertarian Party candidates. I’d like for more people to be able to run for positions in the Libertarian Party’s internal governing bodies like the LNC. I think that anyone who believes in libertarian principles and who wants to take party in the “animating contest for liberty” should be able to participate. So even if I were an independently wealthy playboy I’d still keep in mind that not everyone has the money and/or time to do what I could do, and I’d make decisions accordingly as to accommodate the participation of more people.

  60. Andy

    “I’m also considered about the time and money of other people,”

    Should read: “I’m also concerned about the time and money of other people…”

  61. Andy

    “Starchild // Feb 22, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Andy @64 – You may be right, I don’t know. If you can get some hard numbers from staff, that would be much appreciated.”

    Perhaps this information could be obtained by combing through the FEC reports which are posted at http://www.FEC.gov . Maybe I’ll do this if I have time.

  62. Andy

    So far, it looks like my idea for eliminating most in person LNC meetings and holding them via video conferencing has the support of the following current LNC members:

    Paul

    Starchild

    as well as the support of former LNC members:

    Kevin Knedler

    Eric Sundwall

    Thomas Knapp (He’s no longer a Libertarian Party member, but his input still has validity here since he briefly served on the LNC and has experience dealing with the cost in time and money of attending the meetings, or at least one meeting.)

    I’d like to see more people weigh in on this issue, especially past and present LNC members, as well as any members of the Libertarian Party.

    If a lot of people agree with me that if it is possible to hold the meetings over video conferencing or something similar, that the LNC should convert most of their meetings to being held in this manner to save money and time, and I think that this should be voted on at the next LNC meeting.

  63. Mike Kane

    There’s no need for in person meetings. The LNC could easily hold 1 annual meeting, and do the rest via Skype or Google Hangout.

    I hope JJM will come back around to the LNC. I appreciated his radical voice and vote

  64. Andy

    “Mike Kane // Feb 22, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    There’s no need for in person meetings. The LNC could easily hold 1 annual meeting, and do the rest via Skype or Google Hangout.”

    Then why aren’t they doing this?

  65. Stewart Flood

    Obviously the cost depend on where you live in the country, and where the meetings are held.

    In six years on the LNC (1.5 as alternate, the rest as rep) I attended every LNC meeting.

    I put over 45,000 miles on the car driving to meetings and state conventions and spent somewhere around $25-30k in gas, hotel expenses, and flights for meetings I couldn’t drive to. I think the average cost per meeting was probably around $750, but there were close to a dozen trips a year (including LSLA meetings that I forgot to mention above)

    I’m not sure if Mr Knedler’s costs included state conventions he attended while an LNC member that he wouldn’t have attended otherwise. My guess is that he spent more than he thinks he did.

    Is it a rich man’s hobby? No. It is a job you’re elected to, knowing in advance that you’re going to spend money doing the job — and not get paid. I remember being told before I was elected that I should expect to spend $3-5k per year doing the job. That estimate back in 2006 was pretty darn close.

    The convention delegates, who approve changes to the ByLaws, are the people who make the LNC hold in-person meetings. Could they do business by teleconference? Sure. But the ByLaws prohibit electronic meetings of more than nine members of a committee. Real smart, eh?

    …unless you consider that in-person meetings actually accomplish more than the same amount of time on the phone. How do you control discussion in a teleconference with 17-25 people on it?

    The meetings could certainly be more productive if some members actually did their homework before they attended. This includes actually reading the reports they get from staff, carefully preparing for issues that will be debated, and not wasting everyone’s time reading queue cards from the bleachers that their “handlers” give them.

    And the members who attend, but schedule flights for mid-day Sunday instead of after 5pm? They waste the time and resources of those who thought a two day meeting meant a two day meeting.

    I certainly appreciate Paulie’s concern. It is expensive. He has managed to attend every meeting so far, which I commend him for doing considering the transient nature of his profession.

  66. Andy

    “Stewart Flood // Feb 22, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    Obviously the cost depend on where you live in the country, and where the meetings are held.”

    Yes, and people who do not live in or near a major city tend to get the more expensive and time consuming end of the deal, and even more so if they live in Alaska or Hawaii.

    “In six years on the LNC (1.5 as alternate, the rest as rep) I attended every LNC meeting.

    I put over 45,000 miles on the car driving to meetings and state conventions and spent somewhere around $25-30k in gas, hotel expenses, and flights for meetings I couldn’t drive to. I think the average cost per meeting was probably around $750, but there were close to a dozen trips a year (including LSLA meetings that I forgot to mention above)”

    That’s great that you were able to attend all of those meetings, but I’m pretty sure that you are a single guy. What if you had a wife and 3 kids, or what if you were a single dad that had kids that were not old enough to leave at home by themselves? It probably would not have been as easy to get away for all those days that the trips to the LNC meetings consumed.

    “I’m not sure if Mr Knedler’s costs included state conventions he attended while an LNC member that he wouldn’t have attended otherwise. My guess is that he spent more than he thinks he did.

    Is it a rich man’s hobby? No. It is a job you’re elected to, knowing in advance that you’re going to spend money doing the job — and not get paid. I remember being told before I was elected that I should expect to spend $3-5k per year doing the job. That estimate back in 2006 was pretty darn close.”

    Given the amount of money involved, I’d say that there is obviously a financial litmus test. Sure, one does not have to be what is considered to be rich to afford it, but the financial commitment certainly favors those who have more money than the average person. It also favors those who can afford the time, and it puts a disadvantage on those who have kids to take care of or who have elderly parents to take care of or who have a job or business where it is not always easy to get out of town.

    There are some jobs or businesses where it is either difficult to get time off of work, or where a person can take the time off, but the business goes through peaks and valleys, so if they take the time off during a peak time period it could cost them a lot of money in opportunity cost, then when the work cycle goes into a valley (either less money to be made or no money to be made) the person will have less money to “weather the storm” because they ran off to an LNC meeting during a peak time in the work cycle and this caused them to miss out on a lot of money.

    “The convention delegates, who approve changes to the ByLaws, are the people who make the LNC hold in-person meetings. Could they do business by teleconference? Sure. But the ByLaws prohibit electronic meetings of more than nine members of a committee. Real smart, eh?”

    Then there needs to be serious consideration put into amending this at the next national convention.

    “…unless you consider that in-person meetings actually accomplish more than the same amount of time on the phone. How do you control discussion in a teleconference with 17-25 people on it?”

    I’m not necessarily talking about a teleconference. Videoconferencing would probably be more productive, or a combination of videoconferencing and posting online to a discussion board or via instant messaging.

    I would think that a political party that is supposed to be dedicated to free market principles and has an abundance of computer geeks ought to be capable of coming up with something which is more efficient than the present system.

    “The meetings could certainly be more productive if some members actually did their homework before they attended. This includes actually reading the reports they get from staff, carefully preparing for issues that will be debated, and not wasting everyone’s time reading queue cards from the bleachers that their ‘handlers’ give them.”

    I agree with you here. It should be clearly spelled out at the national conventions before and during the elections for the LNC that if you get elected to the LNC you will be expected to do your homework before the meetings. Maybe one solution to this could be to publicly shame people who come to the meeting ill prepared by posting their picture and name on a website that says that they did not come to the meeting prepared. Whatever the case may be, people coming ill prepared and wasting everyone’s time at the meetings is actually a greater argument in favor of having them via videoconferencing, because at least then if anyone causes time to be wasted at a meeting it’s not as though anyone had to travel a great distance and stay in an expensive hotel, and there’d be no threat of getting charged more money for the meeting room if the meeting goes beyond the allotted time.

    “And the members who attend, but schedule flights for mid-day Sunday instead of after 5pm? They waste the time and resources of those who thought a two day meeting meant a two day meeting.”

    This problem would also be eliminated if the meetings were held via videoconferencing.

    “I certainly appreciate Paulie’s concern. It is expensive. He has managed to attend every meeting so far, which I commend him for doing considering the transient nature of his profession.”

    It would not be nearly as much of a problem for Paul to be on the LNC if the LNC would move into the modern age by utilizing modern technology so one doesn’t have to run around the country every time there’s a meeting. I’d wager that there are a lot of Libertarian Party members who’d agree with this point.

    I really fail to see what is so damn important that happens at these meetings that could not happen if they were held over videoconferencing. I’ve yet to see one compelling argument as to why all of the meetings have to be held in person, beyond that’s what it says in the by-laws. Well maybe the by-laws are out of date here and need to get with the times.

  67. Kevin Knedler

    I have already asked a member of the bylaws committee to address this for a vote at the 2014 National Convention in Columbus, Ohio. At minimum, allow for ONE full LNC meeting, via video conference per year.
    I still think there has to be some actual meeting time during year of the board, even the LNC.

  68. Stewart Flood

    Face to face meeting do have value, but if alternate meeting methods could be used the committee could hold shorter and more frequent meetings to get work done.

    Another value of the in-person meetings that I forgot to mention is the ability to lobby others for a cause. The (original but now messed up) affiliate support committee took me almost an entire term of lobbying. I finally managed one evening at an LNC meeting to get all the regional reps to agree to it in a meeting around 10-11pm Saturday evening. I wrote the motion and it passed. That would not have been possible if we had not all been in the same place.

  69. George Phillies

    @45 …get into the 21st century

    The LNC *was* in the 21st century. The bylaw limiting electronic meetings to committees of nine or fewer is a recent addition, courtesy of the usual suspects.

  70. Andy

    “Kevin Knedler // Feb 23, 2013 at 8:55 am

    I have already asked a member of the bylaws committee to address this for a vote at the 2014 National Convention in Columbus, Ohio. At minimum, allow for ONE full LNC meeting, via video conference per year.
    I still think there has to be some actual meeting time during year of the board, even the LNC.”

    Then how about this, the LNC meets in person once a year, and the rest of the meetings are held via videoconferencing?

    This would save the party and members a lot of money, as well as a lot of time and hassle.

  71. Andy

    “Then how about this, the LNC meets in person once a year, and the rest of the meetings are held via videoconferencing?

    This would save the party and members a lot of money, as well as a lot of time and hassle.”

    And of course it would give more people the ability to run for seats on the LNC.

  72. Andy

    “Stewart Flood // Feb 23, 2013 at 9:28 am

    Face to face meeting do have value, but if alternate meeting methods could be used the committee could hold shorter and more frequent meetings to get work done.”

    There would still be face to face meetings under what I’m proposing, they’d just be cut down to once per year.

    I’d rather only be on the hook to have to travel to one meeting and have a few more shorter meetings done via videoconferencing rather than have to run around the country every time there is a meeting.

    “Another value of the in-person meetings that I forgot to mention is the ability to lobby others for a cause. The (original but now messed up) affiliate support committee took me almost an entire term of lobbying. I finally managed one evening at an LNC meeting to get all the regional reps to agree to it in a meeting around 10-11pm Saturday evening. I wrote the motion and it passed. That would not have been possible if we had not all been in the same place.”

    Yeah, I can see some value in face to face lobbying, but aren’t there other ways to solve these problems other than wasting everyone’s time and money running around the country when there are inventions like computers, telephone, and fax machines that can be utilized for the group to communicate?

  73. Stewart Flood

    Not counting the convention, where there is a short wrap up meeting of the outgoing board before the convention and a short initial meeting of the new committee after the convention, the LNC meets three times a year. The used to meet four times a year.

    I don’t believe the number of meetings should be cut. If more meetings were allowed by teleconference (video/audio/whatever is invented next) then the committee might actually get something done.

    Yes, there are telephones and email, but you spend 10-20 hours a week on the phone anyway just doing the job.

    And some members (mostly the ones who don’t prepare anyway) who don’t answer the phone a lot.

  74. Stewart Flood

    Since leaving the LNC I have actually been quite busy working. I haven’t had time to even think about it, but that does not mean that the hooded key holders can rest and feel safe.

  75. Tom Blanton

    Perhaps one day in the future, the entire LNC can be replaced by cheap electro-mechanical robots operated by remote control by randomly selected libertarians from the comfort of their own trailers scattered across whatever is left of America.

    Assuming the controllers will all be unemployed or independently wealthy playboys (or playgirls), the electro-mechanical robots could hold meetings daily, strictly adhering to Robot’s Rules of Order.

  76. Kevin Bjornson

    Having LNC meetings by teleconference is a no-brainer, something I’ve advocated for years. Though I doubt that is the main reason JJM resigned. When he ran for LNC, he knew the expenses.

    JJM is full of negative energy and snarkiness. To claim as his main achievement the chasing away of Wayne Root–how did he do that? By the logic and facts of his arguments? Or by rudeness and bullying?

    Virtually everything JJM thinks he knows about foreign policy, is false; and could easily be at home on the pages of Der Sturmer.

  77. Robert Capozzi

    TB, or you could invent the Deontological NAPsolutist Contraption, which you can program to suss out THE definitive answer to any and all questions. 😉

  78. Andy

    “Kevin Bjornson // Feb 24, 2013 at 2:40 am

    Having LNC meetings by teleconference is a no-brainer, something I’ve advocated for years. Though I doubt that is the main reason JJM resigned. When he ran for LNC, he knew the expenses.

    JJM is full of negative energy and snarkiness. To claim as his main achievement the chasing away of Wayne Root–how did he do that? By the logic and facts of his arguments? Or by rudeness and bullying? ”

    The Libertarian Party is obviously better off without Wayne Root. The fact that he left the party and endorsed Mitt Romney for President illustrates that the guy was obviously not truly committed to the Libertarian Party or to libertarianism in general.

    Sure, the guy got a lot (by LP standards) of interviews on radio and TV, but these interviews he got did little to build the Libertarian Party, in fact, I’m not sure if they even built the Libertarian Party at all since I’m still not aware of anyone who joined the Libertarian Party after being exposed to Wayne Root. I’ve talked to lots of Libertarians all over the country, both in person and online, and I have not met one person who said that they were inspired to join the Libertarian Party because of Wayne Root. So I don’t see any evidence that the media that he received did anything to build the Libertarian Party. Why didn’t these media appearances from Wayne Root lead to a growth in the Libertarian Party? I’d say that it’s because he sounded too much like a Republican, and because he did not plug the party and/or the party’s website and 800 number much, if at all (particularly with the latter).

    Whether he left because of John Jay Meyers or not I don’t know, but if John Jay Meyers contributed to him leaving then hats off to John Jay Meyers for that one. A person whose “commitment” to the Libertarian Party and to libertarian principles is so fickle that they’ll run off and support a statist like Mitt Romney is a liability anyway. Romney is no better than Obama, and the fact that Root could not see this tells me that the Libertarian Party is better off without him.

  79. From Der Sidelines

    A quick look at Bjornson’s page clearly shows he is an interventionist and therefore not libertarian. As such anything he claims about libertarianism or the LP should be ignored.

    “Libertarian Defense Caucus” my ass. This stuff looks like the same bullshit that Dondero spews.

    A true libertarian defense means waging peace, but when attacked, defending ourselves effectively and effciently, which means ending the aggressors’ world if necessary. It does NOT mean intervening in other nations’ affairs or engaging in aggression of our own.

  80. robert capozzi

    87fds, do you also ignore Ls who take outlier positions on bestiality, fetuses as parasites or private nuke enthusiasts?

  81. Robert Capozzi

    89 FDS, fair enough. (Though technically you did NOT ignore me!) Still, I don’t take outlier positions, at least that I’m aware of. So, we don’t get a sense of how FDS chooses whom to ignore and whom not.

    Ls are themselves outliers, so it seems anti-reciprocal to ignore others for their outlying views.

  82. Thomas L. Knapp

    “I don’t take outlier positions, at least that I’m aware of”

    The position that very many, or very prominent, libertarians publicly preach outlier positions on bestiality, fetuses as parasites or private nukes is itself an outlier position.

  83. Marc Montoni

    I don’t take outlier positions, at least that I’m aware of.

    Sure you do. Every time you bring up your “bestiality, fetuses as parasites, and private nuke” straw men, those ARE your positions.

    Your logical fallacies have been repeatedly discussed by individuals who mistakenly assume an actual conversation, complete with some understanding, common ground, or even common definitions of plain words, can be had with you. Word to anyone who tries: you’re wasting your time.

    In a few minutes, hours, or days, Capozzi will bring up the same straw men yet again, as if no previous conversations have ever happened.

    There’s a word for this, and it isn’t “honesty”.

  84. Michael H. Wilson

    I always like the private nuke issue. I we are not allowed to own them here in the U.S. do we expect other nations to do the same? And what if they don’t?

  85. Robert Capozzi

    tk, the point is that I don’t ignore L hawks or other outlier positions. Maybe there’s a GOOD case to ignore others who use the “L” label, but I don’t know of one.

    I often disagree with your positions, for ex., but I don’t ignore you. In fact, when I see that you’ve posted a comment, I often click thru to see what Knapp has to say. I even check out what Montoni has to say, even though I find that he deflects fairly frequently, which is not in my book an adult conversation.

    Few prominent Ls talk about bestiality or private nukes, agreed. My guess is few had thought much about bestiality until Person brought it up. Private nukes enthusiasts seem more numerous than you suggest, although they usu. keep it on the DL…thankfully. Since Rothbard included the notion that fetuses are “parasites” in FOR A NEW LIBERTY, my guess is that many Ls also agree with that analysis, although – again – it’s on the DL.

    While I’m largely a dove, I don’t think that hawkish Ls are taking positions nearly was loopy as these and other extremist L positions.

  86. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC @95,

    “Since Rothbard included the notion that fetuses are ‘parasites’ in FOR A NEW LIBERTY, my guess is that many Ls also agree with that analysis”

    I disagree, but that may have to do with whom we are alluding to when we use the term “L.”

    If we use it broadly to encompass all those who hold at least some significant libertarian political positions, we’re probably talking double digit percentages of Americans (I think Cato says around 20%, but I could see a case for more or fewer).

    If we’re going with that broad definition of “L,” my guess is that not one in 100 have heard of Rothbard, that not more than 1 in 50 who have heard of him have really read his stuff, and that of those who have read his stuff fully half think he was either barking mad or kind of stupid or both.

    If those numbers and my assessment are both ballpark correct, then per 2010 US census figures we’re talking about a grand total of perhaps 600 American adults who give a shit what Rothbard thought about fetuses.

    I think that number may actually be a bit high, but even if it’s just exactly right, it seems a curious thing for you to keep obsessing over.

  87. robert capozzi

    TK, yes, thanks for amplifying my point. There does appear to be a massive disconnect between the 20% L community and the tiny slivver of that community that is in or around the LP. The “Normals” – as Keaton calls them – don’t likely grok the literalistic, deontological, absolutist extremism that Rand, Rothbard and their followers in the 60s and 70s bought into the public square.

    That’s why – whether it’s the positions I cite, or others like the right to tote a machine gun in the subway – the LM has not congealed into an effective political force. Shot through with piss-and-vinegar arrogance, the LP’s founders put a series of ideological poison pills, like referring to a non-existent “cult” in the SoP, to maintain a perennially fringe stature to the LP. (In their minds, they associated this wild overstatement with “principle.”)

    This foundation of sand shifts, causing the edifice to collapse the hovel it is and will remain. Continuous rebuilding is tedious and time consuming, as you likely found. My suggestion is to REALLY check the premises, for that is the place that the dysfunction starts.

  88. Thomas L. Knapp

    “There does appear to be a massive disconnect between the 20% L community and the tiny slivver of that community that is in or around the LP.”

    And between the 99% of the LP that doesn’t give two shits about private nukes, fetuses as parasites or bestiality and the 1% who do. Actually, probably less than 1%, given that you’re the only one I’ve ever run into.

  89. robert capozzi

    TK, your numbers seem VERY low to me. A state LP chair from a fairly major state told me in recent years that he believes there’s a right to private nukes.

    Only my perception, but my guess is that much larger percentages of LP members believe that there’s a right to tote machine guns in public, including small spaces like subway cars.

    Regardless of whether the rank-and-file takes a wide range of extremist positions, there’s still the “cult” and “governments, when instituted” language in the SoP. This sort of extremism tends to scare off the Normals, is my conjecure. With the country on such shaky grounds, one would think that a LP would attract MUCH larger numbers, particularly if we accept the idea that something like 20% of the pop is – call it – L leaning.

    As you’ve left the LP yourself, I’m curious if you have a theory for the tiny membership, now and forever. Do you think if the LP was more extremist, it’s numbers would swell?

  90. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC @ 99,

    “A state LP chair from a fairly major state told me in recent years that he believes there’s a right to private nukes.”

    There’s a difference between believing something and considering it a major issue for debate in the public square.

    For all I know, a large percentage of active Republicans believe that Halley’s Comet will come around again and take them to Big Rock Candy Mountain, but they don’t put out press releases about it. Nor do I ever recall seeing an LP press release about these things you obsess over.

    Apart from Tom Stevens wanting to discuss bestiality for some unknown reason in 2012, you’re the only guy I know who runs around incessantly yakking about this stuff.

    You have a very well-developed theory about how a bunch of stuff that only a fraction of a smidgen of Libertarians think about, that even fewer talk about, and that even fewer non-Libertarians have ever heard about, has a continuing Armageddon-like impact on the membership numbers of the LP.

    Well-developed is not the same as sound.

  91. Thomas L. Knapp

    Continued to RC @ 99,

    “As you’ve left the LP yourself, I’m curious if you have a theory for the tiny membership, now and forever. Do you think if the LP was more extremist, it’s numbers would swell?”

    I can’t think of any circumstances at all under which the LP’s numbers would be likely to swell either in terms of membership or votes.

    On the membership side, those numbers can be temporarily inflated with warm bodies through things like aggressive direct mail and such, but in terms of activists, candidates and so forth the fact is that people who are going to be activists are going to be activists, and they do the work of finding the group that believes as they do, etc.

    On the vote side, the American electoral system was originally designed in a way that lent itself to two dominant parties (first-past-the-post elections and a presidential rather than parliamentary system) and that system has since reinforced its leanings with the adoption of the Australian ballot and restrictive laws for accessing that ballot; the ossification of mainstream media along lines that are half partisan (one of the two parties) and half just comfortably status quo, etc.

    I just don’t see it happening.

    HOWEVER, if it COULD happen, it would have to happen at the fringes, since the center is already occupied, entrenched and reinforced by the existing major parties.

  92. robert capozzi

    TK, yes, I agree. So let me try again. While LP types don’t promote the most extreme implications of NAPsolutism, it undergirds the rhetoric and come from in the public square that Ls tend to promote.

    There’s a discomfort with engaging the issues of the day. Many Ls, for ex., want to promote zero taxation as a way out of our nation’s fiscal woes. We all know that zero taxes are not going to happen, yet there’s this cavalier attitude that one encounters in L circles that, for me, is an exercise in self-marginalization.

  93. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC @ 102,

    Like it or not, the LP was founded on “NAPsolutism” and “NAPsolutism” is almost insurmountably embedded in its charter.

    This windmill-tilting of yours is like you bought a German Shepherd puppy and then spent its whole life trying to turn it into a Siamese cat.

    As far as zero taxes are concerned, I have no doubt whatsoever that they’re coming. A state that has collapsed ceases to collect taxes.

  94. Robert Capozzi

    103 tk, yes, you may be correct that the LP is beyond redemption, given the traps in the charter.

    Your analogy doesn’t work for me. It’s more like the puppy has been sick from the get-go, and the owners keep giving it poison while denying that the puppy is sick.

    I do doubt the state will collapse, and if it does, I have no doubt it will be replaced by another state.

    Last we chatted on this subject, I seem to recall that you’d backed away from outright collapse, and were anticipating something like a Rumanian panic, or somesuch. Do I misremember? Or has your viewed changed again? (Which is fine with me, btw, as I think changing one’s views is healthy.)

  95. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC @104,

    My prediction, as best I can remember, is that if I live to average life expectancy (~75), I will have outlived the existing US system of government.

    I, too, expect that the former United States will probably be replaced by another Westphalian nation-state or states, more authoritarian than the current one but less secure in their rule. But maybe not. That model is certainly on its way out (and I’m far from the first or most prominent person to suggest that — most of those who do aren’t libertarians, either).

  96. From Der Sidelines

    Apparently Crap-posti totally missed the slam @88 since he left himself wide open for it…

  97. George Phillies

    @105

    Good news! Male lifespan is climbing fairly rapidly, so you probably have three or more extra years to see what you outlive. Also, at least some of those numbers are life expectancy at birth, so you have already dodged all sorts of causes of death, and have even more years ahead of you.

  98. Robert Capozzi

    106 FDS, adult conversations never involve “slams,” they involve a sharing of ideas.

    That you feel the need to mangle my name indicates an inability to have an adult conversation. You do have another chance now, though….

  99. Robert Capozzi

    105 tk, so it appears we agree…zero taxes is a mirage. You believe the jurisdiction may change in the next few decades, though. Fair?

  100. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC @109,

    “so it appears we agree…zero taxes is a mirage.”

    If by “mirage” you mean “inevitability,” yes, we agree. Otherwise, not so much.

    “You believe the jurisdiction may change in the next few decades, though. Fair?”

    I believe the jurisdiction will collapse in the next few decades.

    I believe the odds are reasonably good — not anywhere near “sure thing” territory, but at least even — that it will be replaced by one or more assertions of jurisdiction which are similar in content.

    But maybe not. The framework for the Westphalian nation-state emerged from the Thirty Years and Eighty Years Wars.

    Given that that framework has been in progressive collapse for about a century now and that a second front against it has been opened up over the last decade and a half (the first front was internationalism, as embodied in everything from Comintern to League of Nations to UN — and no, I’m not positing the latter as instruments of the former — the second is the emerging networked global society), the end may be much closer than even I think.

  101. Paulie

    Regarding virtual meetings, I see that no one took up my advice of checking the reflector archives (can’t say as I blame anyone for that). The reasons given why the LNC will not have virtual meetings when I pushed the idea:

    1. We can’t make decisions in them per the bylaws

    2. People have too many distractions at home so they can’t pay attention during a teleconference the length of an LNC meeting

    3. In person meetings build camraderie.

    It seems to me that a lot of what goes on in LNC meetings could be done over the internet and phones. It does cost about a thousand dollars per meeting not including opportunity costs.

    In my case the meeting next month will be the third – two of them while I haven’t been working, so no significant opportunity costs, but the fixed costs are starting to become too much since it’s been a while since I’ve worked (almost six months at this point). The first meeting was not as big a deal in terms of fixed costs, since I was working at the time, but for that same reason it was a big deal in opportunity costs.

    I do think some in person meetings are good – say one a year – but 3-4 a year in different parts of the country is too much.

    Aside from me, iirc only two other alternates have been at both in person meetings so far, and one of those is no longer an alternate.

  102. Starchild

    I have to agree here with Robert Capozzi insofar as I think Murray Rothbard was, and remains, greatly influential in the libertarian movement. Indeed my impression is that he is becoming better and better known outside the movement as well, thanks in large part to Ron Paul, Lew Rockwell, and the Mises Institute, and that his stature continues to grow.

    What’s sad to me however is that Robert appears to be selective in which “extreme” or “loopy” beliefs he chooses to criticize, to the detriment of libertarians. From what I’ve seen, he focuses mainly on targets like Rothbard who are or were solidly libertarian.

    I do not recall him for instance being equally dismissive of people who believe in the “immaculate conception” of Jesus of Nazareth, or of Mitt Romney for believing in the Book of Mormon, or of people who believe in female genital mutilation, arranged marriages, astrology, etc. Or, for that matter, of people who apparently believe that government can continue on its present course of borrowing and spending and creating fiat currency based on nothing without serious consequences, or hold other views equally divorced from reality.

    I think the more radical implications of libertarian ideas such as “the mere possession of any object is not a crime” can be seen as roughly equivalent in practical political terms to the religious beliefs of many other Americans, which no doubt appear extreme, kooky, and so on to most people outside their faiths. If you’re not going to make a big deal about a Catholic believing that the pope has some kind of direct connection with God that is unavailable to the rest of us, then why make a big deal out of the fact that some libertarians think it’s okay for individuals to own nuclear weapons? Clearly, neither belief has much bearing on current public policy debates.

    By focusing only or primarily on “extreme” or “shocking” beliefs when those beliefs happen to be part of the philosophy of libertarianism, and not when similarly “outlying” beliefs are part of the philosophy or theology of statism, Christianity, Keynesianism, Islam, New Age thinking, etc., and repeatedly implying that these beliefs cause, or should cause, non-libertarians to view libertarians who hold them as crazy or dismiss other things those libertarians say, I think Robert is doing a real disservice to the libertarian movement.

  103. Paulie

    KB @ 84

    Having LNC meetings by teleconference is a no-brainer, something I’ve advocated for years. Though I doubt that is the main reason JJM resigned. When he ran for LNC, he knew the expenses.

    In John’s case the issue is more one of time – weekends are the busiest time for his restaurant/bar/music venue business, but he also stays busy during the week with family and two businesses, so all the emails and phone calls are too much for him. I warned him about this before he ran.

    In my case yes, the money is an issue. It’s a big part of why I’m not running for the full rep position, as some people suggested earlier in the thread.

    JJM is full of negative energy and snarkiness. To claim as his main achievement the chasing away of Wayne Root–how did he do that? By the logic and facts of his arguments? Or by rudeness and bullying?

    Wayne chased himself off because the inevitable logic of everything he said during the first Obama term – that Obama was destroying America, is a Communist, etc ad nauseum – led to the conclusion that “it must be Romney” as the only way to stop the exaggerated threat of Obama. Sooner or later Wayne had to endorse Romney explicitly rather than just implicitly, and he couldn’t remain on the LNC and do that.

    It’s true that John gave him no quarter in their arguments. But some of us, especially me, did defeat him with the logic and facts of our arguments. Towards the end of Wayne’s time on the LNC I put it to him in terms of playing on a team, since he’s a sports guy. I said he couldn’t be in the locker room saying “your team” (he had taken to calling the LP “your party”) …he could either start calling it “my team” and “our team” or get out of the locker room. He told me I (or we – depending on the meaning of “you”) was/were losing him.


    Virtually everything JJM thinks he knows about foreign policy, is false;

    I’ve found his foreign policy views to be very well thought out and right on the money.

    and could easily be at home on the pages of Der Sturmer.

    The nazis had a non-interventionist foreign policy? Who knew!

  104. Paulie

    That’s why – whether it’s the positions I cite, or others like the right to tote a machine gun in the subway – the LM has not congealed into an effective political force.

    I don’t think so.

    I’d say the primary reasons are

    1) Passive recruitment model – the LP has a lot of people who are not very extroverted, don’t feel comfortable dealing with the general public, don’t communicate in ways that most people relate to, and do very little outreach if any…and when they do, it’s mostly geared towards the small minority of the population that is just like them.

    Most of the “recruitment” consists of waiting for people to come to us, then chasing them away by not giving them anything productive to do, by not being welcoming, by not being diverse, and by continuously spinning our wheels unproductively.

    2) The US political system makes it very difficult for alternative parties to break through and sustain any level of achievement. During the 40+ years that the LP has existed we have been the most successful sustained alternative political party.

    Other parties have had greater success in some ways, but only very briefly based on the strength of personalities such as Wallace, Perot and Nader or based on accounting gimmicks (Constitution Party for a long time claimed to be “third largest” based only on AIP voter registrations in California, most of which are people thinking they are registering non-partisan). No other party, whether moderate or extreme, has broken the stranglehold of the big two in a sustained fashion in recent decades.

    There are numerous barriers to entry and competition – ballot access, debate exclusion, “wasted vote” miscalculation, advertising dollars, “horse race” analysis, and so on.

    The last parties to break through in a bigger way – socialists, progressives, populists and prohibitionists about a hundred years ago – faced a lot fewer of those barriers than we have now.

  105. robert capozzi

    112 starchild, yes, I claim no special knowledge regarding why the power of the idea of political liberty has been so non-influential in the public square, based on results…despite 40+ years of a conscious LM. I simply offer my analysis, which is that the deontological absolutism of the founding thinkers is flawed at root. The extreme ideas I hold up for examination illustrate why the ideas don’t work and cannot work, near as I can tell, at least any time soon.

    Thank you for acknowledging MNR’s continuing and possibly increasing influence with large segments of the LM. It’s not my job to make them “wrong,” but I do feel moved to point out the (to me) obvious downsides of that thought system. Take or leave my opinion as you will.

  106. Paulie

    In other words, there’s simply no evidence that merely getting rid of some of the more extreme libertarian positions would make us more of a political force.

    On the other hand, it might attract more political opportunists looking to run on some (any) other line besides Democrat or Republican regardless of whether they hold even moderately libertarian positions or not. Which, over time, could easily have us go the way of the Reform Party.

    Or, we could become, even more explicitly, a temporary vent for disaffected conservative Republicans to cool off for a brief interlude before their inevitable return to the NSGOP. Which is all too often the case already.

    Extreme libertarian positions, on the other hand, give sufficient motivation for some people to give a huge amount of their time, money and energy to a seemingly quixotic undertaking such as an alternative political party that rarely wins anything.

    Given that we would still have the problems inherent with being an alternative party in the US political system, taking more moderate positions is not wise – it cuts us off from many of the people who would do the hard work without making us much more appealing to those closer to the mushy middle.

  107. Paulie

    With the country on such shaky grounds, one would think that a LP would attract MUCH larger numbers, particularly if we accept the idea that something like 20% of the pop is – call it – L leaning.

    Why? What’s in it for them?

    They have to see us actually making a difference to vote for us. They have to see personal benefits in their own lives, here and now, if they become involved.

    Does voting LP make us more free in any way that a significant number of people can tangibly see here and now?

    Does active involvement in the LP benefit their lives – are they having fun, making connections that benefit them socially and professionally, gaining new skills, stopping bad legislation, electing good candidates? What is the cost/benefit/risk/reward calculation for personal involvement, particularly in the short term which constitutes most people’s time horizon?

    Of the 20% that poll somewhat libertarian, how many have ever even been asked to join (or get involved in any way)? How many even know what the LP stands for issue-wise and that they agree with it more than with the other parties?

    People like to join something that already has a substantial amount of organization and infrastructure. They want the LP to already have a lot of things in place that they are expected to help struggle to put in place if they decide to get involved.

    Those are a few of the reasons why people don’t join or don’t stay involved.

  108. Paulie

    Do you think if the LP was more extremist, it’s numbers would swell?

    Maybe. The nucleus of the rabid Ron Paul following are libertarians who think the LP is too moderate. They started with a tiny but very committed and outreach-oriented group of people and swelled in numbers until they eclipsed the LP.

    I think there’s a lot to learn from that recruitment and organization building model.

    That Ron Paul actually believes some things which are not extremist libertarian, or what the LP platform says or does not say, are side issues here. Relatively few people are so analytical as to even notice such things. The revolutionary fervor of tone is far more important here than dry issue analysis.

  109. Thomas L. Knapp

    Regarding Rothbard’s waxing or waning influence, it’s hard to determine the facts, but here are a couple of indicators:

    – In Liberty Magazine’s 1988 “Liberty Poll” of both LP members and movement activists, Rothbard was tied with Ayn Rand as “most influential thinker.”

    – In the 2000 version of that same poll, Rothbard came in sixth behind Rand, Thomas Jefferson, Milton Friedman, Ludwig von Mises, and FA Hayek.

    That indicates a waning influence — but of course the methodology of the polls may have been flawed, and of course it’s now been another 13 years and things might have changed.

    Let’s see what Google has to say:

    Ayn Rand — 9.5 million results
    Thomas Jefferson — 33 million results
    Milton Friedman — 4.4 million results
    Ludwig von Mises — 2.9 million results
    FA Hayek — 1.7 million results
    Murray Rothbard — 1.02 million results

    No, Google isn’t perfect, either, but if anything I suspect it actually enhances Rothbard’s stature to the extent that “small but numerous” sources like movement blogs, etc. get equal play with “big, but not nearly as many” institutional sources which are less likely to reflect trends in the short term.

    The libertarian movement’s natural habitat is the Internet … and Rothbard doesn’t seem to be especially popular there versus other allegedly influential figures.

    I do confess, though, to being shocked that he’s actually 1/10th as popular as Ayn Rand. I thought it would be much lower.

  110. Paulie

    I can’t think of any circumstances at all under which the LP’s numbers would be likely to swell either in terms of membership or votes.

    On the membership side, those numbers can be temporarily inflated with warm bodies through things like aggressive direct mail and such, but in terms of activists, candidates and so forth the fact is that people who are going to be activists are going to be activists, and they do the work of finding the group that believes as they do, etc.

    I don’t agree.

    I saw many state parties in operation over the course of the last 20 years.

    I’ve seen them go through ups and downs.

    There were definitely more people attending more meetings, engaging in more activities (OPH booths, protests, letter writing, you name it), more candidates running for and getting elected to office during the peak (mid to late 90s, extending somewhat into the early 200os) than before or after.

    In some places, anyway, there’s been another resurgence of activity in the past year due to Gary Johnson’s campaign.

    The people that got involved with our local state party in the past year, and are engaging in a variety of activities now, were around before that – they just never noticed us.

    Now they are putting up signs, collecting signatures, working outreach booths. Some of them intend to run for office. And so on.

  111. Paulie

    Many Ls, for ex., want to promote zero taxation as a way out of our nation’s fiscal woes. We all know that zero taxes are not going to happen, yet there’s this cavalier attitude that one encounters in L circles that, for me, is an exercise in self-marginalization.

    I know no such thing.

    I believe both that voluntarily supported, non-monopoly government can work and that it will happen. I don’t consider it impossible or highly unlikely that I will live to see it.

    On the other hand, I do know that taxation and regulation are high and going up, so I welcome steps in the direction of lowering them.

    My study of revolutionary changes is that they typically follow smaller changes in the direction the revolutionaries seek, so I don’t want to make things as bad as they can possibly get and wait for the bubble to burst. Rather, I want to start the ball rolling in the correct direction and have it pick up pace as it goes.

  112. Paulie

    Your analogy doesn’t work for me. It’s more like the puppy has been sick from the get-go, and the owners keep giving it poison while denying that the puppy is sick.

    More like you don’t want to feed it until it all of a sudden learns to do advanced circus tricks all on its own.

  113. Steven Wilson

    I think the influence of a person per a movement is based on marketing and access in a given moment.

    The Libertarian movement has had its own Dark ages wherein the members ignore or forget what got them here. To say Rand is more than Rothbard is relative to each member.

    Rand never won an election and was not in favor of a philosophy at all. Didn’t seem to stop her readers though.

    For myself, Harry Browne got things started but it has moved much further since. Does that indicate Browne and his influence has changed status?

    The national level of the LP always uses the same tact. Fear. Just like the R’s and D’s.

    Because it works.

    If we don’t do A, then we don’t have ballot access.

    If we don’t do B, then we don’t have a building of our own.

    If we don’t do C, then we won’t win this election.

    Applied truth is all that matters, and that truth is relative to those doing the applying.

    Ideas are like weapons, they still require an operator to act on them. Reading is just reading if you don’t make a move.

  114. Andy

    Paulie said: “The reasons given why the LNC will not have virtual meetings when I pushed the idea:

    1. We can’t make decisions in them per the bylaws

    2. People have too many distractions at home so they can’t pay attention during a teleconference the length of an LNC meeting

    3. In person meetings build camraderie.”

    Out of these reasons, the only one I consider to have any validity is the first one, and the bylaws can be amended to fix that.

    There is no reason why most of what the LNC does can’t be done over posting on a message board online and telephone and/or videoconferencing. The LP has an abundance of computer geeks / net surfers, so much of the debate/discussion over motions could take place online before the meetings even happen. Some members have already confessed that how they are going to vote has already been decided before the meetings take place anyway. I think that it’s a lot easier, cheaper, and less time consuming to do this stuff over the internet or telephone than it is to travel around the country spending a bunch of time and money.

    As for building camaraderie, this is a weak argument for running around the country spending a bunch of time and money. You can build camaraderie with people online or over the phone, I’ve done it before. Also, I’ve still said that the LNC could meet in person once a year, I just think that it would save a lot of money, time, and hassle for the rest of the meetings to be done over the phone or internet, and if things were done how I’m suggesting it would allow a lot more people in the party to have the ability to run for positions on the LNC.

  115. Thomas L. Knapp

    Andy,

    The place to start may be with overcoming that first objection:

    “We can’t make decisions in them per the bylaws”

    Bylaws language would need to be carefully crafted to prevent unintended consequences (e.g. closed teleconferences, etc.), but you’ve got more than a year to get the language drafted and analyzed, then put it to the convention.

  116. robert capozzi

    More to Starchild, as for pols who hold outlier religious/spiritual views, most of them state that their views on such matters are personal. Romney, for ex.,, didn’t play up his Mormonism except perhaps for his stories about his missionary work, which came late in the campaign. For the most part, though, we never heard MR talking about the tenets of Mormonism, just as JFK didn’t speak of the more-popular Catholicism.

    IOW, there’s no comparison.

    L extremism is POLITICAL extremism. People are far more tolerant of religious diversity – even religious extremism – in their pols IF the pol doesn’t proselytize.

  117. robert capozzi

    Paulie, I certainly agree that there might be 5K L activists who are energized by the articulation of extreme positions by L officials and candidates. For me, it’s a practical question of whether those few could be SO effective in holding high the banner that they don’t need to calibrate a more edgy L message that appeals to more people. Clearly, L rabble rousing has not worked to reverse the tide of growing statism, but it is possible that – at some point – sufficient numbers would be drawn to a more utopian message, and that THAT approach would be superior to an edgy, moderate L approach.

    Obviously I think edgy moderation stands a better chance of winning the day.

    Similarly, a tax-free world where NORAD is financed by a bake sale might be attainable. I’m just really, really skeptical about that approaches prospects.

    Then again, when I first saw Carrot Top, I found him unfunny, but he did garner some celebrity.

  118. robert capozzi

    TK, those stats sound about right to me. Rand was the more pop figure, and her deontological absolutism is equally dysfunctional to MNR’s.

    I’d like to see Ron Paul’s numbers, for I would not be surprised to if he is in Rand’s level of influence on the L mind, or possibly higher.

  119. paulie

    as for pols who hold outlier religious/spiritual views, most of them state that their views on such matters are personal.

    Not exactly.

    Many of the “moral conservative” positions are based on weird interpretations of biblical teachings.

    A major impetus (one of several) for US foreign policy in the middle east is a reading of Revelations which a few million people apparently adhere to, which holds that all of the Jews in the world should move to Israel so we can be nuked in the Battle of Armaggedon and fulfill the prophecies revolving around the return of Jesus…and that Christians should use US government policy to help bring all this about.

    Those are just a couple of examples.

  120. paulie

    , I certainly agree that there might be 5K L activists who are energized by the articulation of extreme positions by L officials and candidates.

    There’s way, way, way more than 5k who potentially could be.

    For me, it’s a practical question of whether those few could be SO effective in holding high the banner that they don’t need to calibrate a more edgy L message that appeals to more people.

    And what is the practical evidence? The LP has become more moderate in the last decade, and the available evidence is that it appeals to fewer people.

    Meanwhile, a group of libertarians who were dissatisfied with the LP’s trend of moderation made their support of Ron Paul a much larger and more fervent movement. Never mind that Ron Paul himself is not the extremist many of them hold him out to be, because in politics it is perceptions that matter most. He is widely seen as being a purist libertarian on economic and foreign policy issues, even though he isn’t exactly.

    So which approach works better?

    I like practical evidence; and to the extent it exists, it does not seem to post where your theory says it should.

    I know you’ll say that your theory has not really been tried, that the LP is not moderate enough, but to me that would just seem to take it further down a path that has not shown good results according to the available evidence.

    I also know you consider variation at this level to be background noise, but to me dealing with the situation on the ground the difference in activity level with its ups and downs of the last two decades is quite noticeable.

    Again, we can look outside the LP as well – other parties and movements have experimented with different levels of moderation. There too the available evidence seems to indicate that moderate positions don’t hold the fervor that sustains a long term involvement in alternative party politics in the US political system – certainly not any time recently.

  121. paulie

    Similarly, a tax-free world where NORAD is financed by a bake sale might be attainable. I’m just really, really skeptical about that approaches prospects.

    My approach is to start rolling the ball in that direction and see how far it goes. I may have my ideas of what I believe the end results will be and you may have yours, but let’s work together until we reach that point and see what happens if and when we get there.

    What’s so unreasonable about that?

  122. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC @ 129,

    “I’d like to see Ron Paul’s numbers, for I would not be surprised to if he is in Rand’s level of influence on the L mind, or possibly higher.”

    Paul wasn’t included in the 1988 or 2000 Liberty Polls.

    If I had to guess, I’d guess that he’s competitive with Rand for influence in the libertarian movement these days (much to the movement’s detriment, IMO).

  123. robert capozzi

    P, you largely anticipate my responses. In many ways, nothing has changed, since the SoP and the thought system it rests on remain largely unchallenged and unaltered.

    06 did bring about some de-fringification, as the private nukes millstone was removed.

    RP is now by-and-large riding off into the sunset. Much of his appeal was personality cult….humble country doctor/congressman speaking truth to power. Being the peace candidate also helped. In some ways, being an MC immunizes…Jim Davidson could say the same things as RP and he would not be taken seriously. (I’ve not heard from Mr. Rebar in a while…you?)

    As a TAAAL-ist, I’m quite down with getting the ball rolling toward liberty. NORAD financing through a bake sale, however, seems like a banner to which few would salute.

  124. Andy

    Paulie said: “Never mind that Ron Paul himself is not the extremist many of them hold him out to be, because in politics it is perceptions that matter most. He is widely seen as being a purist libertarian on economic and foreign policy issues, even though he isn’t exactly.”

    Ron Paul is more radically libertarian than some people who are in the LP these days, including the last two LP candidates for President.

  125. Andy

    Thomas L. Knapp said: “If I had to guess, I’d guess that he’s competitive with Rand for influence in the libertarian movement these days (much to the movement’s detriment, IMO).”

    Ron Paul is more libertarian than Ayn Rand.

  126. paulie

    In many ways, nothing has changed, since the SoP and the thought system it rests on remain largely unchallenged and unaltered.

    The SoP remains unaltered, but much of the thought system behind it is gone. Relatively few LP members adhere to it anymore, as far as I can see.

    06 did bring about some de-fringification, as the private nukes millstone was removed.

    And the results have not been encouraging.

    Jim Davidson could say the same things as RP and he would not be taken seriously.

    Well, yes, why would anyone take him seriously? But the libertarian movement is growing and our ideas are spreading.

    There are way more Republicans paying lip service to them than before. Some of them even mean it.

    There are a whole slew of “liberty candidates” along Ron Paul lines. At least in some states, there’s new LP activity. Look at the voter registration stat trends.

    The overall reach of libertarian movement organizations has grown…Students for Liberty, Campaign for Liberty, Young Americans for Liberty, and so on. Many more people are reading and discussing the ideas than before.

    It’s not just a personality cult. Ron Paul was the focus of much of the resurgence, but not the only one. Gary Johnson benefited from a lot of it near the end of his campaign. I think Lee Wrights or Mary Ruwart could perhaps have as well, even without the credentials of a Congressman or ex-Governor.

    There are others who conceivably could…Andrew Napolitano, Jesse Ventura, Barry Goldwater Jr., and so on.

    To write it off as a personality cult is a mistake…it’s a movement, and it will keep growing. Some of it will go to Rand Paul, but a lot of it will not.

    I’ve not heard from Mr. Rebar in a while…you?

    I think I’ve seen him pop up on facebook from time to time, but I haven’t paid attention to him in a while.

    I’m quite down with getting the ball rolling toward liberty.

    Cool. Then let’s work on that and worry about where we end up when that becomes a practical concern.

    NORAD financing through a bake sale, however, seems like a banner to which few would salute.

    I’m not too worried about that right now. We have more immediate concerns in the meantime.

  127. paulie

    Ron Paul is more radically libertarian than some people who are in the LP these days, including the last two LP candidates for President.

    On some issues, not others. It’s more complicated than you think; see for example

    http://libertarianmajority.net/teflon-moderate

    http://blog.knowinghumans.net/2007/12/teflon-libertarian-moderate.html

    http://blog.libertarianintelligence.com/2007/12/ron-paul-backslides-on-meet-press.html

    There’s a lot more to it than that, but that’s a start.

  128. robert capozzi

    P, ya know, RP could be the fountainhead of all fountainheads. It may turn out that way. He seems to have a pattern of attracting oily characters around him, and Ron Paul Incorporated groups have a tendency to crash and burn, often mired in financial chicanery that’d keep Phillies busy for several lifetimes with forensic accounting tasks.

    Will it be different this time? Could be. Yes, there are a few MCs who are RP Rs, and maybe that is the vanguard of a political inflection point.

    We shall see.

  129. paulie

    The movement I am talking about is much bigger than, and has very little association with or affinity for, “Ron Paul Inc.”

    Ron Paul provided a focus for it for a while, but it isn’t really about Ron Paul.

  130. robert capozzi

    P, yes, RP was a focus of SOME movement, but an inconsequential one. There was some agitation, some strutting and fretting.

    Will this movement cause the State to shrink in decades to come? My guess would be no, mostly because I find constitutionalist L-ism to be one-dimensional and inflexiblle and often tinged with sanctimony.

  131. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC @ 143,

    “RP was a focus of SOME movement, but an inconsequential one.”

    While I’m pretty obviously not a huge Paul fan, I can’t agree that the movement that sprang up around him was inconsequential.

    I think it’s very plausible (plausible enough that I suspect most observers would concur) to give that movement the lion’s share of credit for electing at least one US Senator (because his last name happened to be “Paul”) and at least some influence in the election of some US Representatives (the two that spring immediately to mind are Broun and Amash).

    I also think that the Paul movement turned out to be heavyweight enough to force the GOP to have issues discussions its establishment didn’t want to have, in 2008 and especially in 2012. I won’t go so far as to say that Paul and Co., cost the GOP the White House in either election, but if they hadn’t been pretty firmly set to lose those elections anyway, that might have become the case.

    Finally I have a sneaking suspicion that if Paul hadn’t opened up the discussion on foreign policy, the appointment of a new Secretary of Defense wouldn’t have been nearly as interesting.

    I think his campaign had the effect of making Obama comfortable that he could appoint someone who doesn’t have his nose firmly planted in Bibi Netanyahu’s rectum, and that that in turn made the GOP’s Israel-first faction feel embattled enough to make a very embarrassing last stand on the matter.

  132. johnO

    Has Tom Stevens left his Objectivist Party? Why would the LP let him back in the fold if he’s an outlier? Is he trying to re-make LP in PA into a new Objectivist Party?

  133. robert capozzi

    TK, yes I tend to agree on the MCs. And yes RP may have made Hagel possible.

    Consequence to me means changing policy, not just installing people in slots. It’s good to have people at the table, but that’s only a first step.

  134. paulie

    SOME movement, but an inconsequential one. There was some agitation, some strutting and fretting.

    I think you underestimate it.

    Will this movement cause the State to shrink in decades to come?

    Yes, I believe it will hasten what will happen regardless.

    My guess would be no, mostly because I find constitutionalist L-ism to be one-dimensional and inflexiblle and often tinged with sanctimony.

    The same can be said of many movements that have indeed changed public policy.

  135. paulie

    Consequence to me means changing policy, not just installing people in slots. It’s good to have people at the table, but that’s only a first step.

    Correct. Just a first step. It’s only starting.

  136. johnO

    Isn’t Ron Paul retired? I think Rand Paul has more consequence because he has a seat of power now. If he was a Governor of his state even more power to change things than in Senate. Just saying.

  137. Nicholas Sarwark

    @143: You keep saying that the LP is fundamentally flawed, but I wonder, what do you do to shrink the state? I mean other than carping about private nukes, cultish language, and George Phillies’s FEC complaint?

    What do you do for liberty?

  138. robert capozzi

    NS, at this stage, I focus on what I can control: my mind and its emotional state. I have no control of anything else.

    Mostly, I am preparing to die, as are we all, whether we realize it or not.

  139. johnO

    Just thought now that he’s retired from politics followers of him would go with Rand Paul or actually support libertarians in the Libertarian Party. From other threads Ron Paul supporters wouldn’t follow/support his son. Too much in the tank with R’s.

  140. robert capozzi

    SW, thanks for the feedback.

    I’d say more fatalist than nihilist, actually. Never read Plath. Is she good?

  141. Jill Pyeatt

    johnO: Rand Paul is not Ron Paul. Rand does many things right, but he’s too hawkish for many of us. I think he might be a work in progress, though. We’ll see!

  142. Robert Capozzi

    more to NS,

    Just to clarify, while I do think L-ism and the LP have fatal flaws, it does still represent my politics more closely than any other party. Were I in a position to be more involved, I might do so, if indicated.

    Still, though, imagine me as a L candidate, for ex. Say the gun issue were to come up. I might say I’m for sensible gun regulation on public property. This, if I have things sized up reasonably well, is a verboten position (despite it being sound from a property rights perspective). Why would I choose such torture? Don’t you think my tiny little gadfly role is my highest and best use?

    IF say right to life/choose came up, I would seem to equivocate to both sides.

    If the federal budget came up, I might not advocate a 50% cut in year one.

    And on and on.

    So, thanks for your invitation, but I’ve given up being a glutton for punishment.

  143. Andy

    “paulie // Feb 26, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    ‘Isn’t Ron Paul retired?’

    Yes, which is besides the point.”

    He’s retired from being a Congressman, and I think he’s also retired from running for office, but he is going to remain active in politics. I’ve heard that he’s got something that is supposed to come out soon, I think it’s a new talk radio show.

  144. Andy

    Paulie said: “On some issues, not others. It’s more complicated than you think; see for example ”

    I brought up the last two LP Presidential candidates, which were Bob Barr and Gary Johnson, and I said that Ron Paul is more radically libertarian than both of them.

    I think that it clearly apparent that Bob Barr was nothing more than an opportunity who was using the Libertarian Party, and he is not a libertarian himself.

    I’m going to assume that Gary Johnson believes what he says he believes, so this puts him ahead of Bob Barr, but I think that if you put all of the issues on the table that Ron Paul comes out ahead on the radical libertarian scale.

    Now I’m not saying that Ron Paul is the most radical libertarian around. There are people in the LP who are more radical, but of course there are others in the LP who are less radical. There are small “l” libertarians who are not in the LP who are more radical than Ron Paul, and of course there are also small “l” libertarians who are not in the LP who are less radical than Ron Paul as well.

  145. Tom Blanton

    Random anecdotal factoids that have popped up recently indicate that there are those that claim that because of Ron Paul, they have become anarchists.

    Now, these people may not be hipster anarchists and they probably can’t quote arcane translations of 19th century European anarchists or even identify them by their beards.

    But the reality is that to the best of my limited knowledge, nobody is claiming that they are anarchists because of Wayne Root or Bob Barr.

    On the other hand, there are a number of young people who say they are Republicans because of Ron Paul.

    The fact that Ron Paul is in fact more libertarian than many in the LP should be something folks should ponder.

    Now, instead of debating private ownership of nukes or whether someone can sell themselves into slavery, let’s have a rollicking libertarian debate on the issue of regulating inter-dimensional time travel using non-consenting magical unicorns as the vehicle.

  146. Thomas L. Knapp

    “let’s have a rollicking libertarian debate on the issue of regulating inter-dimensional time travel using non-consenting magical unicorns as the vehicle.”

    What’s there to debate? It’s all good as long as your time machine is powered by a private nuclear reactor and you’re having sexual relations with the unicorn, right?

  147. Andy

    “Tom Blanton // Feb 26, 2013 at 11:34 pm

    Random anecdotal factoids that have popped up recently indicate that there are those that claim that because of Ron Paul, they have become anarchists.”

    I’ve met a lot of people who became libertarians because of Ron Paul, and some of these people went on to become anarcho-capitalists. A few of the ones who became anarcho-capitalists said that Ron Paul was their 101 course in liberty.

    “But the reality is that to the best of my limited knowledge, nobody is claiming that they are anarchists because of Wayne Root or Bob Barr.”

    I’ve met a lot of Libertarians/libertarians from all over the country, both in person and online, and I’ve yet to meet one person who has said that they became a libertarian because of Bob Barr or Wayne Root.

    “On the other hand, there are a number of young people who say they are Republicans because of Ron Paul.”

    These people always make it clear that they do not support the mainstream Republicans, and their only reason for being involved in the Republican Party is to move it in a pro-liberty direction and to get the message out to more people.

    I’ve actually met quite a few people in the Libertarian Party who joined after they got exposed to the ideas from Ron Paul’s campaigns in 2007-2008 and 2011-2012.

    “The fact that Ron Paul is in fact more libertarian than many in the LP should be something folks should ponder.”

    This is a rather sad commentary on the state of the Libertarian Party.

  148. Andy

    “Bob Barr was nothing more than an opportunity ”

    Should read: “Bob Barr was nothing more than an opportunist…”

    I think that opportunist might be giving Barr too much credit, because I also think that he may have been a saboteur. Either way he was obviously not really serious about the Libertarian Party or about libertarianism in general, and his campaign was one of the worst in LP history, maybe the worst.

  149. From Der Sidelines

    @108,

    No, it simply is calling a spade a spade. You post crap, that’s old news, and you can simply continue to mumble to yourself.

    You really shouldn’t expose yourself to such devastatements.

  150. From Der Sidelines

    Meanwhile, the rest of the thread has devolved for the umpteenth time of a retrospect of LP history and who is more libertarian than who in the classic LP dick-measuring contest that doesn’t matter a damn bit.

    No wonder Mr. Myers left…

  151. Andy

    “From Der Sidelines // Feb 27, 2013 at 1:11 am

    Meanwhile, the rest of the thread has devolved for the umpteenth time of a retrospect of LP history and who is more libertarian than who in the classic LP dick-measuring contest that doesn’t matter a damn bit.

    No wonder Mr. Myers left…”

    I don’t think John Jay Meyers left the LP, he just resigned from the LNC because he was too busy to deal with it.

  152. Robert Capozzi

    tb: …debate on the issue of regulating inter-dimensional time travel using non-consenting magical unicorns as the vehicle.

    me: I don’t debate, I share, so in this case I don’t support this regulation. As with all regulation, my default position is to leave it to the people, unless there is a compelling case for one.

    Sign me up! 😉

  153. Robert Capozzi

    165 Der: …devolved for the umpteenth time of a retrospect of LP history and who is more libertarian than who in the classic LP dick-measuring contest that doesn’t matter a damn bit.

    me: Jeez, I dunno, IPR comments are not the LNC. IPR is purely voluntary, and completely separate from the LP’s machinations.

    There’s a reason why there’s a perennial discussion about a theory and practice of liberty. If the theory doesn’t work, all that springs from the theory also doesn’t work.

    As for whether it matters “a damn bit,” whenever we sincerely share an idea, it is – for me at least – everything. It is “eternity, which is now,” as Rand told Donohue. Every single moment is like our last, and our first – the omega and the alpha.

    As the Sophia character said in VANILLA SKY: “Every passing minute is a chance to turn it all around.”

    Now, Der, you have ANOTHER chance! As do I!

  154. Robert Capozzi

    163 A: …. I also think that [Barr] may have been a saboteur.

    me: Sinister. Do you have further evidence of a conspiracy? Who was Barr playing Manchurian Candidate for?

  155. paulie

    I’m going to assume that Gary Johnson believes what he says he believes, so this puts him ahead of Bob Barr, but I think that if you put all of the issues on the table that Ron Paul comes out ahead on the radical libertarian scale.

    I think you are wrong, but that’s not an argument I want to waste my time on.

  156. Nicholas Sarwark

    @157: I can’t imagine that you would run on gun control as a primary issue. If you can’t pivot back to the issues you’re running on when faced with a question that’s off-topic, you should really go to some candidate training.

    You may not be cut out for being a candidate, but you could help grow the LP in other ways, e.g. volunteering to help with the newsletter or make calls to recruit other people to run for office.

    Nobody’s highest and best use is gadfly. Even Mencken, king of gadflies, did other good work.

  157. Robert Capozzi

    NS, yes, a property-rights approach to the gun issue likely would not be a primary issue were I ever to be a candidate, but it’s also not an issue to dodge, in my judgment.

    Lending a hand with the newsletter or recruiting would feel dishonest for me, since I would be promoting a lie. There is no cult, as we’ve established.

    Mencken was a professional, paid for his work. I am not. He worked for the Sun and Mercury.

    I am VERY slowly writing a book deconstructing films like REVOLVER, VANILLA SKY, and ABOUT SCHMIDT. Whether that goes anywhere remains to be seen.

    I’d say Socrates, Jesus, Gandhi, Lao Tzu, Lennon, and Buddha were all gadflys, and I’d say their relentless pursuit of truth are the only significant lifeboats we have here on Planet Crazy. Nicholson was speaking to the many in a FEW GOOD MEN when he said, “You can’t handle the truth.” But since truth is the only thing that can REALLY set us free, we’re all doin’ what we can.

    But sincere thanks for your kind thoughts….

  158. Nicholas Sarwark

    Lending a hand with the newsletter or recruiting would feel dishonest for me, since I would be promoting a lie. There is no cult, as we’ve established.

    You’ve only established that to your own satisfaction, certainly not to mine.

    If the LP is a lie, is there a political party you can support that’s not a lie? Or are you unwilling to support anything less than political perfection?

  159. Robert Capozzi

    NS, excellent question, Counselor. As I’ve said, the LP is the closest to my TAAAL-ist views. I certainly don’t expect it to be perfect.

    There are many issues where I just don’t grok a position…for ex., intellectual property seems murky to me. I have no position on which specific class of weapons are protected on one’s property, as I don’t know where a weapon becomes inherently dangerous, only that some are so. And, of course, the ever-murky life/choice issue.

    My sense is the LP and LM’s leadership believes – like you – that there actually IS a “cult.” My assessment is that that belief dooms L-ism to be an historical asterisk. There’s a word for seeing things that are not there, but I’ll leave that blank to you to fill in.

    OTOH, it could be that I will tonight be visited by the cult, perhaps the Free Masons. They may hypnotize me with the all-seeing eye, show me the secret handshake, and invite me to the next Bilderberg meeting.

    Possibilities that all fascinate and delight, don’tcha think? 😉

  160. Nicholas Sarwark

    @174: You say you don’t expect it to be perfect, but you won’t support it because it’s based on a lie. I interpret this answer as, “no, I am unwilling to support less than political perfection.”

    There are people who believe anything is acceptable if it’s the government that does it, up to and including the summary murder of Americans. They may not have meetings or a compound, but that’s a “cult of the omnipotent state,” and I reject it.

    Regardless, your choice not to support the LP because of a sentence in the Statement of Principles that you find overly hyperbolic is absurd.

    By their fruits, you shall know them.

  161. Marc Montoni

    Nick, trust me, it’s a waste of time.

    The discussion is exactly the same, every time. Read through those links I provided above, from what — 2006?

    It’s a low-quality rap recording that’s stuck in the first two bars.

  162. Zapper

    “… the LP is the closest to my TAAAL-ist views. I certainly don’t expect it to be perfect.” – RC @174

    Yes, I understand that while you don’t expect perfection, just a phrase or two of disagreement can cause appoplexy in some people. For you it’s “cult” and ” omnipotent.”

    For me, it’s people who don’t know that in American English we say “a historical asterisk” (pronounced “uh” historical) and not “an” as used by some Brits “an ‘istorical asterisk.”

    So, I could never accept being with you in an L party until you amend that usage … do you need a 7/8 vote?

  163. Jill Pyeatt

    Zapper @ 177: “For me, it’s people who don’t know that in American English we say “a historical asterisk” (pronounced “uh” historical) and not “an” as used by some Brits “an ‘istorical asterisk.”

    LOL. I do recall, however, being taught that “an historical” was also correct for Americans, but I’m older than you, probably (don’t know for sure, because I don’t know who you are ). I’m sure the language has evolved over time.

  164. Robert Capozzi

    175 NS: Regardless, your choice not to support the LP because of a sentence in the Statement of Principles that you find overly hyperbolic is absurd.

    me: I do support the LP, so your statement seems off. I vote L, and I’m often a member.

    So, let me try again. It’s not that I expect to agree with every single word that a party uses. The case here is that a blatant falsehood, the non-existent “cult of the omnipotent state,” is right at the beginning. It’s our introduction to the general public.

    To me, it’s like wearing a clown suit to a formal.

    It’s all good that you see an actual “cult” out there. Others in the LP do, too. I used to as well.

    I’d like to think that I woke up from that nightmare. I undid the shackles of Plato’s cave and just walked out.

    But, then again, maybe not.

    Try this…you’re in Denver now, yes? Stand outside opening day at Coors Field. Wear your best suit. Ask the first 100 people you see whether they believe there is a “cult of the omnipotent state”?

    Please, do this. Now, my guess is a few people might say “Yes,” although my guess is they will be humoring you. Maybe film this so you can assess the look on their face when you ask this.

    Watch all 100.

    You might find it eye-opening, and a bit scary. Hey, maybe, just maybe, Capozzi’s on to something. There actually may not be a cult. It might even lead to an existential crisis for you, but sometimes that is necessary here in the Vast Insane Asylum…. 😉

  165. Robert Capozzi

    Zapper, I speak and say “an historical.” It flows for me.

    Maybe it’s an east coast thing. Midwesterns may say “a historical.”

    It’s all good.

    English is a very elastic language, constantly changing. My counsel is: Deal.

  166. Thomas L. Knapp

    @180,

    “Stand outside opening day at Coors Field. Wear your best suit. Ask the first 100 people you see whether they believe there is a ‘cult of the omnipotent state’?”

    That would produce a data set roughly as reliable as the one you’d get by standing outside a Unification Church building and asking the first 100 people who walk out whether they believe there is a “cult of Sun Myung Moon.”

    There’s an old story — I’ve heard it so many times and from so many different sources, and with so many different descriptions given to the characters that I don’t know if it’s entirely apocryphal, or if it actually happened and mutated as it slowly became part of the cult’s meta-scripture.

    The story takes place during the Watergate scandal. A guy goes to someone’s house (in some versions it’s his dad, in others a business associate, etc.) for dinner.

    They sit down at the table to eat, and the visitor notices a portrait of Richard Nixon on the wall.

    “I didn’t know you supported Nixon,” he says.

    “I don’t,” the host replies. “I support the President of the United States.”

    The people who tell this story with the intent of using it as a tool of moral teaching are cultists of the omnipotent state. And no, they don’t think their belief system is a cult any more than the followers of Jim Jones or Marshall Applewhite did.

  167. Robert Capozzi

    182 tk, cute.

    It sounds like you might be taking my point on the Coors Field test, that the average American either doesn’t see such a cult and probably doesn’t know what omnipotent means. Am I correct?

    If so, then the idea that the LP introduces itself in such a manner could at least seem – what – odd to – hmm – most citizens, yes?

    You are reading shit into that parable that you want to. Heck, Ayn Rand wrote an essay (sexist as it was) on the subject, and you’ve already provided data that suggests she remains the most influential thinker in the LM. Hmm.

    But let’s stipulate that a certain amount of faith in an institution amounts to a “cult.” (In truth, I don’t, since I think the bar is much higher to reach “cult” status, but I’ll play along. Note that many Ls have a similar faith in the “rule of law,” even anarchoLs. In this sense, I don’t have faith in ANY institution, including law, so I’m personally quite radical in this regard, although I do happen to think that institutions are necessary to maintain domestic tranquility. None of the institutions are beyond critique, though, from where I sit.)

    “Omnipotence” is where the LP steps in the shit. If has a paranoid vibe, as if some want an Orwellian totalitarian state. No one has ever told me that’s what they want, but perhaps others are more candid with you. What has your experience been?

    Now, if one casually looks at folks like Jones and Icke, they seem to think that such advocates of omnipotence are out there. Jones and Icke could well be correct. The FreeMasons get Beyonce and JayZ to form the hand triangle and so forth. I’m sure I’m not giving this stuff its due, but it certainly comes off as severely whack to this playa.

    There may well be global conspiracies. My guess is there ARE global conspiracies to some extent. Whether they were behind 9/11 and fluoride, I just shrug my shoulders and say “Dunno.”

  168. Robert Capozzi

    175 ns: By their fruits, you shall know them.

    me: I recognize this is one translation of the NT. Like such much in the NT, it requires interpretation.

    Looked at through the prism of the highly useful notion of psychological projection, we might conclude that our judgments of another are based on our own thought systems. If you believe in “evil,” for ex., you will see “evil” in the world around you.

    If you believe in peace, love and liberty, that is what you will see in the “fruits.”

    Looked at through more worldly eyes, I do wonder what the “fruits” of the LP have been? The tree looks rather stunted to me, a case of arrested development.

    That could change, but the first step is honest introspection, I’d suggest.

  169. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC @ 183,

    “It sounds like you might be taking my point on the Coors Field test, that the average American either doesn’t see such a cult and probably doesn’t know what omnipotent means. Am I correct?”

    Yes, you are.

    “If so, then the idea that the LP introduces itself in such a manner could at least seem – what – odd to – hmm – most citizens, yes?”

    For the LP’s sake, I certainly hope so. If it isn’t odd, they have no reason whatsoever to pay any attention to it. They get all the “not odd” they want from the major parties.

    “But let’s stipulate that a certain amount of faith in an institution amounts to a ‘cult.'”

    OK. And for what it’s worth, I’ll stipulate that there are plenty of cults, and plenty of cultists, within the libertarian movement. Heck, I’m probably at least two or three cultists all by myself.

    “‘Omnipotence’ is where the LP steps in the shit. If has a paranoid vibe, as if some want an Orwellian totalitarian state. No one has ever told me that’s what they want, but perhaps others are more candid with you. What has your experience been?”

    My experience has been that among a large percentage of the population, there’s nothing the state has ever done that they consider “too much;” and that while they might posit, just for shits and giggles, the possibility of some future hypothetical being “too much,” when that hypothetical becomes actual, they open wide, say “ahhhhh” and swallow whatever it is without a second thought.

  170. Robert Capozzi

    186 tk, thank you for your candor. I’m pleased we agree as much as we do, although I mostly appreciate your thoughtfulness even when we DO disagree.

    And, yes, the “too much” thing is – I guess – disturbing. No matter what the government does, so do seem able to rationalize/justify just about anything.

    Nagasaki, for ex., was for me the single most dysfunctional act in human history, and yet very few seem to see it that way. The auto bailout is a less dramatic one, but the logic that even to think it was OK because it seemed to kinda, sorta work. As if there were no other options! Sheesh!

    So, yes, looking backward, while I do think “omnipotence” is a wild overstatement, certainly the exercise of political power seems to have few bounds. Still, most I encounter think Vietnam was a mistake, and nearly as many think Iraq II was a mistake. And then there’s government-sanctioned chattel slavery….

    I don’t know anyone who wants 100% government control…omnipotence.

  171. Andy

    “paulie // Feb 27, 2013 at 10:09 am

    ‘I’m going to assume that Gary Johnson believes what he says he believes, so this puts him ahead of Bob Barr, but I think that if you put all of the issues on the table that Ron Paul comes out ahead on the radical libertarian scale.’

    I think you are wrong, but that’s not an argument I want to waste my time on.”

    I’ve analyzed the facts, and Ron Paul clearly comes out ahead of Gary Johnson on the radical (aka-hardcore or pure) libertarian scale.

    Can you find libertarians that are more radical than Ron Paul? Sure, but Gary Johnson is not one of them.

  172. Andy

    “Robert Capozzi // Feb 27, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    a, do you possess a quantitative formula to ascertain ‘purity’?”

    I looked at all of the issues, and I also weight some of the issues as more important than others. For instance, I consider getting rid of the income tax and replacing it with nothing to be a superior position to getting rid of the income tax and replacing it with the Fair Tax. I also give a lot of weight to promoting jury nullification, something which Ron Paul has done on at least a limited basis, which Gary Johnson has been silent on the issue (and his VP candidate James Gray actually came out against it).

    I also look at their records. Johnson was a Nerf libertarian at best as Governor of New Mexico. Ron Paul put forth some radically libertarian bills as a US Congressman. Yes, I know that none of them passed, but at least he put them out there.

    Gary Johnson could have at least pardoned everyone who was convicted of a victimless crime in New Mexico right before he left office, but he did not do this. He only pardoned 128 people during the 8 years that he was Governor, and I’d be willing to bet that a lot more than that were either convicted of a victimless crime, or were railroaded by the government is some other way. He could have done something about it before he left office, but he did not.

  173. Thomas L. Knapp

    I t’s easy to make the case for Paul being more “pure” than Johnson.

    All you have to do is listen carefully on the days he tells libertarians what they want to hear, and stick your fingers in your ears on the days he tells conservatives the exact opposite, and — voila! — he’s anything you want him to be.

    He slices. He dies. He even juliennes! Make your check for $19.95 out to RonCo! Offer void where prohibited by Lew.

  174. Andy

    “Thomas L. Knapp // Feb 27, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    I t’s easy to make the case for Paul being more ‘pure’ than Johnson.

    All you have to do is listen carefully on the days he tells libertarians what they want to hear, and stick your fingers in your ears on the days he tells conservatives the exact opposite, and — voila! — he’s anything you want him to be.”

    Or you can actually look at the bills he put forth in Congress, as well as his actual voting record, plus you can examine his extensive writings and news interviews, a lot of which is documented online.

  175. paulie

    I’ve analyzed the facts, and Ron Paul clearly comes out ahead of Gary Johnson on the radical (aka-hardcore or pure) libertarian scale.

    Again, I have too and I disagree, and again, I don’t feel like debating it yet again.

  176. Tom Blanton

    To me, it’s like wearing a clown suit to a formal.

    Depending on your definition of “clown”, it could be that everyone wears a clown suit to a “formal”.

    Saying that there is no such thing as the cult of the omnipotent state is like wearing a Nazi uniform and clown shoes to an AIPAC sock-hop.

    There are numerous cults of omnipotent government, including some factions of the LP.

  177. paulie

    Robert,

    You are getting wrapped around an axle for no good reason. Most people aren’t introduced to any political party by reading its platform, and even fewer get wrapped around the axle of the preamble – if they read the platform at all, they kind of glaze over that part and go on to the issue specifics.

    True, there are a tiny number of people who are platform junkies, and some of them may be turned off by the flowery prose of “cult of the omnipotent state” while some find it to be right on. But it’s simply wrong to think that this is the reason the LP is not much bigger than it is.

    The main reasons why the LP is not much bigger: institutional problems of alternative parties in the US political system; passive recruiting; perhaps infiltration by government saboteurs, although there’s no direct proof of that.

    To the extent that we have some ideological rigidity, it keeps us from going the way of the Reform Party.

    We’re at the upper limit of what alternative parties of any ideology have been able to do in the US in the last half century in any sustained fashion.

    It’s possible that we could do better without collapsing, but I doubt that has much of anything to do with the platform (much less its preamble) – it has to do with nuts and bolts organization, training, etc.

    The idea that any issue statement we make would all of a sudden make us a major party is way off. That is just not how it works.

  178. Thomas L. Knapp

    Paulie @ 196,

    I don’t think Capozzi is saying that the “cult of the omnipotent state” language is what keeps the LP from growing.

    Rather, I think he is saying that that language is a visible symptom of serious underlying pathologies that keep the LP the LP from growing.

    I have to partially agree with him on the underlying pathology thing. The LP has, among other things, a bad case of multiple personality disorder, and its refusal to either actively embrace, or formally repudiate, or hell, even tell the fucking truth about, its anarchist founding principles, membership pledge, etc. is plausibly at the bottom of it.

  179. Robert Capozzi

    197 TK, yes, thank you. “A visible symptom of serious underlying pathologies” is a great way to put my position on CotOS.

  180. Robert Capozzi

    more….

    Say cooler heads prevailed at the next convention and the entire SoP was deleted. While that would be helpful, if the LP’s leadership continued to believe there is such a (non-existent) cult and the thought system that allows them to see what is not there, the LP would have treated a symptom, while not addressing the root cause.

    As Talking Heads reminded us, “Pull up the roots.”

  181. Robert Capozzi

    195 tb: There are numerous cults of omnipotent government,….

    me: At the risk of beating this dead horse, OK, who are these people who blindly follow an all-powerful, totalitarian government? If they exist, show us.

    Don’t waste our time with people who a mere statists. That WOULD be pretty much everyone. We need the names of the totalitarians! Those who want everything in life to be controlled by government.

    Or continue to deflect. Your choice.

  182. Andy

    Robert Capozzi said: “OK, who are these people who blindly follow an all-powerful, totalitarian government?”

    This sounds a lot like the typical Democrat and Republican voter to me.

  183. Andy

    “Robert Capozzi // Feb 28, 2013 at 5:51 am

    more….

    Say cooler heads prevailed at the next convention and the entire SoP was deleted.”

    Eliminating a hardcore statement of libertarian principles would put the Libertarian Party a step closer to being like the Democrats and Republicans, as in not having any principles.

  184. Robert Capozzi

    201 a: This sounds a lot like the typical Democrat and Republican voter to me.

    me: Really? When you petition, for ex., and you meet an R or D, they tell you something like, “No, I won’t sign. I want the government to control 100% of my life and everyone else’s.”

    IF that’s your experience, please start to record these encounters. I’d love to be incorrect on my assessment that most want the government a bit bigger or a bit smaller.

  185. Andy

    Thomas L. Kapp said: “Rather, I think he is saying that that language is a visible symptom of serious underlying pathologies that keep the LP the LP from growing.”

    Here are things that hinder the growth of the LP (in no particular order):

    1) Lack of outreach. There are way too many Libertarians who do little or nothing more than preach to the choir and debate minutia. Out of what little outreach does take place, much of it is skewed toward computer geeks and disgruntled Republicans/conservatives.

    2) Poor political strategy. I’ve seen numerous instances where the Libertarian Party missed big opportunities to gain a lot of publicity, make a good showing in a race, and in some cases, even win a race, yet these opportunities were blown because of poor planning & strategy. Heck, in the election we just had this past November the Libertarian Party had a realistic chance to have elected candidates to the state legislature in South Carolina and Colorado. These candidates would have stood a very good chance of being elected if more money and volunteers had gone into those districts. I could go on with a lot more examples of botched opportunities.

    3) Party infighting/dysfunction. Some people in the party seem more concerned with battling other party members than they do in battling the state. I actually suspect that the Libertarian Party is infiltrated with plants who act as saboteurs, provocateurs, and informants. I can’t prove this so it is just speculation, but it would not surprise me if it is true.

    4) The ballot access laws. Some of them aren’t overly difficult, but some of them are very difficult. The Libertarian Party is definitely being held back in several states due to the ballot access laws being too unreasonable. Another factor here is that for far too long, too many members of the LNC as well as too many people in state LP leadership rolls fail to grasp the concept of using ballot access drives as a way to grow the party by using them to disseminate Libertarian Party information and sign interested members of the public up on a party contact list. I’ve been preaching this for years, yet most of my preaching has fallen on death ears.

    5) Media bias. The Libertarian Party does not get a fair shake in the media. This does not happen by accident, nor does it happen because there is not a “free market demand” for the Libertarian Party to be covered. The Libertarian Party does not receive much coverage in the media because the mainstream media is in bed with the government. I think with some hard work and creativity, the Libertarian Party could get more coverage than it gets, but given that big government and big media are so intimately tied together don’t expect the Libertarian Party to ever get a fair shake from the mainstream media. The Libertarian Party can get more fair treatment in the alternative media, and the party should work to help build up the alternative media.

    6) Getting shut out of debates. The Commission on Presidential Debates exists to keep Libertarian Party candidates for President, as well as other minor party and independent candidates, out of the Presidential debates. Sure, there are some states where Libertarian Party candidates have been able to get in debates, but LP candidates are still shut out of most debates in this country, and even for the ones they are able to get in these debates are not watched by nearly as many people who watch the Presidential debates.

    OK, these are 6 reasons as to why the Libertarian Party is not more successful, and not one of them has to do with platform planks or the Statement of Principles.

  186. Robert Capozzi

    a: …not one of them has to do with platform planks or the Statement of Principles.

    me: Please re-read TK’s 197. Do you understand what “visible symptom of serious underlying pathologies” means? By the words in 204, it appears you do not.

    So, yet again, it’s not the planks per se. It’s the underlying thought system that allow people to believe things that are not so. And to overstate wildly things that ARE so.

    Fix the thought system, the pathology, not the symptom.

  187. Andy

    I just thought of one more that I should add.

    7) The wasted vote syndrome. Much of the public has been indoctrinated by the media and education system to believe that if you vote for anyone other than a Democrat or Republican that they are throwing their vote away. There are people out there who vote who actually agree with the Libertarian Party, or agree more with the Libertarian Party than they do with the Democrats and Republicans, yet they won’t vote for us because the the wasted vote syndrome. It is easier for these people to “hold their nose and vote for the lesser of two evils” than it is for them to break their two party system conditioning and vote for LP candidates.

  188. Andy

    Robert Capozzi said: “me: Please re-read TK’s 197. Do you understand what ‘visible symptom of serious underlying pathologies’ means? By the words in 204, it appears you do not.”

    Yes I do, and I disagree with him (and you) that this problem that you perceive has anything to do with the LP not being more successful right now.

  189. Andy

    Robert Capozzi said: “It’s the underlying thought system that allow people to believe things that are not so. And to overstate wildly things that ARE so.”

    I really don’t see this as a reason for the party not being more successful right now.

    Maybe the difference between us is that I’ve gone out and engaged in a lot of real world politics while you’ve engaged in a lot of arm chair theorizing, so we have different perspectives.

  190. Robert Capozzi

    a 207, excellent. So, now, since you continue to deflect, I have to assume that you don’t actually believe that most Rs and Ds desire a totalitarian government.

    (Please stop me if I am incorrect. Then show us all your findings where people say they want total government control of everything.)

    So, yes, while there are many, many obstacles for the LP’s success, what is the ONE thing that the LP can control? What is the ONE thing you can control?

    Your thoughts, right? Your beliefs.

    If you discover that your beliefs are incorrect, what’s the next thing to do? Fix your beliefs. Re-orient your beliefs to reality vs. fantasy.

    A liberated mind seems far more likely to address obstacles effectively vs. a delusional one, yes?

  191. Andy

    “209 Robert Capozzi // Feb 28, 2013 at 7:11 am

    a 207, excellent. So, now, since you continue to deflect, I have to assume that you don’t actually believe that most Rs and Ds desire a totalitarian government.”

    No, I do think that most R’s and D’s desire some form of totalitarian government. They may differ on the details and the severity, but I think that it is something that a lot of them desire. I think that some among their ranks would actually favor something along the lines of the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany if they could get away with it (which they may at some point).

  192. Andy

    Robert Capozzi: “(Please stop me if I am incorrect. Then show us all your findings where people say they want total government control of everything.)”

    I say the above after having talked about politics for a lot of years with a whole lot of people (both in person and over the net).

  193. Eric Sundwall

    Every third party suffers from first past the post plurality districts.

    The LP is successful because it continues to exist in space that it has defined through its principles. Winning doesn’t matter.

  194. Andy

    Robert Capozzi said: “So, yes, while there are many, many obstacles for the LP’s success, what is the ONE thing that the LP can control? What is the ONE thing you can control?”

    Something the LP can control is engaging in more outreach, and to more diverse groups of people. Another thing is to engage in more intelligent political strategies (I’m going to refrain from going off on a dissertation on this subject now).

    Sure, there are some things that we don’t have much control over and are therefore more difficult to change, but just increasing the amount of outreach and utilizing some intelligent strategy.planning would put the party quite a bit ahead of where it is now.

  195. Robert Capozzi

    Then in your case, Andy, I do think there is a cult of the omnipotent state, for all intents and purposes.

    My experience is VERY different.

    You might consider doing a documentary with all these Rs and Ds would desire totalitarianism. I and others might even be persuaded back to deontological absolutism, proudly stating that we too challenge the cult of the omnipotent state!

  196. Andy

    Robert Capozzi: “If you discover that your beliefs are incorrect, what’s the next thing to do? Fix your beliefs. Re-orient your beliefs to reality vs. fantasy.”

    Tell this to the Democrats and Republicans.

  197. Andy

    “Robert Capozzi // Feb 28, 2013 at 7:23 am

    Then in your case, Andy, I do think there is a cult of the omnipotent state, for all intents and purposes.

    My experience is VERY different.

    You might consider doing a documentary with all these Rs and Ds would desire totalitarianism.”

    Many Democrats and Republicans fall into one of two categories:

    1) They are control freaks or wannbe control freaks,

    2) They don’t like to think for themselves and prefer to be lead around by control freaks.

    Are there exceptions to this? Sure, but a large percentage of them fall into category 1 or 2.

  198. Robert Capozzi

    215 A, yes, the Rs and Ds should hear this as well. But, me, I’m a first things firster.

    If I’ve made a mistake, I fix my mistake before telling others to fix theirs. At least, that’s my practice.

    You may have a different approach….

  199. Andy

    As for the “cult of the omnipotent state,” yes, this may sound a bit dramatic, but that doesn’t mean that it is not true.

    I think that having a hardcore statement of Libertarian principles for people to sign is important. Perhaps the wording could be altered, but whatever the words is it should remain a hardcore statement of Libertarian principles.

  200. Robert Capozzi

    216 A, yes, I see the control-freak/submissive thing, too.

    What I don’t see is advocacy of totalitarianism. I definitely would like to see your documentary exposing this, though….

  201. Robert Capozzi

    218 a: As for the “cult of the omnipotent state,” yes, this may sound a bit dramatic, but that doesn’t mean that it is not true.

    me: Allow me to rephrase, then. CotOS is directionally correct, but not true, is this your point?

    If so, I agree.

    “Hardcore” is a subjective thing. I consider myself “hardcore,” for ex., though I suspect you would not.

    Again, a thought system will elicit a number of interpretations. If it’s flawed, the output will be flawed.

  202. Andy

    Robert Capozzi said: “me: Allow me to rephrase, then. CotOS is directionally correct, but not true, is this your point?

    If so, I agree. ”

    I think that “cult of the omnipotent state” is true, I’m just saying that I could see how it could sound overly dramatic to some people. Omnipotent is a word that is probably not even a regular part of most people’s vocabulary.

  203. Thomas L. Knapp

    Clarification:

    When I agree with Capozzi that the LP has severe pathologies, I’m not saying that I agree on the precise nature of those pathologies, or that those pathologies are important factors in its lack of political success.

    I believe that the biggest factor in the LP’s lack of success is that it exists in a system which only accommodates two big players in general, and which has been continuously tweaked since the end of the Civil War to entrench two particular big players to the exclusion of all others.

  204. Robert Capozzi

    If I had capital, I would def. finance your capturing on video all these explicit, overt totalitarians that you meet. I’m always up for a reversal of thought.

  205. Robert Capozzi

    tk 222, I track and tracked that, fwiw.

    It’s one thing to understand, another to agree. You understand, and only agree with me to some extent, certainly not in the specifics of my take.

    I get it…I think!

  206. paulie

    Something the LP can control is engaging in more outreach, and to more diverse groups of people. Another thing is to engage in more intelligent political strategies (I’m going to refrain from going off on a dissertation on this subject now).

    Sure, there are some things that we don’t have much control over and are therefore more difficult to change, but just increasing the amount of outreach and utilizing some intelligent strategy.planning would put the party quite a bit ahead of where it is now.

    Exactly. There are thousands of things the LP can control that would matter a lot more than the statement of principles.

  207. paulie

    Rather, I think he is saying that that language is a visible symptom of serious underlying pathologies that keep the LP from growing.

    As far as I can see, those “pathologies” are largely gone – most active LP members don’t think or talk like that these days. And if anything the LP has gone downhill as a result.

    There are a lot of things the LP can do to be more successful. Andy has covered some of the major ones. Dicking around with the statement of principles is not one of them.

    I think, although Robert has moved away from his Randian-Rothbardian position of yore, it still looms large in his mind. Grand pronouncements have a disproportionate role in such thought systems. Real world politics just doesn’t work like that.

  208. Robert Capozzi

    P, yes, dicking around with the SoP would not be helpful. Deletion is indicated.

    Concur on real-world politics, it’s incremental, not grand. I don’t believe the baby should be thrown out with the bathwater, though. Generically aspirational notions help us keep our eyes on the prize while we seek positive, continuous improvement.

    You may be correct that the LP is over the Randian-Rothbardian delusion/pathology. Yet I see many manifestations of that/those thought systems in official pronouncements.

  209. paulie

    dicking around with the SoP would not be helpful. Deletion is indicated.

    I don’t think it needs deletion. To me it falls under the “Generically aspirational notions help us keep our eyes on the prize while we seek positive, continuous improvement” you allude to below. Individual platform planks can be deleted or changed with a low threshold. Having the 7/8 requirement for the SoP means that we will remain at least somewhat libertarian even when we get a group of delegates like we did in Oregon. On the heels of the 2006 (platform deletion) and 2008 (presidential ticket) conventions it’s possible we could have become something other than libertarian in any identifiable way except name. Some people think we are already there, but I would say that’s an exaggeration.

    Concur on real-world politics, it’s incremental, not grand. I don’t believe the baby should be thrown out with the bathwater, though. Generically aspirational notions help us keep our eyes on the prize while we seek positive, continuous improvement.

    That’s exactly what I think. Thus I am happy with the SoP. But I don’t place an overly large emphasis on it. It’s not the first thing I would (or have) handed out as outreach material, for example.

  210. Robert Capozzi

    Let me amend, then: Generically aspirational notions that ARE TRUE help us….

    The SoP is, IMO, false and the product of a collision of Randian and Rothbardian constructs. It’s not aspirational for me, it’s a fallacious nightmare.

    Prolly time to go back to navel gazing…. 😉

  211. Paulie

    I don’t get too wrapped up in its particulars. It helps moor us to being ideologically libertarian. Beyond that, I am much more interested in short term/ nuts and bolts stuff.

  212. Paulie

    I think you mean the right, or at least some people on the right? The reference I found with a text search at that link was

    RB @RBPundit

    Bob Woodward was as close to a deity as you could get on the left. He calls out Obama once and the cult goes for the jugular.

  213. Tom Blanton

    When I agree with Capozzi that the LP has severe pathologies, I’m not saying that I agree on the precise nature of those pathologies, or that those pathologies are important factors in its lack of political success.

    America in general has pathologies. Those involved in politics and government have severe pathologies.

    People who vote, regardless of who they vote for, fall into the cult of the omnipotent state as they seek to use government in one way or another to achieve their agenda.

    Nobody walks around saying they want government to control 100% of every facet of life, but many seem to accept whatever government mandate is foisted on them – even as some may complain, they comply.

    The strategy of “working within the system” has been pretty much a waste of time for those seeking actual freedom (as opposed to those who wish to “maximize freedom” in a near totalitarian environment). Voting for candidates that have no chance of winning and that moderate their resistance to statism in order to attract statists has proved to be of little value.

    These are fatal pathologies that exist within the “freedom movement”. As long as fearful subjects comply with tyrants, they don’t give a shit if you complain or object – just so long as you work within the system they have designed to ensure that the opposition will always fail to disrupt the status quo.

    The human desire to belong and be accepted drives people into political cults and fear keeps them there. If you are interested in freedom, politics (including the LP) is a distraction.

    Ideas are all that matters. If you want change, you need to change your mind and the minds of others. You sure as hell aren’t going to change the minds of others if you only present to them ideas that they already embrace in hopes of gaining their acceptance. This is the way of the radical centrist ultra-moderate absolutist who clings to the cult of omnipotent government yet denies the cult exists.

    If you believe that resistance is futile and compliance (working within their system) is the way forward, then you are doomed to remain in the cult’s cage of oppression forever with the boot on your soul as well as your neck.

    The people who started the LP looked at political campaigns as a way to spread a message of freedom to people. Then came the debate lockdowns and the media blackouts. Then came the LP members that thought running Republicans would appeal to the mainstream and any message of freedom might turn off voters.

    So, what has the LP accomplished? As an organization that facilitates networking for some freedom advocates, it has served a purpose. But, you don’t need a political party with all that entails just to do that.

    Hell, if all you want is a little more freedom and a tiny tax cut, join Freedom Works. Vote for liars that will promise you these things – at least you’ll get some lip service. But, if you are looking for freedom, you won’t find it in a fucking voting booth – even if you earn a living from electoral politics as it exists.

    Remember, everyone who votes believes in a government powerful enough to do what that voter wants it to do and a government that powerful can always do what you don’t want it to.

    Perhaps nobody wants government to control 100% of their lives, but what about 50%, or 90%, or 20%?

    Does a totalitarian government become a beacon of freedom merely by allowing its subjects 1 or 2 simple freedoms?

    Perhaps the raging moderate faction of the LP could be pacified by changing the language from “the cult of the omnipotent state” to “the cult of government”. Oh wait, never mind. They belong to the cult of government and wouldn’t like that. Or would they deny that as they enter the voting booth.

  214. Robert Capozzi

    233 tb: Ideas are all that matters. If you want change, you need to change your mind and the minds of others. You sure as hell aren’t going to change the minds of others if you only present to them ideas that they already embrace in hopes of gaining their acceptance.

    me: My Inner Lao Tzu agrees in large measure. Ideas are everything. For me. For you. Changing other minds, however, really is a tricky business, and ultimately no I don’t think we need to hold high the banner of nonarchotopia to change other minds.

    Of course, my mind was once changed by AR and MNR. I’ve changed it again, thanks to the help of Lao Tzu.

    How do you know, Seer B, that presenting ideas other embrace can’t change minds? Present your epistemic cognitive theory, if you please.

  215. paulie

    People who vote, regardless of who they vote for, fall into the cult of the omnipotent state as they seek to use government in one way or another to achieve their agenda.

    If their agenda is getting monopoly government out of their lives as much as possible I would say that does not apply.

    The strategy of “working within the system” has been pretty much a waste of time for those seeking actual freedom (as opposed to those who wish to “maximize freedom” in a near totalitarian environment). Voting for candidates that have no chance of winning and that moderate their resistance to statism in order to attract statists has proved to be of little value.

    I don’t agree.

    It has an effect, but mostly indirect. I think we would have been further along the road to serfdom if the LP had never existed and pushed our ideas. What’s more, a lot of the non-LP and even anti-LP libertarian movement grew out of the LP and people brought into the movement by the LP.

    The human desire to belong and be accepted drives people into political cults and fear keeps them there. If you are interested in freedom, politics (including the LP) is a distraction.

    It’s a way to reach people who only pay attention to philosophy and ideas in the context of politics and elections. There are a lot of people who start that way and end up in other aspects of the freedom movement.

    So, what has the LP accomplished?

    Many things, from blocking some bad legislation, to electing some people who have made changes at the local level, to bringing people in to the larger freedom movement.

    If you think Ron Paul’s runs have done anything good – the national lists he built and the core team of his early campaign grassroots in 2007 had a lot to do with his LP run 20 years earlier. For those who think the CATO institute has had a positive impact – it grew out of the LP.

    Nobody walks around saying they want government to control 100% of every facet of life

    Well, few people. But many people willingly cooperate with every step along the road.

    They aren’t a cult of the omnipotent state because they have achieved everything that an omnipotent state could ever want. Only because they are on that path. They believe that for any problem in the world – drugs, poverty, terrorism, unemployment, violence, you name it – there’s a government solution; all we have to do is mandate, outlaw, regulate or spend and we can magically achieve whatever we want.

    Ideas are all that matters. If you want change, you need to change your mind and the minds of others.

    The LP is one way of spreading our ideas to many people who would never notice them otherwise.

    You sure as hell aren’t going to change the minds of others if you only present to them ideas that they already embrace in hopes of gaining their acceptance.

    I agree. Hence my internal politics within the LP.

    The people who started the LP looked at political campaigns as a way to spread a message of freedom to people. Then came the debate lockdowns and the media blackouts. Then came the LP members that thought running Republicans would appeal to the mainstream and any message of freedom might turn off voters.

    The struggle continues. Inside and outside the LP.

    As an organization that facilitates networking for some freedom advocates, it has served a purpose. But, you don’t need a political party with all that entails just to do that.

    It’s one of the tools in the toolbox, better for some things than anything else.

    Remember, everyone who votes believes in a government powerful enough to do what that voter wants it to do

    For some of us that is “nothing” or “very, very little.”

  216. Tom Blanton

    If you think Ron Paul’s runs have done anything good – the national lists he built and the core team of his early campaign grassroots in 2007 had a lot to do with his LP run 20 years earlier. For those who think the CATO institute has had a positive impact – it grew out of the LP.

    Exactly my point. Ron Paul never passed any of his legislation and he never succeeded in his bids for the presidency. What he did do was run on IDEAS that weren’t popular and he helped to change minds.

    Some people seem to think you can change people’s minds by telling them what they already believe. People like Capozzi, Barr and Root think you should change your message so that others will accept you. This just doesn’t change the way people think.

    It seems you essentially agree with me, paulie, that the LP has been good as a networking platform for freedom activists, but it certainly hasn’t accomplished what many LP members claim its sole reason for existence is: to win elections.

    We can never know what bad things have been prevented from happening as a result of the LP just as we can’t know what bad things haven’t happened as a result of my magic amulet.

    I can only say that the LP would be much more effective at spreading libertarian ideas if it concentrated on spreading actual libertarian ideas.

    I would disagree that CATO came out of the LP and I would say that a lot of what they do has little to do with real libertarian ideas.

    Using government controlled vouchers for schools to alleviate the government control of schools and conflating privatization with outsourcing are just two things CATO does that smacks of GOP bullshit.

  217. paulie

    Exactly my point. Ron Paul never passed any of his legislation and he never succeeded in his bids for the presidency. What he did do was run on IDEAS that weren’t popular and he helped to change minds.

    He passed one piece of legislation, but essentially you are correct.

    And the LP played a role in making that possible.

    Some people seem to think you can change people’s minds by telling them what they already believe.

    No, but you’ll have a hard time convincing them if you start from wildly different premises. In some cases it is better to shock and fish slap, but in many cases you make more progress by nudging a little bit at a time.

    And in some cases you are telling people what they already believe, but they never had a name for it or a movement of like-minded people to connect their beliefs with action.

    It seems you essentially agree with me, paulie, that the LP has been good as a networking platform for freedom activists, but it certainly hasn’t accomplished what many LP members claim its sole reason for existence is: to win elections.

    It has won some elections, mostly at the local level. A very few mid sized city and state legislative level.

    I don’t agree with the people who think that is our sole reason for existence. I tend to agree with the multiple reasons laid out in the purposes section of the LP bylaws

    https://www.lp.org/files/2012%20LP%20Bylaws%20and%20Convention%20Rules%20w%202012%20JC%20Rules.pdf Article 3

    and by David Nolan in http://elfsoft.home.mindspring.com/politics/nolan.htm

    The Case For a Libertarian Political Party
    David F. Nolan
    (From the July-August 1971 Individualist)

    All of which leads this writer inexorably to the conclusion that the time has come for us to form our own party. We have the numbers to mount a meaningful effort, nationwide. We have both a desire and a need to achieve visible results. And, despite the fact that we certainly aren’t going to elect “one of ours” as President of the United States – at least not in 1972 – there are a number of advantages to be gained by such action.

    First, and perhaps most important, we will be able to get a great deal more news coverage for ourselves and our ideas than we have ever gotten before. Public interest in political issues and philosophies is always at an all-time high during Presidential election years, and the media people are actively seeking news in this area.

    As a direct consequence of this fact, we will probably reach (and hopefully convert) far more people than we usually do; hopefully, some of these people will turn out to support our candidates, and will thus enable to locate hitherto-unlocatable libertarians (or at least sympathizers).

    Third, we will be able to get some idea of how much support we really do have (at least in potential form) around the country; if we can get 100,000 votes the first time out, we know there are at least 100,000 libertarians out there – and whatever number we get, we can figure that it represents only a small fraction of the total, as not all of our potential supporters will even hear about our efforts, and many of those who do will be in States where we can’t get on the ballot.

    Fourth, a libertarian political party would provide a continuing “focal point” for libertarian activity – something that “one-shot” projects do not provide.

    Fifth, we will be able to hasten the already emerging coalition between the libertarian “left” and libertarian “right”. At the moment, the former group is supporting people like Eugene McCarthy, while the latter is supporting people like Barry Goldwater. A truly libertarian party would draw support both from such “leftist” groups as the Institute for the Study of Non-Violence and the American Civil Liberties Union, and from “rightist” groups like the John Birch Society and the Liberty Amendment Committee, however. This would increase the political impact of the libertarian “movement”, as “leftist” and “rightist” libertarians now usually wind up voting so as to cancel each other (when they vote at all). Furthermore, libertarian votes now get lumped in with “liberal” and “conservative” votes, whereas the votes received by a libertarian party would not be hidden in this manner.

    A sixth point is favor of establishing a libertarian party is that by its mere existence, it would put some pressure on the other parties to take a more libertarian stand.

    An finally, there is always the possibility that we might actually get some libertarians elected.

    Back to Blanton:

    We can never know what bad things have been prevented from happening as a result of the LP just as we can’t know what bad things haven’t happened as a result of my magic amulet.

    No, but I can safely guess that the LP has been more effective.

    I can only say that the LP would be much more effective at spreading libertarian ideas if it concentrated on spreading actual libertarian ideas.

    Agreed. And, despite everything, for the most part I think it does.

    We could do better, and I’m working on it as best I can.

    I would disagree that CATO came out of the LP and I would say that a lot of what they do has little to do with real libertarian ideas.

    There’s room for debate on that, but the same may be said of the Mises Institute/Lew Rockwell/Antiwar.com crowd to some extent.

    Using government controlled vouchers for schools to alleviate the government control of schools and conflating privatization with outsourcing are just two things CATO does that smacks of GOP bullshit.

    The point wasn’t about whether any particular organization is ideal in its approach. You seem to have missed the forest for a tree in this case.

  218. Thomas L. Knapp

    @238,

    I would disagree that CATO came out of the LP and I would say that a lot of what they do has little to do with real libertarian ideas.

    There’s room for debate on that, but the same may be said of the Mises Institute/Lew Rockwell/Antiwar.com crowd to some extent.

    Antiwar.com is not a libertarian web site. It’s an anti-war website that happens to be operated by libertarians.

  219. paulie

    @239 Yes, I know. But the fact that they are libertarians, the connections they made through the LP, etc., has a lot to do with why it was created.

    I also just noticed that TB said he *dis*agrees that CATO came out of the LP. At the time it was created, Crane, Rothbard (who was involved at the time), and the Kochs who were funding it were all involved in the LP.

  220. Thomas L. Knapp

    @240,

    “I also just noticed that TB said he *dis*agrees that CATO came out of the LP. At the time it was created, Crane, Rothbard (who was involved at the time), and the Kochs who were funding it were all involved in the LP.”

    My impression has always been that Cato “came out of the LP,” but I don’t suppose that’s necessarily the case.

    Yes, its founders were involved in the LP at the time they started Cato, but hadn’t they been doing stuff together before the LP ever existed? I’m fuzzy on the history, but I seem to recall that Crane worked with the Kochs in the 1960s and that the Kochs funded one of Rothbard’s publications during that same time period. If that’s the case, both their involvement in the LP and the founding of Cato might have both been independent consequences of the earlier associations, rather than the latter stemming from the former.

  221. Robert Capozzi

    237 tb: Some people seem to think you can change people’s minds by telling them what they already believe. People like Capozzi, Barr and Root think you should change your message so that others will accept you. This just doesn’t change the way people think.

    me: The Extraordinary Blanton claims to read minds, and in my case incorrectly. My particular political message is an invitation to respect the peaceful behavior of others. It’s not that the NAP is moral, and all aggression is immoral, or somesuch. I’m just not into confrontational, sanctimonious nostrums for a lot of reasons that I could share with you, if you’d like me to.

    I do think there are inherently dangerous weapons, I don’t think fetuses are parasites, etc., in short, I don’t find the NAPsolutistic approach to be workable on any level.

    Since I think the NAP premise doesn’t work, it stands to reason that I think the “message” should change. As a radical, I find it most useful to start at the beginning, to check premises.

    But, yes, I do think that how one messages is an important consideration. And changing minds is the point of any marketing campaign. Politics is a game of persuasion, preferably by attracting large numbers toward your way of thinking.

    You may have the rhetorical firepower to convince large numbers that, for ex., there is no such thing as inherently dangerous weapons, but honestly, I a) disagree and b) am skeptical that you are THAT skilled.

    Prove me wrong.

  222. paulie

    Sounds like Grundmann’s challenges to prove that e.g. evolution or global warming are real to his satisfaction. 🙂

  223. George Phillies

    Barr “came out of the LP”, to the extent that he was ever there, has prepared to run again as a candidate of the party of those people, but that does not make him a Libertarian.

  224. paulie

    Barr has come out of the Republican Party and has returned to it after a brief interlude. Whether they’ll let him run for anything again remains to be seen.

  225. paulie

    Sure.

    Try conceiving of the cult of the omnipotent state in directional, rather than absolute “already there” terms.

    Think of it as an unconscious mindset that leads people to move, in most cases unaware, slowly but surely towards a totalitarian state.

    Ask yourself whether some things that seem “normal” now – like extrajudicial drone strikes on Americans, to take just one example – were even imaginable 20 years ago.

    Instead of worrying so much about whether individuals will be free to own weapons of mass destruction or not in some hypothetical future, shouldn’t we be more worried about whether we are headed for a panopticon-meets-Pol Pot kind of nightmare?

    And if we do manage to reverse course, isn’t there plenty of time to decide just how free we will allow ourselves to be?

    Thinking in terms of direction, rather than end points, makes sense to me. How about you?

  226. robert capozzi

    P, yes, music to my ears. It’s almost always about direction. Which is why my counsel is to hone the hard edges. Whipping up hysteria seems contra-indicated.

  227. paulie

    Rather than worrying about a statement that takes 7/8 of convention delegates to change, and which few people read much less read much into, it seems we have real work to do to build the party to what extent we can and make it a greater incremental force.

    If we can get it to the level of the Socialist, Progressive, Populist and Prohibition parties around a century ago, we can spur real major policy changes. Seems to me to be an eminently achievable goal.

  228. robert capozzi

    Right. My take is to persuade fellow Ls to abandon extremism and absolutism, which I find to be counterproductive and damaging to the cause of liberty.

  229. Deran

    As a non-libertarian capitalist, but a longtime Leftist, I find it fascinating to see similar conflicts within both camps – Maximalism v Minimalism. Insurrectionism v Encrementalism.

    One thing I will say; look at the splintered socialist Left in the US, a million shards of socialism, and nothing gets accomplished.

    The LP is in better technical shape than the socialist Left,for sure, but the fight between having an inclusive or exclusive party is a struggle I recognize!

  230. NewFederalist

    “I’m in favor of an inclusive party, but one which does not become non-ideological.”

    You mean like the Ds and Rs?

  231. paulie

    Reform Party would be an example of the pitfalls of non-ideology.

    Democrats and Republicans are bad models for us. What holds them together is dispensing political favors, which we can’t really do.

  232. NewFederalist

    Our best model IMHO is the Prohibition Party. Be SO different that you are bulletproof. Drop all the left-libertarian and right-libertarian nonsense and just be libertarian which is BOTH left and right and NEITHER left nor right. Like I said… bulletproof. You may win few elections but the party could control most election outcomes which makes it a force to be reckoned with.

  233. paulie

    Prohibition party was/is not single issue, despite the name. It is conventionally social conservative.

    I agree that we should work to control election outcomes, as well as challenge otherwise unchallenged incumbents.

  234. NewFederalist

    “As a non-libertarian capitalist…”

    Wow Deran! I guess I haven’t been paying attention. I never knew you considered yourself a capitalist. That is really great to know.

  235. NewFederalist

    Paulie @ 264… the Prohibition Party was actually the first progressive party this nation ever had. They favored woman’s suffrage, direct election of US Senators, child labor laws and lots of other progressive ideas in addition to alcohol prohibition in their early days. They became socially ultra-conservative later on.

  236. paulie

    Yes, I know.

    They were somewhat along the lines of William Jennings Bryan, although I’ve forgotten whether he was a prohibitionist himself.

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