LP Platform Committee Meets in Indianapolis – LIVE(ish) Blog

Platform meeting 1 (Photo credit: Travis Nicks.)

9:00AM Interim Chair Buchman begins pre-meeting by apologizing to west coast members for starting at “6AM your time.” Had intended to start a bit later to accommodate those from Pacific Time zones.

Buchman then thanked Mr. Sarr for his role as chair of the Audit Committee and offered a “public apology” for resigning from that committee last fall. Several of those present expressed similar thanks to the audit committee and its chair for its work.

Buchman then thanked Mr. Goldstein for hosting tonight’s BBQ “the tipping point for bringing us to Indianapolis” and presented a gift of a bottle of pre-mixed mint julep for consumption during tonight’s 140th Run for the Roses (Kentucky Derby).

Buchman then apologized for accepting an invitation to be on a panel at another conference, in Chicago, on Sunday at noon, explained how he felt it was consistent with a broader “work for liberty,” and proceeded to the election of the 2014 Libertarian Platform Committee chair.

Ms. Mattson was the sole individual indicating a willingness and availability to serve, and was elected unanimously.

Mr. Starr was then likewise elected secretary.

Those present:

Buchman
Goldstein
Hauptmann
Holtz
House
Nicks
Sink-Burris
Visek

OH Fockler
TX Kleffman
MI Lecureaux
IL Maden
GA Mattson
PA Minet
NY Padgett

Those Absent

Grannis — replaced by LNC Alternate Wayne-Smith
Schum
Starchild (alternate)

CA Bales — replaced by Starr
VA Delhomme
FL Rhodes

162 thoughts on “LP Platform Committee Meets in Indianapolis – LIVE(ish) Blog

  1. Joseph Buchman Post author

    Agenda has been adopted (will try to post later).

    Mr. Starr is taking detailed minutes (will try to post later).

    Starchild has arrived, replaces the absent Schum.

    Debate on 1.0 Personal Liberty has begun . . .

  2. Starchild

    I’m here now. We’re still debating changes to 1.0 personal liberty. Alicia Mattson’s proposal to make first sentence from:

    “Individuals should be free to make choices for themselves and to accept responsibility for the consequences of the choices they make”

    To:

    “Individuals should be free to make choices for themselves and then must accept responsibility for the consequences of the choices they make.”

  3. Starchild

    Rebecca Sink-Burris proposed substitute language, just adopted 8-6 (I voted for):

    “Individuals should be free to make choices for themselves with the understanding that they bear responsibility for the consequences of the choices they make.”

  4. Libertarian Party Non-Voter

    Thanks to the Libertarian Party’s Joe Buchman for this Libertarian Party article!

  5. Libertarian Party Non-Voter

    Thanks to the Libertarian Party’s Starchild for the Libertarian Party comment on a Libertarian Party article!

  6. Starchild

    I’m an at-large alternate on the Platform Committee, but apparently there are enough folks absent that I’m able to be here as a voting member. Which does make me feel better about the expense of flying across country to be here!

  7. George Phillies

    When you are chair, you have to show that you can facilitate outcomes, not demonstrate that you can use Roberts to throw a few railroad ties into the works. Hopefully Starr will rise to the occasion.

    Having said that the clause that we recognize that all Libertarians do not agree should be at the front of the document, not tacked to the abortion sentence, because the statement is equally true about every part of the platform.

    Mind you, I am contemplating the hypothetical possibility of running for US Senate in 2018, presumably against Elizabeth Warren and by local rumor against Scott Brown. An obvious criticism of the former is her failure to defend women’s reproductive rights by working to repeal the Partial Birth abortion law and the bastard descendants of the Hyde amendment. Brown, of course, is a New Hampshire carpet bagger.

  8. Libertarian Party Non-Voter

    Thanks to all the Libertarian Party writers, readers and commontaters on all the Libertarian Party articles at the Libertarian Party’s Independent Political Report!

  9. Joseph Buchman Post author

    George,

    Aaron is serving as secretary, Alicia as chair of the 2014 LP Platform committee.

    John Wayne Smith and Starchild have replaced the LNC appointed, but absent, Grannis and Schum.

    Platform meeting 2

  10. paulie

    Aaron is serving as secretary, Alicia as chair of the 2014 LP Platform committee.

    John Wayne Smith and Starchild have replaced the LNC appointed, but absent, Grannis and Schum.

  11. Starchild

    Current language we’re now looking at:

    “Individuals should be free to make choices for themselves as long as they understand that choices have consequences and accept responsibility for the consequences of their choices. No individual, group, or government may initiate force against any other individual, group, or government. Our support of an individual’s right to make choices in life does not mean that we necessarily approve or disapprove of those choices.”

    (Basically “as long as they know that choices have consequences and accept” would replace current “and to accept”).

  12. Starchild

    One key thing that I DON’T want to happen today is for the Platform Committee to decide that it is “done” and that there won’t be a working committee meeting at the convention.

    I think it’s important for LP members to have input at a meeting prior to delegates voting on these proposals, and realistically the convention is where LP members will be — I’m not sure there’s anyone here in this room today who’s not on the committee. The convention is where more LP members will be present — I believe we should endeavor to allow them input at the time/place where they will naturally be more likely to be able to attend.

    If you agree, please post your comments in this thread, and I can try to mention them if/when the issue comes up.

  13. Starchild

    I moved to replace “adults” with “individuals” so that Dianna Visek’s proposed change to plank 1.2 would read: “INDIVIDUALS have the freedom and responsibility to decide what hey knowingly and voluntarily consume, and what risks they accept to their own health, finances, safety, or life.”

    Being debated now.

  14. Joseph Buchman Post author

    I agree with Starchild’s comment above.

    Proposed changes, deletions and new language coming out of this meeting should be publicized widely, feedback gathered, said feedback and other new ideas considered in Columbus, and the final proposals presented to the delegates.

    In retrospect I am sorry for accepting that invitation in Chicago tomorrow. Two weeks ago it seemed we would be able to complete our business today. I sent an email out inquiring about that and mentioning that Sunday offer, and the consensus seemed to be that we would not have that much to do here this weekend.

    Nonetheless, it seems to be, so far, that we’re going good work here now, and doing it relatively efficiently.

  15. Starchild

    The final motion now being voted on — Add the following sentence at the end of plank 1.2:

    “Individuals have the freedom and responsibility to decide what they knowingly and voluntarily consume, and what risks they accept to their own health, finances, safety, or life.”

  16. Starchild

    Nathan Kleffman proposes to suspend the rules to add a first sentence to plank 1.2 to address the issue of self-ownership. (The plank was renamed “Self-Ownership and Privacy”.)

  17. Starchild

    Now debating whether to move some language from Plank 1.1 to Plank 1.5: “Only actions that infringe on the rights of others can properly be termed crimes.”

  18. Mark Axinn

    Glad to see Roy Minet (PA) and Chris Padgett (NY) there.

    Two of the hard-working members of the LP who don’t seek or take credit for what they do. We have many members like them.

  19. Eric Blitz

    “Adult individuals” would have been preferable in 1.2. A platform plank should not invite easy criticism with language choice and removing the distinction between adults and children ignores their distinguishable capacities and legal authority to make their own decisions.

  20. Joe

    “Time is all relative according to Einstein
    And the Libertarian Platform Committee
    Proves it time after time.”

    A new (old) motion to extend (after extending and extending and extending) for 10 minutes.

    We may not make the Run for the Roses . . .

  21. Starchild

    My substitute motion to move the language to 1.0 failed on tie vote 8-8. Approved to move the language to 1.5 instead.

  22. Starchild

    I tried to move to suspend the rules to add a plank against the War on Drugs — believe it or not, we don’t have such a plank presently, since the Platform was gutted in 2006. We do have language relating to drug freedom in other planks; I want to move it to a separate plank of its own. Aaron Starr spoke against the motion, objecting I wasn’t proposing specific language, and the move to suspend failed. (The point was to create the plank and then fill it in with existing language from other parts of the Platform for starters, so I think his argument was superfluous.)

  23. Starchild

    Now debating Alicia Mattson’s proposed revision to Plank 1.3 “Personal Relationships”:

    She proposes adding final sentence (as modified by Dianna Visek), “Private organizations have the right to freedom of association and religion and may set whatever standards they deem appropriate.”

  24. Starchild

    I pointed out that organizations technically do not have rights, only individuals do. Now debating that and other various points.

  25. Chuck Moulton

    Thanks everyone for liveblogging!

    Roy Minet is a dynamite activist in PA.

    It’s unfortunate that Virginia’s representative didn’t make it. In retrospect we should have appointed an alternate.

  26. Starchild

    Brian Holtz proposes substitute language: “Private organizations may set whatever standards of association they deem appropriate.” (I like this change.)

  27. Starchild

    John Fockler proposed a substitute for Brian’s language:

    “These rights do not trump the First Amendment rights of those who disagree with others’ choices.”

    The substitute motion failed.

  28. Starchild

    Motion passes 10-7 to adopt Chris Maden’s substition of “at most” for “merely” in Dianna Visek’s proposal:

    “….but merely adjudicates disputes arising from them.” (Language to be added after the word “relationships” in Plank 1.3)

    The whole proposal ended up being voted down, but Chris’s change upholding the Dallas Accord was good if it have been passed.

  29. Starchild

    Brian Holtz proposes revision to Plank 1.6 (Self-Defense):

    delete language “requiring registration of, or restricting the ownership, manufacture, or transfer or sale of firearms or ammunition”

    and add:

    “restriction the monitoring, ownership, manufacture, or transfer of firearms and ammunition by peaceful adults”.

    I oppose this because it drops our objection to gun registration, and would allow government to restrict children’s access to guns (it should be up to parents or guardians if they are dependents).

  30. Starchild

    Motion passed 12-4 to pass Alicia’s proposal as amended changing “peaceful adults” to “peaceful individuals” and adding the word “registration”.

  31. Starchild

    Now on Alicia Mattson’s second proposal for Plank 1.6, to add a final sentence:

    “Private property owners should be free to establish their own conditions regarding the possession or use of personal defense weapons on their own property.”

  32. Starchild

    Now on another Alicia Mattson proposal, to extensively reword Plank 2.1 (“Property and Contract”).

    Most of her changes are not bad, but she would drop the language about restitution, and some powerful succinct language in the current version. Brian Holtz, John Fockler and I speaking for amending her proposal, Aaron Starr speaking against.

  33. Starchild

    Alicia’s original proposal, with a few minor grammatical changes, was adopted 13-3 (Brian Holtz, Chris Maden and I voted against).

  34. Starchild

    Brian Holtz proposes extra sentence to Plank 2.5 (“Money and Financial Markets”):

    “Markets are not actually free unless fraud is vigorously combatted and neither profits nor losses are socialized.”

    Brian’s original word was “prosecuted”; I proposed substituting “rooted out” to avoid perception only government prosecution can combat fraud; Chris proposed “combatted” instead, which I liked — that word was adopted.

    The proposal as reworded passed unanimously (18-0).

  35. Starchild

    Alicia moves to retitle Plank 2.6 “Monopolies and Corporations” to “Marketplace Freedom”. Passed 13-3 (Brian Holtz, Nathan Kleffman and I opposed).

    The problem with “Marketplace Freedom” is it’s too broad and covers other parts of the platform.

  36. Starchild

    Now on Alicia’s motion to add “– and bailouts of –” to sentence in Plank 2.6:

    “We oppose government subsidies to — and bailouts of — business, labor, or any other special interest.”

    Passed unanimously 18-0.

  37. Starchild

    George – Sorry, I should have mentioned there was a bit more than I managed to record here. I had to pay attention to the proceedings most of the time.

  38. paulie

    One key thing that I DON’T want to happen today is for the Platform Committee to decide that it is “done” and that there won’t be a working committee meeting at the convention.

    I think it’s important for LP members to have input at a meeting prior to delegates voting on these proposals, and realistically the convention is where LP members will be — I’m not sure there’s anyone here in this room today who’s not on the committee. The convention is where more LP members will be present — I believe we should endeavor to allow them input at the time/place where they will naturally be more likely to be able to attend.

    If you agree, please post your comments in this thread, and I can try to mention them if/when the issue comes up.

    I agree.

    I wish I could have been there with you all, but for one thing I am needed here to make sure we get enough signatures on the current project and for another I need to take a break from road trips as they have wiped out my finances.

    In the past 6 months I went to Texas 3 times (LNC in Dallas, Johnson swing through Austin/Houston/San Antonio, state convention in Temple), Virginia/DC on two separate occassions (Virginia convention, Students for Liberty conference, LNC meeting), Little Rock, and Mississippi Coast/Mobile/Montgomery/back to Bham…and none of these have been work trips, all volunteer activities where I spent money and made none. Plus I have been paying for weekly rate motels in Birmingham almost the whole time. I eat out every meal, and I have made maybe only 6k so far in 2014, and didn’t work at all after September in 2013…so do the math. I am pretty much in day to day survival mode right now.

    Bottom line is I have neither time nor money to run to out of state meetings right now and I am just taking it on faith that I will come up with money to go to Columbus next month since I actually don’t have it.

    Thanks to those of you providing coverage!

  39. Chuck Moulton

    On Thursday on the floor of the U.S. Senate (C-SPAN 2) Bernie Sanders attacked the Koch brothers, read parts of the 1980 Libertarian Party platform, and accused the Republican Party of adopting those extremist libertarian positions.

  40. Starchild

    Aaron Starr proposes making “Self-Ownership” and “Privacy” two separate planks. I agree this is a good change.

  41. Starchild

    We’re working on language for Plank 1.2 (“Personal Privacy”, now relabeled simply “Privacy”). I got a new first sentence added, “Libertarians advocate individual privacy but government transparency”, with helpful modifications from Dianna Visek and Brian Holtz.

  42. Starchild

    Aaron Starr proposed “We are committed to ending government’s practice of spying on everyone.” (Much debate about whether “everyone” is best language; could imply we’re okay with spying on *some*). Et cetera.

  43. Starchild

    Aaron also proposed adding “and communications” to the list of things in Plank 1.2 over which we support the rights recognized by the Fourth Amendment to be secure in.

  44. Starchild

    Now considering new language for Plank 2.6 from Travis Nicks. Add new first sentence, “The economy should be governed by free markets.” Also change “companies” to “entities”, and final sentence “Government should not compete with private enterprise.”

  45. Starchild

    Added “all forms of” before “subsidies and bailouts” in Plank 2.6. The whole thing as amended passed unanimously (I believe 16-0).

  46. Starchild

    Now debating Alicia Mattson’s proposed changes to Plank 2.7 (“Labor Markets”). First sentence is removed, New sentence added:

    “Employment and compensation agreements between private employers and employees are outside the scope of government, and these contracts should not be encumbered by government-mandated benefits and social engineering.”

    As modified above from slightly different original proposal, it passed, I think by 16-1.

  47. Starchild

    Lots of levity around Travis Nicks seeking to insert the word “private” in a plank (again)… jokes about keeping his private parts out of the debate. 😉

  48. Starchild

    Currently debating a second proposal from Alicia on Plank 2.7 (“Labor Markets”). She proposes striking last two sentences, and adding:

    “We support the right of employers and employees to choose whether or not to bargain with each other through a labor union without governmental interference such as compulsory arbitration.”

    Not a major change, but I marginally prefer the current language.

  49. Starchild

    John Fockler proposes restoring first two sentences, and rewording existing third sentence that Alicia would strike to get rid of problematic phrase “free persons” in that sentence (which could imply a contrast with slaves).

  50. Starchild

    Chris Maden proposes positivist language to replace “oppose” language while preserving meaning — passes 9-4. (I voted against — I think the “oppose” language is shorter and clearer and I generally don’t have a problem with saying we oppose stuff.)

  51. Starchild

    Aaron moved to strike final clause “such as compulsory arbitration or imposing an obligation to bargain.” Motion failed (I think 14-2).

  52. Starchild

    We’ve been breaking for lunch, now going back to Plank 2.7. Informal conversation — it seems like the Platform Committee is NOT going to hold an actual working meeting at the convention where delegates can give input. Nobody else is backing me up on this, and several people (Alicia Mattson, Aaron Starr, John Fockler, etc.) argued vociferously against having this opportunity for input. On grounds of logistics, people not being interested in what we’re doing, etc. 🙁

  53. Starchild

    Sounds like the plan is to have a brief meeting on June 26 from 5-7 p.m. Mostly to make any last-minute tweaks to what we’ve already adopted.

  54. Starchild

    On an unrelated matter, I noted that materials have been sent out listing a $50 delegate package, and not making it clear that purchase of this package is NOT required to be a convention delegate. The Libertarian National Committee specifically voted AGAINST the convention having any “floor fee” charge to participate in the business sessions as a delegate.

  55. Starchild

    Still debating revisions to Plank 2.7. Proposed language, much modified:

    “Since government employers are protected monopolies funded by taxpayers and not subject to market forces, we oppose collective bargaining with public employee unions. We believe that government employees should be protected from mistreatment through civil service laws.”

  56. Starchild

    Now voting on new last sentence of plank:

    “We advocate replacing government employee defined-benefit pensions with defined-contribution plans, as are commonly offered outside government.”

  57. Starchild

    Now talking about Plank 2.9 (“Health Care”). Chris Maden and Brian Holtz have similar proposals to reword it. Much discussion over how much detail we want in this section, etc.

  58. Starchild

    Brian and Chris both moving Michael Wilson’s request to get rid of the “restoring and reviviing” language. Brian just made this a part a stand-alone motion, and it passed 13-3 (Aaron Starr, Roy Minet, and 1 other voted against).

    This was a good change, because there hasn’t been a free market in health care pre-Obamacare, so we shouldn’t refer to “restoring and reviviing” something that didn’t exist.

  59. Starchild

    Now considering Brian Holtz’s adding to the final sentence of the plank:

    “and to shop for lower-cost insurance by voluntarily agreeing to higher deductibles or coverage restricted to health catastrophes.”

  60. Starchild

    Now considering adding Brian’s second proposed sentence to the end:

    “We oppose government rules that artificially bind health insurance to employment, hide costs from consumers, and subsidize use of insurance for routine care.”

  61. Starchild

    Now voting to postpone indefinitely Nick Sarwark’s proposal on student debt (brought on his behalf by Travis Nicks). Sam Goldstein moved to postpone. I objected because I think the committee was showing prejudice toward considering a proposal from someone not on the committee, and we should show our members’ more respect than that. Unfortunately the motion to postpone (kill) the proposal passed (I think 13-3).

  62. Starchild

    Now on Chris Maden’s proposal to revise Plank 3.0 (“Securing Liberty”). He wants to revise the language to be in harmony with the Dallas Accord, so that we don’t presume the existence of governments.

  63. Starchild

    Now discussing Brian Holtz’s proposed addition to Plank 3.5 (“Rights and Discrimination”), adding final sentence:

    “Children have the right to petition a court to establish their maturity and become emancipated, with all the rights and responsibilities of an adult.”

  64. Starchild

    Dianna Visek moved to postpone Brian’s motion indefinitely. This passed (I think only Brian and I voted against postponement).

    While Brian’s language was not as radical as I would prefer, at least it would establish a mechanism not based on arbitrary age discrimination, by which we favor allowing children to realize their rights.

  65. Starchild

    None of the three motions I brought (a proposed new plank on “The Arts” and revisions of the Education and Trade and Migration planks) were seconded or debated. I’m not too surprised, as they were significantly different than our existing platform, but still a little disappointed we didn’t even debate and discuss them.

    Aaron Starr made an interesting motion to limit federal government revenues to assessments received from the state governments, but it failed (I think 11-5).

  66. Starchild

    Roy Minet has proposed a significant revision of the Statement of Principles. Various attempts to substitute other language for his.

  67. Starchild

    Mark – Sure, no problem. Although I’m afraid I’m not reporting very well — the Platform debate is “dense” enough that I typically have to pay too much attention following along, to take good notes.

    There was a move to adjourn which failed. We’re now in a 5 minute recess.

    Travis Nicks moved to substitute the Colorado LP’s language (their Statement of Principles?) for the LP Platform’s Statement of Principles.

  68. Starchild

    Lynn House proposed new sub-committee to refer the Statement of Principles to work on. The following people volunteered to be on this committee (the chair, Alicia Mattson, would select five):

    Lynn House
    Starchild
    Joe Hauptmann
    Christian
    Roy Minet
    Aaron Starr
    Travis Nicks
    -one more person I didn’t catch

    This is a really bad idea that I oppose and voted against, but there was no chance to debate it before voting because we ran out of time. There’s no reason to kick this matter upstairs to a smaller group of people. It was adopted 10-3 (Alicia Mattson and Nathan Kleffman joined me in voting against it).

  69. George Phillies

    defined contribution…a fine idea. I believe I was one of the people who proposed it.

    Aaropn’s motion on assess the states is a standard very far right scheme. He is to be complimented for forwarding it, whether he supports it or not, so we make somewhat clear where we stand on it.

  70. George Phillies

    Starchild did superb work here. Hopefully Aaron cna be prevailed upon to forward the minutes along with reprint rights. I would certainly want to use it at least as an addendum in the MA State Newsletter.

  71. Starchild

    Thanks guys! As long as I spent the money to fly out here, I might as well make myself useful, lol! Not that I was able to accomplish *nothing* on the Platform Committee, but it’s always frustrating we don’t have more of a consensus for a strong, detailed platform.

    On the bright side, it didn’t seem to me there was any debate about the ideology itself. We don’t have a bunch of conservatives on the committee trying to steer the party away from libertarianism. What we have is a group of people, a significant number of whom think liberty is just another product to be sold like Cheese-Its or soap.

  72. paulie

    Thanks guys! As long as I spent the money to fly out here, I might as well make myself useful, lol! Not that I was able to accomplish *nothing* on the Platform Committee, but it’s always frustrating we don’t have more of a consensus for a strong, detailed platform.

    I have felt similar frustration with LNC meetings…

    On the bright side, it didn’t seem to me there was any debate about the ideology itself. We don’t have a bunch of conservatives on the committee trying to steer the party away from libertarianism.

    Wait til ’16 for that, perhaps…

  73. Robert Capozzi

    re: “Travis Nicks moved to substitute the Colorado LP’s language (their Statement of Principles?) for the LP Platform’s Statement of Principles.”

    My quick read of this: https://lpcolorado.org/about/principles

    Contrasted with this: “We, the members of the Libertarian Party, challenge the cult of the omnipotent state and defend the rights of the individual….”

    Suggests that Nicks’s idea has much merit. The latter sounds like a visit to crazytown. CO’s language has some relevance, makes some nice, positive associations, and seems not so hyperbolic.

  74. paulie

    Colorado’s language seems mostly OK. I’d get rid of the last short paragraph and the confusing sentence that government may grant rights blah blah (“Because all legitimate power stems from the people, governments may only grant such privileges, typically in the form of licenses or permits, as the people have authorized.”) which seems to contradict surrounding sentences or at least cause some head scratching as to how it fits in. I am not hung up either way on the current national SoP. I see no reason to monkey with it, but if we did, Colorado’s language is mostly good.

  75. Nicholas Sarwark

    I didn’t submit my proposal for addressing student loan debt in the platform until March 11, so that must not be sufficient time for the committee to take it up. Lesson learned.

  76. Michael H. Wilson

    Thank you for the good news on the Health Care plank and many thanks to all who worked on it. I am humbled.

  77. Joe

    Just met with Lynne House here at the hotel in INDY as we were checking out this morning. Apparently the committee lost a quorum before getting to abortion and other issues (like student debt). I imagine that business will continue on the Yahoo Group and at the pre-Columbus business meeting.

    I intend to volunteer to be on the group looking at the SOP. Personally I CHALLENGE the “CULT” (ideal word, IMO) of the state. I find many friends addicted to “state” solutions at the level of cult-like devotion/worship. It is a result, IMO, of brainwashing in government schools.

    Trying to pander on those issues to “gain votes” or to “not offend” is not the Libertarian party I’m wanting to support.

    As for those who argue that we need to “market ourselves better” as a rationale for becoming less intense in our positions; I’d argue that is a mistaken premise. We need to get ahead of history here; be on the principled side of what is right, speak truth to power loudly and consistently, IMO along the lines of “Give me Liberty, or Give me Death.”

    I can just imagine how a committee of those who “want to appeal to the majority of voters” might have edited that admonition 200+ years ago —

    Let’s NOT go down that kind of watering down path!

    joe

  78. Robert Capozzi

    Joe, do you see any differences between now and the mid 1770s? Would we even know about someone saying “Give me liberty or give me death” in, say, the second year after the landing at Plymouth Rock?

    I’d note, btw, that Henry didn’t really get liberty, he mostly got out from under the Crown and a bit more, perhaps.

  79. George Phillies

    However, the people who wanted to declare independence did indeed need to ‘appeal to a strong majority of the voters and people. They did so successfully.

  80. Robert Capozzi

    GP, not sure about a “majority,” but, yes, it was a resonant message that caught fire over a relatively short period of time, particularly in light of the means of communication then.

    40+ years of a myriad-front extreme message hasn’t been embraced by more than 5% of today’s population.

    Perhaps they are “brainwashed.” The better question is: How can masses be deprogrammed by an enlightened slivver of the population?

    Patience is certainly a virtue, but how long do you propose to run the experiment?

  81. Brian Holtz

    Nick, what Travis relayed to us was a suggestion for a position, but with no proposed wording. The committee seemed to think that trying to create platform-worthy language on the fly was not the best use of its time, given that everything else on the agenda already came with proposed wording. For my part, I hypothesized that perhaps you didn’t propose specific language out of deference to PlatCom, but I nevertheless voted to postpone the topic because I’m very suspicious of that policy position.

  82. Lynn House

    Joe, the committee didn’t lose the quorum before it got to abortion. We ran out of time. We were already working past the time we were scheduled to be done.

  83. Sam Goldstein

    Following Travis’ long reading of the LPCO Statement of Principles, I decided to opt for brevity and moved to substitute the LPIN Statement of Principles:

    The mission of the Libertarian Party is to move public policy in a libertarian direction by electing candidates of the Libertarian Party to public office.

    The Libertarian Party affirms the following principles:

    That all people possess certain unalienable natural rights, and that among these are rights to life, liberty, justly acquired property, and self-governance.
    That the only moral basis of government is the preservation and protection of unalienable natural rights.
    That no person or institution, public or private, has the right to initiate the use of physical force or fraud against another person, and that all people are bound, without contract, to abstain from infringing upon the natural rights of other people.
    That all people are entitled to choose their own lifestyles, as long as they do not forcibly impose their values on others.
    That the voluntary and unrestricted exchange of goods and services is fundamental to a peaceful and harmonious society.

  84. Nicholas Sarwark

    My goal in sending the proposal to the Committee in March was to allow the Committee to discuss it on the email list. However, I take it that it never got onto the list and nobody ever asked me about specific language.

    Still, I think it’s important to address the issue in the platform.

  85. Sam Goldstein

    The first motion to adjourn was the only one I’ve even seen loose in my 15 years in the LP! A couple people had to leave but we wanted to keep working on the last few items on the agenda. Finally had to wrap it up about 5pm, about an hour after the schedule end.

  86. John Fockler

    I agree that the student loan issue is an important one. I made a brief try to address it, but the argument that we had limited time, and it would have been too difficult to craft language on the fly prevailed. This might very well be one issue on which we can kick language back and forth via email, reach a consensus, and vote it in quickly at the convention meeting.

  87. Joe

    LOL. I missed even more history! Two 9 to 5 days and only 80 percent of the work done?!? I guess I should have scheduled a three day meeting.

    🙂

    THANKS again for the wonderful reception/dinner at your home. I think that served to bring people together/reduce acrimony/make for a fun weekend.

    AND I had White Castles at midnight yesterday, and again today just before leaving for the airport (why there are no White Castles in the airport terminal is beyond me — real money making opportunity there.)

  88. Nicholas Sarwark

    My original message to the committee:
    “Platform Committee Members,
    I would like to propose an addition to the platform to address the
    issue of rapidly expanding student loan debt. This is a very
    important issue for younger voters, many of whom are deeply in debt
    for an education that may (or may not) be paying off.

    My proposal is for our platform to call for allowing student loan debt
    to be dischargeable in ordinary bankruptcy proceedings, like other
    debts. This simple policy change would (a) provide relief through the
    ordinary bankruptcy process for students who have made poor financial
    choices without, for most, their largest debt remaining an albatross
    around their neck and (b) serve to make the education lending process
    more rational, since lenders would have to evaluate the likelihood
    that an education will pay off instead of relying on government
    guarantees.

    I’m happy to answer any questions about the proposal or discuss
    specific language.

    Thank you for your consideration,
    Nick Sarwark”

  89. George Phillies

    The described change in student loan bankruptcy is the one that was in place some decades ago. Most students who tale loans, at the time they finish school, have huge debts, and no assets worth noting, and therefore have no rational reason not to declare bankruptcy so soon as the last tuition bill is paid. The question for the bank is not whether the education will pay off, it is whether the loan will pay off, and the answer is “NO”.

  90. Wes Wagner

    George

    What was the cost in terms of hours worked at minimum wage for an average 4 year degree in 1960?

    (Increasing the money supply without doing anything to change the underlying availability has a predictable effect)

  91. Nicholas Sarwark

    George, it’s a question of how one defines “work.” Students had less access to debt financing for education, but the cost of that education was significantly lower.

    I have heard many tales from the previous generation of people who worked summers to finance their college. With the inflation in tuition, driven by the government guarantees of student loans, that option is no longer viable.

    The risk of lending should be born by the lender. Making student loans dischargeable in bankruptcy would shift that risk back to where it belongs.

  92. Robert Capozzi

    NS, not sure, but aren’t a large number of college loans from the US government itself?

    If so, then the risk would be borne by the taxpayers, I would think.

  93. Nicholas Sarwark

    Don’t you have some private nukes to complain about?

    Some loans are from the Department of Education, some are guaranteed by the Department of Education.

    The risk is borne by the taxpayers, but making the loans non-dischargeable prevents them from being written down even if they’ve become functionally bad debts. This artificially props up the balance sheet. Allowing discharge in bankruptcy would cause those losses to be realized, but the bad debts are already bad.

  94. Losty

    Nicholas, Great idea, But it would be something good for people and in the long run the economy from the government. Are you Sure you can get that passed a Libertarian convention? And then a Republican House? Greens and Democrats maybe, but something good the Government would have to do, from Libertarians?

  95. robert capozzi

    NS: Don’t you have some private nukes to complain about?

    Me: Hah! My practice is not to complain, but rather to ask the obvious questions that others seem afraid of posing. Someone’s got to tell the Emperor he has no clothes, after all! 😉

    But, now that you’ve refreshed my memory about student loans, I think I like the sentiment your proto-plank expresses in the sense that it addresses a relevant matter. I’m not sure that I think it’s a good idea, though. Nor do I think it will be all that attractive in a realpolitick sense.

    “Hey, the Libertarians will let us go bankrupt,” seems not all that attractive. I’d think that your proposal’d not go over big with abolitionist Ls, who would simply want to hold high the banner of abolishing both direct government student loans and government-guaranteed ones as well, along with all government schools.

    I guess that one could view this issue like same-gender marriage…ultimately the State should get out of the marriage business, but in the meantime, the idea of state-sanctioned same-gender marriages feels fair and equitable.

    So, as I think out loud, I might in concept support what you propose, but only tepidly, as it’s a hornet’s nest. That’s my lean at the moment, anyway.

    Thanks for making me think about the issue, which is an important one for many.

  96. paulie

    GP, not sure about a “majority,” but, yes, it was a resonant message that caught fire over a relatively short period of time, particularly in light of the means of communication then.

    40+ years of a myriad-front extreme message hasn’t been embraced by more than 5% of today’s population.

    It didn’t just “catch fire” out of nowhere. It was the culmination of ideas that had been pushed for many years and decades, if not centuries, with very little success. Turns out in some cases it takes a lot of running to light a spark, but once it is lit it can quickly catch fire…or go out again and several more sparks produced with some effort before one finally catches on.

  97. Nicholas Sarwark

    With regard to the problem with government subsidized student loans, Mike Rowe’s recent interview with Reason is very insightful. A brief excerpt:

    reason: Let’s talk a little bit about the college loan scam. You talk about how there’s a trillion dollars in debt. Most of that principal will be paid off by the people who take the loans. But you’re against the idea of taxpayer-supported loans for going to college.

    Rowe: We hold the note. Whether I’m against it or not, I get a little curious about when it gets to a trillion dollars. If we are lending money that ostensibly we don’t have to kids who have no hope of making it back in order to train them for jobs that clearly don’t exist, I might suggest that we’ve gone around the bend a little bit.

    reason: And pumping that extra money into the system allows colleges to raise their prices.

    Rowe: Of course. The cost of a degree has increased so exponentially, I can’t believe it’s not daily news. Imagine any other commodity increasing at that rate.

    I get it, education is hugely important. If there’s one thing that’s more important than education, it may be health and fitness, because what’s the point if you’re not functioning? But imagine if the conversation we have about colleges we have today applied to gyms. Imagine saying: OK, it’s important to be healthy and fit, so what you need to do is spend $1,000 a month at the most expensive club in town, otherwise your heart might explode, you’ll crap your pants, you’ll get fat, nobody will love you.

  98. Joe

    An understanding of the rise in the cost of higher education is available from mircoeconomics 101; demand increased dramatically with guaranteed student loans, the supply (number of professors/chairs/classrooms) remained relatively stable (compared to demand). The cost rose, the size of the loans rose, administrators saw the value of that and encouraged it.

    It is a bubble bigger than the housing crisis, lots of “graduates” with shaky degrees (a result of increased demand is pressure for decreased quality as suppliers rush to fill that demand), without jobs (many higher ed degrees are not vocational), and no ability to repay.

    This is another too big to fail nightmare for the economy, and may well push it over the tipping point when it bursts.

    One good documentary addressing this is. See:

    ‘Ivory Tower’ Blows the Lid Off High Cost of College Education at

    http://blogs.indiewire.com/thompsononhollywood/ivory-tower-documentary-trailer-sundance

    or

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3263520/

  99. Matt Cholko

    I’m not sure that the student loan bubble can be compared to the housing bubble, at least in terms of the potential damage to the larger economy. Mortgages (and other instruments related to them) were largely held by private entities, with little in the way of a government guarantee. But, most student loans (virtually all being issued now) DO carry of federal government guarantee of repayment.

    I’m not saying that this is a good thing. But, it is a thing.

  100. robert capozzi

    pf: It was the culmination of ideas that had been pushed for many years and decades, if not centuries, with very little success.

    me: I’m not sure which “ideas” you speak of. Do you mean the melange of ideas called the Enlightenment AND the ideas surrounding religious freedom that grew in Europe in the middle of the last millenia?

    If so, it seems VERY different that that melange is anything like the lock-step thought system that I refer to as NAPsolutism.

    NAPsolutism is a one sentence assertion, and basically one prescription for all things politics (abolish any and all functions of the State).

    Enlightenment and religious freedom were broad thought systems that did NOT boil down to one sentence. And my reading of history is that they were having some incremental influence, though I’d say the American Revolution was a relatively large leap toward both those broad schools of thought.

    Sometimes, there were setbacks, where for ex. the desire for religious freedom led to things like the Salem Witch Trials.

    Simplistic constructs can sometimes catch fire. Marxism, for ex. Others, like the Unabomber Manifesto, not so much.

    But NAPsolutism may be the most simplistic offering in all of history.

    Yes, it’s possible that the day may come in 100 years or so when the conventional wisdom holds that fetuses are parasites, that A=A, that Rachmaninoff was the greatest composer, etc.

    However, I’m highly doubtful. I’m with Hayek in that social orders evolve with many influences and many twists and turns. Reducing the human condition to one sentence and one policy prescription (abolish it!) seems, well, highly far fetched.

  101. robert capozzi

    Joe: An understanding of the rise in the cost of higher education is available from mircoeconomics 101…

    me: Yep, I get it. Subsidizing demand leads to an increase in prices, thanks.

    But I’m not sure how Counselor Sarwark’s proto-plank addresses your (and my) diagnosis.

    Perhaps you or he could give us the backstory on why his proposal points us toward peace and freedom, and invites others along for the ride.

  102. paulie

    I meant that Paine’s ideas did not catch on immediately, they were the culmination of ideas to which you referred in general terms that struggled in the marketplace of ideas for a long time with little success before then.

    I did not say or imply that Paine et al pushed anything like “NAPsolutism,” only that if NAPsolutism or whatever you want to call it hasn’t caught on after a few decades that is no reason to presume that it never will.

    I suspect you are correct that it won’t be in one fell swoop, although some punctuated equilibrium jumps may happen along the path.

  103. paulie

    But I’m not sure how Counselor Sarwark’s proto-plank addresses your (and my) diagnosis.

    Perhaps you or he could give us the backstory on why his proposal points us toward peace and freedom, and invites others along for the ride.

    Basically because the current arrangement of education prices inflated to tulip bubble levels by a price spiral due to the infusion of government money and loan guarantees into the system has saddled a generation with debt slavery for the enrichment of government connected and bailed out financial institutions.

  104. Nicholas Sarwark

    When you’re going to be a delegate to the convention who can vote on a platform proposal, I’ll answer your queries about it, Mr. Capozzi.

    Until that point, feel free to natter on to yourself about NAPsolutism, private nukes, and the widespread toting of machine guns.

  105. paulie

    NAPsolutism, private nukes, and the widespread toting of machine guns.

    Do I have to pick only one? 🙂

  106. Wes Wagner

    paulie

    Basically because the current arrangement of education prices inflated to tulip bubble levels by a price spiral due to the infusion of government money and loan guarantees into the system has saddled a generation with debt slavery for the enrichment of government connected and bailed out financial institutions.

    Sounds like someone actually understands the problem.

  107. Robert Capozzi

    PF: Basically because the current arrangement of education prices inflated to tulip bubble levels by a price spiral due to the infusion of government money and loan guarantees into the system has saddled a generation with debt slavery for the enrichment of government connected and bailed out financial institutions.

    me: Yes, but I’d note that there are many who’ve been damaged by the direct, secondary and/or tertiary effects of poor government policies. Proving those damages, however, is challenging in most cases.

    I’d be surprised in the entire “generation” is in debt slavery, I’d think more like a large segment of a generation.

    Still, I’m fascinated that a NAPsolutist would propose this sort of language. I would think that the principled NAPsolutist position would simply be “Parents should have control of and responsibility for all funds expended for their children’s education.”

    If the student loan matter should be addressed, I’d think that Sarwark’s plank would have to also say, “Direct government or government-guaranteed student loans are the work of the cult of the omnipotent state, and should be abolished,” or something, to make clear that government manipulation is evil and should be resisted in all ways.

    If memory serves, btw, Sarwark could offer this as a resolution, which seems more appropriate.

  108. paulie

    Yes, but I’d note that there are many who’ve been damaged by the direct, secondary and/or tertiary effects of poor government policies. Proving those damages, however, is challenging in most cases.

    In this case the damage is pretty direct.

    I’d be surprised in the entire “generation” is in debt slavery, I’d think more like a large segment of a generation.

    True. Some people don’t go to college, some have full ride scholarships, some come from wealthy families or strike it rich soon after graduation. But a huge percentage do not.

    Still, I’m fascinated that a NAPsolutist would propose this sort of language. I would think that the principled NAPsolutist position would simply be “Parents should have control of and responsibility for all funds expended for their children’s education.”

    You seem to misunderstand how NAPsolutist I am.

    As with medicinal marijuana, marriage equality and many, many other issues, I am interested in interim solutions as well as long-term ones. You might classify me as a “NAPsolutist” because that is my stated long term goal, but I am on record many times as saying I do not believe that long term goals are an excuse for ignoring or opposing short term solutions to immediate problems that we can realistically hope to implement some time soon. I am also on record many times as saying that arguing whether or not anarchy or something close to it is the best solution in the long term should take a back seat to looking at what we can and what we should try to implement in the relatively near term.

    If the student loan matter should be addressed, I’d think that Sarwark’s plank would have to also say, “Direct government or government-guaranteed student loans are the work of the cult of the omnipotent state, and should be abolished,” or something, to make clear that government manipulation is evil and should be resisted in all ways.

    I never got that impression from Nick. I think you are way too busy fighting the ghost of your own past or various people you have argued with for decades, and projecting that onto other people that are here and now.

    If memory serves, btw, Sarwark could offer this as a resolution, which seems more appropriate.

    I don’t see why it would not be a platform plank, since it addresses concrete policy, but I would leave arguments over where it belongs to those who are more up than I am on parliamentary/bylaws … stuff …

  109. Robert Capozzi

    PF: In this case the damage is pretty direct.

    me: You and I may use the term “direct” quite differently, then. There would need to be a 1:1 correlation over time between government student loans and the price of higher education for it to qualify as “direct” in my book. Your book may well differ. I suspect that most micro economists would not make such a claim, but rather that by subsidizing education, the price of education would tend to go up similarly, all else equal. That, to me, is secondary.

    pf: You seem to misunderstand how NAPsolutist I am.

    me: I don’t believe I’ve suggested that you are a NAPsolutist. You seem far more thoughtful and flexible in your thinking.

    pf: You might classify me as a “NAPsolutist” because that is my stated long term goal, but I am on record many times as saying I do not believe that long term goals are an excuse for ignoring or opposing short term solutions to immediate problems that we can realistically hope to implement some time soon. I am also on record many times as saying that arguing whether or not anarchy or something close to it is the best solution in the long term should take a back seat to looking at what we can and what we should try to implement in the relatively near term.

    me: Right. I might characterize you as theoretical anarchist/applied lessarchist, whereas I’m a theoretical asymptotic anarchist/applied lessarchist. Neither is more valid, but both seem far more serviceable in concept than NAPsolutism, which is also valid but IMO is completely unserviceable.

    pf: I never got that impression from Nick. I think you are way too busy fighting the ghost of your own past or various people you have argued with for decades, and projecting that onto other people that are here and now.

    me: Right. I was taking the NAPsolutist perspective. Thanks for the feedback, but it seems to me that there are still lots of NAPsolutists in the LP and LM, including here on IPR. Do you disagree?

    God bless the NAPsolutists. I’m sure they mean well, I know I did when I was a NAPsolutist.

    PF: I don’t see why it would not be a platform plank, since it addresses concrete policy, but I would leave arguments over where it belongs to those who are more up than I am on parliamentary/bylaws … stuff …

    me: Yes, as a L, I’d like to see the LP offer a concrete platform, with planks that were relevant to the here and now. Unfortunately, the current platform is a hodge-podge of old, previously approved language, which seems about the best that can be done, given the divide between the old-line NAPsolutists and those who have a less rigid, inflexible approach to L politics.

    My point was in that context…that most of the platform is NOT especially topical, but rather a long-term wish list.

    I’d note that some here on IPR still long for the pre-06 platform, complete with its infamous (what I call the) “private nukes” clause. Or am I hallucinating? Don’t many here think the pre-06 platform was a beautiful thing?

  110. paulie

    You and I may use the term “direct” quite differently, then. There would need to be a 1:1 correlation over time between government student loans and the price of higher education for it to qualify as “direct” in my book. Your book may well differ. I suspect that most micro economists would not make such a claim, but rather that by subsidizing education, the price of education would tend to go up similarly, all else equal. That, to me, is secondary.

    It’s what is known as a price spiral. It has grown far faster than inflation, directly as a result of perverse government incentives, loan guarantees and subsidies.

    there are still lots of NAPsolutists in the LP and LM, including here on IPR. Do you disagree?

    There don’t seem to be very many in the LP anymore.

  111. Robert Capozzi

    pf: It’s what is known as a price spiral. It has grown far faster than inflation, directly as a result of perverse government incentives, loan guarantees and subsidies.

    me: Would you say “directly and only as a result…”?

  112. Robert Capozzi

    more…

    And, were the LP to have a plank on student loans, shouldn’t it first call for the abolition of such price spiral causers/heavy influencers (depending on one’s analysis)?

    It feels a bit disingenuous, perhaps a bit pandering, to put on the table a band-aid without offering a grander solution.

  113. Nicholas Sarwark

    It is left as an exercise to the reader whether someone who takes the position that concrete proposals without sweeping anti-government statements are “pandering and disingenuous” while also taking the position that sweeping anti-government statements are “NAPsolutism” and dysfunctional is arguing in good faith or just a troll.

  114. langa

    God bless the NAPsolutists. I’m sure they mean well, I know I did when I was a NAPsolutist.

    And on a similar note, God bless the condescending assholes. I’m sure they have no idea how foolish they appear to those they seem most desperate to impress.

  115. Robert Capozzi

    NS, your either/or misses many other options. One such option – which I assure you is the truth – is that what you propose seems to me inappropriate in the context of the platform as it exists.

    I favor aspirational presentations of a L POV that include GENERAL (sweeping) statements that invite others to adopt peace-and-liberty solutions as the default position, and which urges others to get on the liberty train, since liberty is a positive value that promotes peace and prosperity, and equity, too, if properly framed.

    I also favor realistic presentations of L POVs of specific near-term remedies, which are balanced, peaceful, plausible, and fair.

    Your proto-plank to remedy a specific aspect of the dysfunction known as “government student loan programs” — as I’ve said — may well be a good idea on many levels. I simply point out that it clashes with the general tone of much L thought as is currently practiced in the LM and LP. And yes to me it feels incomplete, as it isolates a symptom but offers no real cure. And I wonder just how popular the idea would be…I truly don’t know. It may be highly alienating to most, L or not. If so, I do wonder whether the effort is worthwhile.

    I wonder if a L wonk has done more comprehensive work on your proposal, one that weighs the various inevitable trade-offs that the issue touches.

    Feel free to distort my perspective; ignore me; or question my motive by labelling me a troll. That, Counselor, is certainly your prerogative. All I can do is offer with good will my perspective on such things, and offer you my sincere clarifications when you seem to misunderstand me, as you apparently have done here.

    I wish communications and politics were simple and cut-and-dried. Most issues — including student loans — are, sadly, not so. They require judgment, discernment and discretion, considerations that most NAPsolutists I’ve encountered generally don’t factor into their thinking. Politics, for them, is math, near as I can tell.

  116. Nicholas Sarwark

    I simply point out that it clashes with the general tone of much L thought as is currently practiced in the LM and LP.

    You’ve been uninvolved with the LP since 2006. I do not defer to your assessment of the state of L[ibertarian] thought within the LP.

    Sniping without constructive suggestions is trolling. Either step up and help shape the LP into something you approve of, start your own party, or get out of the way of those who are doing the work.

  117. Robert Capozzi

    Langa: And on a similar note, God bless the condescending assholes. I’m sure they have no idea how foolish they appear to those they seem most desperate to impress.

    me: Touche’! It’s hard to avoid condescension in such matters. Perhaps I failed there.

    This reminds me of the ending of THE WIZARD OF OZ. The folks in Kansas crowded around Dorothy while she was dreaming what was often a frightful dream.

    Then again, it COULD be that it will be ME that will wake any moment and Murray, Ayn, Lew and Sam will be at my bedside to comfort me after MY nightmare. 😉

    Langa, though, to be clear, I don’t share ideas to impress. They are simply unconditional offerings that can be taken or left. I bet that when you and I die, there will still be a government, it will still be way too big in either of our opinions, prone to warring, compulsively manipulative, etc.

    Lighten up, this is just a game!

  118. Robert Capozzi

    NS: Sniping without constructive suggestions is trolling. Either step up and help shape the LP into something you approve of, start your own party, or get out of the way of those who are doing the work.

    me: Thanks for your most warm invitation. I’ll take it under advisement. It doesn’t feel quite right for me to rejoin, given my observation that the LP’s opening statement is IMO highly false (CotOS). That could change, though…perhaps I can overlook it in the future.

    And I’m sorry if my process doesn’t feel “constructive” to you. Sometimes it might seem a bit bracing, as I play Columbo, asking what I’d think be obvious questions from a variety of perspectives about proposed solutions. It’s an iterative process that some may find frustrating, but it more or less works for me.

    My comments and questions, I assure you, are intended to be not only constructive, but highly so. Sorry you take it differently than how it has been offered.

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