Austin Petersen declares for the Libertarian Party 2016 presidential nomination

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Austin Petersen declared for the Libertarian Party presidential nomination today (September 3) on his Facebook page. See also his Twitter @the_producer14.

Announcing his run (link to post):

As of today I have submitted my application to run for President of the United States on the ticket of the Libertarian Party. If elected, I promise to take over the government, and leave everyone alone.

In a comment he reassures fans he will be 35 in time, and thus qualifies to run.

Elaborating a few minutes later (link to post):

Just spoke with the LP about what I need to do to win the nomination. I’ll need 30 delegates to support my nomination in order to be considered a serious candidate.

Here’s my potential presidential platform:
1. Reduce economic inequality by lowering barriers to entry in the marketplace, licensing, taxation, and fees. Urge congress to adopt the “Penny Plan,” across the board spending cuts of 1 cent per program. 1% of spending.
2. Strengthen national security by reducing/ending foreign aid to nations hostile to the USA. Reconsider overseas troop deployments in areas not important to US national security, and audit the Pentagon.
3. Lower barriers to trade with foreign nations, and allow American companies the leeway they need to develop domestic energy production, in order to create good paying jobs at home.
4. Audit the Federal Reserve.
5. Abolish the 16th amendment’s income tax in favor of a flat tax. Seek voluntary ways to fund public services where possible, lotteries, tolls, etc.
6. Streamline our immigration system by following updated “Ellis Island” styled protocols. Security check. Disease check. Done.
7. Work with congress to institute new protocols that will protect national security while placing the balance of weight towards due process and individual rights. No beheadings without due process.
8. Reclassify the war on drugs as a medical problem, not a criminal problem. Siphon funds away from enforcement into treatment centers for addicts, and release all non-violent offenders.
9. Allow young people to opt out of social security.
10. Overturn Obamacare.

Cover picture on Facebook:
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4 hours later he linked to a new webpage (link to post):

“Hold on to your butts!”
(linking to www.austinpetersen2016.com)

From his about me page [a few links added by IPR]:

Born in rural Missouri and raised with his two siblings by their widowed father, Austin Petersen learned early on the value of hard work, and perseverance. He graduated near the top of his high school class and competed in forensics and choir, all while working a part-time job on the family farm and at the local Wal-Mart.

Austin’s artistic and creative prowess led him to complete a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Musical Theatre from Missouri State University, winning national awards for playwriting and drama while enrolled there. For years, Petersen spent time working in the media business in New York City, before his campaign skills were put to work in Washington D.C. as the Director of Outreach at the Libertarian National Committee in 2008.

From there, Petersen successfully managed a grassroots campaign that turned a political podcast into a nightly television show, “Freedom Watch,” which broadcasted on the Fox Business Network from 2010-2012. Petersen then worked for national tea party group FreedomWorks, before launching his own private venture “The Libertarian Republic” which has millions of readers all over the world.

Today, Austin wants to serve as your voice in the White House, taking over the government, and leaving everyone alone.

This entry was posted in Libertarian Party and tagged , , on by .

About Chuck Moulton

This fall I'll be starting a Ph.D. in Economics at George Mason University. My other degrees are a J.D. from Villanova Law School and a M.A. in Economics from San Jose State University. I am licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and California. In my spare time I am involved with the Libertarian Party. I served as Vice-Chair of the Libertarian National Committee during the 2006-2008 term. In 2004 I ran for U.S. Congress in Pennsylvania district 13. I also spend a lot of time playing bughouse and chess on the Free Internet Chess Server where my handle is knighttour.

104 thoughts on “Austin Petersen declares for the Libertarian Party 2016 presidential nomination

  1. Jill Pyeatt

    He certainly has been closely aligned with them (Republicans) the past year or two. Interesting.

  2. Chuck Moulton

    I suspect this is a shrewd way to grow Austin’s Facebook likes and his libertarian mailing list which he can use to promote The Libertarian Republic. Even so, he’s a breath of fresh air in the LP presidential race.

    I really like his platform!!

    Austin is a former LP staff member who I always found to be very polite and exceedingly competent. Former LNC member Angela Keaton took some flack for complimenting his ass back in 2008. He has a flare for social media. He hosted a hospitality suite at the 2012 LP national convention in Las Vegas.

    On the bad side, since leaving LP activism to do his own thing, Austin has been a bit stuck up about the LP. For example, he refused to sign a petition to put an LP candidate on the ballot here in Virginia. To my knowledge he hasn’t done any recent work for LP campaigns, except that he provided some professional photography services for an aborted VA house of delegates campaign a few years ago — more likely because he was friends with and dating the candidate than out of any desire to help the LP. I hope his presidential announcement will be accompanied by increased LP activism.

    I remember back in 2004 each of the candidates for the LP presidential nomination (Badnarik, Russo, and Nolan) was willing to get his hands dirty and do petitioning when he rolled through Pennsylvania. In California circa 2008 (probably other years too) whenever the state party would ask for help stuffing mailers, David Hollist would show up at the office to help with any grunt work that needed done. Wayne Root was always willing to appear on TV to promote himself and he hosted a fundraiser for Gary Johnson at his home, but I have a hard time even picturing Root lifting a finger to stuff a mailer, petition for candidates, or do any of the unglamorous grunt work to move liberty forward.

    I hope Austin Petersen and others are more like David Hollist and less like Wayne Root: put the party before themselves, get their hands dirty to advance the LP and liberty.

    Also of interest, see this earlier IPR article (a polite goodbye):
    http://www.independentpoliticalreport.com/2009/08/austin-petersen-my-goodbye-letter-to-the-libertarian-party/

  3. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Not sure how I feel as a candidate, but personally (as a person) I like Austin very much. We will have to see what he does. He certainly knows how to use social media, and while this will be certainly a means to drive up his page views, this benefit is mutual.

  4. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Jill,

    ==He certainly has been closely aligned with them (Republicans) the past year or two. Interesting.==

    I follow his page (again I really like the guy) and he has been closely aligned with them even in the past month…. at least Rand Paul.

    I certainly did not see this coming.

  5. Jill Pyeatt

    It’s certainly nice to have Chuck posting again!

    On that note, I think we should be proud of the current state of IPR. We seem to have managed the trolls so that they don’t bother us much any more, and we have a varied group of interested and knowledgable writers to document what happens in the alternate party/independent world of politics. Even though we’re still heavy in Libertarian commenters, Jed and Andy especially do a good job of covering the other parties.

    And, at the risk of sounding sexist, I’m delighted to have another female around! Welcome to Caryn!

  6. Matt Cholko

    Regarding Petersen, I’m glad to have him in the race, so long as he is serious about it. We’ll just have to wait and see how that shakes out.

  7. Mark Axinn

    If he does run, he would hardly be the first person to come to the LP from the RP.

    The difference is that he has experience as a Libertarian too!

  8. Jill Pyeatt

    I don’t have Mr. Peterson as a FB friend and I’ve recently hit the maximum again. Oh well, I’ll just have to wait a while until I make someone mad enough to unfriend me so I can send Austin a friend request.

    Of course, I probably only have to wait another 5 minutes or so. 😀

  9. Caryn Ann Harlos

    ==And, at the risk of sounding sexist, I’m delighted to have another female around! Welcome to Caryn!==

    Thank you Jill 🙂

  10. Andy

    Chuck Moulton said: “I remember back in 2004 each of the candidates for the LP presidential nomination (Badnarik, Russo, and Nolan) was willing to get his hands dirty and do petitioning when he rolled through Pennsylvania.”

    I personally gathered Libertarian Party ballot access petition signatures with Michael Badnarik in Texas in 2004. He was very impressed with my petition signature gathering ability. He seemed like a good guy as well, and was very passionate about the issues.

  11. Andy Craig

    I’m withholding judgement until I see more from him and learn more of his backstory, but my first inclination is “skeptical, leaning towards opposed.” I’m willing to be convinced, though.

  12. langa

    I really like his platform!!

    It would be very good if he were running as a Republican (or as a Democrat, for that matter), but for a Libertarian, it’s a bit too “moderate” for my taste.

  13. Chuck Moulton

    Chuck Moulton wrote:

    I really like his platform!!

    langa wrote:

    It would be very good if he were running as a Republican (or as a Democrat, for that matter), but for a Libertarian, it’s a bit too “moderate” for my taste.

    Well, I don’t see anything un-libertarian in there, which already has him head and shoulders above Gary “Fair Tax” Johnson. He seems to support open borders immigration and free market money / free banking, which are two of the issues I care most about as an economist. I’m a big fan of a low flat income tax rather than our progressive income tax. On the other hand, he doesn’t come out strongly anti-war, which is unfortunate.

  14. Andy Craig

    I’m also unimpressed with his platform. My in-line responses point-by-point:

    “”1. Reduce economic inequality by lowering barriers to entry in the marketplace, licensing, taxation, and fees. Urge congress to adopt the “Penny Plan,” across the board spending cuts of 1 cent per program. 1% of spending.””

    He doesn’t explain that the Penny Plan is not a one-time reduction of 1%. It’s a 1% reduction per year until economic growth catches up and the budget is balanced. If I wasn’t already familiar with the proposal, I wouldn’t get that from this.

    “”2. Strengthen national security by reducing/ending foreign aid to nations hostile to the USA. Reconsider overseas troop deployments in areas not important to US national security, and audit the Pentagon.””

    Sounds OK to me, though that’s a lot of hedging. “Reconsider”? “areas not important to US national security”? That has the feel of weasel-wording to it, whether that was the intention or not.

    “”3. Lower barriers to trade with foreign nations, and allow American companies the leeway they need to develop domestic energy production, in order to create good paying jobs at home.””

    Could be better-worded, but I don’t disagree.

    “”4. Audit the Federal Reserve.””

    Meh. The fight for a GAO policy audit of the Fed seems unlikely to me to accomplish anything of substance. It amounts to having a bunch of mainstream government-employed economists recite the standard mainstream criticisms and praise for Fed policy, from which we will learn nothing new. If you want to End the Fed, say so. ‘Audit the Fed’ is weaksauce.

    “”5. Abolish the 16th amendment’s income tax in favor of a flat tax. Seek voluntary ways to fund public services where possible, lotteries, tolls, etc.””

    You can abolish the income tax and repeal the 16th, or you can have a flat income tax. You can’t do both.

    “”6. Streamline our immigration system by following updated “Ellis Island” styled protocols. Security check. Disease check. Done.””

    Sounds good to me. I don’t concede those things are actually necessary or will accomplish anything, but it would be a vast improvement over the status quo for sure.

    “”7. Work with congress to institute new protocols that will protect national security while placing the balance of weight towards due process and individual rights. No beheadings without due process.””

    Is this supposed to be a serious policy platform? If so, cut out the jokes. Out of place, and not even funny.

    “”8. Reclassify the war on drugs as a medical problem, not a criminal problem. Siphon funds away from enforcement into treatment centers for addicts, and release all non-violent offenders.””

    This is a common error but a pet peeve: don’t conflate “non-violent” with “victimless.” A burglar who breaks into your house and steals your stuff while you’re not home, is “non-violent.”

    “”9. Allow young people to opt out of social security.””

    Social Security should be capitalized. That might be nitpicking but come on, you’re supposedly running for President of the United States.

    “”10. Overturn Obamacare.””

    Just getting rid of PPACA and going back to the status quo ante isn’t much of a plan. Health care policy and reform demands something more than just “I’m anti-Obamacare” – which in addition to not proposing anything more free market, sounds just like the Republicans (who also suffer from the lack of a counter-proposal).

  15. Andy Craig

    And I’m baffled that anybody who considers replacing the income tax with a sales tax an unacceptable “un-libertarian” heresy, would rally to defend the idea of keeping the income tax and all the invasion of privacy and denial of due process it takes to enforce it.

  16. Chuck Moulton

    Andy Craig wrote:

    I’m also unimpressed with his platform. My in-line responses point-by-point:

    The platform you are addressing is the one he listed in an early Facebook post.

    It evolved when he posted a platform on his website.

    http://www.austinpetersen2016.com/platform.html

    1. Reduce economic inequality by lowering barriers to entry in the marketplace, licensing, taxation, and fees. Urge congress to adopt the “Penny Plan,” across the board spending cuts of 1% per program. Read more here.

    2. Strengthen national security by reducing/ending foreign aid to nations hostile to the USA. Reconsider overseas troop deployments in areas not important to US national security, and audit the Pentagon. Reform the Veteran’s Affairs administration.

    3. Lower barriers to trade with foreign nations, and allow American companies the leeway they need to develop domestic energy production, in order to create good paying jobs at home.

    4. Audit the Federal Reserve. Institute a Monetary Commission devoted to studying the implications of replacing central banking with “Free Banking,” and abolishing laws of legal tender.

    5. Abolish the existing, complicated tax code that discriminates against the most productive Americans, and replace it with a simple, flat tax at the lowest rate necessary to support the core functions of government. Seek voluntary ways to fund public services where possible, lotteries, tolls, etc.

    6. Streamline our immigration system by following updated “Ellis Island” styled protocols. Security check. Disease check. Done.

    7. Work with congress to institute new protocols that will protect national security while placing the balance of weight towards due process and individual rights. No beheadings without due process.

    8. Reclassify the war on drugs as a medical problem, not a criminal problem. Siphon funds away from enforcement into treatment centers for addicts, and release all non-violent offenders.

    9. Allow young people to opt out of Social Security.

    10. Overturn Obamacare. Seek out market alternatives to problems of health and wellness.

  17. Chuck Moulton

    Andy Craig wrote:

    And I’m baffled that anybody who considers replacing the income tax with a sales tax an unacceptable “un-libertarian” heresy, would rally to defend the idea of keeping the income tax and all the invasion of privacy and denial of due process it takes to enforce it.

    The “Fair” Tax proposed by Gary “Fair Tax” Johnson is not replacing an income tax with a sales tax. Replacing an income tax with a sales tax wouldn’t be libertarian or un-libertarian… it would be orthogonal to libertarianism. The “Fair” Tax does not just replace an income tax with a sales tax… it does a whole host of other terrible things too, which is what makes it not just orthogonal to libertarianism, but rather un-libertarian.

    http://www.independentpoliticalreport.com/2012/02/chuck-moulton-an-open-letter-to-gary-johnson-about-the-fair-tax/

  18. langa

    Well, I don’t see anything un-libertarian in there, which already has him head and shoulders above Gary “Fair Tax” Johnson. He seems to support open borders immigration and free market money / free banking, which are two of the issues I care most about as an economist. I’m a big fan of a low flat income tax rather than our progressive income tax. On the other hand, he doesn’t come out strongly anti-war, which is unfortunate.

    I’ll grant you that there’s nothing in there that would qualify as anathema to libertarians, but there aren’t too many things to really get excited about, either. Without going through point-by-point, I’ll just say that there is too much talk about “reforming” this and “studying” that, and not enough talk about “eliminating” this or “abolishing” that. In short, it’s hard to inspire people to take the leap of faith to vote for a third party when you offer such tepid ideas and proposals.

  19. Robert Capozzi

    Platform looks good to me. If there were no legacy “2 party system,” such a platform could win.

    I have to wonder what AP’s motive is.

  20. Robert CapozziI

    I see that AP is a social media expert. That has to be a plus. He was a producer for Napolitano’s Fox show, so he seems to be quite media savvy.

    He was also raised in Peculiar, MO. Not quite Hope, AR, but sorta interesting.

  21. Robert CapozziI

    I see AP used to be a producer for Napolitano at Fox, and is a social media consultant. These are probably pluses.

    He grew up in Peculiar, MO, which seems like the flip side of hailing from Hope, AR. 😉

    I saw a video of AP sporting a dollar sign lapel pin. Hope he doesn’t any more!

  22. Jed Ziggler

    “Even though we’re still heavy in Libertarian commenters, Jed and Andy especially do a good job of covering the other parties.”

    Thank you. Peter Orvetti deserves our thanks, too. It’s good to have a regular to cover the Greens.

    Sometimes I think I’m the only one who cares about the tiny parties.

  23. Nicholas Sarwark

    Many of the problems people have with the Fair Tax are not how libertarian it is compared to an income tax, but how unlikely it is to actually end up with the elimination of the income tax.

    The smaller a change one makes to a system, the more likely one is to be successful and less likely that the change will have unintended consequences.

    Taking a progressive tax and making it flat is more likely to succeed than repealing an entire tax system and building an entire tax system to replace it that is fundamentally different in kind (consumption v. income).

  24. George Phillies

    Start with the simple questions: Given that this is the Libertarian Party, why is your Libertarian Republic web site fronting for R**D P**L? Do you condemn his stands on gay marriage, abortion, defense welfare, etc? Or are you a front to aid the Republicans by disrupting our nominating process?

    Oh yes, your stands:

    ” Abolish the existing, complicated tax code that discriminates against the most productive Americans” Somewhat out of touch with reality, the rackets built into the tax code being rigged in favor of the people who invested in America by buying a Congressman. See, for example, “carried interest”; “long-term capital gains tax”, … The most amusing is perhaps the effect of the earned income tax credit and relatives, which leads to a wildly regressive tax rate for those below or above around $10,000 a year.

    “Work with congress to institute new protocols that will protect national security while placing the balance of weight towards due process and individual rights.” I hear an apologist for the surveillance state.

    ” Audit the Federal Reserve.” The line appears to have been copied from the far right wing. The Federal reserve is already audited six ways from Sunday. Is there a specific question — for which the word ‘audit’ is applicable — you think has been missed? The ‘weigh all the gold bars people”, while seriously esoteric, at least have a concrete question that can be answered.

    “Strengthen national security by reducing/ending foreign aid to nations hostile to the USA. Reconsider overseas troop deployments in areas not important to US national security, and audit the Pentagon.” Would you care to list any countries that are actually hostile to the USA and get foreign aid? Are you including several countries that we are bribing to behave themselves, this being cheaper than the alternatives? What about all the countries we are currently bombing and invading? Would you stop that? Are you in favor of massive cuts in the defense welfare warfare budget? As an antiinterventionist plank, your statement is dysfunctional.

  25. Losty

    George,
    Disrupting the Process?

    That I don’t get.

    Until Gary decides officially, and whether you support him or not, the other candidates haven’t been exactly Lighting up the Media.

    The best education the LP has right now is Paulie, Andy, and the others getting that party on the ballot and that State folks Beating the bushes (Except the one that Donald is Trouncing, Great Fun if it wasn’t him) where we have access (And of course Bill Redpath getting the LNC to sign the checks, and the LNC Signing the checks).

    This Guy may move the needle, (Though Napolitano??) but I’m not sure it could hurt, unless he stirs things up negatively in Orlando.

    If so, and Gary an no one else gets in, NOTA is always a possible candidate.

  26. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Well I will leave this here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clS5n_AWCs8

    Is this really the guy we want as our nominee? Whether one personally agrees with the hardline stance on the NAP (and Austin goes way beneath criticizing that, but to criticizing the concept itself), the fact is that this is an integral part of the worldview of a good majority of the LP. He tries to make it about anarchists, but it isn’t. It is in our platform and pledge. And even if you happen to think we should be more moderate (and I oppose you vehemently), is THIS the way to do it? Alientating the ideological base? Do you really want our nominee to be calling your fellow sincere Libertarians neckbearded infantile basement dwellers?

    As much as I might personally like the guy on that level, he is not a libertarian Libertarian.. he is a conservative with some libertarian ideas who will be back to the Republican party soon enough.

    If he were our nominee you can save yourself a step and just torch a good deal of our active base right now and save the drama. Think memberships are declining now?

    I have my issues with Johnson but he has the gravitas and class not to pull stunts like that and seek to be a candidate. I like Austin for what he is, he does that well, runs an entertaining podcast and a link-baity website that has a mixture of great and silly articles.

    He would fit right in with the Liberty Caucus of the Republican Party. And that is not what we should want for the LP. Welcome to further irrelevance. Not just in sheer vote counting (I don’t count that as the primary role of our Prez candidate right now anyways) but in any ideological ground.

  27. Robert Capozzi

    I certainly agree with AP that the NAP falls apart in application, but he went out of his way to poke and insult NAPsters, unnecessarily. Of course, they are unlikely to support him anyway, but such demonizing seems counterproductive to me.

  28. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Robert, I wouldn’t have been unlikely to support him. But this makes it that I will not only not support him, I will actively oppose him.

  29. Robert Capozzi

    cah, the point is that those who take the NAP as a serious, actionable principle would not likely support someone who view the NAP as merely a general but unattainable ideal.

    Perhaps you might be an exception among NAP true believers.

    If AP had left it at notion that the NAP “falls apart” in application, without all his insults directed at NAPsters, would you have been likely to support him?

  30. Caryn Ann Harlos

    No. If he had said he thought it fell apart in some applications other than his silly “only works for schoolchildren” comment, I would consider it. In the past he limited his NAP denial to “big” things like dealing with foreign irrational countries.

  31. Caryn Ann Harlos

    I will leave this here as well. Unless he has changed his position that he never agreed to the NAP, I find it difficult to believe that he could affirm the membership pledge (24:43 timestamp). I know his point was a fallacious claim that the NAP is a “social contract” that one has to “sign” or affirmatively agree to in order for it to be valid (big enough fail there), at that time at least, he says he never agreed to it….

  32. Jill Pyeatt

    I think I’d be a little more excited about his candidacy if he had run for office before, and faithfully supported our values. Ridiculing the NAP is perhaps the worst thing he can do for me to support him.

  33. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Jill,

    ==Ridiculing the NAP is perhaps the worst thing he can do for me to support him.==

    It is an absolute deal-breaker for me.

  34. Robert Capozzi

    Gotta say, AP makes some great points with TW. For me, at about 32 minute mark, he pulls down the whole house of cards construct.

  35. Andy Craig

    I’m somebody who would otherwise be sympathetic to some of his points about pragmatism and anarchism. But flat-out rejecting and mocking the very idea of the NAP is beyond the pale, and more importantly picking food-fight-style intra-libertarian ideological fights is not something we want in a nominee.

    At least when Gary disagrees with the purists, he does so respectfully and civilly and without demanding that they shouldn’t even be in the party. Contrast AP’s interviews above, with Gary’s appearance at PorcFest where he gladly accepted and answered just about every purist objection that’s ever been thrown at him.

  36. George Phillies

    Caryn, There is the interpretation of NAP supplied by David Nolan, who wrote it, which is an agreement that we are not trying to overthrow the government with violence. Period. Full stop. I knew him while he was alive, asked him about the meaning, and got that answer. It had nothing to do with taxes. There have been efforts to kidnap that wording and stick other meanings on it, but that was what he meant. If you don’t think the wording means that, you are welcome to propose a new wording with his meaning. George

  37. Robert Capozzi

    ac: I’m somebody who would otherwise be sympathetic to some of his points about pragmatism and anarchism. But flat-out rejecting and mocking the very idea of the NAP is beyond the pale, and more importantly picking food-fight-style intra-libertarian ideological fights is not something we want in a nominee.

    me: Yes. However, OTOH, let’s put that in context.

    AP once worked for the LPHQ. Presumably, he has thought long and hard about the NAP and its implications, and came away from that realizing that it’s unworkable, premature at the very best, and has become a kind of sacrament for some elements in the LM.

    He was probably not considering running for office, much less prez, when he said those ill-advised things.

    If he’s smart, he apologizes for his characterizations, doubles down on the obvious unworkability of the NAP, reminds the assembled of The Nolan’s intent, and takes his shot for the nomination.

  38. Chuck Moulton

    Caryn Ann Harlos wrote:

    I will leave this here as well. Unless he has changed his position that he never agreed to the NAP, I find it difficult to believe that he could affirm the membership pledge (24:43 timestamp). I know his point was a fallacious claim that the NAP is a “social contract” that one has to “sign” or affirmatively agree to in order for it to be valid (big enough fail there), at that time at least, he says he never agreed to it….

    I didn’t listen to the whole show, but I started listening at that timestamp to see what you were talking about. I fail to see the problem here.

    Austin Petersen said he rejects anarchy — as following from the non-aggression principle (NAP) — because he sees a positive right for children to be fed (not starve), yet he thinks such a positive right is incompatible with the NAP. Austin says he’s a minarchist, not an anarchist.

    I disagree with any that would assert non-anarchists cannot be libertarians. Austin is not an anarchist, but he is a libertarian. I hope Austin can get along with anarchists — if he can’t, then he’ll have a tough time getting libertarian support — but I don’t see why our presidential candidate must be an anarchist.

    I am philosophically an anarcho-capitalist, politically a libertarian in the form of an incremental lessarchist. I’m a radical because I’m an anarchist who seeks no government and maximum liberty as the end goal and I’m a reformer because I support a big-tent party that welcomes anarchists, minarchists, and libertarian moderates.

    I can sign the pledge even though I see it as an anarchist pledge — as Tom Knapp has written about. The pledge is terrible though. Anarchists use it as a bludgeon to beat minarchists with, claiming they can’t be Libertarians because they violate the anarchist pledge. I strongly favor eliminating the pledge, and I’ve worked toward that end at several conventions. Hopefully this coming convention will present another opportunity to get rid of the pledge.

    On the subject of anarchy itself, although I can sign the NAP, I do not agree with many who say that all philosophy and policy should flow from it. I agree with Robert Capozzi when he has repeatedly states that the NAP can’t adequately address every nuance of every issue. It’s the anarchist equivalent to Douglas Adams’ 42, the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything. It’s like Ernie Hancock’s “Freedom is the answer… what’s the question?” The NAP is a nice sentiment, and I agree with it, but a political philosophy requires more (perhaps this is the oft-discussed “thick libertarianism”).

    I’m an anarcho-capitalist primarily not because of a natural rights justification, but because of utilitarian consequentialism (in the David Friedman sense): economics shows me that markets and freedom are better than government in every circumstance. This has its foundation in economic theory, overwhelming evidence, and history. In every case where I wasn’t sure whether markets are better or government is better, I looked at the theory and evidence which showed me markets won hands down. In every case where statists claimed that a market solution was impossible, I found a historical example that showed that markets had indeed solved the problem. After uncovering lie after lie after lie from those that support the cult of the omnipotent state (bad models, ignorance of history, etc.), I developed a presumption when I heard a new pro-government argument for some new problem that it was likely to be bunk — and that presumption has been borne out every time I dug deeper researching a question.

    I’m not going to refuse to support any candidate due to unwillingness to take a blood-oath to the non-aggression principle. There are plenty of good libertarians who aren’t anarchists. And there are plenty of anarchists (and libertarians) who are come to their beliefs through utilitarian consequentialism rather than natural rights.

    I prefer candidates who are libertarian radicals. I’m willing to support any candidate who articulates libertarian positions throughout their core platform — by which I mean positions that shrink government and expand liberty. I don’t require candidates to advocate for the anarcho-capitalist abolish government solution on every issue (or any issue). What I don’t tolerate is candidates who make one of their key issues expanding government — raising taxes, banning sex or drugs or immigration, etc. If a candidate wants to take an un-libertarian position like banning drugs, I’d even tolerate that as long as it wasn’t an issue he ever highlighted on his website or in public appearances. The point of running candidates in unwinnable races is to spread the libertarian message, so I will support the candidate who is best at speading the libertarian message.

    Gary “Fair Tax” Johnson poisons the libertarian brand by talking predominantly about a big new tax that will expand government and reduce liberty. That is terrible.

    Austin Petersen’s platform isn’t as bold as I might like in many areas, but at least the whole thing aims to move us in a libertarian direction and none of it would expand government or reduce liberty.

    As for Austin attacking anarchists, I’ve known Austin for many years and I can boil that down to him being attention seeking / controversial and and a jerk. He’s attention seeking / controversial in part because that sort of behavior generates more public appearances and sells his products on social media — much like Wayne Root. He’s a jerk because he subscribes to the pickup artist mentality in attracting women and life in general — and maybe it works. If it’s a newsflash that Austin is attention seeking / controversial and and a jerk, then you must be meeting Austin for the first time.

    Listening to the whole video in context though, nuances of anarchist / minarchist philosophy are being discussed at great length. Austin throws out a few cheap shots, but on the whole it is the sort of interesting back and forth discussion in which many libertarians regularly engage to explore their philosophy / politics with each other. I am especially surprised that Caryn has a problem with it given the long discussion on the libertarian theory of abortion here on IPR in another thread… we all have opinions, we all like talking, and we all learn by listening to others’ perspectives.

    This YouTube video hasn’t alienated me or the possibility of my support for Austin’s candidacy (depending what the field looks like when it is time to vote in Orlando). I understand that he may have alienated some anarchists (particularly NAP fetishists or so-called “thin libertarians”) and some people with thin skins. He’d be well advised to mend fences and build a broad coalition of libertarian support — including anarcho-capitalists — in the future.

  39. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Chuck,

    ==I didn’t listen to the whole show, but I started listening at that timestamp to see what you were talking about. I fail to see the problem here.==

    It is the first video that was my primary issue, not that second one. Tom Woods’ show is always pretty mature. In the second, it was just the comment that he didn’t agree to the NAP. That was the only purpose of that.

    ==Austin Petersen said he rejects anarchy — as following from the non-aggression principle (NAP) — because he sees a positive right for children to be fed (not starve), yet he thinks such a positive right is incompatible with the NAP. Austin says he’s a minarchist, not an anarchist.==
    There are anarchists who disagree with Rothbard on that too…. I do. And I don’t see it as a positive right. In my abortion article, there is a footnote to an article called Against Egoistic Libertarian Baby-Starving that details my position (written by someone else).
    ==I disagree with any that would assert non-anarchists cannot be libertarians.==

    Me too. I certainly wouldn’t have stayed with the LP if I believed that.

    == I hope Austin can get along with anarchists — if he can’t, then he’ll have a tough time getting libertarian support — but I don’t see why our presidential candidate must be an anarchist.==

    He doesn’t and can’t (so far). But I don’t expect or require our candidate to be an anarchist either.

    ==I am philosophically an anarcho-capitalist, politically a libertarian in the form of an incremental lessarchist. I’m a radical because I’m an anarchist who seeks no government and maximum liberty as the end goal and I’m a reformer because I support a big-tent party that welcomes anarchists, minarchists, and libertarian moderates.==

    I think I would quibble on some definitions here, but not much to disagree with in total, and having read your posts, I doubt we have much disagreement.

    ==I can sign the pledge even though I see it as an anarchist pledge — as Tom Knapp has written about. ===

    I disagree with Tom’s ultimate conclusion there. I do not believe it is an anarchist pledge (I affirmed it as a minarchist) but I do see it as only being compatible with a certain form of minarchism…. Same with the SoP.

    ==The pledge is terrible though. Anarchists use it as a bludgeon to beat minarchists with, claiming they can’t be Libertarians because they violate the anarchist pledge.===

    It isn’t an anarchist pledge… at least I don’t see it that way, so I certainly don’t use it that way. Again, I affirmed it last year. As a minarchist. Actually up through three months ago. As a minarchist. I never understood it, and still don’t, as requiring anarchism.

    === I strongly favor eliminating the pledge, and I’ve worked toward that end at several conventions. Hopefully this coming convention will present another opportunity to get rid of the pledge.===

    And I will be a vociferous opponent.

    The rest is beyond what I wish to address in an IPR post. I am not a utilitarian myself, but I understand that is a view. Personally if I were ultitarian, I would never be an anarchist. I am glad you are.

    == After uncovering lie after lie after lie from those that support the cult of the omnipotent state===

    You guys keep forgetting the trigger warning for Capozzi there.

    ==I prefer candidates who are libertarian radicals. I’m willing to support any candidate who articulates libertarian positions throughout their core platform — by which I mean positions that shrink government and expand liberty. I don’t require candidates to advocate for the anarcho-capitalist abolish government solution on every issue (or any issue).===

    If I required that, I wouldn’t bother with a political party. I prefer it however. What I do require is that a candidate not insult the core base with childish insults like neckbearded infantile basement dwellers (first video).

    == What I don’t tolerate is candidates who make one of their key issues expanding government — raising taxes, banning sex or drugs or immigration, etc. If a candidate wants to take an un-libertarian position like banning drugs, I’d even tolerate that as long as it wasn’t an issue he ever highlighted on his website or in public appearances.==

    I don’t disagree mostly.

    == The point of running candidates in unwinnable races is to spread the libertarian message, so I will support the candidate who is best at speading the libertarian message.==

    And I wholeheartedly agree there.

    ==Gary “Fair Tax” Johnson poisons the libertarian brand by talking predominantly about a big new tax that will expand government and reduce liberty. That is terrible.==

    Amen.

    ==As for Austin attacking anarchists, I’ve known Austin for many years and I can boil that down to him being attention seeking / controversial and and a jerk. He’s attention seeking / controversial in part because that sort of behavior generates more public appearances and sells his products on social media — much like Wayne Root. He’s a jerk because he subscribes to the pickup artist mentality in attracting women and life in general — and maybe it works. If it’s a newsflash that Austin is attention seeking / controversial and and a jerk, then you must be meeting Austin for the first time.==

    I know Austin fairly well— as far as can be done in social media. Not so sure he really buys into the PUA stuff though.

    ==Listening to the whole video in context though, nuances of anarchist / minarchist philosophy are being discussed at great length.==

    That video was for the one statement. The problematic one was the first one I posted.

    == I am especially surprised that Caryn has a problem with it given the long discussion on the libertarian theory of abortion here on IPR in another thread… we all have opinions, we all like talking, and we all learn by listening to others’ perspectives.==

    I didn’t have a problem with that video, only the one statement saying he didn’t agree with the NAP.

    ==This YouTube video hasn’t alienated me or the possibility of my support for Austin’s candidacy (depending what the field looks like when it is time to vote in Orlando). I understand that he may have alienated some anarchists (particularly NAP fetishists or so-called “thin libertarians”) and some people with thin skins. He’d be well advised to mend fences and build a broad coalition of libertarian support — including anarcho-capitalists — in the future.==

    Again it was the first one… and I am always open to fence menders. I doubt he will do that. But people are surprising. And as far as “thin libertarian”—yep. Though I prefer Block’s terminology of plumb-line.

    PS: On the abortion issue… I do believe I have a consistent libertarian position on it. But I don’t claim it is the Big L Libertarian position. It isn’t. I hope that changes, but otherwise I am quite open that I am a party dissident.

  40. Caryn Ann Harlos

    George,

    I completely disagree that is “full stop” and “ period” though your ipse dixit is duly noted and rejected. I have argued this case over at Libertarian Party History on FB and don’t particularly feel like reliving it here. Short answer, that is definitely the exigent reason but it is completely irrational to say that it is without ideological content, particularly since it is pretty much lifted from known libertarian creeds extant at the time. It would be like lifting language from the Apostle’s Creed and claiming…. no, no, we didn’t mean to refer to Christianity. Makes no sense. Full Stop. Period. (see two of us can do that?) Tom Knapp has made a pretty compelling case that it meant a lot more than that as well on his own blog. Alleged authorial intent is well and good, but the intent of those who have kept it over the years means a tad bit more. As much as I admire The Nolan…. well, he wasn’t The Pope (and of course he disavowed any coercive taxation…. so take a statement that certainly seems to say no coercive taxation…. and interpret it as coercive taxation…. when he wrote against coercive taxation…. yeah…. not a stretch). I also do not interpret it in isolation but in conjunction with the SoP. Not interested in debating it again here. Peterson wasn’t arguing about it solely in terms of taxes so not particularly relevant.

    As far as his webpage being a fanboi page for Rand Paul…. Mr “I Want the Libertarian Nomination” said this less than four hours ago: Austin Peterson: “I want Rand Paul to win” — we need to stop acting like the homely girl just glad to get asked out even though she knows the guy is a no-good cheater.

  41. Robert Capozzi

    cah: You guys keep forgetting the trigger warning for Capozzi there.

    me: CotOS is not much of a trigger for me. I just find it absurd, like watching Monty Python or something. Generally, I’m the one who uses the term.

    Now, the prefatory clause, “In a libertarian society,” now that’s a trigger! 😉

  42. Chuck Moulton

    Caryn Ann Harlos wrote:

    I will leave this here as well. Unless he has changed his position that he never agreed to the NAP, I find it difficult to believe that he could affirm the membership pledge (24:43 timestamp). I know his point was a fallacious claim that the NAP is a “social contract” that one has to “sign” or affirmatively agree to in order for it to be valid (big enough fail there), at that time at least, he says he never agreed to it….

    Chuck Moulton wrote:

    I didn’t listen to the whole show, but I started listening at that timestamp to see what you were talking about. I fail to see the problem here.

    Caryn Ann Harlos wrote:

    It is the first video that was my primary issue, not that second one. Tom Woods’ show is always pretty mature. In the second, it was just the comment that he didn’t agree to the NAP. That was the only purpose of that.

    Caryn Ann Harlos wrote:

    Well I will leave this here:

    Oops…

    So here is what happened: When I am weightlifting at the gym I read IPR between sets (as well as articles from Freedom’s Phoenix, etc.). I had seen your first link to the YouTube video at the gym and planned to watch the video and respond to it when I got home. Then when I got home I went to recent comments on IPR, saw the comment with a link to the second video, and thought that was the same thing I had read before about the first video. So I’m sorry, I screwed up and I am just watching the first video for the first time now.

    I think it is repugnant how he addresses NAP believers in the first video. I think he could have made his philosophical points without the ad hominem attacks. I now see why you see his behavior as disqualifying support from anarchists who subscribe to the NAP.

    Even so, many of my points are still relevant. Austin is attention seeking / controversial and and a jerk, which should not be a newsflash to anyone who knows him. I don’t take personal offense from his NAP remarks in the first video (because they don’t apply to me as an anarcho-capitalist from the utilitarian consequentialist vein and a thick libertarian), but I think he will need to mend fences if he hopes to have any chance at the nomination.

  43. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Thank you Chuck for some reason that second link isn’t posting as an actual video… can someone help me with that?

    I knew we were having a misunderstanding because you and I are not that far apart. 🙂

  44. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Ack, I mean the first link where he just rank insults people. I think he tries to limit it to ancaps… but goes beyond that. But i am so glad now you can see why I took such umbrage and why I found that completely inappropriate for our candidate. This was just a few months ago.. not some wild interview from years back.

  45. Chuck Moulton

    Caryn Ann Harlos wrote:

    Let’s see if it works now that I am logged in

    I fiddled with a few of your comments in the editor to make the video show up. I have no idea why it won’t work in the first comment.

  46. George Phillies

    Caryn, You ability to call the founder of our party a liar about his own words is noted, and disqualifies your opinions on that or any other topic from being taken seriously.

    Phillies

  47. Robert Capozzi

    gp: Caryn, You ability to call the founder of our party a liar about his own words is noted,

    me: I missed the liar accusation. Can you lay that out for us?

    Of course, virtually everyone is a liar since virtually everyone has lied. Haven’t you noticed?

    gp: and disqualifies your opinions on that or any other topic from being taken seriously.

    me: My goodness! Having a bad day, GP? Don’t you find this just a bit over the top, on reflection?

  48. Caryn Ann Harlos

    George,

    Good thing that isn’t what I did.I have no doubt that was the exigent reason. I also have no doubt that the words were chosen as true words. Whether it was his intent that they be taken to the disqualifying intent they are taken to today is mostly irrelevant. What is more relevant is the intent of those that have kept it in.

    Is Tom Knapp calling Nolan a liar too?

    http://knappster.blogspot.com/2006/02/i-pledge-allegiance-to-what.html

    If you want to go into over the top accusations such as that, be my guest to disregard anything I say.

  49. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Robert,

    Stop being reasonable on some things. It won’t allow me to keep you tidily in a little box. George, like Wes, seems to have a flair for the dramatic.

  50. Robert Capozzi

    cah, I strive to be reasonable on ALL things, but I’m sure I’m not quite there yet. The ability to discern where one careens away from reasonableness is itself a skill to be developed.

    And we all put people in boxes to some extent. It’s a pretty universal mistake!

    Still, I’ve noticed the histrionical tendencies that you have. Were you aware of GP’s narcing to the FEC in the 08-09 timeframe? The suggestion that he may have overreacted in that instance sends him into an apparent apoplectic rage.

    And, now, apparently, you too are on his Enemies List. You have much company! 😉

  51. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Nah it’s all good:) words said in debate yesterday mean little to me the next day and I keep no list and hope to be on no “enemies list.” Life is too short, and particularly with people on the same political team who bust tail for the same goals. It’s just political debate. Let’s all go have a drink.

    Have a great weekend everyone.

    Robert, don’t worry… I still have the box handy as you would expect from a NAPsoluter like me.

  52. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Back on thread topic, went through AP’s posts after announcing and he appears to be using the Trump playbook (not content wise- style wise)- try to be flashy and edgy. It is a style I often like and is appealing to some.

    The continuing to push a Republican candidate AFTER announcing he was seeking the LP slot is troubling to me. YMMV

  53. Paulie

    If Austin or any other candidates who entered the race after this thread was posted

    http://www.independentpoliticalreport.com/2015/01/debatediscussion-thread-with-declared-candidates-for-the-2016-libertarian-presidential-nomination/

    would like to revive that thread, answers questions that other candidates answered there, ask other questions etc., please feel free.

    Austin could also answer those questions here if he wants. Pretty sure he has posted at IPR before, although not recently as far as I can remember.

    If any IPR writers would like to make a new thread like that with more updated list of candidates please feel free as well.

  54. paulie

    As far as his webpage being a fanboi page for Rand Paul…. Mr “I Want the Libertarian Nomination” said this less than four hours ago: Austin Peterson: “I want Rand Paul to win” — we need to stop acting like the homely girl just glad to get asked out even though she knows the guy is a no-good cheater.

    Good point.

  55. Mike K

    The first and only time I met Austin Petersen, within 10 seconds he made the comment to our acquaintance “I didn’t know you associated with gingers”. That might be funny to some, but it’s pretty shallow to make fun of someone for their natural appearance. Perhaps he is a closeted racist….

    I don’t like the fact that he refers to the NAP as childish, and I distinctly remember hearing him criticizing Libertarians by saying “Libertarians think it’s OK to take someone on a hot air balloon ride and then if they don’t want them on anymore, just to toss them off”. Something NO LIBERTARIAN has ever said or advocated for.

    This guy’s positions aren’t that good anyways……… And why does he refer to himself as Lief Bieberson?

    He’s an Assclown…

  56. paulie

    It’s certainly nice to have Chuck posting again!

    On that note, I think we should be proud of the current state of IPR. We seem to have managed the trolls so that they don’t bother us much any more, and we have a varied group of interested and knowledgable writers to document what happens in the alternate party/independent world of politics. Even though we’re still heavy in Libertarian commenters, Jed and Andy especially do a good job of covering the other parties.

    And, at the risk of sounding sexist, I’m delighted to have another female around! Welcome to Caryn!

    Agreed!

  57. Chuck Moulton

    Mike Kane wrote:

    The first and only time I met Austin Petersen, within 10 seconds he made the comment to our acquaintance “I didn’t know you associated with gingers”. That might be funny to some, but it’s pretty shallow to make fun of someone for their natural appearance. Perhaps he is a closeted racist….

    http://southpark.cc.com/clips/103645/gingervitus

    http://southpark.cc.com/clips/103649/ginger-horror

    http://southpark.cc.com/clips/103653/we-can-live-together

  58. Jill Pyeatt

    I’m a ginger–25 % Irish–although I pay lots of money for my red hair.

    It does seem an odd thing for Austin to have commented on, though.

  59. langa

    Having listened to the interview that Caryn posted (the short one, not the Tom Woods one), I’m not surprised that Peterson often struggles with applying the NAP. Applying simple principles to ordinary situations often seems to be a very complicated task for many simple-minded people.

    In fact, the application of the NAP is very straightforward in almost every situation. Yes, there are some extremely rare cases where it is more challenging, and reasonable people can differ. However, the existence of these “hard cases” provides no reason for abandoning the general principle. After all, there are certain cases where extenuating circumstances and/or mitigating factors can lead a jury to (rightly) exonerate someone who has killed someone else. But only a fool would claim these sorts of situations justify the abolition of laws against murder.

    Oh, by the way, even though I’m currently clean-shaven, in the past, I have often proudly rocked a neckbeard!

  60. Robert Capozzi

    L: In fact, the application of the NAP is very straightforward in almost every situation.

    me: Depends on what you mean by “application” and “straightforward.”

    How would you apply the NAP straightforwardly (a word?) to national defense? Especially to the Strategic Air Command and to the many silos and subs with nuclear weapons?

    How does the NAP neatly apply to Social Security?

    I, btw, have had many beards over the years, but never a neckbeard! 😉

  61. langa

    How would you apply the NAP straightforwardly (a word?) to national defense? Especially to the Strategic Air Command and to the many silos and subs with nuclear weapons?

    How does the NAP neatly apply to Social Security?

    All nuclear weapons should be dismantled, given that they can’t realistically be used in a way that doesn’t violate the NAP.

    As for Social Security, the perfect solution would be to immediately end it, and try to pay people back as much as possible of what they were forced to contribute to it. However, I don’t think a gradual phaseout would violate the NAP, as it would lead to less aggression against some, and no more aggression against anyone else.

  62. langa

    I don’t think a gradual phaseout would violate the NAP…

    I phrased this poorly. What I meant to say was that, from an NAP-based perspective, a gradual phaseout would obviously be preferable to the status quo.

  63. Andy Craig

    “All nuclear weapons should be dismantled, given that they can’t realistically be used in a way that doesn’t violate the NAP.”

    That was the argument Rothbard made, and I’m inclined to agree. I’ll just clarify that the distinction he drew was weapons that can be individually targeted at an aggressor in self-defense, e.g. a rifle up to most kinds of conventional weapons, vs. nuclear bombs (and also biological weapons) that are by their nature impossible to use in any manner except indiscriminately.

    But I also don’t have much of a problem with the notion that we should progressively reduce stockpiles in tandem with Russia and the other NWSs, which is mostly the path we’ve been proceeding down in fits and starts. Compared to the Cold War peak, most of the world’s nuclear bombs have already been decommissioned and before long we’re going to start getting down to the point where the only logical step for the next round of treaties is abolition. The U.S. (or U.K. or France) could take the lead on unilateral disarmament, but realistically that’s not going to happens, it will be in the form of a final agreement with those three plus Russia and China. India and Pakistan have their arsenals outside of the NPT treaty, so that would probably require a separate negotiation between them, but I can see them following suit when the P5 agree on abolition and pressure is brought to bear to not be the holdouts. That just leaves Israel’s unacknowledged bombs (which in theory they wouldn’t announce and confirm even if they did get rid of them), and enough decades of not facing a realistic conventional military threat from their immediate neighbors will probably work on them eventually. Aside from them, there’s just North Korea’s pitiful and insignificant pile of wet firecrackers. Not 100% abolition, but effectively close enough. That’s how I see it playing out over the next few decades, anyway.

    The argument that nukes “keep the peace” is compelling, but ultimately I think unconvincing. There are other factors at play, including how catastrophic a full-blown conventional war would be.

  64. langa

    AC, I would certainly prefer multilateral disarmament over none at all, and I agree it’s a lot more likely than unilateral.

    As for the “deterrent” argument, I used to believe in it a long time ago, but now, I feel that it is simply an immoral position. After all, I think pretty much everyone would agree that actually using nuclear weapons would be immoral, and therefore, threatening to do so is also immoral.
    It would be like telling your neighbor that if he didn’t stop stealing your livestock, that you were going to kidnap and torture his children, or burn his house down, with his entire family inside. It’s awfully hard to morally justify those types of threats, even if you are bluffing, and obviously even more so if you’re not.

  65. Andy Craig

    Technically, the P5 who are recognized nuclear weapons states under the NPT, are already obligated to negotiate in good faith towards multilateral disarmament. And while some of the non-NWS nations have rightfully complained they haven’t moved fast enough, I think they have actually been moving in that direction through the successive rounds of reduction treaties. There’s a decent chance that the UK might end up unilaterally disarming primarily for budgetary reasons (maintaining a nuclear arsenal costs a lot of money that could be spent on conventional assets you’ll actually use), but also because the public sentiment for it is strongest there. If that happens it might help get the ball rolling a little quicker.

  66. Robert Capozzi

    L: All nuclear weapons should be dismantled, given that they can’t realistically be used in a way that doesn’t violate the NAP.

    me: ADR, but I’ve now read this sentence 6x, and I’m really trying very hard to double over in hysterical laughter.

    To be fair, read literally, you are merely declaring that nukes SHOULD be dismantled BECA– USE they are inherent NAP violators.

    It’s the use of the word “realistically” that has me stunned. Do you think it’s realistic that all nuclear weapons will be dismantled? Would you even suggest that it’s somewhat likely in the next 25 years? Remotely possible?

    Why would any of the “club” states ever give them up?

    With next-to-no chance of disarmament for at least a generation if not longer, I again challenge your: “In fact, the application of the NAP is very straightforward in almost every situation.”

    Unless you meant, “In concept, the theoretical application of the NAP is very straightforward in almost every situation. In practice, however, the NAP simply cannot be applied at least for the foreseeable future in major aspects of the socio-political landscape.”

  67. Robert Capozzi

    L: As for the “deterrent” argument, I used to believe in it a long time ago, but now, I feel that it is simply an immoral position. After all, I think pretty much everyone would agree that actually using nuclear weapons would be immoral, and therefore, threatening to do so is also immoral.

    me: Yes, this makes sense to me. And, yet, for about 60 years, we have lived with this threat.

    The stark reality is that we have to deal with it, or curl up in the fetal position, bray at the moon, cower in a remote cave, or some such.

  68. Starchild

    George Phillies writes (September 4, 2015 at 2:41 pm), “There is the interpretation of NAP supplied by David Nolan, who wrote it, which is an agreement that we are not trying to overthrow the government with violence. Period. Full stop. I knew him while he was alive, asked him about the meaning, and got that answer. It had nothing to do with taxes. There have been efforts to kidnap that wording and stick other meanings on it, but that was what he meant.”

    I know what David Nolan said about the purpose of the Libertarian Party pledge, but I don’t think that’s the whole story. Even if he was its sole author and progenitor (and I don’t recall whether he made that claim, or whether if he did it was independently verified), I don’t believe he would have come up with the wording he did, and I don’t think the concept would have taken hold and been preserved as important by successive generations of LP delegates all these years as has been the case, if the Non-Aggression Principle had not already been widely embraced by Libertarians and was not (is not) seen as central to our philosophy.

    If the point was only to reassure government authorities that Libertarians did not intend to engage in violent revolution, as George would have us believe, the party could have simply and directly required members to pledge, “I certify that I oppose the unlawful use of violence.”

    But that’s not what the pledge says. As listed on the LP.org membership page, it reads, ” I certify that I oppose the initiation of force to achieve political or social goals.”

    It is very significant that the pledge refers to the initiation of force. That distinction matters little to statists in government who are unfamiliar with and/or do not understand the NAP. They don’t care who “started it”, they just don’t want anyone thinking it’s okay to change society or remove them from power using methods that don’t involve following the statutory rules for doing so which they themselves have written and stacked in their favor! For libertarians who are familiar with the principle however, the “initiation of force” phrase clearly invokes it, and in philosophical terms makes all the difference.

    Similarly, why the reference to “political or social goals”? Such precise phrasing would have been irrelevant to the stated purpose of the pledge as described by George. But to libertarians thinking in terms of accurately articulating a universal principle, rather than merely in terms of expressing non-violent intentions toward the authorities, such language makes perfect sense.

    A conscious awareness of, and endorsement of, the Non-Aggression Principle is quite clearly woven into the language of the pledge, notwithstanding efforts by some LP members including Nolan himself to downplay this reality.

  69. Starchild

    Regarding the exchange between Caryn and Chuck, I’m with Chuck on seeing personal value in many applications of “thick libertarianism”, however I don’t think that’s what the Libertarian Party should be about. As an organization fighting in the “belly of the beast” (engaging the battle in the corrupting swamp of electoral politics), we need to maintain a laser-like focus on the heart of our principles if we are to avoid straying off course.

    I’m strongly with Caryn on retaining the pledge, and agree with her that it is not an anarchist pledge, but one that is only compatible with certain forms of minarchism. The only way I’d conceivably support eliminating it is if it is replaced by an even stronger affirmation of the Non-Aggression Principle.

    Austin Petersen disparages the NAP for being too “simple”, something only fit for teaching children, while belittling those who adhere to it for lacking “social power”, etc. (might makes right, apparently). Given these views, he is unacceptable as a Libertarian presidential candidate as far as I’m concerned.

    When Austin dumps on the Non-Aggression Principle, he is actually dumping on libertarianism. Without the NAP, libertarianism is no longer a beautiful idea that will appeal to idealists, and becomes merely a more efficient or utilitarian approach to politics, leaving it vulnerable to any megalomaniac who comes along and figures out a way to make the trains run on time (or at least promises to do so in a way the masses find credible), probably by breaking a few eggs (skulls) and somehow rationalizing it in a way that cannot be readily shown as evil without talking about Non-Aggression.

    Some people mistakenly think discarding or downplaying the Non-Aggression Principle will help the Libertarian Party build a “bigger tent”. I think the opposite is closer to the truth. To the extent that disputes over platform and messaging become less about “What is the best way to apply the NAP to this issue?” and more about, “Whose view of this issue prevails, mine or yours?”, it creates winners and losers and more bitter discord.

    We have a choice between a Libertarian Party that stands consistently for libertarianism, and can be counted on as such by a broad coalition of people who agree that the libertarian approach is the right approach more often than not, or a Libertarian Party that stands for whatever its leaders think is most practical or appealing to their target audience at any given time, which is a surefire recipe for a slow decline into statism.

    We have a choice between a Libertarian Party that upholds the Dallas Accord and takes no position on whether governments should be abolished entirely or simply made into non-coercive instruments for protecting life, liberty and property, and a Libertarian Party that alienates its radical base in an attempt to broaden its appeal to the masses, and ends up looking more and more like a less powerful version of the GOP, which no one will have any compelling reason to support.

  70. George Phillies

    “The result was that the 1974 Libertarian Party Platform was not to state explicitely whether or not the state was recognized as legitimately existing”.

    That has two halves. It meant that supporters of some government will not say that there must necessarily be a government. It equally means that supporters of no government will not say that there must necessarily be no government.

    Starchild’s position is the categorical anarchist rejection of the Dallas accord.

    If memory serves, I have heard Michael Cloud give an eloquent defense of the position that the train is going in one direction, and we are so far from the destination that arguing where it should be is totally pointless. As a Hayekian libertarian, I believe the virtuous destination is quite different than what Starchild is saying.

  71. paulie

    I don’t see how Starchild is advocating anarchist rejection of the Dallas accord in anything he has said here. There are minarchists who argue that there has to be some minimal level of monopoly government to ensure that there won’t be widespread initiation of force and to be the final arbiter of which party to a conflict is the force-initiator. There are anarchists who believe that monopoly power is itself an initiation of force, and that the state does more harm than good no matter what it does. I agree with the train analogy; that difference is minor compared with where we are now. Rejecting the initiation of force as a way to solve social and political goals is in itself a major step that most political ideologies do not take. It doesn’t imply that we can get there overnight or that we have to agree on such esoteric and practically remote end state issues. Getting rid of the whole concept of working to minimize force-initiation as much as possible is a very different question than working out the fine details or getting from here to there.

    Of course that doesn’t mean that I don’t have my own opinion on the matter…

  72. Robert Capozzi

    interesting range on the NAP:

    Starchild with the “universal” view: But to libertarians thinking in terms of accurately articulating a universal principle, rather than merely in terms of expressing non-violent intentions toward the authorities, such language makes perfect sense.

    The Pseudonymomous calling him/herself “Langa” with the “semi-universal” view: In fact, the application of the NAP is very straightforward in almost every situation. Yes, there are some extremely rare cases where it is more challenging, and reasonable people can differ.

    Chuck Moulton with the “sentiment” view: The NAP is a nice sentiment, and I agree with it, but a political philosophy requires more (perhaps this is the oft-discussed “thick libertarianism”).

    Austin Peterson with the “simplistic” view: …only works for schoolchildren…

    I’ve used the “sentiment” term myself.

    I wonder whether NAP-adherents split into the universal/semi-universal camps neatly. I’d be curious to hear swag percentages among those two.

  73. paulie

    I wonder whether NAP-adherents split into the universal/semi-universal camps neatly.

    No. I agree with the quotes from Starchild, langa, and Chuck Moulton in your 11:33 comment. Thus, I don’t split neatly into one of those categories.

    I’m personally more interested with direction of movement than end-states, although I like to give some consideration to end states and steps in between. I readily acknowledge that I have values and preferences that are neither mandated nor prohibited by NAP. I also acknowledge that there are cases where determining who initiates coercion isn’t necessarily simple. However, I don’t think that invalidates the principle.

  74. George Phillies

    Paulie Starchild writes ” on whether governments should be abolished entirely or simply made into non-coercive instruments for protecting life, liberty and property”. The notion of a government that uses no coercion to protect life liberty or property, but is still a government is purely anarchist, and s a good example of anarchist disrespect for the Dallas accord.

    Under modern conditions, governments do a great deal to protect life, primarily through the social safety net and less commonly through discouraging crime (non-coercive policing will of course still do this if you are an anarchist).

  75. Robert Capozzi

    pf: I also acknowledge that there are cases where determining who initiates coercion isn’t necessarily simple.

    me: Yes, it may not be simple. The question is: Can the NAP be applied universally, as Starchild suggests, or only in most case, as Langa says.

  76. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Starchild,

    I completely agree with everything you said, and that happens rarely with me. I wanted to highlight a few portions:

    ==I’m strongly with Caryn on retaining the pledge, and agree with her that it is not an anarchist pledge, but one that is only compatible with certain forms of minarchism. ==

    This ties in to the logical/historical argument you gave, which is pretty much the exact one I give…. particularly the point that if all the party wanted to to was distance itself from violent rebellion there were much more effective ways to do it than lifting out terms of art from extent NAP-libertarians creedal formulations…. known to LP party members at the time (i.e. it wasn’t a mere coincidence of words).

    And contra many anarchist friends, I do firmly believe it is not an anarchist creed. Of course coming from my presuppositions that a monopoly on force IS aggression…. my particular affirmation is anarchist, I understand readily that cannot be the frame in which others see it and under which is has been affirmed and supported over the decades. It is though pretty specific IMHO in only certainly forms of monarchism, but would not rule out a state. I know that was my understanding when I affirmed it as a minarchist.

    ===Austin Petersen disparages the NAP for being too “simple”, something only fit for teaching children, while belittling those who adhere to it for lacking “social power”, etc. (might makes right, apparently). Given these views, he is unacceptable as a Libertarian presidential candidate as far as I’m concerned.==

    Yes, yeah that. I would hope that is something most anarchists and minarchists and libertarians no matter if they reject both those labels would get behind.

    Everyone, just got back from a weekend camping up in the mountains, and just catching up.

  77. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Ugh.. spellcheck… minarchism NOT monarchism.

    Dear spellcheck: It would be a rare day indeed when I am talking about monarchism. Please make a note of it:)

  78. Caryn Ann Harlos

    To add re: Starchild’s post:

    ==Some people mistakenly think discarding or downplaying the Non-Aggression Principle will help the Libertarian Party build a “bigger tent”. I think the opposite is closer to the truth. To the extent that disputes over platform and messaging become less about “What is the best way to apply the NAP to this issue?” and more about, “Whose view of this issue prevails, mine or yours?”, it creates winners and losers and more bitter discord.

    We have a choice between a Libertarian Party that stands consistently for libertarianism, and can be counted on as such by a broad coalition of people who agree that the libertarian approach is the right approach more often than not, or a Libertarian Party that stands for whatever its leaders think is most practical or appealing to their target audience at any given time, which is a surefire recipe for a slow decline into statism.

    We have a choice between a Libertarian Party that upholds the Dallas Accord and takes no position on whether governments should be abolished entirely or simply made into non-coercive instruments for protecting life, liberty and property, and a Libertarian Party that alienates its radical base in an attempt to broaden its appeal to the masses, and ends up looking more and more like a less powerful version of the GOP, which no one will have any compelling reason to support.==

    I can only say… THAT. This to me is THE intra-Libertarian stuggle…. As such, I am an enthusiastic supporter of the spirit of the Dallas Accord, and have argued from both sides— was a fan of the Accord from the moment I learned of it as a minarchist.

  79. Pingback: Austin Petersen, Libertarian Presidential Candidate, On Policing Issues | VAV.org

  80. paulie

    The pingback is the first indication I have seen that Petersen was on the Stossel show as planned. Still have not seen any video or audio clip, transcript, or discussion of the appearance and how it went elsewhere. Anyone have a link?

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