L. Neil Smith: Reforming the Libertarian Party

l neil smith

THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE

Number 853, January 3, 2016

Believe me, to get what we want to make of society, libertarians must learn not to act like Republicans.

Reforming the Libertarian Party

by L. Neil Smith

I recently joined a group, the LP Radical Caucus, that was new to me, and one of the things they asked on their Facebook page was what ideas, if any, did I have for straightening out what’s wrong with the Party. I’ve had many such ideas for years. The following essay is my answer.

I joined the Libertarian Party forty-three years ago, in 1972, the first full year the Party existed. Although I became lifelong friends with founder David F. Nolan, knew a couple other founders, and lots of famous folks associated with the Party, it soon became apparent to me that there were many potentially fatal flaws in its structure and organization.

To begin with, Dave told me that the LP was copied after the national Young Republicans. I believed then, and continue to believe to this day, that if you accept such a limitation, you won’t be able to keep from acting like a Republican, and believe me, to get what we want to make of society, libertarians must learn not to act like Republicans.

For years, obsessed with achieving “respectability”, the LP embarrassed itself by mindlessly imitating Republicans and Democrats, never realizing that a third party is a different sort of animal, that must achieve product differentiation by flamboyance and confrontation. A third party, especially a brand new third party, has no other capital.

Except, of course, the truth.

During the years of my greatest activity, the LP, governed by its comic relief National Committee, closely resembled a high school student government, with many of the same petty social jealousies and conflicts. The committee tended to try to guess what potential voters might think, instead of simply doing and saying what was right. A full and frank disclosure of what libertarians actually believe was thought to be too much for Mrs. Grundy, living in Peoria, so we all must soft-pedal it. The clever idea was to try to fool people into becoming free.

In time, this miserable substitute for an electoral strategy came to be called by its proponents “pragmatic”, a ridiculous notion that I discredited thoroughly twice by running the most radical—by which I mean “true to our roots”—campaigns, staunchly refraining from ever pulling any ideological punches, and achieving totally unprecedented results.

My campaigns consisted of prepared speeches, telling groups what they didn’t want to know—I called it the “2×4 between the eyes approach”—telling liberal university women, for example, about our position on guns, and then assuring them that that was the worst they would have to hear, and that we libertarians had reached our radical conclusions about womens’ rights by just the same kind of reasoning. I told conservatives about our position on drugs. I told old people that they has been defrauded by Social Security and that there wasn’t a damn thing the LP could do about it but abolish taxation and economic regulation to generate a vastly more prosperous, survivable future.

At the same time, I avoided conventional “wisdom” about such matters as clothing, never wearing a necktie, preferring a leather sportcoat, a western shirt, jeans, and cowboy boots, instead. I showed voters what their lives could be like—what groceries and other commodities would cost, in a tax-free, regulation-free society. Unlike all the other candidates, I made my audiences growl at me, laugh with me, and, most of all, remember me. Regrettably, my results were “alibied away” by Party leaders who ignored or refused to learn from them.

At about the same time, well before personal computers or the Internet would have made it easier, I was laboriously writing and speaking passionately about the changes that my wife (and partner and accomplice) Cathy and I strongly believed needed to be made to the Party.

Its principle problem was that in a highly unlibertarian way, it was overly centralized, as if its leaders wanted to be Kings of the Libertarians. Nobody who was considered by them to be “uncool” had a prayer of seeing his ideas even considered by the Party’s august rulers. Their sublime arrogance and stupidity was best illustrated by headquartering the Party in the Watergate, infamously associated across “flyover country” with Richard Milhous Nixon and his criminal gang.

Fully as bad was the decision to place the LP in Washington, D.C., the bitter focus of everything we opposed politically. The excuse always given was access to the media—more likely to fashionable cocktail parties. But the parasitic press will always scuttle along behind you if you do newsworthy things. Better to place libertarian headquarters in real America, the center of the country, say, Omaha. Instead of a cramped but expensive suite in a notorious location, make it an answering machine in a closet. Or these days, an inexpensive laptop.

The Party’s biggest problem, the National Committee, spending unearned resources extorted from the state parties like drunken Democrats, would be abolished. It would be replaced by a Congress of State Chairs, who are elected by the grass roots, are accesible, know what campaigns need most, and have a better idea what’s really going on in the whole country. This Congress would meet at every national convention.

There would be one of those every year, giving more party members more time to meet each other, to participate in convention business, to devise various schemes, and generally to get a social leg up on Republicans and Democrats. These conventions would always be held in our weakest states, leaving a stronger state organization behind. The best part of this plan is that the Party could nominate immediately following the most recent election, giving us four years to make our candidate’s name and face familiar to the media and the public. Whenever anything politically significant happened, voters would know exactly what the Libertarian Party candidate would do and why. This would be aided by a permanent program to produce weekly press statements.

All during the period that I was most active in the LP, it was almost impossible to get copies of the national platform to distribute so that people would understand what real libertarians really stand for. Cringing weaklings among the party leadership were ashamed of a simple, direct, declaration of principle. More recently, the great platforms of the late 70s, which I helped to write, were savagely raped by the “pragmatists”, leaving nothing but unattractive pap behind.

It’s been a number of years, but one Carl Milstead, as I recall, was chief among the platform buggerers. He bragged about it openly, dismissing those who opposed his acts of vandalism as “purists” and was perversely proud of it, never realizing the wreckage he was making of the efforts of far better men and women than he could ever hope to be. Today, if he were on fire, I wouldn’t cross the street to piss him out.

Parallel with the GOP, we’re infested by LINOs who thoughtlessly and unoriginally adopted the Statue of Liberty—which I call “The Hollow Woman”—as a symbol because one or two people thought the old “Libersign”, devised by award-winning advertising man Dave Nolan, looked fascistic. I deeply dislike the porcupine—porcupines are stupid. I greatly prefer the highly intelligent and mischievous skunk—equally a creature of pure defense—upside-down in full battle array.

My experience as a candidate taught me that the more openly frank libertarians are about what they stand for, the more enthusiastic the audience and the higher the vote totals. Don’t let anybody tell you differently. People sought me out after the election to tell me that they disagreed with me about a lot, but voted for me because I spoke the truth. These are not times for timidity, or for censoring ourselves.

Dum vivimus, vivamus!

Celebrated and award-winning author of over 30 books and countless shorter pieces, L. Neil Smith is available, at professional rates, to write articles and speeches for you or your organization, providing that our principles are compatible. Contact him at lneil@netzero.com.

Editor’s note: According to Wikipedia, Smith in 1978 ran for the state legislature in Colorado, and won 15 % of the vote. He had a couple other ventures into running for office, but I’m certain which one he would count as his second.

360 thoughts on “L. Neil Smith: Reforming the Libertarian Party

  1. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    Does someone remember the “Libersign”? A couple images came up when I looked for it, but I’m not sure which one was Nolan’s design.

  2. Matt Cholko

    “Today, if [Carl Milstead] were on fire, I wouldn’t cross the street to piss him out.”

    That line made me laugh out loud, each of the 5 or so times I read it.

  3. Chuck Moulton

    L. Neil Smith aphorisms:
    http://www.independentpoliticalreport.com/2010/05/ernesthancock-org-l-neil-smiths-aphorisms-q-a-with-ernie-hancock-and-a-video/

    Never soft-peddle the truth. It’s seldom self-evident and almost never sells itself, because there’s less sales resistance to a glib and comforting lie.

    Understand from the minute the fight begins that you’re going to take damage. Accept it. (You’ll always suffer more from the idiots and cowards on your own side than from any enemy.) Keep your overall goal in mind above all. Those who swerve to avoid a few cuts and bruises defeat themselves.

    If you’re not a little bit uncomfortable with your position, it isn’t radical enough. How can you be too principled? Take the most extreme position you can. You’re claiming territory you won’t have to fight for later, mostly against your “allies.”

    Go straight to the heart of the enemy’s greatest strength. Break that and you break him. You can always mop up the flanks and stragglers later, and they may even surrender, saving you a lot of effort.

    Know, down to the last cell in your body, that the other guy started it. He’s the one who put things in an ethical context where considerations like decency and mercy have no referent. The less pity moves you now, the sooner you can go back to being a nice guy.

    If you lose, go down fighting. It costs nothing extra, and now and again …

    Remain the judge of your own actions. Never surrender that position by default. When the enemy screams “Foul!” the loudest, you know you’re doing him the most damage. Those who help him scream are also the enemy.

    Second thoughts, failures of confidence, nervous last-minute course-changes are all detours and recipes for defeat. The time to think is before the battle – if possible, before the war – not in the heat of it.

    It is moral weakness, rather than villainy, that accounts for most of the evil in the universe – and feeble-hearted allies, far rather than your most powerful enemies, who are likeliest to do you an injury you cannot recover from.

    Know, otherhandwise, that the easiest, most humiliating path to defeat is thinking that to beat the enemy you must be like him. Avoid the temptation to set your values aside “for the duration.” What’s the point of fighting if you give up what you’re fighting for? If remaining consistent with your values leads to defeat, you chose the wrong values to begin with.

    Never aim at anything but total achievement of your goal: the utter capitulation of the enemy. Every effort involves inertia and mechanical losses, so adopting any lesser objective means partial defeat. Total victory means you don’t have to fight the same fight again tomorrow.

    The most dangerous and successful conspiracies take place in public, in plain sight, under the clear, bright light of day – usually with TV cameras focused on them.

    Ever notice how those who believe in animal rights generally don’t believe in human rights?

    The function of government is to provide you with service; the function of the media is to supply the Vaseline.

    “Wake up America ,” you demand? America doesn’t need to “wake up” – by which of course, you mean pay attention to whatever you think is important. If America weren’t already awake, paying attention to what each individual thinks is important, your milk wouldn’t have gotten delivered this morning, and you wouldn’t have any electricity this afternoon.

    You cannot force me to agree with you. You can force me to act as though I agree with you – but then you’ll have to watch your back. All the time.

    You may never convince the other guy, but it’s often worthwhile to keep arguing for the effect it has on bystanders, especially his allies.

  4. Shivany Lane

    Truth and Transparency has been lacking in our government for a long time.

    I believe strongly in both. Also Integrity. And understanding the constitution and what those words actually mean. They are not just words on paper to me, they are how I live my life.

    I do not speak for the John McAfee campaign, however, as his frind I can tell you that he speaks truth to power and has never been afraid to do it. As a new Libertarian, I don’t have the history that many of you have. I can say though that I have observed quite a diversity within the comments on this forum. I really loved that “10 types of Libertarian” video. It was Brilliant.

    As a party we not only need to be cohesive among ourselves, we also need to recruit the next generation of Libertarians to carry the torch. I know I may have said some silly stupid things in here, but the manner in which I was attacked was enough to make me want to just leave.If that was the goal, you succeeded. I think we need to be more welcoming especially to newer members who may not understand all the nuances and politiking going on.

    NOTE: The words above are my opinion and mine alone. They have nothing to do with the John McAfee Campaign or their views.

  5. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Love L. Neil – commenting to subscribe. His polemic is too hot in some areas for my taste when talking of people – spot on when talking of issues.

  6. Andy

    This article and group makes a heck of a lot more sense than that fake “Libertarian Skeptics Network,” that was recently mentioned here in another article.

    I had the pleasure of meeting L. Neil Smith at the 2008 LP National Convention in Denver. Interesting guy. He is a real skeptic when it comes to 9/11 by the way, in that he does not believe the official government conspiracy theory about 9/11.

  7. Andy Craig

    Some good points, some wrongheaded stuff I wouldn’t agree with. All told I think Smith is a much better sci-fi author than political strategist, but he makes some valid points, particularly about the structure of the LNC.

    @10:31 – There is nothing fake about LSN, but if you don’t like me disputing that I’m sure you can spam the thread with another 20 random irrelevant YouTube videos.

  8. George Phillies

    Perhaps we should offer 10:31 a Paranoid Crackpot Network as an alternative.

    Smith raises some interesting points, but skips the practical side of politics, namely advertising, organization, camdidate support,…the things that actually matter in getting your ideas before the public.

  9. Andy Craig

    The Libersign had “TANSTAAFL” scrawled across a simple arrow pointing up and to the right. A charming bit of early-party history, that shows what a narrow niche of stereo-typically nerdy sci-fi-inspired Libertarians founded the LP….. and one that was promptly dumped for good reason. A masterpiece of effective and appealing branding it was not. I’d take chicken-on-a-stick over the Libersign, and I love The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress as much as the next Libertarian.

  10. Keith R. Deschler

    even a “pragmatist, incrementalist” like me can enjoy reading a guy like this speak his blunt sarcasms, and nod his head at a few places in agreement. Certainly strip down the hierarchy of the LP, move out of DC, and not forget that we are about “liberty in our lifetime”, not just a more trimmed back, toned down version of the welfare-warfare state. I actually like the current platform, doesn’t seem to me that Milstead went nearly as far in watering things down as L. Neil seems to think.

  11. Andy Craig

    This was long before my involvement, but my understanding is that some of the 2006 changes were reversed and the document ballooned to what we have today, which is slightly more radical than 2006, but still much less radical than pre-2006. I welcome any correction on that from those who know more about it, but that’s my impression.

    I don’t have any huge opinion on the so-called “Portland Massacre”— again, before my time– but I do know that the old platforms suffered from a serious case of bloat and were absurdly long, much more like the current Green Party platform, which is a never-ending mess of toss-in-everything-and-the-kitchen-stick writing by committee.

    The platform should fit on a few pages, max. Ideally even just one. If the idea is that it’s supposed to be something we can actually present to voters for a quick highlights-reel introduction to the LP and where we stand on the issues, not some kind of All-Defining Libertarian Catechism to be haggled over ad nauseum, so it can be invoked as some kind of authority in future intra-libertarian policy debates.

    Libertarian candidates never have agreed, and never will agree ,100% with every iota and comment placement in the platform…. particularly not when LNC attendees insist on a degree of specificity and length that would put CSPAN viewers to sleep.

    If I could boil down the “platform” into a brief list issue bullet points of the top dozen or so current issues, that could be put in chart form for a voter guide, I’d do that. With a bit of bloat, that’s mostly what the current platform is, so I’m mostly OK with it (even through 4-5 pages is still a bit much to hand out at e.g. an event booth.)

    And for what it’s worth, put me down as someone who thinks the “cult of the omnipotent state” language is an embarrassment, and that entrenching it behind a 7/8 super-majority was absurdly short-sighted. But, I don’t see that changing any time soon by the requisite 7/8 , so probably not worth bothering with, and not any sort of huge problem.

  12. ATBAFT

    Once you start depending on “votes” as a measure of how you are doing, your emphasis will switch from propounding your principles to watering them down in order to increase your votes. Maybe the libertarian movement should never have added a political wing? There were plenty of libertarians in 1970 who wanted to remain an intellectual and activist movement, without seeking votes. Having looked at the success of Fabianism and Eugene Debs, Nolan saw the LP as a way to popularize certain libertarian ideas and have them co-opted by the two large parties. The public platform afforded LP candidates was an additional way to let the principles be heard. That has, of course, come true. But the problem seems to be that the broad public just isn’t buying what the LP candidates are selling. One wonders how many votes a L. Neil
    Smith campaign would get in 2016?

  13. Joshua K.

    @Andy Craig: I know what “TANSTAAFL” means (“There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch”), but what was the significance of the arrow pointing up and to the right?

  14. steve m

    “It is said that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. But the universe is the ultimate free lunch.”
    ? Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time

  15. paulie

    Joshua K.,

    The original version of what has since become the diamond shaped Nolan Chart and quiz ( http://www.theadvocates.org/quiz ) had no centrist category and the libertarian quadrant was on the upper right. The sign represented movement toward that political direction.

    It’s silly to think this or “TANSTAAFL” is something the public would understand or could be educated about.

  16. Caryn Ann Harlos

    There is no going back to TANSTAAFL or the odd arrow.

    Though to say it is as bad as the chicken-kabob might be pushing it:)

    It is funny that the points about disbanding the LNC are the few points I disagree with Smith on. On the “radicality” issue I agree with one hundred percent.

    Polemic against specific individuals I can do without. We have enough issues to worry about.

    I enjoy Smith, his writings certainly fire me up.

  17. jeshuey

    The issue is not, as Mr. Smith says, watering down what Libertarianism is. Neither I nor anyone I know in the Party has done that. The debate is over precisely what Libertarianism means. For Mr. Smith and others, it means anarchy, complete, absolute, and only. For others, it means Classical Liberalism, Harry Browne’s “government small enough to fit inside the Constitution”.

    I would suggest Classical Liberalism is an easier sale to the voting public. It certainly is the philosophy of a majority of Libertarians today. It is also, I would point out, to be found in the same direction as, and almost as far, as anarchy.

    Mr. Smith, perhaps more than anyone else in the party, has a penchant for being needlessly divisive. If he, or others, want an anarchy party, they should start one, not insist on driving the core of activists and financial supporters from the LP.

  18. Robert Capozzi

    atbaft: Once you start depending on “votes” as a measure of how you are doing, your emphasis will switch from propounding your principles to watering them down in order to increase your votes.

    me: There are “principles,” and then there are positions to advance a cause. They are different things. One could consider a principle the desire to see aggression minimized and liberty maximized, and advocate incremental (“watered down”) steps in that direction.

    NON-aggression is nettlesome.

  19. D Frank Robinson

    When the discussion began about replacing the Break Free or Upward Arrow logos (too phallic?), I suggested the beaver. Beavers are very industrious animals that transform their world and benefits many others by just doing their own thing. Yeah, they do have big buck teeth. No sale. Oh, well.
    On the idea for a Congress of State Chairs, nothing inthe LP national rules can prohibit such a meeting. Nor do I think the national LP rules intervene on such matters within and between state organizations.
    When the “pragmatists” took control of the LNC they wanted conventions in big media center cities to get more publicity and look like the “big boys”. I thought that was dumb. Today, big urban conclaves are pointless with Internet streaming possibilities.
    L. Neil’s ideas are worthy of serious discussion.

  20. Chuck Moulton

    I continue to strongly disagree with the insistence on central planning by the My Way or the Highway Caucus co-chaired by L. Neil Smith and Robert Capozzi (both of whom want to dictate campaign messaging to all candidates, merely disagreeing on what campaign messaging should be dictated). The Libertarian Party is far better off with a free market of ideas which includes both anarchist and moderate candidates, with donors, volunteers, and voters independently deciding where to dedicate their money, time, and votes.

    To the extent that I must choose between the two strategies for my own individual donations, volunteer time, and/or vote in a contested LP nomination, I would appreciate hard data more than yelling theories past each other. Radicals and moderates ought to each identify several key races before the election which have best implemented their messaging strategies (and provide examples documenting that), set goals in terms of LP membership growth, vote totals, media mentions, etc. which are announced in advance, and see how they are able to meet, beat, or fall short of their own metrics. Moving goalposts, Monday morning quarterbacking, and lack of accountability are not helpful.

  21. Michael H. Wilson

    I tend to agree with Chuck Moulton’s comments above. I would like to see the convention held in September of the year prior to the election.

  22. Ambrose Jackson

    “Today, if he were on fire, I wouldn’t cross the street to piss him out.”

    This is what we need. More candidates willing to talk about piss & shit. These topics are important to all people.

  23. Robert Capozzi

    cm: My Way or the Highway Caucus co-chaired by L. Neil Smith and Robert Capozzi (both of whom want to dictate campaign messaging to all candidates, merely disagreeing on what campaign messaging should be dictated).

    me: My goodness, this is disappointing on so many levels. This is especially so since I have never “dictated” anything. Personally, I’d like to see the center of gravity of L candidates move from the fringe to the edge, but only because my judgment is that more progress would be made by appealling to more people, since politics is a numbers game. More people advocating lessarchy is more likely to move policy in a lessarchist direction. That’s how ideas generally become popular, reach critical mass, and then are enacted.

    (Holtz did some work showing that many anarchist Ls downplay their advocacy of abolition when they actually campaign.)

    But I don’t believe I’ve EVER suggested that anarchists and near anarchists MUST adopt my view. Please indicate where I have ever dictated anyone’s messaging, Chuck.

    Certainly I have challenged plumblinery as a general approach, but I can’t recall even feeding back on an anarchist candidate’s messaging. I don’t find them interesting or helpful to the cause of lessarchy, true, but I generally leave them be.

    Or have I had a brain aneurysm, forgetting instances of dictating how plumbliner’s campaign? If so, can you cite an example or two?

  24. langa

    This is what we need. More candidates willing to talk about piss & shit. These topics are important to all people.

    I saw the reference to piss, but not to shit.

    Or does simply mentioning Milstead qualify as a discussion of shit?

  25. Steve LaBianca

    There are many things I can say, about Smith’s article, and the comments above this one. I will only say this though: libertarians and Libertarians criticize mainstream politicians for being liars, caving in on their platform and/or core values, and “putting a wet finger to the wind” to see what the public “wants”

    Why do Libertarians do it then?.

  26. Shane

    Chuck hit the nail on the head.

    Bitch and moan all you want but unless you can prove your strategies can win elections, you’re no different from the guy you’re complaining about.

    Smith lost credibility with the logo. His preference of the libersign proves his ignorance in marketing along with Nolan’s. That’s as effective as a brail billboard. If you’re explaining, you’re losing. But honestly, the logo doesn’t make a damned bit of difference as few ever see it.

    Smith strikes me as yet another little whiner that lacks the professional success to be taken seriously by anyone other than his fellow losers. How about another call for a million online signatures only to come up short by 999k?

  27. steve m

    I have thought (always dangerous and leading potentially to head aches) that the LNC become a market place connecting projects lead by activists with potential donors… beyond that it should be about services, resources, education and coordination…. not a centralized controlling body.

    If I wanted to kowtow to others and have them order me around I would be voting democan/republicrat.

  28. Michael H. Wilson

    Shane, L. Neil Smith does not strike me as a whiner. While I disagree with some of what he says he is right on other issues. I disagree with him on the logo. As you said ” If you’re explaining, you’re losing.” Well we’ve been explaining for a long time because the LNC let most of the literature be discontinued along time ago and too many new people come into this party thinking it is some version of the Republican party. If we had had adequate literature some years ago many of these problems would never have happened to the extent that we see today. At work I have spent many months training others and I know the value of making things clear, concise and getting to the point. One more thing, we can disagree but we do not have to be disagreeable.

  29. Shane

    Michael, I prefer to be disagreeable with people that don’t deserve respect like Smith. These types are rarely confronted and that’s why they become thorns in sides. Beat them back whenever they rear their heads.

    As for literature, that leaves it up to people to think. They don’t want to think. Sad I know, but the majority of people want to be told what to do — and they’ll do it.

    To get them to act, it’s about the frequency and recency of the request. For the work I do, I literally hit people over the head with the same message again and again until they act. It’s the only way to cut through the the clutter. The message doesn’t even matter.

    To think we’ll win because we have a better message only applies to the small demographic of people that are like us — and it’s a tiny demographic.

    I’m still optimistic to think once we get the sheep in the door we can get them to think like us — but that’s unlikely.

    To win and get our way, we have to become herders and lead other people to take the actions we want (vote, get out of the way, then take care of yourself).

    And that’s what the R’s and D’s do, but candidly they’re not very good at it, they just don’t have real competition.

  30. NewFederalist

    A lot of good stuff in this thread both from the article and the comments. My question: is Smith really talking about the old LPRC or the new Libertarian Skeptics organization? When I saw the reference to the Radical Caucus I wondered when this piece was written.

  31. Andy

    It is most definitely about the Radical Caucus. I have followed L. Neil Smith for years, and I had a conversation with him at the 2008 LP National Convention, and based on this, I’d say that L. Neil Smith would have a low opinion of this new fake Libertarian Skeptics Network. One of the the topics that I spoke to Mr. Smith about was 9/11, and he clearly did not believe the official government story.

  32. Andy Craig

    “I’d say that L. Neil Smith would have a low opinion of this new fake [sic] Libertarian Skeptics Network.”

    If, as you say, he wants Libertarians to campaign on “Bush did 9/11!”, then probably so. I think Probablity Broach is a good book, for what it’s worth. Like I said earlier, I take his attempt at political strategizing with a grain of salt.

    “the official government story.”

    You can try to frame it like that all you want, that’s not the actual issue. But, since you are so insistent on making the thread about that, I’ll pose the question you still haven’t answered, which is to name an example of a single large tragedy in the past century that you *don’t* think was the product of a false-flag conspiracy from the omnipotent Powers That Be? You at least acknowledged the possibility last I saw, but still refused to name an example.

    @NF
    “I wondered when this piece was written.”

    That’s because he’s still fighting battles from years ago, against people who aren’t even in the party any more, and doesn’t seem too tuned-in to what’s actually going on in the party here in 2016.

  33. Caryn Ann Harlos

    New Federalist, the Radical Caucus is alive and kicking and has been for a while. I joined it about seven months ago.

  34. Ambrose Jackson

    I’ll bite the elephant. Andy Craig, why do you want to protect Bush? Are you a fanboy or something?

  35. Gene Berkman

    “why do you want to protect Bush?”
    Rejecting the various popular conspiracy theories about 9/11 is not about protecting George W Bush.

    If we accept the standard view that Al Qaeda led by Osama Bin Laden arranged for 19 hijackers to board several planes and fly them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, that means accepting that not a single hijacker was Iraqi, or, for that matter, Afghan or Palestinian. Yet Bush responded to 9/11 with an invasion of Iraq, which had no involvement in the plot.

    Bush also ordered an invasion of Afghanistan, ostensibly to go after Osama Bin Laden, but failed to carry out that mission successfully, leaving it to Barack Obama to terminate Bin Laden.

    There are plenty of reasons to criticize George W Bush for his handling of events after 9/11. If the Bush Leaguers really were behind the conspiracy to attack the World Trade Center, why did they fail to make it appear that Iraqis were among the hijackers? If Bush was doing for the Zionists, why did they not include (real or fake) Palestinians among the hijackers?

    If you look at the Bush record – a war of choice that cost thousands of American lives and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives, with financial costs approaching 5 trillion dollars, and which so disrupted the oil market that Russia, Iran and Venezuela were able to benefit from high oil prices, it is just a distraction from that to try to prove with no real evidence that the Bush Leaguers were the master planners of the 9/11 terror attack.

  36. Andy Craig

    Gene pretty much hit the nail on the head, even though AJ’s response had nothing to do with anything I had written.

  37. Andy

    The “Bush League” are not at the highest level. While members of the Bush family were no doubt involved in carrying out the false flag event on 9/11, I seriously doubt that they planned it.

    Who did? I do not know for sure, but whoever it was, they were high up in the “New World Order” hierarchy.

    Who was likely involved in carrying out the 9/11 false flag? Members of the Bush family and administration (like Dick Cheney), along with high level people in the CIA and the Pentagon, along with the Israeli Mossad (who was likely used to plant the explosives that took down the WTC).

    “They” also control the mainstream media, so it was not that hard form them to spin the story, even to the point of getting stupid and naive Americans to go along with the invasion of Iraq, as most Americans can’t even find Iraq on a map. The average stupid/ignorant American just thought, “Them Muslims got us on 9/11, so now we have to get them before they can get us again.”

    If you doubt the stupidity or ignorance of many Americans, go on YouTube and watch some of the videos from Mark Dice where he gets people to sign crazy petitions, or where he interviews people, or see if any of the segments that Jay Leno used to do on The Tonight Show called Jay Walking, where they’d interview random members of the public.

  38. Chuck Moulton

    Andy Craig wrote:

    I’ll pose the question you still haven’t answered, which is to name an example of a single large tragedy in the past century that you *don’t* think was the product of a false-flag conspiracy from the omnipotent Powers That Be? You at least acknowledged the possibility last I saw, but still refused to name an example.

    As a general rule I’ve found people who see “CONSPIRACY THEORY!!!” in one inkblot see CONSPIRACY THEORY!!!” in every inkblot. Pretty sad.

  39. Andy Craig

    “If you doubt the stupidity or ignorance of many Americans, go on YouTube and watch some of the videos from Mark Dice where he gets people to sign crazy petitions, or where he interviews people, or see if any of the segments that Jay Leno used to do on The Tonight Show called Jay Walking, where they’d interview random members of the public.”

    Or…. go on YouTube and punch “9/11” into the search box, and enjoy your thousands of hours of random people screaming gibberish into their GoPro.

  40. Andy Craig

    along with the Israeli Mossad (who was likely used to plant the explosives that took down the WTC).

    “They” also control the mainstream media, so it was not that hard form them to spin the story…

  41. Gene Berkman

    Andy – someone is writing paranoid non-sense and putting your name on it. You might want to find out what secret conspiratorial group did this.

  42. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    Ambrose appears to be our racist troll. I’ll delete new comments, but I won’t delete the two on this thread because people have responded to them.

  43. Andy

    Notice how Andy Craig’s “debate tactic” is to post some stupid picture or video that does not address any of the actual evidence or questions raised, but instead is meant to dismiss or demonize those who bring up the evidence and ask the questions.

    Andy Craig pulled the same thing on the “Libertarian Skeptics Network” thread. I posted videos posted several videos that showed real evidence and asked questions about the evidence shown, and Andy Craig’s response was to post the theme music from the X-Files.

  44. Michael H. Wilson

    Shane what you wrote above explain a lot of the problem with some in this party. It reads like you are more than willing to be rude and denigrate others. That is an example of poor management.

  45. Starchild

    Libertarian ideas getting watered down by party leaders who are supposed to be upholding them has sadly not ceased to be a problem. For a while until recently the Libertarian Party has been using the slogan, “Minimum Government, Maximum Freedom”. That slogan still appears on the party website, LP.org. However on some recent mailings (since at least October), I noticed those bold words have been replaced with a vaguely similar but weaker phrase, “Shrinking Big Government, Advancing Liberty”.

    On January 8th, I sent an email about this to Joshua Katz, a member (alternate) on the Libertarian National Committee who has been a defender of taking a strongly libertarian approach. Joshua subsequently forwarded my email to the LNC list, as I encouraged him to do in the interests of transparency (I believe communications with elected representatives should be public).

    Here is that correspondence (which those of you who subscribe to the LNC list feed may have seen):

    On Jan 9, 2016, at 7:24 AM, lnc-votes@hq.lp.org wrote:

    Colleagues,

    I do not remember the answer to Starchild’s first question (I am far from an expert on branding matters and so don’t enter into those discussions often, which causes me to forget the details).

    Please see also Starchild’s comments about the training session in California, which will likely be more helpful to staff than to the LNC.

    Joshua A. Katz
    Westbrook CT Planning Commission (L in R seat)

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: ahimsa (non-aggression)
    Date: Fri, Jan 8, 2016 at 10:35 PM
    Subject: Re: Gary Johnson announces; Newsweek covers McAfee; Texas & NC field candidates; and more
    To: Joshua Katz
    Cc: Starchild

    Joshua,

    When did “Minimum Government, Maximum Freedom” become “Shrinking Big Government, Advancing Liberty”? It’s possible I missed it, but I don’t recall any LNC discussion about replacing the more radical phrase preferred in a poll of the membership as part of the switchover to the new logo. If you don’t know, I encourage you to raise the issue on the LNC list. Or better, simply copy the LNC list on your reply to me, so non-LNC-member subscribers can see the correspondence in the interests of transparency, as should be standard practice.

    Hope all’s well with you and you’re having a good 2016 so far!

    Love & Liberty,
    ((( starchild )))

    P.S. – Did you get my message about the training in San Francisco mentioned in the newsletter below? When I saw Wes post something about wanting to do a training event (or maybe LNC meeting) here, I sent a message to Wes and LNC members volunteering to help by finding a cheap or free local location for the event(s), and heard nothing but crickets in response. As far as I know there’s been no direct communication from national to our local chapter about this event.

    The newsletter that I reference was included in Joshua’s post, but uses special formatting that would not translate well here.

    Anyway, it has been almost four days now, and not a peep from staff or anyone else on the LNC that I have seen. Maybe if more people bug them about it we will get some answers. LP chair Nick Sarwark is also from the radical wing of the party — I find it hard to believe he authorized this. I certainly hope not. But someone, somewhere decided to do this — it did not happen by itself or by accident.

    If you agree that “Shrinking Big Government, Advancing Liberty” is weak, and we need to go back to the previous slogan, “Minimum Government, Maximum Freedom”, let your LNC reps know!

    You can find their contact info at http://www.lp.org/leadership/lnc-leadership .

  46. paulie

    Libertarian ideas getting watered down by party leaders who are supposed to be upholding them has sadly not ceased to be a problem.

    True.

    Unfortunately, most of the rest of Smith’s article is way off track, but I do agree with that part.

  47. bernard b carman

    LNS: “what ideas, if any, did I have for straightening out what’s wrong with the Party. I’ve had many such ideas for years. The following essay is my answer.”

    bbc: so basically, Mr. Smith has suggested in his essay for the LP to continue along the path of promoting anarchism while calling it “libertarianism”, thus running off potentially millions of supporters over the four plus decades of its existence.

    LNS: “… the LP, governed by its comic relief National Committee, closely resembled a high school student government, with many of the same petty social jealousies and conflicts.”

    bbc: the LP Nat Committee IS made up of LP members… those same members promoting anarchy who were not already run off, right?

    LNS: “never realizing that a third party is a different sort of animal, that must achieve product differentiation by flamboyance and confrontation.”

    bbc: sure, if it doesn’t want to grow to the point where it might be able to displace one of the duopoly parties, its public outreach can certainly remain one which promotes the folly of anarchy. comically, Mr. Smith seems to believe that the LP hasn’t been promoting its whimsical anarchist ideals enough!

    LNS: “In time, this miserable substitute for an electoral strategy came to be called by its proponents ‘pragmatic’, a ridiculous notion that I discredited thoroughly twice by running the most radical—by which I mean ‘true to our roots’—campaigns, staunchly refraining from ever pulling any ideological punches, and achieving totally unprecedented results.”

    bbc: “unprecedented results” like the ~5% averages the LP used to get that are so much different than the ~5% averages the LP currently gets? Mr. Smith apparently doesn’t realize that at best, the LP has consistently garnered America’s protest vote. it has failed to do any better because the LP cannot grow while clinging on to whimsical ideologies like anarchy. kind of funny that he cannot bring himself to just say “anarchy” but rather uses terms like “most radical” or “true to our roots”.

    LNS: “Cringing weaklings among the party leadership were ashamed of a simple, direct, declaration of principle. More recently, the great platforms of the late 70s, which I helped to write, were savagely raped by the “pragmatists”, leaving nothing but unattractive pap behind.”

    bbc: i was active in the LP from 1999 until around the start of the Ron Paul rEVOLution. the bloated and poorly written platform had some 96 planks in it and would have been a complete embarrassment to any potentially effective political party. after some years that followed the much needed “Portland Purge”, it appears that LP members worked hard on creating a revised platform which seems to have finally become respectable. thank you Dr. Carl Milsted, the Libertarian Reform Caucus, and all others who worked so hard to help the LP try to become a more mature political party during that time! too bad this alone wasn’t enough to really reform the LP into what could eventually become an effective party for maximizing liberty.

    LNS: “Today, if [Dr. Carl Milsted] were on fire, I wouldn’t cross the street to piss him out.”

    bbc: i have found this sort of degradation toward others to be most typical of anarchists. they most often seem to react in this way whenever they disagree or cannot defend their position through simple logic and reason. next to their advancement of ideological folly, i would have to say that their often exemplified distasteful character is the largest obstacle toward growth in building unity among the greater liberty movement. after all, who really wants to work along side of people who act so repugnant toward others?

    the balance of the essay includes Mr. Smith going on to spew claptrap including how he believes it would have been somehow better for the LP to use as its symbol a line with an arrow going through it with the acronym “TANSTAAFL” rather than the Statue of Liberty — a symbol whom billions of individuals throughout the entire world equates as a symbol for LIBERTY. WOW, talk about a total lack of marketing savvy there, yet Nolan was apparently an “award-winning advertising man”… go figure! 😎

    i find it ironic that Mr. Smith repeatedly calls the pragmatists who have attempted to help grow the LP into an effective party “LINO’s” when he, himself, is an anarchist calling himself a “libertarian”. some might even consider this hypocrisy.

    this brings us back home to the underlying reason why the LP will never become a viable political party. it has two diametrically opposed conflicting political strategies at its core: anarchy, promoting the fallacy of a society without any government whatsoever; VS libertarianism, promoting the concept whereby the primary function of a society’s government is to uphold and protect the natural rights of the individual.

    many of us who joined and worked within the LP in hopes of helping it to grow into a viable affective political party for maximizing liberty have come to realize this conflicting dichotomy, and wound up leaving the party being largely repelled by such fantasies and repugnance of the anarchists within the party. those who were run off by the anarchists early on to form CATO serve as an excellent example.

    and just what do LP members believe “watering down principles” really means coming from a bunch of anarchists? did they not realize the LP is a “political party”, and that in order to advance liberty through politics it is often paramount to advance issue positions incrementally? for example, most of us could probably agree on an end goal of legalizing all drugs; only those who refuse to work through the political process would be intolerant to the incremental position of legalizing medical marijuana, and after it become legal then focus on legalizing recreational marijuana. such is a rational political strategy for that issue. therefore, such “watering down principles” allegations are absurd, and certainly originate from anarchists within the LP.

    i remain convinced that anarchists among the LP have done more to serve the collectivists (both Republicans and Democrats) in furthering the destruction of peace, prosperity, and liberty in America than perhaps any other group of political activists except for the collectivists themselves, by instilling division among what could have been for nearly five decades a growing liberty movement which unites us over natural rights ideology, which is what America was originally, and admittedly imperfectly, founded upon. instead, they have used their interpretation of the NAP to be taken to fantastical ends, rendering it to mandate a political position that is intolerant of there existing any government whatsoever.

    i used to have high hopes that the LP could be reformed into an effective political party for maximizing liberty, but now i am inclined to hope that the LP Radical Caucus (aka: LP Anarchist Caucus) who is clamoring for Mr. Smith to share his ideas for “straightening out what’s wrong with the LP” will embrace each and every pearl of his fantastical wisdom and continue to maintain a political party that has little to no growth potential in its present form.

    i am personally far happier among the rest of the scattered liberty movement since i have begun to distance myself from a bunch of anarchists whose agenda is to advance a hypocritical and fraudulent ideology.

    thank you Ron Paul and the grassroots rEVOLution who helped millions of Americans to better see and understand the true light of liberty!

    all this anarchist chatter just gives me greater encouragement to continue working on a political strategy centered around natural rights ideology which just might serve to build unity and growth among rational libertarians, in like manner as did the Ron Paul rEVOLution.

    now, watch as the anarchists race to their computer keyboards in order to share more repugnance and repugnancy…

    😎

    bbc
    ? ? ?

  48. Starchild

    Bernard – So you don’t like anarchism — you’ve made that clear. The question remains — why not?

    Do you want a minimal, voluntarily financed “night watchman” State that strictly limits itself to defending life, liberty, and justly acquired property against aggression, and mediates disputes brought to it?

    Or do you want a more aggressive State funded with stolen revenues that interferes in various other aspects of people’s lives?

    In other words, do you just fear the “power vacuum” you think anarchy would cause? Or do you in fact object to the content of anarchy (i.e. want to control people’s choices even in some cases where they aren’t committing aggression)?

    Please tell us under what circumstances you think it is acceptable for the State to take people’s freedom of choice away, and why.

  49. langa

    Mr. Carman’s long, rambling screed should serve as Exhibit A whenever anyone tries to make the ridiculous claim that anarchists want to “purge” minarchists from the LP, when, if anything, the exact opposite is true.

  50. steve m

    sounds more like they pulled the fire fighters out. So you admit that Building 7 was on catastrophic fire?

  51. Andy

    “”steve m

    January 14, 2016 at 17:35

    sounds more like they pulled the fire fighters out. So you admit that Building 7 was on catastrophic fire?”

    Watch the video above that PROVES that WTC 7 only had small fires and was not hit by as much debris as other buildings that were closer to WTC buildings 1 & 2. Funny how none of the other buildings that were closer to WTC 1 & 2 collapsed.

  52. steve m

    Andy,

    I have watched the videos from both sides and read the reports I am convinced you are a nut.

    have a nice day, anyway.

  53. Chuck Moulton

    langa wrote:

    Mr. Carman’s long, rambling screed should serve as Exhibit A whenever anyone tries to make the ridiculous claim that anarchists want to “purge” minarchists from the LP, when, if anything, the exact opposite is true.

    They are not mutually exclusive; both are true: many moderates want to purge anarchists and many anarchists want to purge moderates.

    I left the reform caucus when they morphed from a big tent focus to advocating anarchist purges.

  54. Chuck Moulton

    Fascinating that tinfoil hat wearing crazy people think posting videos of/by other tinfoil hat wearing crazy people will help convince sane people that the poster isn’t bat-fucking-crazy.

    It’s gotten to the point that I just scroll past Andy comments.

    Though when I still read his comments I found it amusing that he repeatedly refused to name a single event that wasn’t a big government conspiracy. Clearly the Kool-Aid made him see everything as a conspiracy but he doesn’t want to admit it because he knows it is further evidence he is batshit crazy.

  55. Caryn Ann Harlos

    ====Mr. Carman’s long, rambling screed should serve as Exhibit A whenever anyone tries to make the ridiculous claim that anarchists want to “purge” minarchists from the LP, when, if anything, the exact opposite is true.====

    That is my experience. I never while I was a minarchist had any attempted excommunication by an anarchist. I had a few get a bit overly obnoxious in trying to convince me of their view, but hey, libertarians can be obnoxious. Since becoming an anarchist, attempted excommunications are simply a fact of Party life for me.

  56. langa

    …hey, libertarians can be obnoxious.

    If I encounter a libertarian who isn’t at least a little obnoxious, I start to get a little suspicious. 🙂

  57. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Paulie that is the standard mythology. The irony to me was the vitriol in Mr. Carman’s post. I could almost feel the spit each time he said “anarchist.” I counted 18 references to the term in that one post.

  58. Chuck Moulton

    Chuck Moulton wrote:

    many anarchists want to purge moderates.

    Paulie wrote:

    I don’t believe so.

    Interesting (but irrelevant) that you don’t believe demonstrable facts.

    Any of you want to pledge $1 to me for every instance I document of anarchists trying to purge a moderate? I promise I won’t even inflate my winnings by getting Root to re-join the party… though I might re-join Facebook because that revenue stream is just too lucrative to pass up.

  59. Starchild

    Thanks, Caryn! I should’ve mentioned though the possibility that maybe Bernard doesn’t like anarchy simply because it isn’t popular enough. Some people are afraid to be political trailblazers, and are only willing to really embrace an idea after a significant portion of the population has beaten them to it. They seem to believe that this makes them more credible.

    I’m assuming by the way that you meant my most recent comment above. I’m actually kind of surprised that no one has reacted to my previous comment, which I think is more significant, about the apparent switch by the LNC, at least in email communications, to a weaker slogan. Have you heard anything about this issue, or seen anyone talking about it elsewhere?

  60. Michael H. Wilson

    I am all for minimizing the government. I just want to make sure we abolish all of the federal government. I just want to keep a large deployment of troops in the Middle East.

    Or I am all for abolishing most of the local government except I know we need good zoning laws.

    Or I am all for getting rid of government at the state level but I want to keep the colleges with good football programs.

    Is this sort of minimal government going to be okay?

  61. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Michael, if we got to that kind of minimal government I would find a new hobby. My anarchism is philosophical not militant. I am not convinced anarchy is even possible. It is a goal, one that may never be reached.

  62. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Starchild, I posted your comment (which I think was very well taken) on the softening of the slogan on the LNC-Votes list on Facebook as well as in the LP Radical Caucus group. It did generate some discussion.

  63. langa

    Starchild, I agree with you that the old slogan was much better than the new one. I suspect that the change was made because of people like Mr. Carman, who are very eager to prevent any association of the LP with anarchism. After all, the old slogan’s reference to “minimal government” could be taken to be consistent with anarchism, as the absolute minimum of anything is zero. On the other hand, the new slogan makes it clear that the problem is not government itself, but only “big” government. Furthermore, it is impossible to “shrink” something totally out of existence, which further precludes any possibility of anarchy.

  64. Chuck Moulton

    Starchild wrote:

    When did “Minimum Government, Maximum Freedom” become “Shrinking Big Government, Advancing Liberty”?

    I don’t know when the change was made — or why.

    Personally I’m opposed to the latter slogan not because it is less anarchist / radical, but rather because it’s just terrible language. The word “Big” is completely superfluous. Also “Advancing Liberty” is clunky wording. I’d be okay with something like “Shrinking Government, Expanding Liberty”.

    Who came up with “Shrinking Big Government, Advancing Liberty”? Was there alcohol involved in the brainstorming process? Was anyone else consulted? Were there focus groups? A change of this magnitude (to something as basic as the slogan) ought to go through the LNC, not staff. Sounds like the tail is wagging the dog again.

  65. Stewart Flood

    I agree. The new slogan stinks. Whether you are a minarchist or an anarchist, it stinks.

    We need a resolution at the convention to change back. I think it would pass.

  66. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Let’s do it Stewart:)

    And FWIW, Starchild’s inquiry was never answered… at least not on the LNC-votes list.

  67. Michael H. Wilson

    Caryn and anyone else who cares the reason I posted the comment above is because I was asked what we meant by minimum government a few years ago by someone at a meeting. This person was an active member on the list we get from national. I had not thought about it up until that point. The problem is I might give one answer while someone else gave another since the answer is not clear. Shane made an excellent point when he wrote, ” If you’re explaining, you’re losing.”

    We should work to be clear, concise and to the point on all of our material. Imo saying “minimum government” does not do that.

  68. paulie

    Any of you want to pledge $1 to me for every instance I document of anarchists trying to purge a moderate?

    No, but I’d like to see what you are talking about. Honestly, I have not come across it that I can ever remember.

  69. Raymond Agnew

    How about just “limited government” everybody knows what that means.
    I do like “Maximum Freedom ~ Minimum Government ” though…

  70. Andy Craig

    I don’t think “anarchists” is necessarily the right term to frame in opposition to “moderates.” I think the proper antonym for that would be “radicals”— and there are certainly plenty of those who’ve made efforts- sometimes successful- to chase off moderates and perceived “LINOs”. Most famously (and successfully) at the 1983 convention. I think there is further evidence of that success, in the LP’s reputation for being more radical or extreme than the broader libertarian movement (which is somewhat true but largely overstated, I think.)

    I think most people on all sides accept the premise of the Libertarian Party as a coalition of an-caps, radical minarchists, more moderate minarchists, classical liberals, even libertarian-leaning centrists, etc. A minority within each sub-group doesn’t like that and perennially makes noise about it. But I see no recent evidence of purges or schisms or other such apocalyptic hyperbole, nor that the sentiment is any stronger in one direction than the other. Some of my best friends in the LP are people I disagree with on intra-Libertarian controversies, and some of the biggest jerks I’ve met are people who I’m more inclined to agree with on those same topics. They’re all Libertarians.

    More often what you see is personal disputes take on the facade of an ideological disagreement. But personal disputes come and go, and always will.

  71. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Andy I think you are right on the terminology. Before I was an anarchist, and before I was as deeply involved in the broader LP (meaning outside of CO which I got involved with fairly quickly), I discovered that I personally was more radical than the broader libertarian movement (and most people I knew within the LP), and I was a minarchist. I know plenty of radical minarchists. I do not agree that this reputation of the LP is due to these differences though. This relates back to a discussion you and I had before, the reputation, as it were, goes back to the SoP which in its minarchistic expression is radical (and while it gives a nod to anarchism, it is primarily minarchistic). Radical is not co-extensive with anarchism. I think it consistently will lead to that, but that is another topic. There are loads plenty of radical minarchists in the LP.

    I can only speak from my personal experience, and that kind of rhetoric such as that displayed by Mr. Carman is not unusual. Of course, I am just a repugnant anarchist spouting my repugnanty repugnantness repugnantishity. 🙂

  72. Caryn Ann Harlos

    And Ray.. no. For several reasons. One, it purposefully excludes the minority who are in fact anarchists. Some don’t like the nudge nudge wink wink of the “minimum government” one in which we of a more radical bent say “well minimum could be zero”- I don’t mind that game. It keeps the peace, and I don’t mind playing it. Second, and more importantly, it is way too Tea Party Republican. Each time the LP looks that way longingly I want to scream. If we want to be the Tea Party, we should just leave and “change the RP from within.” I left the RP for a reason. To be Libertarian.

  73. bernard b carman

    langa: “Mr. Carman’s long, rambling screed should serve as Exhibit A whenever anyone tries to make the ridiculous claim that anarchists want to “purge” minarchists from the LP, when, if anything, the exact opposite is true.”

    my post was only a “rambling screed” to the degree Mr. Smith’s essay was likewise, with the additions of his various repugnant ad hominems. i could perhaps respect him otherwise.

    history indicates that libertarians simply leave the LP once they realize the underlying problem with the two opposing ideologies. this seems to have happened long ago when various individuals left the LP to form CATO, and it happened with myself and several other libertarians i know some years back, including my good friend Carl Milsted.

    during the time of the “Portland Purge” when we distributed the two stickers “BIG TENT” & “ANARCHISTS ONLY”, i could not understand why these individuals self-identifying as anarchists would want to keep the LP so very small and ineffective. i didn’t understand why various delegates i met there and at the 2004 ATL convention were not interested in party growth, nor getting Libertarians elected.

    and i didn’t fully understand that the anarchists within the LP were actually serious about believing that a society could actually function without any government whatsoever, while somehow dealing with natural rights violations. later i wondered why anarchists would even want to join a *political* party.

    if i had better understood the specifics behind the underlying problem at that time, i would have certainly been inclined to make a distinction between the ideologies of anarchism from that of libertarian in attempts to convert the anarchist faction through simple logic and reason. i might have even remained active in the LP for a little while longer had the Ron Paul rEVOLution not taken my focus.

    you see, all the time i was involved i thought i had joined the “Libertarian” Party. i didn’t think i joined the “Anarchy” Party, or i would have never been interested in joining it. Milsted’s “Bait & Switch” article clarified this matter: https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=ZGVmYXVsdGRvbWFpbnxsaWJlcnR5YXNoZXZpbGxlbmV0d29ya3xneDo0NTEzMTA4NTgyY2MxYzY1

    even now there is exemplified a serious mistake in focus. we libertarians are called “minarchists” by anarchists as if we merely desire a small government. have the creators of all these interesting terms not considered that the degree to which a society enjoys peace, prosperity, and liberty isn’t addressed merely by the *size*, but *scope* of government?

    Starchild asks why i’m not an advocate of anarchism, and by extension, why i believe it to be folly.

    anarchists admit that for a society to address natural rights violations most often necessitates the need for an “arbitrator”. who pays this arbitrator? do individuals voluntarily become arbitrators without pay to aid in such matters for the betterment of mankind?

    whatever the case, once an arbitrator is involved, a government is created. by merely not calling it “government” doesn’t change the fact that it is government.

    further, by what code would that arbitrator/government judge such matters of natural rights violations? to judge in such matters, some kind of law must already be established, else the arbitrator/government would judge by his own whim. therefore, a legislative body is also required in this anarchist model.

    thus, the anarchist ideology fails for it cannot rationally construct a method in which natural rights violations can be justly dealt with in a society without any government whatsoever.

    this is why i call anarchy folly.

    so Starchild — and all other anarchists here — i’m in no way suggesting that the government should ever control anyone’s choices for themselves. nor am i suggesting in any way that there are any acceptable circumstances whereby the STATE should violate the natural rights of the individual.

    on the contrary, as a libertarian, i maintain that in order to maximize peace, prosperity, and liberty for a society, the primary function and service of government should be to protect and uphold the unalienable natural rights of the individual through the rule of law.

    i’ve grown to the point where i no longer care that anarchists have largely clouded the fact that true libertarianism is founded upon the principles of natural law and natural rights ideology — the very same that has been around for thousands of years — and rooted in the philosophy of Individualism, which is diametrically opposed to the philosophy of Collectivism. we libertarians merely need to re-educate others when it comes to this truth, and Ron Paul did much to help in this effort, as the entire time he promoted liberty, he never advanced the folly of anarchism.

    while both factions within the LP might argue over who wants to “purge” whom, the truth is that most of the LP supporters over the years have simply decided to leave the folly of anarchism and try to advocate for the cause of liberty in other avenues.

    after all, how can anarchists expect libertarians to stand beside them in unity at political rallies while they hold signs like “Government = Aggression” or “Voting is Violence”? such slogans are totally absurd, and doubly so for members of a political party to use. it’s amazing to me the anarchists cannot understand this.

    but i find it extremely sad that with so many apparent brilliant minds at work here, so many cannot fathom all the good that Dr. Carl Milsted, along with myself and everyone else who put their efforts into the formation of the LRC, were attempting to do in order to help the LP grow into a viable and effective political party to further the cause of liberty in what i call “Neo-America”. rather, many of you would cheer on such repugnance by this L. Neil Smith.

    so by all means, enjoy the anarchist club which calls itself the “Libertarian Party”, and good luck enduring all the turmoil of infighting with one another! 😎

  74. Caryn Ann Harlos

    And someone doesn’t understand the difference between government and the state. And denounces collectivism while promoting collectivism …. interesting.

    ==Ron Paul did much to help in this effort, as the entire time he promoted liberty, he never advanced the folly of anarchism===

    You might want to drop that line from your next rant.

    Dr. Ron Paul “I think anarchy is a great idea.”

  75. steve m

    I think the folly of the Radical Anarchists is the presumption that all other political ideas and philosophies will some how disappear, allowing for a anachronistic society to exist.

    I see the Libertarian Party more like a force which provides a tug in the direction of minimal to no government but I also expect that there will be other parties providing tugs towards more government along with government interference in peoples lives.

    The stronger the Libertarian Party becomes the more pull it will have in reducing the scope and influence of government. I never expect this competition to end as long as humans and the earth continue to exist.

  76. Caryn Ann Harlos

    I for one don’t think anarchy is achievable. Thus, I go with pushing as far in that direction as is achievable. How much would that be? I have no idea.

  77. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Someone also doesn’t realize – btw – that the phrase “minarchy” is referring to the *scope* not merely the size. When there is such a basic lack of understanding of terminology…. well. When there is limited scope that necessarily implies the size will be smaller but that isn’t the focus. When people say “minimal government” (i.e. the “min” in “minarchy”) they are not saying a government that claims jurisdiction over nearly everything but is too small to enforce it would be a “minarchy.”

    So that second post was simply. Wow. Just wow. If you are going to be flamethrowingly angry, at least be knowledgeable.

  78. Fnord

    Way back in the early 80s, the Libertarian Party used the Oath as its tool describe what a Libertarian is — even though the Clark campaign was not anarchic.

    Then in the late 80s, the party began using the Nolan Chart and the World’s Smallest Political Quiz to define the word Libertarian. The Portland convention happened two decades after the Quiz was launched. Exactly how long the LP was using it as a recruiting technique is unknown to me, but it was at least a decade and a half.

    The reform effort was an attempt to get the Party to reflect the base it had been recruiting for well over a decade — or trigger a purge so [semi] libertarians thus recruited could go back to a major party or start a new third party.

  79. langa

    Some don’t like the nudge nudge wink wink of the “minimum government” one in which we of a more radical bent say “well minimum could be zero”- I don’t mind that game. It keeps the peace, and I don’t mind playing it.

    I agree. It’s a clever phrase that makes both sides feel welcome. What’s wrong with that?

  80. langa

    As for the questions raised by Mr. Carman about how disputes would be resolved in a stateless society, the key is the existence of free market competition. People could choose between competing decision-makers, and if a particularly arbitration firm gained a reputation for making biased, whimsical, or otherwise poorly conceived judgments, they would quickly lose market share. Government, on the other hand, is free to be as incompetent and unfair as it wants, and there’s nothing you can do, because they have a legal monopoly on the provision of justice. Anyone with even a basic understanding of economics should be able to see the flaws inherent in a system that relies on a force-driven monopoly.

    For more specific discussion on this subject, I highly recommend “The Machinery of Freedom” by David Friedman. I have also heard good things about “The Enterprise of Law” by Bruce Benson, as well as “The Market for Liberty” by Linda and Morris Tannehill, though I haven’t actually read either of those last two.

  81. langa

    Dr. Ron Paul “I think anarchy is a great idea.”

    Not only that, but Ron Paul has also frequently worked with and praised anarchists, such as Murray Rothbard, Lew Rockwell, Walter Block, Tom Woods, and others. To paint Ron Paul as an enemy of anarchism is ridiculous.

  82. Caryn Ann Harlos

    For those interested in a bare bones argument for anarchism from libertarianism qua libertarianism (at least from natural rights libertarianism– arguments from utilitarianism are different and since I don’t hold that position, I don’t argue about it much), I am having a friendly discussion on my FB page. My page is limited to my friends though, but I will friend nearly any LP person who is not hostile to minarchist-anarchist alliances or who doesn’t insist on being hostile on my page.

  83. Charles Jacques

    I have fond memories of the Libersign, but frankly find the current logo more evocative of what we represent. When I joined the party in 1978 and ran for office, I spent all my time explaining what we were – and weren’t – and so didn’t have much chance to talk about what we would do. It’s nice that we have reversed that equation.

    As for the platform, to me it can be and should become reduced to the simple statement : protecting you from force and fraud, but not from yourself.

  84. paulie

    “radicals”— and there are certainly plenty of those who’ve made efforts- sometimes successful- to chase off moderates and perceived “LINOs”. Most famously (and successfully) at the 1983 convention.

    Before my time, but based on my reading they left on their own because they were not able to prevail in internal elections, threw a fit and took their ball home. That doesn’t fit my definition of a purge. Some people claim, also falsely, that we purged Barr, Root and many of their supporters. Also not true, and that one I can attest to personally. What are some actual examples of radicals or anarchists trying to actually purge moderates?

    I think most people on all sides accept the premise of the Libertarian Party as a coalition of an-caps, radical minarchists, more moderate minarchists, classical liberals, even libertarian-leaning centrists, etc. A minority within each sub-group doesn’t like that and perennially makes noise about it.

    As far as I can see almost all such noise comes from the moderate side, but maybe I’m just not as quick to notice the opposite. That’s why I am asking for examples. Haven’t scrolled past 16:27 yet so we’ll see if there will be examples in subsequent comments.

  85. paulie

    I think the folly of the Radical Anarchists is the presumption that all other political ideas and philosophies will some how disappear,

    Nope. Nazism and communism have not disappeared. But if American neo-nazis or neo-communists try to round up and kill a lot of people the way nazis and communists did in Eurasia and other places in the last century, at least for now, they would quickly find themselves locked up in jail. Anarchist libertarians believe that a polycentric legal order can provide the same sort of service to those whose ideology compels them to initiate force.

    allowing for a anachronistic society to exist.

    Hopefully you meant anarchistic. If you actually meant anachronistic, I disagree, and we can have that discussion separately, as well.

  86. paulie

    I for one don’t think anarchy is achievable. Thus, I go with pushing as far in that direction as is achievable. How much would that be? I have no idea.

    I think it is achievable and that it will be achieved, sooner than most people dare dream, but in practice my approach is the same as yours.

  87. paulie

    Then in the late 80s, the party began using the Nolan Chart and the World’s Smallest Political Quiz

    I could be wrong, but I think it was earlier. I remember debating libertarians before I became one and I seem to remember they always had versions of the Nolan Chart even before the quiz existed. The original version was square rather than diamond and did not have a centrist category. The libertarian quadrant was in the upper right, hence the libersign.

  88. paulie

    To be fair, while at least some of the people I was arguing with then were LP members, they were also involved in other movement organizations, so it’s possible that their use of the Nolan chart model was not official party info. Those of you who were involved before the mid to late 1980s, do you remember it being used in official party literature or outreach before then?

  89. paulie

    I have fond memories of the Libersign, but frankly find the current logo more evocative of what we represent.

    Which current logo – the statue of liberty or the chicken-k-bob aka chicken-n-bananas?

  90. paulie

    Well, I’ve caught up in the thread. And still waiting for evidence that lots of anarchists are trying to purge moderates. Anyone?

  91. paulie

    On the other hand, the new slogan makes it clear that the problem is not government itself, but only “big” government.

    Not necessarily. For an anarchist, any monopoly government is too big.

    Furthermore, it is impossible to “shrink” something totally out of existence, which further precludes any possibility of anarchy.

    Something can be shrunk until it disappears from view. Becomes so small no one notices it. Maybe it still exists somewhere, but can anyone really tell?

  92. paulie

    I think I vaguely recall the slogan change to the “shrinking” version being discussed on the LNC list and/or at an LNC meeting, but I don’t remember when. It’s pretty obviously a Cloud/Howell idea, although I don’t know that for an absolute fact, but it seems pretty obvious to me. Cloud and Howell do have experience in marketing and sales and probably polled it some, maybe informally and maybe more formally. I actually personally like the new “shrinking” version, so either I am not as radical as I thought I was, even though I’m an anarchist, but others of the radical persuasion who are speaking up here all seem to hate it, or maybe I just have weird tastes. Personally I am not a fan of the chickenKbob or the libersign; to me the statue and the porcupine are both fine though both also have their weak points, and I also kind of like LP the Liberty Penguin, even though it seems to have more or less disappeared lately.

    http://www.thecreativefactory.com/Libertypenguin/aboutLP.html (this link also explains why some people don’t like the statue, although I still do like it as well).

    As for L. Neil Smith’s idea of a stinky, aggressive, upside-down skunk ready to strike, that just… strikes me the wrong way… as I think it would most people. I think that’s the idea, and I don’t think it’s a good one. Speaking of weird tastes, I actually like the way skunk spray smells, but I also realize it is synonymous with stinky and unpleasant odor to most people, even though I personally like it.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/life-video/video-who-wouldnt-be-intimidated-by-a-rapidly-approaching-upside-down-skunk/article27117390/

  93. Steve LaBianca

    Andy Craig – “And for what it’s worth, put me down as someone who thinks the “cult of the omnipotent state” language is an embarrassment, and that entrenching it behind a 7/8 super-majority was absurdly short-sighted.”

    The statement is awesome – it differentiates libertarians from statists.

    Not only was the 7/8 majority NOT short-sighted, it was nothing short of brilliant.

    But alas . . . statism crept into and has dominated the LP anyway.

  94. Darcy G Richardson

    “As for L. Neil Smith’s idea of a stinky, aggressive, upside-down skunk ready to strike, that just… strikes me the wrong way… as I think it would most people.” — Paulie

    Speaking of skunks, my sister and brother-in-law, who live in Quakertown, Pennsylvania, had a pet skunk that lived in their shed for a couple of years. It was cute as a button and — believe it or not — they fed it every day. They even put a heating blanket out for it in the winter. It would wander off during the day, but return every evening.

    Curiously, it only sprayed around election time, when Republican candidates and GOP committee people were canvassing door-to-door in their neighborhood.

  95. Darcy G Richardson

    “Well, I’ve caught up in the thread. And still waiting for evidence that lots of anarchists are trying to purge moderates. Anyone?” — Paulie

    Unfortunately, Paulie, you’ll probably have a pretty long wait since it never happened. Then again, the party’s moderate faction — the warmed over Republicans, as I call them — have a tendency to imagine the past and remember the future, so in their minds maybe it did.

  96. Robert Capozzi

    pf: Before my time, but based on my reading they left on their own because they were not able to prevail in internal elections, threw a fit and took their ball home.

    me: Read MNR’s L Forum, available on the LvMI site, I believe, from 1980-83.

    Also, in 82 iirc, Alicia Clark fired Eric O’Keefe as National Director, closed the national office, moved it to Houston. That was a purge, I’d say.

    Still, I don’t see a “purge” now, I’d say as an L voter but non-member. I would say that much of the extremism and falseness in the SoP is designed to purge probably most LP members, in effect. Some liberty lovers either overlook the falseness or haven’t recognized the language for what it is.

  97. paulie

    Darcy, actually, Chuck is an anarchist himself so I don’t think that applies to him. But he is siding with Phillies, Capozzi and Petersen in claiming that the party should not be based on the NAP, NIOF, ZAP, or whatever you want to call the non-initiation of force constraint. They always bring that discussion around to several talking points, none of which I think are correct:

    * That our adherence to this principle is based on a misinterpretation of the membership pledge. < -- It seems like it should be obvious that with the background many of the party’s founders had in Randian and Rothbardian circles and the discussions in those circles at the time, it was at the very least a double entendre, despite what David Nolan later said. But even more importantly, it’s also explicitly embedded in the statement of principles, so even if they are 100% correct about the pledge that doesn’t mean that the party is not built on this principle.

    * That this principle can only be held by anarchists. < ---That seems like it should be an obvious non-starter, so it puzzles me how anyone can take this seriously. Most of the party’s founders were not anarchists at the time, and anarchists have never been a majority in the LP. So regardless of arguments about the meaning of the membership pledge, why would a non-anarchist majority impose an allegedly anarchist-only principle that would by implication exclude themselves in the statement of principles that can only be changed by a 7/8 vote?

    There are a few others I may get to later but this one is already longer than I intended.

  98. Robert Capozzi

    pf: Capozzi … claiming that the party should not be based on the NAP, NIOF, ZAP, or whatever you want to call the non-initiation of force constraint.

    me: I’ve not claimed that, per se. My claim is that NAP is a nice sentiment, but an unworkable principle in the here and now. IF people want to advocate the NAP, I wish them well, but I don’t think it’s politically viable, and has hampered any significant moves in public policy toward lessarchism.

    pf: It seems like it should be obvious that with the background many of the party’s founders had in Randian and Rothbardian circles and the discussions in those circles at the time, it was at the very least a double entendre, despite what David Nolan later said. But even more importantly, it’s also explicitly embedded in the statement of principles, so even if they are 100% correct about the pledge that doesn’t mean that the party is not built on this principle.

    me: I stipulate this. I just think Rand and Rothbard were simplistic thinkers who created a largely stillborn movement for liberty. A profound mistake was made at the outset, and I encourage truly radical thinkers to rethink the premises that animate the LM and LP to this day.

    pf: Most of the party’s founders were not anarchists at the time, and anarchists have never been a majority in the LP. So regardless of arguments about the meaning of the membership pledge, why would a non-anarchist majority impose an allegedly anarchist-only principle that would by implication exclude themselves in the statement of principles that can only be changed by a 7/8 vote?

    me: There’s another explanation. The non-anarchist founders were confused 20-somethings. They were then snookered by MNR with the so-called “Dallas Accords.”

    Yes, technically, a monopoly government COULD be funded voluntarily in theory, I suppose. Pass the hat for NORAD. Bake sales for the Coast Guard. Celebrity roast fundraisers for the Supreme Court. Etc.

    These are not especially serious ideas, but as a radical, I admit they are possible.

  99. paulie

    Read MNR’s L Forum, available on the LvMI site, I believe, from 1980-83.

    I’ve read a few issues. Lots of typically overblown angry Rothbard rants and unsportsmanlike celebration dances, but if you read closely it doesn’t sound like he had very many allies, and in any case I think they were not explicitly trying to purge moderates so much as outmaneuver them, whereupon some would decide of their own accord to leave. That’s not a purge! And even they never tried to invite all non-anarchists to leave, as far as anything I remember ever reading or hearing about. In fact, the issue about the 1983 convention is one of my primary sources for the claim that (Koch machiners and allies) left on their own because they were not able to prevail in internal elections, threw a fit and took their ball home. As nasty as Rothbard got about it behind the typewriter, that’s still the only way I can interpret the facts through the smoke of vitriol and bile.

    Also, in 82 iirc, Alicia Clark fired Eric O’Keefe as National Director, closed the national office, moved it to Houston. That was a purge, I’d say.

    No, it isn’t. Was his membership revoked for being a non-anarchist? That would have been a purge. No one is entitled to a job, and there are lots of reasons why employees get fired and companies or non-profits or for that matter political parties relocate their headquarters.

    I think there’s a big difference from the claim that lots of anarchists are trying to purge moderates to A) 30-plus-year old newsletters that throw invective at factional opponents and giddily celebrate those opponents’ decision to leave voluntarily after losing a faction battle at a convention, both before and after which a majority of the party were not anarchists and B) a national committee’s or chair’s decision to move headquarters and change employees. Those aren’t even close to being the same thing!

    I would say that much of the extremism and falseness in the SoP is designed to purge probably most LP members, in effect.

    It was and is designed to keep the party at least somewhat adhering to its founding principle.

    Your complaint, as I understand it, is that a bunch of people joined a party and didn’t examine deeply enough what it stands for, and after they do, a lot of them voluntarily don’t stay involved…which to you means we are forcing them to leave (purging) and are wrong for doing so. That seems absurd on its face, but… suppose we took the opposite approach and got rid of all vestiges of our founding principles to accommodate people who are vaguely kind of sort of in our direction. So now what’s to stop an ever bigger number of people from joining that bear no resemblance in any way shape or form to what the party set out to achieve and changing what the party stands for yet again? Maybe we could run Bloomberg and become the new Americans Elect, or run Trump if he doesn’t get the Republican nomination or something. I mean by your logic – why not? If more of them join and decide to redefine what libertarian means, the precedent that you set is that it is our obligation to change the definition of what we are as a party to be like them.

  100. paulie

    There isn’t a desire to toss Invictus out?

    Not merely for being a non-anarchist, or there would be calls to toss out the vast majority of our candidates and would-be candidates, and there aren’t.

    There’s a definite desire on some people’s part to not have him be our US Senate candidate in a nationally prominent race in the state where the national convention is being held. Apparently though not a single person who holds that view is eligible, willing and able to declare their intent to seek that same nomination, even if they have yet to raise the money to file for it, which Invictus still has to do as well.

    As far as I know, there hasn’t been any attempt to actually revoke his membership, which would be more like a purge, but even if we did that he could still register as a Libertarian with the state and run in the primary and if he comes up with the money and no one else does, or if he wins, in the general election as well.

    So how does “lots of libertarians, both radical and moderate alike, would prefer not to have a prominent US Senate candidate who is a fascist white supremacist revolutionist and would-be dictator who believes he is a deity and has tortured a goat to death and drank its blood on video, among other things” translate to “lots of anarchists want to purge all the moderates out of the party”?

  101. paulie

    Capozzi … claiming that the party should not be based on the NAP, NIOF, ZAP, or whatever you want to call the non-initiation of force constraint

    .

    I’ve not claimed that, per se. My claim is that NAP is a nice sentiment, but an unworkable principle in the here and now. IF people want to advocate the NAP, I wish them well, but I don’t think it’s politically viable, and has hampered any significant moves in public policy toward lessarchism.

    So, you did not claim that, but you did claim exactly that and are doing so again right now, but you never claimed that and still don’t, except you do. You have said countless times that you would get rid of the SoP and that the party should not be based on the non-initiation of force principle.

    Also, it would be easier to quote you and hold a conversation if you titled your response sections, say, “rc” instead of “me.” It becomes confusing otherwise, or takes extra work to fix.

  102. Darcy G Richardson

    “There isn’t a desire to toss Invictus out?” — steve m.

    Great question, Steve. Apparently not, which might just be the biggest danger of all, regardless of whom the LP nominates for the presidency. His candidacy is such an easy target for the mainstream media — the national media, that is — to wantonly dismiss the party’s presidential ticket. Local reporters will also have a field day with his candidacy.

    It should be obvious to everybody in the LP that self-assured, smug reporters — most of whom personally identify with one of the two major parties — won’t display any reticence in pointing to the bizarre Invictus candidacy in Florida to destroy the Libertarian Party’s prospects nationally, particularly if the LP is poised to be a factor in the presidential race. A white nationalist running on the country’s third largest ticket will suddenly become very newsworthy.

    The Sunshine State, after all, will be one of the most widely-watched U.S. Senate races in the country.

    It’s not something that should be taken lightly.

  103. Darcy G Richardson

    “There isn’t a desire to toss Invictus out?” — steve m.

    That should be the one “purge” in which every faction within the LP should readily agree. Let’s be honest. His candidacy could destroy 45 years of work…a lifetime of blood, sweat and tears for many of those committed to the Libertarian Party.

  104. paulie

    Good point Darcy @ 0649. And I do believe he has a non-trivial potential to be involved in some kind of terrorist attack that is being planned which may get carried out, or he may be caught up in an arrest sweep of plotters. Say around the time of the national convention which just happens to be in his home city. Or maybe right before the national general election, or at the time of the Florida primary. Take your pick.

    Please also note that he can get all the attention he has received and potentially much more without raising or spending a penny – which, as far as I know, he still hasn’t, other than perhaps some gas money to get to events.

    I also note a non-trivial likelihood that he is being put up to this by infamous dirty trickster Roger Stone, who has now infiltrated the Florida LP while continuing to serve as a national spokesman for Donald Trump, even after supposedly being fired or quitting, and is also mulling entering this race.

    Consider:

    Stone has a lifelong history going back at least to high school about a half century or so ago of setting up dummy opponents to make himself or his clients look better by comparison.

    Stone has been a friend of Trump for decades, and they have worked together on numerous business and political ventures that involved false flag operations using dummy opposition clowns, fake alt parties and the like.

    Stone’s first foray into the LP involved destroying the LP’s best chance ever of getting ballot retention in New York State. His second LP campaign ended with him undermining the campaign in its crucial final weeks with him semi-covertly spreading negative spin about campaign finances far and wide. What else has he done with the LP other than threaten to run for state office at least twice now? Nothing I can think of.

    Invictus is on video asking Stone to run.

    Invictus is surrounded by campaign staff who are avid Trump supporters.

    Is this fishy at all to anyone yet?

    Oh, and throw Jesse Ventura into the mix, another decades long Trump/Stone associate who has threatened repeatedly to show up in Orlando and seek the Presidential or VP nomination.

    And now we also have a bunch of people who want to get rid of the party’s statement of principles at the exact same time.

  105. Darcy G Richardson

    An equally disturbing threat is if political dirty trickster Roger Stone — an unabashed Donald Trump supporter — seeks the LP’s U.S. Senate nomination in Florida. He’ll destroy the Libertarian Party, too, but in a more sophisticated Machiavellian manner.

  106. paulie

    hat should be the one “purge” in which every faction within the LP should readily agree. Let’s be honest. His candidacy could destroy 45 years of work…a lifetime of blood, sweat and tears for many of those committed to the Libertarian Party.

    We just need to come up with someone else who is eligible to run and willing to say they would like the nomination. Someone not named Roger Stone. It’s a big state with hundreds of LP members and thousands of registered Libertarians, so it boggles the mind that none of them can be found who are wiling to announce their intent to be placed on the ballot, yet there it is month after month after month. Truth is indeed stranger than fiction.

  107. paulie

    An equally disturbing threat is if political dirty trickster Roger Stone — an unabashed Donald Trump supporter — seeks the LP’s U.S. Senate nomination in Florida. He’ll destroy the Libertarian Party, too, but in a more sophisticated Machiavellian manner.

    Exactly. I haven’t found proof that he is behind Invictus as well, but there is plenty of circumstantial evidence, and more all the time.

  108. Darcy G Richardson

    Those are excellent observations, Paulie. I hadn’t seen your post of 7:16 before making my last comment, but I agree with everything you said. I’m sorry for sounding redundant. You stated the scenario perfectly.

    By the way, I’ve been closely following Stone’s creepy career since the Nixon campaign of 1972 — a year my mother cried after voting in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, only to discover that the George McGovern didn’t have a single sign or representative at her polling place. It was a solidly Republican county back then…

  109. Darcy G Richardson

    “Truth is indeed stranger than fiction.” — Paulie

    Except, of course, when it involves Roger Stone, a guy with an ax to grind against the Libertarian Party — as Warren Redlich and Gary Johnson clearly understand.

    Don’t threaten his beloved the GOP, the party that enriched him for the past four decades or so…

  110. Darcy G Richardson

    “And I do believe he has a non-trivial potential to be involved in some kind of terrorist attack that is being planned which may get carried out, or he may be caught up in an arrest sweep of plotters. Say around the time of the national convention which just happens to be in his home city. Or maybe right before the national general election, or at the time of the Florida primary. Take your pick.” — Paulie

    I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I’ve long believed that Invictus could be some sort of agent provocateur. There’s really no other way to describe a guy like that.

    I mean, seriously — why hasn’t the LPF rallied behind somebody who could effectively challenge the mysterious “Augustus Sol Invictus” and the equally stone-hearted former Nixon lackey for the Libertarian Party’s U.S. Senate nomination? Are they brain-dead now that Adrian Wyllie has left the party?

    One thing is becoming increasingly clear. This is no longer country we grew up in. Then again, the United States is now bordering on a police state, so anything is possible.

  111. Darcy G Richardson

    “no longer country” — should read “no longer the country” Sorry for the typo….

  112. Darcy G Richardson

    “And now we also have a bunch of people who want to get rid of the party’s statement of principles at the exact same time.” — Paulie

    Thanks for sharing that, Paulie. Can you tell IPR readers more about that? I wasn’t aware of that…

    Libertarians — the country’s last of defense for liberty and a free and open political process — should fight for their party.

  113. Darcy G Richardson

    Sorry. I was sleeping when my fingers wrote that. They’re freedom freaks, always tying away on their own.

  114. paulie

    Thanks for sharing that, Paulie. Can you tell IPR readers more about that? I wasn’t aware of that…

    It’s discussed pretty extensively in this thread and quite a few other recent threads. Just scroll up 🙂

  115. paulie

    Darcy, BTW, not sure you remember, but you are still signed up as an IPR writer, so you can edit your own comments in dashboard as well as post articles. If you aren’t already on it, I can also invite you to the newer email list (also years old at this point but newer than the original one).

  116. Darcy G Richardson

    “Stone’s first foray into the LP involved destroying the LP’s best chance ever of getting ballot retention in New York State.” – Paulie

    That was one of the most devious and despicable dirty tricks in American political history, a completely disgusting and dishonest attempt to destroy a candidate’s reputation. I hope Florida Libertarians have the good sense to realize that…

  117. Darcy G Richardson

    “Darcy, BTW, not sure you remember, but you are still signed up as an IPR writer, so you can edit your own comments in dashboard as well as post articles. If you aren’t already on it, I can also invite you to the newer email list (also years old at this point but newer than the original one).” — Paulie

    Thank you, Paulie. I can’t remember my password and I’ve been requesting the opportunity to change whatever it might have been for the past nine months or so, but I never get a response. I just assumed that I was removed as an IPR writer.

  118. Darcy G Richardson

    If you don’t mind, please sign me up for the newer IPR email list, too. Thanks, Paulie!

  119. paulie

    It looks like you were signed up to the email list with your aol address. I just added the one you posted your last comment from. If you want to catch up on our email list discussions about site policies and news tips, and possibly turn some of the news tips that haven’t already become IPR articles into ones, see https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/iprtwo; you can read and respond to the messages either from there or from your email but only for those on the list.

    I also checked and you are still signed up as an editor. However, that’s probably also with your aol account. I’ll see if I can change that.

  120. Darcy G Richardson

    From the bottom of my heart, thanks. Paulie, for everything you do — and have done — for the causes of freedom and open politics in this country.

  121. paulie

    Backatcha.

    You should have access to the email list and dashboard now. Let me know if you can’t make either of them work.

  122. Darcy G Richardson

    Thanks, I’ve requested a password change from both of my e-mail accounts, but never receive a response.

  123. Robert Capozzi

    pf: Your complaint, as I understand it, is that a bunch of people joined a party and didn’t examine deeply enough what it stands for, and after they do, a lot of them voluntarily don’t stay involved…which to you means we are forcing them to leave (purging) and are wrong for doing so.

    me: At this point, it’s not so much of a complaint as my opinion that a plumbline NAPster party is a setup for failure and largely a waste of time EXCEPT for plumbliners. Plumbliner NAPsters kid themselves IMO in thinking that by staying true to the NAP and the SoP, they are changing American politics.

    I do think a lot of those who’ve been involved in the LP were tricked or didn’t read the fine print, OR who maybe bought the plumbline only to realize it’s unworkability upon reflection (as was my experience).

    OTOH, I appreciate the LP, as it gives me someone to vote for now and then.

    Generally, I agree that actual “purges” are rare to non-existent. O’Keefe was let go because he was associated with the Crane Machine, which was not anarchist and not especially plumbline in its approach. If you don’t want to call that an ideological purge, that’s fine, since what constitutes an actual “purge” is subjective.

  124. paulie

    You think your dream setup would work better. Maybe, maybe not. But if people didn’t read the fine print or changed their minds, or just got tired of the infighting, or became anti-voting anarchists or off the grid survivalists or decided to infiltrate the duopoly or work on single issue groups or other movement organizations or gave up or got tired of turning the hamster wheel or changed their ideology to something completely different or became ill or died.. well, at that happens. There are lots of alt parties in US history, moderate and extreme, of all ideological stripes and configurations, and many that have come and gone. The LP with its uneasy truce between anarchists and moderates, ornery bristly pricks bumping heads and all its other imperfections has succeeded better than any other nationally organized alt party in the era of television, computers, cell phones, nuclear weapons, rocket ships and restrictive ballot access laws. Maybe your setup could do better, but I doubt it, and I’m more inclined to say build it from the ground and prove it than here, just have the keys and blast the foundation.

  125. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Paulie, indeed, and that reminds me of another life experience.

    I used to haunt debate forums. I and some friends thought we were ill-treated by the leadership at one forum. So we quit and took our ball and created our own that we thought had better rules and philosophy and foundation. And I think we succeeded quite well (most people think we succeeded quite well). We never looked back. Inevitably people came to our forum and thought they were ill-treated or were doing things wrong. Do you know what I said, “If you don’t like it, please, please go and create your own to suit your preferences. We pretty much have proven that anyone can do it.”

  126. Robert Capozzi

    pf and cah, thanks for the reminder. It’s always true that people have the right to leave and try something different. I’m not so inclined personally, as I’m not all that interested and lack the resources to show that lessarchism could be pursued and advanced electorally outside the LP.

    But, as I think PF has admitted in the past, his is basically a my (NAPster) way or the highway. What The Nolan & Co created in the CO living room is beyond questioning or even discussing…not really. “They nailed it, you just don’t get it,” seems to be the attitude.

  127. Caryn Ann Harlos

    The SoP is the foundational philosophy. If it cannot meet the threshold for change and someone wants to repudiate it, they should give everyone the respect of leaving and started a like-minded group.

  128. paulie

    RC

    Well, now, you know better. I never said we nailed it. We got a vehicle that’s still on the road after 44 years however roughly, and you have a diagram on a napkin. Maybe it will run better if your theory pans out, but I’m not willing to let you use the only vehicle we have for parts to see if it does. But you can question and discuss til the cows come home and go back out again. Or go find some parts somewhere. Either way is fine.

  129. Andy Craig

    “The SoP is the foundational philosophy.”

    It’s mostly-OK. It’s a passable statement of the basics. It is not holy writ, handed down to David Nolan by God on Mount Sinai. The main objection people have to it isn’t substantive, it’s stylistic. The meat of it is John Locke 101 and I’ve never heard anybody dispute that. The complaints are that 1) “cult of the omnipotent state” sounds very silly and 2) it reflects a heavy Randian/Objectivist influence on the early party (with its talk of “sacrifice to others”), and this has diminished greatly over time. If the party could change either of those, it would be well-served to do so, and having to reach a 7/8 vote to do it is arbitrarily high. If you are going to make something permanently entrenched and unchangeable, they should have just done that and admit it’s what they were doing. Having a supermajority requirement implies the possibility of reaching it, and at least debating the possibility of reaching it.

    This idolatry of the SoP as the One True Perfect Statement of Libertarianism is misplaced. That isn’t what the LP is actually about, and it never has been. Saying the SoP is less than perfect, is not some unforgivable heresy that demands excommunication. Particularly not when every member of the party has already, by definition, affirmed they’re willing to set aside any such quibbles and sign on to both the pledge and the platform, that includes the SoP.

  130. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Never said it was perfect. Said it was foundational. I don’t believe it is perfect. In what it says I agree. I think it could say more and say what it does say better.

    And I think the 7/8 was pretty much a way of saying pretty much impossible. And there it is, whether you like (or I like it, though I happen to like it very much) or not. And having a practically impossible standard does make it what the philosophy of the LP is all about. When Robinson gets the 1974 convention tapes available, it will be very interesting what was said.

    With all the talk of the 7/8 however, I think there is one thing that has a chance of passing one day (though I would oppose it) and that is the cult of the omnipotent state language. That has a chance.

  131. Andy Craig

    I wouldn’t assume that fixing the “cult…” language couldn’t ever reach 7/8, if it went up for a vote on the LNC floor. It could probably get a majority, at least, precisely because it’s more akin to fixing shoddy drafting than changing anything substantive.

    But, it probably won’t happen, not because it couldn’t, but because organizing and reaching the 7/8 threshold is much more trouble than it’s worth to anybody. The ultimate impact is nil, when we (thankfully) don’t have candidates running around putting “Challenge the cult of the omnipotent state 2016!” on their literature or bashing altruism in their campaign speeches.

  132. Caryn Ann Harlos

    I think that language is the only thing that might ever get the 7/8. I would be part of the 1/8.

  133. Caryn Ann Harlos

    And the ” People should not be forced to sacrifice their lives and property for the benefit of others.” is not exclusively Randian nor is it anti-altrusim since it mentions force.

  134. Andy Craig

    Our opponents are not a “cult,” and nobody claims the state is “omnipotent.” Not only is it a strawman, it’s a poorly-constructed strawman, and it sounds like we don’t understand how the U.S. is any different from somewhere like North Korea.

    I don’t think Libertarians should *overstate* how distant we are from mainstream American values and opinion in an attempt to out-radical each other. The “cult…” language manages to take something as American as the principles of the Declaration of Independence, and make it *sound* like a kooky fringe minority idea. It might as well be calling on all non-Libertarians to “wake up, sheeple!”

  135. Andy Craig

    “”And the ” People should not be forced to sacrifice their lives and property for the benefit of others.” is not exclusively Randian nor is it anti-altrusim since it mentions force.””

    It mentions force, and there is no non-Randian reason to mention the rest.

  136. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Sure there is. It is a good statement. I am not now, nor have I ever been, a Randian. Sacrificing our lives and property is precisely what the State demands us to do. And what Libertarians oppose.

  137. Caryn Ann Harlos

    That is a nice opinion. One I disagree with. And happily for me, it is pretty much entrenched. You don’t like it. I get it. But I am right in my estimation that it is entrenched in our Bylaws as the foundational philosophy.

  138. Caryn Ann Harlos

    ===ARTICLE 4: STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES AND PLATFORM
    1. The Statement of Principles affirms that philosophy upon which the Libertarian Party is founded, by which it shall be sustained, and through which liberty shall prevail. The enduring importance of the Statement of Principles requires that it may be amended only by a vote of 7/8 of all registered delegates at a Regular Convention.===

    You can continue to kick against the goads. But the goads are what they are.

  139. Caryn Ann Harlos

    I remind everyone what this tangent started out with. My statement:

    “The SoP is the foundational philosophy.”

    That is just quite simply what the organization states, no matter what IPR commenter wishes otherwise.

  140. Andy Craig

    I’m not kicking against anything; I’ve made no push and don’t expect there to be one to change the SoP. If there is any serious effort to do so, it’s news to me. But like I said: every member of the party has already, by definition, consented to being affiliated with it as-is. So, I don’t see any need to go around demanding people re-affirm that or express their devotion to it. Either they like it, or they don’t, but don’t care enough for it to be an issue. It is what it is. I think party platforms as a whole (and the SoP is just one part of the platform), are over-rated, and third-parties in particular are often too obsessed with a document that few outside those writing it will ever read. Even most of those who ever read any part of the platform, will skip straight over the SoP to find out our position on some particular issue they want to know.

  141. Robert capozzi

    The “cult” language received a ~3/4ths vote for deletion in Portland. I was with the super-majority.

  142. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Andy,

    ==I’m not kicking against anything; I’ve made no push and don’t expect there to be one to change the SoP.==

    I meant just in this discussion.

    == But like I said: every member of the party has already, by definition, consented to being affiliated with it as-is. ===

    Yes.

    ==So, I don’t see any need to go around demanding people re-affirm that or express their devotion to it. ==

    Who is demanding any such thing? I do call people to act accordingly with their prior consent.

    == Even most of those who ever read any part of the platform, will skip straight over the SoP to find out our position on some particular issue they want to know.==

    The SoP was instrumental in my switching Party affiliation. But i am not particularly typical in many ways.

  143. Robert capozzi

    Cah: That is just quite simply what the organization states, no matter what IPR commenter wishes otherwise.

    Me: Hide behind that all you want. But IMO it is not “the organization” but rather a small number of founders. They are not the same. Based on the Portland experience, “the organization” sees the obvious: the CotOS is loopy and inaccurate.

  144. steve m

    I might argue that despite section 4.1 of the bylaws, that the sop could be amended by 2/3 vote.

    to do so you need to amend 4.1

    ARTICLE 4: STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES AND PLATFORM
    1. The Statement of Principles affirms that philosophy upon which the Libertarian Party is founded,
    by which it shall be sustained, and through which liberty shall prevail. The enduring importance of
    the Statement of Principles requires that it may be amended only by a vote of 7/8 of all registered
    delegates at a Regular Convention.

    but 4.1 is protected by requiring 7/8th to amend it by article 18.2

    ARTICLE 18: AMENDMENT
    1. These Bylaws may be amended by a 2/3 vote of the delegates at any Regular Convention.
    2. Article 4, Section 1, shall not be amended by a vote of less than 7/8 of all registered delegates at
    a Regular Convention.

    So to amend the SOP you first amend 18.2 by 2/3rds vote to eliminate the 7/8th requirement to amend 4.1.

    Then you amend 4.1 eliminating the 7/8th requirement to amend the SoP this might also require 2/3rds vote depending on how 18.2 was changed.

    Then you Amend the SoP which might also require 2/3rds vote depending on how 4.1 was changed.

    So it would be a 3 step process and would require having at least a 2/3rds vote in a normal convention.

  145. Caryn Ann Harlos

    I would have to find it and don’t have time at the moment but there is a provision that says amending a bylaw provision requiring more than 2/3 would require whatever the higher threshold stated.

    It’s been tried too IIRC

  146. Caryn Ann Harlos

    I went and looked, and your argument could be made under RONR, but a good chance it would be ruled as not passing. This is a possible ambiguity, and again, I think this was tried before, but I am not positive about that. I think the argument can (and would successfully be made) that Section 18 is simply a means to codify the amendment requirements and that to require less than 7/8 to amend that goes against the intent of the bylaws. For instance, if there were no separate amendment section and Section 4.1 simply added the statement to itself that it could only be amended by 7/8 that is the same effect and such could not then be amended by less. The organizational artifact of putting the amendment requirements in a separate section does not give a loophole that would not be there if the bylaw in question simply contained the statement there.

    Of course, your argument *could* be made. I think it would be unsuccessful (and do think it was tried before…)

  147. Caryn Ann Harlos

    I was correct. It was tried in 2008 and ruled out of Order by the Convention.

    Ironically the people asking for that asked for too much. If they tried that (and to close the backdoor as they say) by only wanting to revise the CofOS language, it might have happened. But they overreached and attempted to open the door for coercive taxation and to undo Dallas Accord language. If such a series of Motions came up en banc in the future, and all they wanted to do was take out the CofOS language, I would support it to close this scheming of “backdoors” forever. Over-reach will kill this every time.

  148. George Phillies

    General rule: If a special high vote is needed to do something, and amending it requires the same vote, the intent being you cannot by subterfuge make the change without getting the high vote.

    My state party had this for something. We got the needed vote, iirc 7/8. The next year we pointed out that the 7/8 amendment rule, which was written correctly “to put the starship force field generator *inside* the force field” by self-referencing that a 7/8 was needed to amend the amending process, was made to go away.

  149. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Yes George, that is clearly the spirit of protecting the rights of members and I find such things to be subterfuge. Great way to describe it. I hate gamesmanship.

    In CO we put things inside the force field generator as well… but here the intent is very clear. I do not know why the Convention ruled this out of order, but I would be screaming loudly by this kind of monkey business if it were ever pulled again.

    HOWEVER, I am a political realist, and if all the schemers wanted to was delete the CotOS languages, for expediency, I would like go along to stop this kind of nonsense.

  150. Andy Craig

    I think that’s correct as a general rule.

    There has been some debate over exactly that, when it comes to the Constitution, in particular the clause saying that “no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.” In effect, that’s a requirement of unanimity of the states on any amendment that would do that.

    But…. if push came to shove, I think they’d not only do a two-step process, they’d do it within a single amendment. e.g.
    Section 1. The entrenchment clause requiring is hereby repealed.
    Section 2. Each state shall have a number of Senators equal to the number of letters in its name.

    If that was proposed by Congress and ratified by the usual 3/4 of the states, I don’t think it would be struck down by the Court (indeed it’s not really clear how exactly they could go about striking down a duly ratified amendment). So, it’s not necessarily an iron-clad rule that you can’t do that, and get away with it. I’m not a parliamentarian, though, so on the specific question of if the LNC could do that, I don’t know. In reality the answer is if there are the votes and the will to do it, it will be done regardless.

  151. paulie

    Wasn’t Tom Stevens purged from both the Pennsylvania and New York Libertarian Parties?

    Not for being a non-anarchist and he was reinstated in NY. Again, this is not an example of a lot of anarchists trying to purge all the non-anarchists out of the party. I am still waiting for examples of that. Got a few more comments to catch up to see if I got any yet.

  152. paulie

    don’t expect there to be one to change the SoP.

    I think there will be one in Orlando, and if it doesn’t succeed there it will intensify in 2018.

  153. paulie

    Based on the Portland experience,

    I wouldn’t base too much on that. It was the lowest attended convention since the early 70s. Expensive to fly to and a long way to drive or bus to for most of the country.

  154. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Paulie,

    ==I think there will be one in Orlando, and if it doesn’t succeed there it will intensify in 2018.==

    I don’t, unless it is against the CotOS language. I always expect that. Anything else? Nah.

  155. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Andy,

    If there are the votes, there will always be an attempt. And in 2008 that’s how it was tried… with a multi-step en banc process. And it might have succeeded or gotten support if they didn’t try to go too far. This *could* succeed with the CotOS language. Anything else? Nah. Unless the Republicans were trying to take over, and that could happen, but we would already be dead, and it wouldn’t much matter. The fact is if the Republicans ever really wanted to take over, they could.

  156. Steve Scheetz

    Wasn’t Tom Stevens purged from both the Pennsylvania and New York Libertarian Parties?

    Yes, and he really deserved to be tossed. (I am not going to delve back into that drama, nor will I discuss what happened in NY, Instead I would suggest asking a member who was involved with the tossing, and WOW, I cringe just thinking about it… ) Why he was allowed back into the NYLP is beyond me, but to this day, people of the LPPA refer to Tom Stevens as “he who shall not be named”

    However, his tenure did make for some funny “after the fact” stories that were not funny at the time, but are funny now…

    Sincerely,

    Steve Scheetz

  157. Robert Capozzi

    pf: [Portland] was the lowest attended convention since the early 70s.

    me: Well, for me to have an opinion, I’d have to see turnout numbers, but regardless I would think that Portland was a large enough sample size to get a sense that VERY large percentages of LPers — probably strong majorities — think the CotOS language is for the birds on so many levels. Unless there is some reason to believe that the sane members came to Portland is wildly disproportionate numbers to Portland and the insane did not.

    3/4s voted sanely there.

  158. Robert Capozzi

    more….

    “The organization” — contra CAH — doesn’t stand behind the wild assertion of the existence of a cult wanting an all-powerful state. A small probably non-majority do, and the 20-something founders did.

    Let’s be accurate.

  159. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Bylaws define a deliberative assembly whether you care for it or not. You don’t. So you left. Yet you still want a say. Strange obsession. Like an atheist who spends all countless hours on a religious forum. I can tell you one thing. IF I ever left the Party, I would not spend another second on it.

  160. Michael H. Wilson

    I’ve been in the party since 1980. I have talked to a few reporters and a lot of voters. No one has brought up the “Cult of the omnipotent state” to me in that time. This only seems to be debated within the libertarian party and a few hangers on.

  161. Caryn Ann Harlos

    I didn’t learn it was an issue until I posted here and then I learned it was a huge issue to precisely one person who can’t stop talking about it. No one in Colorado has ever mentioned it.

  162. langa

    L: On the other hand, the new slogan makes it clear that the problem is not government itself, but only “big” government.

    P: Not necessarily. For an anarchist, any monopoly government is too big.

    In that case, why include the word “big” at all? Why not just say “shrinking government” instead? Either the word “big” is totally redundant, or it is meant to imply that as long as government is small, there is no need to shrink it. I strongly suspect it is meant to imply the latter, but regardless, I prefer the old slogan.

  163. langa

    I didn’t learn it was an issue until I posted here and then I learned it was a huge issue to precisely one person who can’t stop talking about it.

    I think that fact says a lot more about that one person than about the phrase.

  164. Robert Capozzi

    cah et al, yes, of course, CotOS is not so much of an issue. It’s the crazy uncle in the attic type of issue, one that most would just as soon ignore.

    Witness: Portland. Finally, someone stood up and said, I’m sorry, there’s a lot of kooky shit in this SoP and the platform. I love it when someone has the cajones to say The Emperor has no clothes! Don’t you?

    Think of this as a soap opera for me, with multiple tangled webs. It fascinates me.

    And while the cause of lessarchy is fairly important to me, it’s my contention that the Randian/Rothbardian thought system is a millstone that holds back the LM in countless ways. That’s a pity. I offer an alternative POV as a means to shine a light on the tautologies, multiple leaps of faith, and otherwise sloppy thinking that remains in vogue with the rigid deontological set.

  165. Starchild

    Caryn Ann Harlos writes (January 16, 2016 at 21:18), “I am a political realist, and if all the schemers wanted to was delete the CotOS languages, for expediency, I would like go along to stop this kind of nonsense.”

    If they were to succeed in using “this kind of nonsense” (gaming the rules to evade the 7/8ths super-majority requirement to change the Libertarian Party platform’s Preamble and Statement of Principles) to get the “Cult of the Omnipotent State” phrase removed from the document, far from that “stopping this kind of nonsense”, I expect on the contrary that it would embolden people to use such tactics more frequently, since they would have been shown that it works!

    I might even hazard a hypothesis that going along with things for the sake of expediency often has this kind of effect.

  166. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Hi Starchild,

    Gamers will always game and sometimes the only winning strategy is to close the avenues of subterfuge. In this case, if a minor concession would guarantee the closure of that game – it *might* be worth it. They will always try the games. Not taking advantage of an opportunity to cripple one will not guarantee they stop. So one must be tactical.

    Now we all know that those sorts will overreach and fail. Just as already happened.

    BTW the Preamble doesn’t require 7/8

  167. paulie

    I think “legalize freedom” should be replaced with

    Dum vivimus, vivamus!

    Legalize freedom? Seriously?

    I hope you are being sarcastic.

  168. paulie

    Why he was allowed back into the NYLP is beyond me, but to this day, people of the LPPA refer to Tom Stevens as “he who shall not be named”

    However, his tenure did make for some funny “after the fact” stories that were not funny at the time, but are funny now…

    Agreed.

  169. paulie

    Well, for me to have an opinion, I’d have to see turnout numbers, but regardless I would think that Portland was a large enough sample size to get a sense that VERY large percentages of LPers — probably strong majorities — think the CotOS language is for the birds on so many levels.

    It was about 300 people, mostly skewed toward the wealthy people who could afford the higher price than usual of travel to this off year convention. In 2000 we had over a thousand delegates. I’ve seen off years with 600 plus, this millenium. Portland 2006 was a deliberately engineered travesty and everything that happened there should be reversed and renounced. On the plus side, it pissed me off enough to get involved again and more actively than ever at the national level. I had pretty much grown completely disillusioned and disinterested in the party except as another client like any other by that point, but what happened there was so thoroughly embarrassing to the legacy of everything we built with decades of blood, sweat and tears that I felt compelled to get involved again to fight to win our party back from the people turning it into a grotesque parody of itself and a publicly oozing sore on the larger libertarian movement’s name.

    The idea that the people there were accurately representative of anything except themselves is beyond laughable. I’m still glad I did not waste the time and money to go, because I could not have changed what happened there and it would have just pissed me off, like Denver in 2008. But my faith in the greater glory of the Party was in some part restored by the results of St. Louis in 2010, not-quite-Las Vegas in 2012 and Columbus in 2014. I sense another disturbance in the force is gathering in time for Orlando; perhaps this is the second 6 foretold in the Book of Revelations, the second act of the 666 triumvirate, of which Portland 2006 formed the first leg of this unholy, evil tripod of Beelzebub’s fork aimed at our heart, and 2026 will be the last leg of that fork.

    Unless there is some reason to believe that the sane members came to Portland is wildly disproportionate numbers to Portland and the insane did not.

    3/4s voted sanely there.

    Well, other than reversing who is sane, that is exactly correct.

  170. paulie

    “The organization” — contra CAH — doesn’t stand behind the wild assertion of the existence of a cult wanting an all-powerful state. A small probably non-majority do, and the 20-something founders did.

    Let’s be accurate.

    If you want to be accurate, what that is is an assertion on your part with no proof.

  171. paulie

    In that case, why include the word “big” at all? Why not just say “shrinking government” instead? Either the word “big” is totally redundant, or it is meant to imply that as long as government is small, there is no need to shrink it. I strongly suspect it is meant to imply the latter, but regardless, I prefer the old slogan.

    Because psychology. “Government” is not necessarily a bad word to most people. As a matter of fact there are even anarchists who want to make a distinction between monopoly government and all government, because the theory is that even an anarchic society would be governed, just not with a territorial monopoly. Even the concept of self-government includes “government.” Big government makes it sound like the excessive thing that it is to most people, regardless of whether you are an anarchist, minarchist, not-quite-minarchist, or slightly-lessarchist, as long as you think it’s already too big now. At that point the question is when if ever does it stop being too big. For some of us the answer is never, and for others it is at some point along the journey between here and there. If and when we reach that point, they can leave the party, because it will no longer be for them. At some point, if we get the ball rolling in that direction, we may be able to shrink government down to a size so small that few if any people will bother to spend any more time on it.

  172. paulie

    If they were to succeed in using “this kind of nonsense” (gaming the rules to evade the 7/8ths super-majority requirement to change the Libertarian Party platform’s Preamble and Statement of Principles) to get the “Cult of the Omnipotent State” phrase removed from the document, far from that “stopping this kind of nonsense”, I expect on the contrary that it would embolden people to use such tactics more frequently, since they would have been shown that it works!

    I might even hazard a hypothesis that going along with things for the sake of expediency often has this kind of effect.

    Yep!

  173. Robert Capozzi

    pf: If you want to be accurate, what that is is an assertion on your part with no proof.

    me: Correct me if I am wrong, but “the organization” is represented by the assemblage of the members, in this case, in conventions. In theory, the convention has ALL the power over the organization when they sit in convention, yes? In theory, the entire SoP and ByLaws COULD be re-written by the convention.

    “The organization” is not some 20-somethings in the 70s, some of whom are dead now.

    You seem to have made some assumptions about the relative wealth of the Portland organization, but I wonder how you could POSSIBLY conclude anything about the income and wealth of those who went. I certainly saw people there who I have every reason to believe they were not affluent in any way.

    Are you privy to individual member’s wealth? If so, who gave you that information?

    Or is this just a Frankelian SWAG?

    If 3/4s of 300 voted to ditch CotOS, what makes you think that there would not be similar outcomes with 600 or 1000? Do you believe that “wealthier” Ls (at least probably your guess about relative wealth) people are inclined in one direction, less wealthy ones in another? If so, why?

    To date, despite numerous challenges on IPR, I have yet to get a lucid response as to who the “blind followers advocating an all-powerful government” actually are?* Are we talking the Shriners? The Knights of Columbus? Some other sinister, unnamed force?

    Since there is no cult, I’d maintain it is sane to delete a delusion.

    ______
    * TK has suggested the Ba’ath Party, but to my knowledge the Ba’ath Party is not active in any significant way in the US.

  174. Andy Craig

    Regardless of how legitimate Portland ’06 should be regarded as, it seems safe to say the CotOS language would probably not be adopted by a modern LNC composed of current LP members, and definitely wouldn’t muster any kid of 2/3 or 7/8 super-majority in favor of adopting it. At the very least, there is a large and substantial minority in the party that doesn’t like it, and I think most evidence points to that sentiment being a majority.

    If there’s a vote in Orlando to dump CotOS, and also to ax the talk of “sacrifice”, I’d vote for that. I wouldn’t go any further, because I don’t have any problem with the rest and I do think the continuity from the party’s history and founding is good. But it ultimately doesn’t matter much, because the kookier-sounding wording in the SoP is safely ignored, as it long has been by most Libertarians.

  175. Caryn Ann Harlos

    If no gamesmanship is tried, and it is tried to get through fairly by the 7/8, I would vote against. I would always, in any 7/8 vote, vote against changing anything in the SoP.

  176. Caryn Ann Harlos

    And, God or fate or whatever anyone wants to place stock in, willing, as long as I am involved with this Party, I will be at every national convention.

  177. paulie

    You seem to have made some assumptions about the relative wealth of the Portland organization, but I wonder how you could POSSIBLY conclude anything about the income and wealth of those who went. I certainly saw people there who I have every reason to believe they were not affluent in any way.

    Educated guess. Roughly half the attendance of the conventions before and since then. The lowest-populated corner of the country, with longer drives and more expensive plane tickets for the largest portion of the prospective delegates. Therefore, relatively fewer people went, fewer than at any convention since iirc my reading 1974. So, yes, there were some poorly dressed people there. There were probably even a few actual poor people there. But on average they would have been wealthier than the much larger numbers of delegates at other national conventions.

    Or is this just a Frankelian SWAG?

    It’s far from a wild assed guess even though I don’t have exact income breakdowns. If you don’t like my hypothesis, what do you propose as the alternative explanation for why there were so drastically fewer delegates there than at any other LP national convention in recent decades? Do you think that it is completely irrelevant to that outcome that it was further, more expensive and more inconvenient for larger numbers of people to get to?

    If 3/4s of 300 voted to ditch CotOS, what makes you think that there would not be similar outcomes with 600 or 1000?

    What makes you think they would? Unless and until they actually do, the burden of proof that they in fact would is on you. Otherwise, I will continue to go with my assumption that Portland 2006 was an evil anomaly as a result of the evil vortex that continuously encompasses that city and state and the overly extremely expensive to get to and inconvenient location for most that most people who would normally go to conventions in fact skipped, just as I did. Also, I think that is the actual real reason that Portland was picked for the convention, regardless of what the cover story was.

  178. paulie

    To date, despite numerous challenges on IPR, I have yet to get a lucid response as to who the “blind followers advocating an all-powerful government” actually are?*

  179. Robert Capozzi

    pf: what do you propose as the alternative explanation for why there were so drastically fewer delegates there than at any other LP national convention in recent decades? Do you think that it is completely irrelevant to that outcome that it was further, more expensive and more inconvenient for larger numbers of people to get to?

    me: Harder to get to, certainly. All else equal, the wealthy value their time more highly, so it COULD be that they were under-represented, given that travel times were longer to get to Portland. Let’s be clear, though: Statistics requires enough observations to develop meaningful statistical significance. Since we don’t have nearly enough observations, we really can’t know.

    pf: What makes you think they would?

    me: 300 * 0.75 = 225. So if the next non-prez-nominating convention had 600, you’d need only 75 to make a vote 50/50. 75 is only 25%. But just an educated guess, too, ultimately. That and my presumption that truth wins out in the end.

    pf: Otherwise, I will continue to go with my assumption that Portland 2006 was an evil anomaly as a result of the evil vortex that continuously encompasses that city and state and the overly extremely expensive to get to and inconvenient location for most that most people who would normally go to conventions in fact skipped, just as I did.

    me: “Evil”?! Wow! You mean like Lon Chaney, Bela Lugosi, Vincent Price, and Boris Karloff-type “evil”? So, when the Revolution comes after the Frankel Singularity, OR will not be welcome, evil?

    Personally, I find the OR coast among the most beautiful places in this territory controlled by the Cult known as the United States! 😉

  180. paulie

    “Evil”?! Wow! You mean like Lon Chaney, Bela Lugosi, Vincent Price, and Boris Karloff-type “evil”?

    Actual evil, not acting/movie evil.

    https://youtu.be/WtMeOqXPDH4

    So, when the Revolution comes after the Frankel Singularity, OR will not be welcome, evil?

    We’re going to invite them to self-deport themselves from these Voluntarily United Individuals, and we’re going to do it very, very humanely.

    Personally, I find the OR coast among the most beautiful places in this territory controlled by the Cult known as the United States!

    The coast is indeed very nice. But you don’t have to go very far inland before you are in the clutches of the snarling satanic beast that rules Portland, Salem and Eugene and their immediate surroundings 🙂

  181. paulie

    Statistics requires enough observations to develop meaningful statistical significance. Since we don’t have nearly enough observations, we really can’t know.

    My point exactly. A 3/4 vote that fell short of the threshold at a convention ten years ago, which just so happened to be the lowest attended national convention since the 1970s, is not indicative of anything except the opinion of a couple of hundred people, many of whom are no longer even members. Out of those 3/4 that happened to be on the floor at that exact moment to vote, how many will be delegates again this year….50, 100? Maybe not even that many. And have any of those few dozen come to their senses over the past decade, and repented of their sinful folly in that momentary vote where they followed the herd under the direction of a brief passing demonic trance? Well, as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know.

  182. paulie

    OK, so you are saying that OR Ls are “evil,” is that right?

    All I know is that all who find themselves in the I-5 corridor that forms the population center of Oregon, whether L or not, are in grave danger of being deceived by the mind fog put out by the great demon that ruthlessly rules that region. Just look at the grand stupidity of the Portland 2006 convention, as well as everything that has happened with the Oregon LP squabbles ever since, for instances of proof. I have other examples unrelated to the LP but I think that should be enough all by itself for any objective observer.

  183. paulie

    To date, despite numerous challenges on IPR, I have yet to get a lucid response as to who the “blind followers advocating an all-powerful government” actually are?*

    What exactly do you think that the followers of our grand national leaders believe that government should not have within its power to do? That’s H.O.T. ….

  184. Andy Craig

    The SoP doesn’t refer to particular personality cults, it refers to the (singular) Cult of the Omnipotent State.

    To me that sounds less like somebody who believes in few or no limits on government power, and more like somebody who thinks King Canut really can order the tides not to come in, and Kim Jong-Un really can speak to dolphins and doesn’t defecate. When people talk about something being “omnipotent” it’s usually by way of not being restrained by physical laws or reality, not a written constitution and the rule of law, etc. It is, for all intents and purposes, just a fancy word for “god.”

    Outside of North Korea and maybe a few other such places at the far extreme wrong end of the spectrum, there is nowhere “the state” is worshiped as a supernatural divinity, particularly not in American politics. You can list off the similarities and psychological tendencies at play, sure, but nobody in the U.S. literally believes The State Is God.

    Nor are there very many — yes, including our major-party opponents— who argue that there should be no limits on government and no individual freedom at all. Maybe the sincerity of their belief in some limits can be questioned, but “cult of the omnipotent state.” ? That might be red meat to die-hard movement libertarians who’ve read ten thousand pages of libertarian philosophy behind the argument being made there, but to the person who’s never heard it before that sounds crazy, to the point of making *us* sound like the cult.

  185. Caryn Ann Harlos

    That’s it. I am getting a Cult of the Omnipotent State shirt for convention.

    Because of course authorial intent means nothing and one can just read it anyway one likes, no matter how ridiculous, and ignoring poetic polemic.

  186. paulie

    To me that sounds less like somebody who believes in few or no limits on government power, and more like somebody who thinks King Canut really can order the tides not to come in, and Kim Jong-Un really can speak to dolphins and doesn’t defecate. When people talk about something being “omnipotent” it’s usually by way of not being restrained by physical laws or reality, not a written constitution and the rule of law, etc.

    That, indeed, seems to be the widely accepted view of government’s right and power to solve all social and economic problems, police the world, create money out of thin air and regulate its value, etc., etc.

  187. Andy Craig

    It appears some people do use it in campaigning. Good for them.

    http://kevincraig.us/cult.htm

    So, you like the idea of Libertarian candidates campaigning on the message that Christianity is the “true religion” and that the U.S. is/should be a “Christian nation” and how awesome “In God We Trust” is as the national motto? Because that’s where he’s going with that.

  188. paulie

    Of course, thanks to the NSA and the “patriot” act etc., the state (regime) must now be not only omnipotent and omnipresent but also omniscient as well. It must tax and regulate everything, real or potential. Its agents can do no wrong and are above the law. Its spending is only limited by its own imagination. It must be the world’s only, unchallenged hyperpower, to which the satraps of every corner of the globe must bow or face its wrath. Debt limits? Fuck you, pay me. Torture and indefinite detentions? Sure, why not?

    CotOS FTW!

  189. Andy Craig

    Yes, he took a phrase with strong religious connotations and used it to make a religious argument.

  190. paulie

    So, you like the idea of Libertarian candidates campaigning on the message that Christianity is the “true religion” and that the U.S. is/should be a “Christian nation” and how awesome “In God We Trust” is as the national motto? Because that’s where he’s going with that.

    No, but he does make some other good points on the page.

  191. Caryn Ann Harlos

    You know me well enough by now Andy to know that I don’t mix politics with religion. I have lost a lot of friends over that position.

  192. Andy Craig

    Not really. It’s a pretty common last name. If you thought that would bug me, I don’t know why.

  193. Robert capozzi

    PF, AC’s list is a LOT longer than yours.

    CAH, do you REALLY think the other Craig is practicing sound politics?

  194. Caryn Ann Harlos

    I didn’t actually think it would literally bug you, I thought it was funny. You are being way too serious today. I am joking with you.

  195. Andy Craig

    “Cult” and “omnipotent” are both religious terms. They are, by definition, religious analogies.

  196. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Robert, I am not getting into it with you. I was JOKING. I don’t know a thing about that guy. Please stop trying to make everything about your hobby horse. I was joking with Andy. Period.

    If I favoured mixing religon and politics, I would be CP and not LP.

  197. Caryn Ann Harlos

    ==“Cult” and “omnipotent” are both religious terms. They are, by definition, religious analogies.==

    Yes they are. Analogies are perfectly fine. A literal mixing of politics and religion is not. Such as “Christian nation” and the like.

    I make religious analogies all the time. Tom Knapp makes religious analogies all the time. Neither of us mix politics and actual religion.

  198. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Been perusing the other Craig’s page. I wonder why though he isn’t CP? He seems more in line with that.

  199. Andy Craig

    Well, that’s why we have the SoP right, as a bulwark against non-libertarian ideas and candidates?

    Oh, wait….

  200. Caryn Ann Harlos

    No it isn’t a guarantee against all non-libertarian ideas. And I haven’t read enough to know if he was advocating force to back up his religion. He may be envisioning something else. No idea. The SoP is foundational. Does not mean it is all inclusive of everything.

  201. Caryn Ann Harlos

    I would argue that racism without force isn’t against the SoP either, but it certainly isn’t Libertarian Party libertarianism. So I don’t claim it is comprehensive of everything.

  202. paulie

    Well, that’s why we have the SoP right, as a bulwark against non-libertarian ideas and candidates?

    It’s not always perfect at achieving its purpose, therefore it should be completely scrapped?

  203. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Paulie was returning straw man for straw man since no one said it was an absolute guarantee either.

  204. Andy Craig

    Who said anything about it being an absolute guarantee? In this particular case (that you cited positively as CotOS in action) somebody was using the CotOS language to make a non-Libertarian point; namely that the L.P. stands in favor of Christianity as the true religion in opposition to the allegedly religious “cult” of statism. That’s not somebody ignoring the SoP, it’s somebody misusing the SoP (to contradict the platform!) in a way made possible because of CotOS.

  205. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Analogies can always pretty flexible. Showing a misuse as an argument is implicitly stating my position means a guarantee otherwise it is a meaningless argument. And actually unless he is arguing for force, he isn’t misusing it in a way violative of the SoP. He is showing that statism is a religion… he just wants ANOTHER religion in place. It actually proves the point of the SoP. I don’t disagree with his analogy with statism. i oppose his replacement of the religion of statism with the religion of Christianity.

    Feel free to try to get it removed. I look forward to heartily opposing.

  206. director

    The best use for those TANSTAAFL signs would be to point the way to the cafeteria at the next LP convention.

  207. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Larken Rose (whether you like him or not— not getting into those merits) is an atheist who makes the same arguments. He just doesn’t want to replace the cult of statism with a religion.

  208. Andy Craig

    My point is simply this: somebody can recite the SoP, including the CotOS language, and still be nobody’s idea of a radical libertarian, or even necessarily a libertarian at all. And plenty of Libertarians can and do dispute the SoP’s language, without having any lack of foundational libertarian philosophy.

  209. Caryn Ann Harlos

    ===The best use for those TANSTAAFL signs would be to point the way to the cafeteria at the next LP convention.
    ===

    that would be very funny

  210. paulie

    The best use for those TANSTAAFL signs would be to point the way to the cafeteria at the next LP convention.

    Most attendees would be confused and hungry, and incumbents would be the ones paying a price.

  211. Caryn Ann Harlos

    ==My point is simply this: somebody can recite the SoP, including the CotOS language, and still be nobody’s idea of a radical libertarian, or even necessarily a libertarian at all. ===

    And your point is wrong. If they advocate force they then are not following the SoP. I don’t see that the other Craig advocated force. If he does, he is denying what is attempting to quote.

  212. paulie

    If they advocate force they then are not following the SoP. I don’t see that the other Craig advocated force. If he does, he is denying what is attempting to quote.

    Agreed, assuming of course force is shorthand for initiating force here, which I think is a safe assumption in this case.

  213. Andy Craig

    “And your point is wrong. If they advocate force they then are not following the SoP. ”

    You misunderstand my point. Sure, they’re contradicting themselves (and the rest of the platform). Doesn’t stop them from doing it. Certainly doesn’t stop the party from nominating them. The SoP itself does precisely nothing to prevent that; actual Libertarians deciding whether or not to support a candidate do.

    ” If he does, he is denying what is attempting to quote.”

    Which you just said it is “wrong” for me to point out is possible. Also, the CotOS language isn’t what they would be contradicting.

    “I don’t see that the other Craig advocated force.”

    Would you consider violating the following platform plank to be [initiation of] force?

    “We favor the freedom to engage in or abstain from any religious activities that do not violate the rights of others. We oppose government actions which either aid or attack any religion.”

    Because I don’t see any way to reconcile that, with bemoaning that the American government doesn’t do a good enough job of slapping the word “God” on everything and thereby promoting (Christian) religious belief.

  214. Caryn Ann Harlos

    ==You misunderstand my point. Sure, they’re contradicting themselves (and the rest of the platform). Doesn’t stop them from doing it. Certainly doesn’t stop the party from nominating them. The SoP itself does precisely nothing to prevent that; actual Libertarians deciding whether or not to support a candidate do.==

    And who said otherwise? You keep erecting straw men. Libertarians *could* support Hitler. The LNC *coujld* invalidate such support.

    ==Which you just said it is “wrong” for me to point out is possible. Also, the CotOS language isn’t what they would be contradicting.==

    My word “quote” in context was the entirety of the SoP as represented by a part. Not the specific CotOS language.

    ==Would you consider violating the following platform plank to be [initiation of] force?

    “We favor the freedom to engage in or abstain from any religious activities that do not violate the rights of others. We oppose government actions which either aid or attack any religion.”==

    Yes. But one would have to define “aid or attack” and people might differ on that. But I suspect you and I would not.

    ==Because I don’t see any way to reconcile that, with bemoaning that the American government doesn’t do a good enough job of slapping the word “God” on everything and thereby promoting (Christian) religious belief.==

    I didn’t read his page beyond a few items because as I said, it was a joke to you… lesson learned not to joke, because you took something meant in light-hearted jest and turned it into a Federal case. IF he is advocating that, that, to me, would be an initiation of force. But l likely a secondary one since I find government fiat currency (if we are talking about money) to be the primary problem to begin. IF he is advocating using government stolen money and force to aid a religion then yes he is denying that.

  215. Chuck Moulton

    paulie wrote:

    Darcy, actually, Chuck is an anarchist himself so I don’t think that applies to him. But he is siding with Phillies, Capozzi and Petersen in claiming that the party should not be based on the NAP, NIOF, ZAP, or whatever you want to call the non-initiation of force constraint. They always bring that discussion around to several talking points, none of which I think are correct:

    I’m not sure if you’re grouping me with the people who make these talking points, but…

    paulie wrote:

    * That our adherence to this principle is based on a misinterpretation of the membership pledge. < — It seems like it should be obvious that with the background many of the party’s founders had in Randian and Rothbardian circles and the discussions in those circles at the time, it was at the very least a double entendre, despite what David Nolan later said. But even more importantly, it’s also explicitly embedded in the statement of principles, so even if they are 100% correct about the pledge that doesn’t mean that the party is not built on this principle.

    No, I’ve repeatedly agreed that the membership pledge means NAP / NIOF / ZAP, and quoted Knapp’s essay on this. That’s exactly the problem.

    Though I do think many people sign the pledge without understanding what it means.

    That it is in the statement of principles is irrelevant. Members are not asked to pledge to the statement of principles.

    Here is the hierarchy of problems, by analogy:

    1 (biggest problem): A business prohibits black people from entering. (an enforced pledge)

    2 (medium problem): A business only allows people to enter if they certify they are not black. (an unenforced pledge)

    3 (smallest problem): A business allows black people to enter, but puts “we hate black people” in their mission statement. (SoP)

    paulie wrote:

    * That this principle can only be held by anarchists. < —That seems like it should be an obvious non-starter, so it puzzles me how anyone can take this seriously. Most of the party’s founders were not anarchists at the time, and anarchists have never been a majority in the LP. So regardless of arguments about the meaning of the membership pledge, why would a non-anarchist majority impose an allegedly anarchist-only principle that would by implication exclude themselves in the statement of principles that can only be changed by a 7/8 vote?

    As I’ve already written, even if the pledge allows minarchists, it does not allow many others in the libertarian coalition, such as classical liberals and moderates. There are many classical liberals and moderates that support some coercive taxation; for example, to fund a court system, military, etc.

    It is clear that Nolan and others said the pledge was meant to keep out / disavow those who want to violently overthrow the government (bomb throwers). It’s quite conceivable that the 7/8 bylaw was adopted by non-anarchists / non-minarchists with that interpretation in mind. It’s also possible that party founders fully intended to limit the party to anarchists / minarchists rather than the full libertarian coalition — such short sightedness does not make it a good idea.

  216. Chuck Moulton

    paulie wrote:

    Before my time, but based on my reading they left on their own because they were not able to prevail in internal elections, threw a fit and took their ball home. That doesn’t fit my definition of a purge. Some people claim, also falsely, that we purged Barr, Root and many of their supporters. Also not true, and that one I can attest to personally. What are some actual examples of radicals or anarchists trying to actually purge moderates?

    Interesting shifting definitions.

    Apparently you view moderates as wanting to purge anarchists when they claim that anarchists are not libertarians and the LP would be better off if all the anarchist left.

    In contrast, you view anarchists as wanting to purge moderates when they use a bylaws or Robert’s Rules procedure to forcibly remove them from the LP, revoking membership and judicially denying participation.

    I disagree. My definitions are parallel. Anarchists regularly tell moderates that they aren’t libertarians and suggest they convert or leave. Moderates regularly tell anarchists they aren’t libertarians and suggest they convert or leave.

    Note: There is a distinction between arguing whether a particular position is libertarian and arguing whether a particular person is libertarian. One can criticize positions without making the person who utters them feel unwelcome.

    If you really believe no one told Root he’s not a libertarian and no one told Root he should leave the LP, then you are oblivious, deaf, blind, or all three. I could provide hundreds (maybe thousands) of other examples I’ve witnessed, but that one suffices to illustrate the disconnect between what you claim and your personal experience.

    Listing a long parade of examples where anarchists tell moderates they aren’t libertarians and suggest they exit stage right would be a waste of my time. Anarchists have shown they don’t care about such abuses. If anyone wants to provide me a financial incentive that makes it worth my time, I will gladly start keeping a list.

  217. Chuck Moulton

    Darcy G Richardson

    a year my mother cried after voting in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania,

    I’m from Blue Bell and my mom and brother still live there, so I visit often. Do you still live in the Montgomery County area?

    It would be nice to meet some frequent IPR commenters — outside of the LP activists, who I see anyway at LP events.

  218. Caryn Ann Harlos

    And Paulie’s points are not addressed.

    ==Though I do think many people sign the pledge without understanding what it means.==

    And apparently the authors wrote it not understanding what it meant either. Now you can argue that they were short-sighted, but that is not the same as saying it MUST mean anarchists only.

    And then you seem to say well maybe it didn’t mean that, that it just meant no-bomb throwers, and that is what the SoP means which isn’t even remotely possible.

    This:

    It MUST be an anarchist pledge

    Is mutually exclusive of:

    It ONLY means no bomb-throwers

    And logically exclusive of:

    The non-anarchist authors didn’t realize they excluding themselves.

    Your narrative makes zero sense. Of course you can simply argue that it is not an anarchist pledge, but it is a anarchist/minarchist pledge and thus disagree. I don’t think it is that either. I do think though that the SoP is stronger and is a minarchist/anarchist statement (primarily minarchist) but as you say, members don’t have to swear to that.

  219. Caryn Ann Harlos

    And Paulie’s points that I am referring to that are excellent and written better than I have done:

    == That our adherence to this principle is based on a misinterpretation of the membership pledge. < -- It seems like it should be obvious that with the background many of the party’s founders had in Randian and Rothbardian circles and the discussions in those circles at the time, it was at the very least a double entendre, despite what David Nolan later said. But even more importantly, it’s also explicitly embedded in the statement of principles, so even if they are 100% correct about the pledge that doesn’t mean that the party is not built on this principle. That this principle can only be held by anarchists. < ---That seems like it should be an obvious non-starter, so it puzzles me how anyone can take this seriously. Most of the party’s founders were not anarchists at the time, and anarchists have never been a majority in the LP. So regardless of arguments about the meaning of the membership pledge, why would a non-anarchist majority impose an allegedly anarchist-only principle that would by implication exclude themselves in the statement of principles that can only be changed by a 7/8 vote?==

  220. paulie

    That it is in the statement of principles is irrelevant. Members are not asked to pledge to the statement of principles.

    It’s not irrelevant. It’s what defines the goals of the party.

    Platform: In the following pages we have set forth our basic principles and enumerated various policy stands derived from those principles.

    These specific policies are not our goal, however. Our goal is nothing more nor less than a world set free in our lifetime, and it is to this end that we take these stands.

    The statement of principles is the basic principles from which specific policies are derived. It’s what defines what we mean by set free.

    Bylaws:

    ARTICLE 3: PURPOSES
    The Party is organized to implement and give voice to the principles embodied in the Statement of Principles by: functioning as a libertarian political entity separate and distinct from all other political parties or movements; moving public policy in a libertarian direction by building a political party that elects Libertarians to public office; chartering affiliate parties throughout the United States and promoting their growth and activities; nominating candidates for President and Vice-President of the United States, and supporting Party and affiliate party candidates for political office; and, entering into public information activities.

  221. Robert Capozzi

    me: AC’s list is a LOT longer than yours.

    pf: What lists do you speak of?

    me: See 17:01 v 17:05.

    It is so stipulated that governments control a LOT of shit, just not EVERYTHING COMPLETELY.

  222. paulie

    It is clear that Nolan and others said the pledge was meant to keep out / disavow those who want to violently overthrow the government (bomb throwers). It’s quite conceivable that the 7/8 bylaw was adopted by non-anarchists / non-minarchists with that interpretation in mind.

    The 7/8 requirement applies only to the Statement of Principles, not to the membership pledge, unless I missed something. I just did a search of the bylaws for 7/8 and found only two places it is used:

    ARTICLE 4: STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES AND PLATFORM
    1. The Statement of Principles affirms that philosophy upon which the Libertarian Party is founded, by which it shall be sustained, and through which liberty shall prevail. The enduring importance of the Statement of Principles requires that it may be amended only by a vote of 7/8 of all registered delegates at a Regular Convention.

    And:

    ARTICLE 18: AMENDMENT
    1. These Bylaws may be amended by a 2/3 vote of the delegates at any Regular Convention.
    2. Article 4, Section 1, shall not be amended by a vote of less than 7/8 of all registered delegates at a Regular Convention.

    Nothing about the membership pledge.

    While I think Nolan’s story about the meaning of the membership pledge is suspicious for aforementioned reasons, it is at least logically plausible by a plain reading of the text. The statement of principles, on the other hand, does not lend itself to any such interpretation. If anyone can read the SoP and tell me that it just means we oppose throwing bombs please explain how that could possibly be the case.

  223. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Well Paulie, if the authors and the non-anarchist delegates who voted for the NAP Pledge didn’t realize that they were excluding themselves then anything is possible.

    And I have several bridges to sell.

    Out of historical context, yes, the no bomb-throwers interpretation of the Pledge is possible. In context, it is not. In context, it can only mean one of two things. A minarchist/anarchist pledge. An anarchist pledge. Only one of those requires the authors to be so daft that they would walk into walls face first.

    And I can also see how the Pledge could possibly include (and I include) a wider variety of libertarians in that I hold to the train analogy as being a good one. The force is already intitiated. Reducing down to say roads, schools, whatever is opposing the initiation up to that point. That is a bit more strained than simply minarchist-anarchist, but I have no problem with that, and I don’t think the broad LP has a problem with that interpretation.

    The SoP lends itself to no such interpretation. It is pretty strict minarchist with two nods to anarchism (one of which was added in 1974 precisely at the same time as the Dallas Accord which makes it even more impossible for these speculations that they didn’t know what the 7/8 meant and what they were binding themselves too… 1974 was the one chance to amend the SoP with lower margin – 3/4 IIRC – … and they amended it alright. To be more anarchist friendly and to replace Laisse Faire with free market.)

  224. paulie

    Interesting shifting definitions.

    Apparently you view moderates as wanting to purge anarchists when they claim that anarchists are not libertarians and the LP would be better off if all the anarchist left.

    In contrast, you view anarchists as wanting to purge moderates when they use a bylaws or Robert’s Rules procedure to forcibly remove them from the LP, revoking membership and judicially denying participation.

    I disagree. My definitions are parallel. Anarchists regularly tell moderates that they aren’t libertarians and suggest they convert or leave. Moderates regularly tell anarchists they aren’t libertarians and suggest they convert or leave.

    Convert to what though, anarchists? I know of no, or at best very, very, very few anarchists who have suggested that all LP members who are not anarchists need to either convert to anarchists or leave the party. There are certainly some LP members who feel like some other LP members are not libertarian enough and should leave, but that line is not drawn at the anarchist/non-anarchist border, except by some non-anarchists who don’t believe anarchists can be libertarian, by definition. The converse, as far as I know, has either never been true, or has been true so rarely that it is not worth discussing. Instances of some non-anarchist libertarians claiming that anarchists can’t be libertarian, on the other hand, are not trivial in number.

    Furthermore, the only people who oppose the Dallas Accord within the party, as far as I know, are not anarchists. There are non-anarchists who want the platform to explicitly define the party as non-anarchist, and in some places it actually currently does. I don’t know of any anarchists who are seriously making the case that the party and platform should be explicitly anarchist and exclude all non-anarchist libertarians by definition.

  225. paulie

    If you really believe no one told Root he’s not a libertarian and no one told Root he should leave the LP, then you are oblivious, deaf, blind, or all three.

    Of course I don’t believe that. In fact, at some point near the very end I recall that I became one of them, and personally told Wayne on the LNC list (we were both on the LNC at that time) that he needed to either stop calling us “your party” and lending his support to Mitt Romney or actually leave. He chose the latter. But it was not because he was/is not an anarchist. Most of my fellow LNC members were not anarchists either, and I was not asking any of them to leave the party, except for Wayne.

    I could provide hundreds (maybe thousands) of other examples I’ve witnessed, but that one suffices to illustrate the disconnect between what you claim and your personal experience.

    No, unless you misunderstood what I claim. Or perhaps it was I who misunderstood what you claim?

    Listing a long parade of examples where anarchists tell moderates they aren’t libertarians and suggest they exit stage right would be a waste of my time.

    If you mean for the sole reason that they are not anarchists, I would have to disagree. If you mean because they are not even remotely close, then yes, I do agree, and do in fact want them to do exactly that, if them staying means they will try to move the party towards their positions, as Wayne explicitly said he would do (redefine libertarianism). I did not and do not want Barr and Root to redefine libertarianism. That was true then, and is equally true now regardless of personalities involved.

  226. paulie

    I’m from Blue Bell and my mom and brother still live there, so I visit often. Do you still live in the Montgomery County area?

    Last I heard Darcy was living in or near Jacksonville, FL.

    It would be nice to meet some frequent IPR commenters — outside of the LP activists, who I see anyway at LP events.

    I like that idea. Would love to meet those of you I have not met already, LP or otherwise.

  227. paulie

    Well Paulie, if the authors and the non-anarchist delegates who voted for the NAP Pledge didn’t realize that they were excluding themselves then anything is possible.

    And I have several bridges to sell.

    Out of historical context, yes, the no bomb-throwers interpretation of the Pledge is possible. In context, it is not. In context, it can only mean one of two things. A minarchist/anarchist pledge. An anarchist pledge. Only one of those requires the authors to be so daft that they would walk into walls face first.

    And I can also see how the Pledge could possibly include (and I include) a wider variety of libertarians in that I hold to the train analogy as being a good one. The force is already intitiated. Reducing down to say roads, schools, whatever is opposing the initiation up to that point. That is a bit more strained than simply minarchist-anarchist, but I have no problem with that, and I don’t think the broad LP has a problem with that interpretation.

    The SoP lends itself to no such interpretation. It is pretty strict minarchist with two nods to anarchism (one of which was added in 1974 precisely at the same time as the Dallas Accord which makes it even more impossible for these speculations that they didn’t know what the 7/8 meant and what they were binding themselves too… 1974 was the one chance to amend the SoP with lower margin – 3/4 IIRC – … and they amended it alright. To be more anarchist friendly and to replace Laisse Faire with free market.)

    Exactly. I fully agree.

  228. paulie

    It is so stipulated that governments control a LOT of shit, just not EVERYTHING COMPLETELY.

    Not yet, but give it time. The logical, social/traditional, legal and technical reasons why it doesn’t or can’t are gradually being stripped away. Without the non-initiation of force principle becoming widely propagated and accepted, there is no reason for that process not to continue.

  229. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Paulie, you are NAILING it.

    ==Convert to what though, anarchists? I know of no, or at best very, very, very few anarchists who have suggested that all LP members who are not anarchists need to either convert to anarchists or leave the party.==

    THAT. It simply isn’t happening (or is so trivially rare). The anarchists who feel that way leave themselves because they inevitably go to the position that voting is violence etc and opt out of the system entirely. I maybe know of one fellow radical that feels this way, and I constantly oppose him.

    ==that line is not drawn at the anarchist/non-anarchist border except by some non-anarchists who don’t believe anarchists can be libertarian===

    TEN THOUSAND TIMES YES! I know of no frequent cases of a minarchist being told by an anarchist to “get the f**k out of the Party.” I have been told that to my face. Twice. Despite the fact that I am likely the most prolific volunteer for the LP in the state of CO right now. And that is not a humble brag, I suspect it is true right now–and no way should that be the case. Our whole Board produces more than most Libertarians, and we have a radical heavy Board.

  230. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Exception to the above right now: Lily Tang Williams and Steve Kerbel who are campaigning, so I don’t count that as “volunteers.” Steve’s campaign manager is in CO and also works his tail off. And is also a radical.

  231. Caryn Ann Harlos

    And clarification. I was told to get out of the Party for the sole reason that I am an anarchist. (and for any friends/party members reading this– please do not speculate on who said that, it is not anyone you would guess)

  232. Chuck Moulton

    Andy Craig wrote:

    I’ve made no push and don’t expect there to be one to change the SoP. If there is any serious effort to do so, it’s news to me.

    paulie wrote:

    I think there will be one in Orlando, and if it doesn’t succeed there it will intensify in 2018.

    paulie wrote:

    I sense another disturbance in the force is gathering in time for Orlando; perhaps this is the second 6 foretold in the Book of Revelations, the second act of the 666 triumvirate, of which Portland 2006 formed the first leg of this unholy, evil tripod of Beelzebub’s fork aimed at our heart, and 2026 will be the last leg of that fork.

    I highly doubt there will be any push on the statement of principles in Orlando.

    I’m on the bylaws committee. We’re not reporting out any proposal to change the statement of principles. I think any effort organized enough to have a chance of passing would have gone through the bylaws committee.

    I highly doubt there will be any push to remove the pledge in Orlando.

    I’m on the bylaws committee and I tried to persuade others to make such a proposal. A majority were against that.

    There will be a proposal reported out to add an alternative membership pledge drawing from language in the statement of principles.

    I’ll vote in favor of the proposal as a delegate, but I won’t spend any time or money organizing for the change… it’s a “rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic” sort of thing in my opinion. I’d analogize the idea of an alternative membership pledge to having a problem with a sign saying “no blacks allowed” by an entrance to a store, then “solving” the problem by opening another entrance and hanging a sign saying “no asians allowed” by that one.

    I’m skeptical there will be any conventioneering at all. Most of the people interested in these sorts of issues are terrible organizers.

  233. Chuck Moulton

    Caryn Ann Harlos wrote:

    With all the talk of the 7/8 however, I think there is one thing that has a chance of passing one day (though I would oppose it) and that is the cult of the omnipotent state language. That has a chance.

    Andy Craig wrote:

    I wouldn’t assume that fixing the “cult…” language couldn’t ever reach 7/8, if it went up for a vote on the LNC floor. It could probably get a majority, at least, precisely because it’s more akin to fixing shoddy drafting than changing anything substantive.

    But, it probably won’t happen, not because it couldn’t, but because organizing and reaching the 7/8 threshold is much more trouble than it’s worth to anybody.

    Caryn Ann Harlos wrote:

    I think that language is the only thing that might ever get the 7/8. I would be part of the 1/8.

    Robert Capozzi wrote:

    The “cult” language received a ~3/4ths vote for deletion in Portland. I was with the super-majority.

    I don’t care much about issues surrounding the platform or the statement of principles. Removing the pledge is my area of interest.

    I was in the 3/4 in Portland that supported removing the cult language. I’d be part of the 7/8 to remove it if it comes up for vote again.

    But the language doesn’t really bother me personally and I’m not going to lose any sleep if it’s there forever. When I first joined the LP I found the CotOS language pretty inspiring — it made me want to get more involved.

    Caryn Ann Harlos wrote:

    I would have to find it and don’t have time at the moment but there is a provision that says amending a bylaw provision requiring more than 2/3 would require whatever the higher threshold stated.

    Caryn Ann Harlos wrote:

    It was tried in 2008 and ruled out of Order by the Convention.

    If there are shenanighans to try to circumvent the 7/8 to change the SoP, I’ll be among the people opposed to those shenanighans. Amending the 7/8 requirement with 2/3 is a ridiculous perversion of the bylaws and Robert’s.

  234. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Chuck,

    ==But the language doesn’t really bother me personally and I’m not going to lose any sleep if it’s there forever. When I first joined the LP I found the CotOS language pretty inspiring — it made me want to get more involved.==

    It still inspires me. But we share then the first initial moments of excitement. I literally joined the Party within fifteen minutes of reading that and the Platform. It rocked my world.

    ==If there are shenanighans to try to circumvent the 7/8 to change the SoP, I’ll be among the people opposed to those shenanighans. Amending the 7/8 requirement with 2/3 is a ridiculous perversion of the bylaws and Robert’s.==

    We agree there, and I would agree there no matter if I agreed with changing. Just like I agree with the LNC that Wagner’s group effected a coup but to meddle with an affiliate in that way is outside our bylaws.

    Voluntary organizations have rules and intents, and we Libertarians MUST model that. I commend your stance.

  235. paulie

    If there are shenanighans to try to circumvent the 7/8 to change the SoP, I’ll be among the people opposed to those shenanighans. Amending the 7/8 requirement with 2/3 is a ridiculous perversion of the bylaws and Robert’s.

    Thank you.

  236. Chuck Moulton

    Andy Craig wrote:

    I don’t have any huge opinion on the so-called “Portland Massacre”— again, before my time– but I do know that the old platforms suffered from a serious case of bloat and were absurdly long, much more like the current Green Party platform, which is a never-ending mess of toss-in-everything-and-the-kitchen-stick writing by committee.

    I agree. The current platform isn’t as directional as I would like, but it’s much better than the destinational anarchy, everything-and-the-kitchen-sink platform from 2002/2004. There are a few planks I think have gotten worse, such as the immigration plank and lack of a children’s rights plank. For the most part it’s an improvement.

    paulie wrote:

    Portland 2006 was a deliberately engineered travesty and everything that happened there should be reversed and renounced.

    I was on the LNC when Portland was selected and I was one of the main organizers of the reform caucus on the convention floor. I’ve seen no evidence that suggests the Portland location was deliberately engineered for the purposes of amending the platform and bylaws to serve the agenda of an LP faction. I think the convention location was designed to help the California folks (Starr and Carling) get elected to the LNC.

    I do agree with Paulie that the convention location likely slanted the demographics to the wealthier. (I’m not sure I agree the wealthier are necessarily more moderate.) But I don’t think it was some grand conspiracy of a moderate or big tent faction to pick a convention location for that purpose. Instead, I think the reform caucus took advantage of favorable demographics that fell in their lap.

    I organized most of the Portland conventioneering. They would have had no ground game if I hadn’t printed up stickers and literature in advance on my own and convinced the reform caucus to have a big meeting. Unfortunately, the thing I was most interested in (removing the membership pledge) failed and the thing I cared much less about (ditching the platform) passed.

    After Portland I stepped back from organizing that stuff. Unsurprisingly I’ve seen practically no ground game since then. The one exception is Brian Holtz put together a brilliant video for Denver in which he completely rewrote the script of The Matrix as a story of libertarian moderates waking up realizing that Rothbardian plumbliners had tricked them with language in the pledge and statement of principles. It was displayed on a TV with his subtitles synced with the actual movie from start to finish (I must emphasize that he did not just do one scene… he rewrote the entire friggin’ movie). I was too busy to watch the whole thing, and to my knowledge he never put it online.

    I’m basically assuming if I don’t organize something, then it won’t happen (based on past experience). That’s why I’m pretty certain Orlando won’t be another Portland.

    However, back to Paulie’s original point of a deliberately engineered travesty, I do think there is some merit to the allegation. Although I had no knowledge of this at the time, after Portland was over I began to suspect that the platform retention vote in 2006 was rigged. At this point I’m absolutely convinced there were shenanigans. We’re 10 years out though, and it’s water under the bridge by this point.

    On the other hand, secretary Sullentrup unilaterally decided to keep the platform preambles after Portland even with all the planks deleted. I think he overstepped his authority. So from your perspective it could have been worse… if the rules had been followed there could have been practically no platform at all instead of a skeleton.

    There were also shenanigans in Denver. Again, I heard about these shenanigans after the fact and had nothing to do with them myself. The following allegedly happened (I say “allegedly” because I heard it from someone else and have no firsthand knowledge): A platform committee survey was sent out. This survey allowed people to identify as agreeing with the majority report (moderate) or minority report (radical). Respondents included their names and contact info, which were paired with their responses. The results of that survey were at the disposal of someone. That person got a list of people in favor of the majority report and made a concerted effort to get those people (rather than the people who favored the minority report) to attend the convention. I consider this a misuse of position. YMMV.

  237. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Your suspicions of malfeasance concern me greatly…. (not the fact that you have them, but the fact that I suspect you are right).

    ==On the other hand, secretary Sullentrup unilaterally decided to keep the platform preambles after Portland even with all the planks deleted. I think he overstepped his authority. So from your perspective it could have been worse… if the rules had been followed there could have been practically no platform at all instead of a skeleton.==

    That is interesting, and good to know. I actually consider the preamble to be one of the most important parts (except for the SoP obviously) of the National Platform. The planks are subservient to it by its wording.

    I don’t think there will be any organized efforts in Orlando merely because it is an election year. I suspect it more in 2018.

  238. Caryn Ann Harlos

    And the radicals don’t organize for anything. I blame us more for allowing 2006 to happen rather than the reformers taking advantage.

  239. Chuck Moulton

    Caryn Ann Harlos wrote:

    And apparently the authors wrote it not understanding what it meant either. Now you can argue that they were short-sighted, but that is not the same as saying it MUST mean anarchists only.

    Things can have more than one interpretation. I’m arguing that the NAP / NIOF / ZAP is the most logical interpretation, as Knapp articulated very persuasively in his essay.

    Many people join the LP with the bomb throwing interpretation and are bait & switched into the NAP / NIOF / ZAP interpretation.

    Caryn Ann Harlos wrote:

    And then you seem to say well maybe it didn’t mean that, that it just meant no-bomb throwers, and that is what the SoP means which isn’t even remotely possible.

    I never said that’s what the SoP means. Nor did I ever say I think the membership pledge means no bomb throwers. I think it means NAP / NIOF / ZAP. What I said is that many in the early LP and many current members when they first joined misinterpreted the pledge as just no bomb throwers rather than as NAP / NIOF / ZAP.

    Caryn Ann Harlos wrote:

    This:

    It MUST be an anarchist pledge

    Is mutually exclusive of:

    It ONLY means no bomb-throwers

    And logically exclusive of:

    The non-anarchist authors didn’t realize they excluding themselves.

    Re-read Knapp’s essay. He makes a persuasive case for the NAP / NIOF / ZAP interpretation. Yet many people historically and currently interpret it as no bomb throwing.

  240. Caryn Ann Harlos

    I have read Knapp’s essay many times. And though I respect him immensely he is just wrong in his conclusion.

  241. paulie

    I’ve seen no evidence that suggests the Portland location was deliberately engineered for the purposes of amending the platform and bylaws to serve the agenda of an LP faction. I think the convention location was designed to help the California folks (Starr and Carling) get elected to the LNC.

    Well, I think getting Starr and Carling on the LNC would have been part of that same agenda, but to be fair, my sole evidence is based on results. IE, some folks who though Richard Burke was doing an examplary job in Portland brought the convention there to serve as an example to the rest of the country to learn from. Folks can see today the role Burke, Starr and Carling are respectively playing in the ongoing Oregon saga.

    It’s possible that it could be a coincidence that Portland also happened to be inconvenient to get to for most people from other parts of the country, that this skewed the demographics of who all was there, and that the platform massacre just happened to take place there with no such plan in mind. But I don’t think it was.

    The same group of folks has repeatedly planned LPCA conventions in places that were harder or more expensive for the “lumpen” libertarians to get to, such as on a cruise ship or far from major metro areas, and most recently out of state altogether in Vegas. In the years when they were in control of the Oregon LP they were known for staging conventions outside the Portland metro area where most of the population is. Later on, Aaron Starr floated an LNC discussion of holding the national convention in Hawaii. He may have also suggested having it on a cruise ship.

    Thus, to me, it seems to be part of a conscious plan on the part of some people to skew results by gaming where the convention is held.

    Floor fees are another example of this.

    Having the “Las Vegas” national convention way out in Summerlin would be yet another example.

    Anyone sense a pattern yet or is it just me?

  242. Chuck Moulton

    Caryn Ann Harlos wrote:

    Out of historical context, yes, the no bomb-throwers interpretation of the Pledge is possible. In context, it is not. In context, it can only mean one of two things. A minarchist/anarchist pledge. An anarchist pledge.

    Exactly!

    So you agree that the pledge excludes non-minarchist/non-anarchist libertarians. Now we’re getting somewhere.

    You also agree that it takes historical context to see that the pledge is minarchist/anarchist, and those without that historical context may interpret it as no bomb throwing. That is also real progress.

    Okay, now do you think new LP members have historical context? If I give someone the Nolan quiz and he scores in the Libertarian quadrant (but not 100/100), I may invite him to join the LP. In doing so he signs the membership pledge. If he hasn’t read Rothbard / Rand (which he probably hasn’t), wouldn’t you agree it’s just as likely as not that he would interpret the pledge as “no bomb throwing”?

    Now that we’ve got the membership dues from the guy who scored in the Libertarian quadrant of the Nolan chart and we invited him to attend some LP events, we get to talking about issues. It turns out he supports some coercive taxation. At that point everyone circles and tells him he’s not a libertarian because taxation violates the (minarchist/anarchist) pledge he signed.

    That sounds like a bait & switch to me.

  243. paulie

    I do agree with Paulie that the convention location likely slanted the demographics to the wealthier. (I’m not sure I agree the wealthier are necessarily more moderate.)

    If they aren’t more moderate why do you think the bias against povertarians exists? I think it’s because the on average wealthier delegates tend to steer the party in a more moderate/conservative-leaning direction than the “lumpen” faction that includes more youth, povertarians, left-libertarians and radicals, including anarchists, hippies and punk rockers.

    But I don’t think it was some grand conspiracy of a moderate or big tent faction to pick a convention location for that purpose.

    Moderate, yes. Big tent, no. They pay lip service to the idea of a big tent, but from what I observed they tend to shrink the party, not grow it. In the 20 plus years I have been in the LP the party has been relatively stronger organizationally in terms of membership, fundraising, number of candidates, etc., when it has been relatively more radical ideologically, and relatively weaker when it has been at its ideologically most compromising stages. Again, notice that it’s the compromise faction that likes to plan convention at expensive, inconvenient places that tend to have lower attendance. Why is that, if we are to take them at their word that they seek a bigger tent?

    Instead, I think the reform caucus took advantage of favorable demographics that fell in their lap.

    Well, maybe it just fell in their lap, but given that pattern I alluded to, I tend to think otherwise.

  244. paulie

    The one exception is Brian Holtz put together a brilliant video for Denver in which he completely rewrote the script of The Matrix as a story of libertarian moderates waking up realizing that Rothbardian plumbliners had tricked them with language in the pledge and statement of principles. It was displayed on a TV with his subtitles synced with the actual movie from start to finish (I must emphasize that he did not just do one scene… he rewrote the entire friggin’ movie). I was too busy to watch the whole thing, and to my knowledge he never put it online.

    I’m pretty sure I did see it online, but I no longer remember where. I also remembered they hired strippers to staff that Reform Caucus booth. That and the Barr supporters’ black cowboy hats. I would have loved to have had white cowboy hats for our opposition team, and said to a number of people at the time, but none of them knew where we could have gotten a bunch at the time. Years later, Lidia Seebeck told me she knew people in the area who could have gotten us as many white cowboy hats as we could have put on heads. Too bad we did not connect on that at the time. And I think it was Chuck who actually told me I should have put Kubby signs at all the seats. I didn’t understand why this was good advice until the VP vote, when I couldn’t get the signs to people who wanted them fast enough…and we lost the vote by a fairly narrow margin. Barr-Kubby would have sent a very different message than Barr-Root. Oh well, we just got out-organized…it happens. The opposite happened, at least to an appreciable extent, at the three conventions since then (St. Louis, Summerlin and Columbus).

  245. paulie

    However, back to Paulie’s original point of a deliberately engineered travesty, I do think there is some merit to the allegation. Although I had no knowledge of this at the time, after Portland was over I began to suspect that the platform retention vote in 2006 was rigged. At this point I’m absolutely convinced there were shenanigans. We’re 10 years out though, and it’s water under the bridge by this point.

    For the most part. However, we should note that some of the same people are still playing some of the same games today. So, not entirely.

  246. paulie

    There were also shenanigans in Denver. Again, I heard about these shenanigans after the fact and had nothing to do with them myself.

    I believe that is correct, both parts of it. In fact, I think you were on the receiving end of it that time, since you were viewed by that side essentially as a traitor for being too friendly to our side, which is why they double-crossed you and went against you on the VC vote. Up until that point I did not even know that you were going to be seriously challenged, much less defeated for re-election by a large margin. I asked them why and could never get any specific answers…just generalities like “Chuck is a lifelong student with his head in the clouds, doesn’t have a lot of practical work experience and doesn’t really understand how the world works”… but that says jack squat about your performance as vice chair, which I thought was very good. I observed the aforementioned national committee meeting you chaired at the possibly record young age of 27, and I was very favorably impressed, so it was a bit of a shock that you had so much vehement opposition that I did not even know of at the time.

  247. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Chuck,

    ==So you agree that the pledge excludes non-minarchist/non-anarchist libertarians. Now we’re getting somewhere.==

    I believe that it signifies a commitment to that end goal that ends up being irrelevant when we are not there, at that point, people are no longer going in that direction, so no. I said that in the latter part of my comment. This was discussed in the comments to Hunt’s article (or some other where we discuss this).

    ==You also agree that it takes historical context to see that the pledge is minarchist/anarchist, and those without that historical context may interpret it as no bomb throwing. That is also real progress.==

    No though I can see how you got there from what I said. I do not believe the bomb-throwing interpretation would never come to anyone who wasn’t told it. I think it is pretty clear on its face, and then in historical context is even more clear. It is the bomb throwing example which requires previous knowledge.

    ==Okay, now do you think new LP members have historical context? ===

    They certainly do not have any background of the bomb throwing interpretation. I didn’t learn of that interpretation until I was in the Party for at least six months.

    ==If I give someone the Nolan quiz and he scores in the Libertarian quadrant (but not 100/100), I may invite him to join the LP. In doing so he signs the membership pledge. If he hasn’t read Rothbard / Rand (which he probably hasn’t), wouldn’t you agree it’s just as likely as not that he would interpret the pledge as “no bomb throwing”?==

    No. I think he will interpret as opposing government policies that initiate violence. Violence has already been initiated and as long as they are committed to end that direction, they are in compliance.

    ==Now that we’ve got the membership dues from the guy who scored in the Libertarian quadrant of the Nolan chart and we invited him to attend some LP events, we get to talking about issues. It turns out he supports some coercive taxation. At that point everyone circles and tells him he’s not a libertarian because taxation violates the (minarchist/anarchist) pledge he signed.==

    The Statement of Principles is available for everyone to read. And “everyone” really? That is awfully dramatic. I don’t do that. I would call him to be consistent with the direction of the pledge, but if he is moving in that direction, until the pet programs are all that are left, I believe that is the intent of the pledge. When we get to the classically liberal scope then we depart. We discussed this in depth before. I believe opposing means consistently moving in that direction.

    I support the Pledge. But I am not going to commit ritual suicide over it. My focus is and has been the SoP which contains the NAP. I believe in the principle. An unenforceable Pledge is symbolic. We don’t have any Pledge requirement for membership in CO (primarily because registered members=party members by law here).

  248. Chuck Moulton

    paulie wrote:

    For the most part. However, we should note that some of the same people are still playing some of the same games today. So, not entirely.

    The person who I think rigged the vote is no longer involved with the LP.

  249. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Chuck,

    ==The person who I think rigged the vote is no longer involved with the LP.==

    The whole idea of this is deeply disturbing.

  250. paulie

    I don’t think there will be any organized efforts in Orlando merely because it is an election year. I suspect it more in 2018.

    You may be right. Not necessarily, but you may be.

    And, coincidentally or not, there is once again a plan under discussion to put the national convention on… yes, a cruise ship.

  251. Caryn Ann Harlos

    One comment on this statement:

    ==So you agree that the pledge excludes non-minarchist/non-anarchist libertarians. ==

    I wouldn’t use the word “exclude” as in people not being allowed to join, but the SoP rules out as core Libertarian policy non-minarchist/non-anarchist libertarians. The foundational philosophy of the Party is minarchist primarily with nods to anarchism. Whether or not the “big tenters” like it or not. When big tent means that non-libertarian policy is to be accepted as “libertarian” I differ. It isn’t. That doesn’t mean the person IS not a “libertarian” — if they hold more libertarian policies than not and are primarily going in that direction, they are allies, and libertarians. But the SoP has some benchmarks for LP Libertarianism and where people depart from them, they are departing from LP Libertarians. And if they outright repudiate the core statements of the SoP they have repudiated the Party– can a member do that? Sure. We don’t have pledges to the SoP. I disqualify candidates who do that however. I do not include in any LP “tent” people who outright and actively repudiate the SoP. What does outright repudiate mean? It means that they utterly disagree— is this a grey area? Yes. The SoP does not support coercive taxation as a libertarian policy. It is possible to accept coercive taxation as necessary for the forseeable future as Nolan did while still rejecting the legitimacy.

    BTW, if a “big tenter” proposes a plank that outright advocates coercive taxation, it could be challenged under the SoP. The provisions for excluding certain positions are already our policy.

    The SoP defines our policy as minarchist/possibly anarchist (but it only nods to it, it is primarily minarchist). Whether those who like it to more inclusive or not. It is what it is.

  252. paulie

    The person who I think rigged the vote is no longer involved with the LP.

    That’s why I said some of the same people are still playing some of the same games today. Some of the players get swapped out over time, but some remain. Starr, Burke and Carling are obviously all still involved, and all still at the center of keeping the current Oregon fight alive. If I understood correctly who you were talking about in terms of the 2008 (“That person got a list of people in favor of the majority report and made a concerted effort to get those people (rather than the people who favored the minority report) to attend the convention. I consider this a misuse of position. YMMV.”), that person is still very actively involved as well.

  253. paulie

    And the radicals don’t organize for anything. I blame us more for allowing 2006 to happen rather than the reformers taking advantage.

    Yep!

  254. Chuck Moulton

    Caryn Ann Harlos wrote:

    The whole idea of this is deeply disturbing.

    I found it really, really disturbing at the time. I’m numb to it now.

    I lost a lot of sleep over what to do about it. I finally decided to just forget it and let the party heal. Analogously, I wouldn’t help rig an election so that Ron Paul or Harry Brown could be elected President. I’d stop them if I saw people trying to rig that election. But if I found out long after the election was over, I’d probably just enjoy having a libertarian in the White House rather than trying to topple the regime. That’s what I felt like with this.

    Also I was sure since I uncovered it so easily that other people would notice eventually too, including someone who actually preferred the 2004 platform. I was wrong. Apparently I was the only person who bothered to look. Live and learn.

  255. Caryn Ann Harlos

    I wouldn’t help rig something that I favoured either. At the end of the day you have to look yourself in the mirror. I won’t live with being ashamed of myself.

  256. Caryn Ann Harlos

    And no, this isn’t one of those veiled exit threats (I have said many times when I quit something, I quit it, I don’t flounce), but I know now that IF I ever left,, it would be over this type of crap. I was warned a long time ago about it, and didn’t believe it. I thought Libertarians would be better.

  257. Chuck Moulton

    Caryn Ann Harlos wrote:

    I wouldn’t use the word “exclude” as in people not being allowed to join, but the SoP rules out as core Libertarian policy non-minarchist/non-anarchist libertarians. The foundational philosophy of the Party is minarchist primarily with nods to anarchism.

    Yes. And that’s a problem.

    Caryn Ann Harlos wrote:

    Whether or not the “big tenters” like it or not. When big tent means that non-libertarian policy is to be accepted as “libertarian” I differ. It isn’t.

    There are libertarian policies that are non-minarchist/non-anarchist. For example: Cutting the income tax by 50%. Or allowing gay marriage without eliminating all marriage licensing. Or legalizing marijuana without legalizing all drugs.

    Caryn Ann Harlos wrote:

    That doesn’t mean the person IS not a “libertarian” — if they hold more libertarian policies than not and are primarily going in that direction, they are allies, and libertarians.

    I agree.

    Caryn Ann Harlos wrote:

    But the SoP has some benchmarks for LP Libertarianism and where people depart from them, they are departing from LP Libertarians.

    And that’s a problem, because there are libertarian positions that are non-minarchist/non-anarchist. People who hold those positions are libertarian on that issue. When such people hold many libertarian positions (even if some or all of those libertarian positions are not minarchist/anarchist), they ought to be part of our coalition and welcome in the Libertarian Party.

    Caryn Ann Harlos wrote:

    And if they outright repudiate the core statements of the SoP they have repudiated the Party– can a member do that? Sure. We don’t have pledges to the SoP. I disqualify candidates who do that however. I do not include in any LP “tent” people who outright and actively repudiate the SoP. What does outright repudiate mean? It means that they utterly disagree— is this a grey area? Yes. The SoP does not support coercive taxation as a libertarian policy. It is possible to accept coercive taxation as necessary for the forseeable future as Nolan did while still rejecting the legitimacy.

    BTW, if a “big tenter” proposes a plank that outright advocates coercive taxation, it could be challenged under the SoP. The provisions for excluding certain positions are already our policy.

    The SoP defines our policy as minarchist/possibly anarchist (but it only nods to it, it is primarily minarchist). Whether those who like it to more inclusive or not. It is what it is.

    Yes, I completely agree. You’ve articulated it exactly right — as a positive statement — by showing that the SoP is minarchist/anarchist. Now I’m going to make a normative statement and say what you’ve just described is a bad thing.

    The first step is admitting you have a problem.

  258. Chuck Moulton

    paulie wrote:

    If I understood correctly who you were talking about in terms of the 2008, that person is still very actively involved as well.

    Well, at least 2 people. Yes, they’re still involved.

  259. paulie

    Yes. And that’s a problem.

    You see it as a bug, but I see it as a feature.

    There are libertarian policies that are non-minarchist/non-anarchist. For example: Cutting the income tax by 50%. Or allowing gay marriage without eliminating all marriage licensing. Or legalizing marijuana without legalizing all drugs.

    I’m fine with policies that move things in our direction, if and when the alternative in existence or under consideration is worse.

    And that’s a problem, because there are libertarian positions that are non-minarchist/non-anarchist. People who hold those positions are libertarian on that issue. When such people hold many libertarian positions (even if some or all of those libertarian positions are not minarchist/anarchist), they ought to be part of our coalition and welcome in the Libertarian Party.

    It’s not a problem, and they are. As Caryn ably explained: if they hold more libertarian policies than not and are primarily going in that direction, they are allies, and libertarians.

    You’ve articulated it exactly right — as a positive statement — by showing that the SoP is minarchist/anarchist. Now I’m going to make a normative statement and say what you’ve just described is a bad thing.

    I’ll make one too and say it’s a good one.

    The first step is admitting you have a problem.

    No problem here. I am fine with the party I joined and continue to belong to and its foundational statement of principles. I’m OK with both interpretations of my membership pledge. My dues are paid for life and I am good with where I am and with what my party stands for at its core.

    I have a different problem though, and it’s called responditis.

  260. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Chuck,

    I may end up bowing out only because I just got something laid in my lap that I don’t want to deal with. But I have to. But I am stressed out now pretty hard.

    ==There are libertarian policies that are non-minarchist/non-anarchist. For example: Cutting the income tax by 50%. Or allowing gay marriage without eliminating all marriage licensing. Or legalizing marijuana without legalizing all drugs.==

    They are libertarian until they oppose going any further. But when we are to the authoritarian side of those issues they are libertarian. If pot was legal and then someone opposed making other drugs legal that is not a libertarian position.

    ==And that’s a problem, because there are libertarian positions that are non-minarchist/non-anarchist. ==

    They are only libertarian until they are achieved. And they are moving in a minarchist direction. I am not advocating anarchy right now though I am an anarchist. I advocate minarchy as a direction towards my position.

    ==People who hold those positions are libertarian on that issue. When such people hold many libertarian positions (even if some or all of those libertarian positions are not minarchist/anarchist), they ought to be part of our coalition and welcome in the Libertarian Party.==

    Until they advocate not going any further and hold more of those kinds of positions than not.

    I am more “big tent” than many. I am not as “big tent” as you. Admittedly.

    ==
    Yes, I completely agree. You’ve articulated it exactly right — as a positive statement — by showing that the SoP is minarchist/anarchist. Now I’m going to make a normative statement and say what you’ve just described is a bad thing.==

    One of us is in favour of what the Party statements actually ARE. It is me. If you think it is a bad thing, with all due respect, you are the one with the problem. Not me. And I really don’t mean that as a wiseass statement. Or disrespectful.

    ==The first step is admitting you have a problem.==

    I am not the one with the problem with what the Party was founded on. Our SoP is a minarchist statement that is tolerant of anarchy.

  261. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Paulie,

    ==No problem here. I am fine with the party I joined and continue to belong to and its foundational statement of principles. I’m OK with both interpretations of my membership pledge. My dues are paid for life and I am good with where I am and with what my party stands for at its core.==

    Yep. It is what i signed up for. I don’t have an issue with it. If I did, I would have either not joined or left when I figured out I had a problem with it. I am okay with both interpretations of the Pledge too btw. I challenge issues based on the SoP not the Pledge. I support the Pledge. I don’t argue from it often.

  262. langa

    “Government” is not necessarily a bad word to most people. As a matter of fact there are even anarchists who want to make a distinction between monopoly government and all government, because the theory is that even an anarchic society would be governed, just not with a territorial monopoly.

    I’m not really a fan of that distinction, as it seems rather contrived, given that most people tend to automatically interpret the word “government” as the monopolistic, force-driven kind that exists in the status quo. I think a far more useful distinction is between law and government. “Law” merely implies the existence of rules, which are not only compatible with, but essential to, a society based on peace and freedom. On the other hand, “government” implies not only rules, but also rulers. Unlike rules, rulers are not only unnecessary to achieve peace and freedom, but they are actually a hindrance to that goal (an insurmountable one, in my view). Any “real” libertarian (by which I mean any libertarian who takes the NAP seriously, regardless of whether they consider themselves an anarchist) should be for rules, but against rulers.

    At some point, if we get the ball rolling in that direction, we may be able to shrink government down to a size so small that few if any people will bother to spend any more time on it.

    I know this is a popular dream among many libertarians, but I am very skeptical that it will ever happen. I do not envision the state ever just gradually withering away to nothing, simply because the people who stand to lose in such a scenario are precisely the kind of people who won’t relinquish their power without a fight. Now, I don’t advocate any sort of violent revolution, but at some point, probably long after I am dead, when a sufficient number of people begin to categorically reject the use of aggression, the advocates of aggression will attack them, and the libertarians will be justified in fighting back (in theory, we would be justified in fighting back now, but such action would be suicidal at this point). I don’t like the idea of having to physically fight for freedom, but I don’t see any alternative. The idea that those who run the state will ever voluntarily relinquish their power strikes me as akin to the fox telling you that if you will just leave him in charge of the henhouse, he will promise to be on his best behavior.

  263. langa

    When people talk about something being “omnipotent” it’s usually by way of not being restrained by physical laws or reality…

    Outside of North Korea and maybe a few other such places at the far extreme wrong end of the spectrum, there is nowhere “the state” is worshiped as a supernatural divinity, particularly not in American politics.

    I disagree. I think there are numerous examples of people (large numbers of them) who ascribe supernatural qualities to the government. These qualities include, but are not limited to:

    1. Personal Infallibility: Many people (following the lead of Thomas Hobbes) will tell you that the whole reason we need a powerful government, or any government, is because people are inherently greedy, selfish, and so forth. However, this entire argument relies on the notion that once a person goes to work for the government, they no longer have these flaws. They are magically transformed into saints.

    2. Economic Infallibility: Many people subscribe to the belief that government action is not subject to the laws of economics. For example, many people (including many well respected economists) hold that it is not only acceptable, but actually beneficial, for governments to run up massive debts that they have literally no chance of ever repaying. Yet all of these people would agree that an individual or private business doing the same thing would be disastrous.

  264. Andy Craig

    I don’t know if infallibility is really the correct term for what you’re describing, but either way the erroneous beliefs you’re talking about don’t involve the supernatural, divine, or omnipotence, except by (somewhat strained) analogy to religious fundamentalism. But that’s something that can be made said of fervent belief in any idea or strong support for any institution or practice. See: “free market fundamentalism” and the like.

    As an atheist and libertarian, I should be somewhat disposed to this attempt to equate religious fundamentalism (or “cults”) with support for authoritarian government. But I’m not, because I think the two really are quite different in important ways, and that it does us little good to try to argue those differences don’t exist.

  265. Robert Capozzi

    pf: Not yet, but give it time. The logical, social/traditional, legal and technical reasons why it doesn’t or can’t are gradually being stripped away.

    me: I have a different take. I would say that it’s all-but-impossible for the government to control everything completely. Based on the failure of communist and most communal experiments, there comes a point where command-and-control systems break down, clashing with the individual’s inherently autonomous mind. Command and control also breaks down *because* governments are made up of autonomous minds who cannot divorce their private interests from their belief that they know best what is in the collective’s interest. They don’t have enough information or a basis for assessing the information they possess.

    This leads to chaos.

    pf: Without the non-initiation of force principle becoming widely propagated and accepted, there is no reason for that process not to continue.

    me: This absolute certainly doesn’t work for me. ONLY NIOF? Why not the TAAAList ideal? If more and more believed that LESS force initiation worked, and then LESS force initiation, and so on, over time is it not possible that a virtuous circle could develop, making the deleterious impact of the State less and less?

    IF zero aggression is an absolute requirement, then you need to make an airtight case. I’ve never seen one, from you or any NAPster. And you have to tell us why TAAALism *cannot* be a fruitful path.

    Since NAPsters have not shown proof, their credibility is damaged. By making an absolutist statement with no backing, it is easy for non-NAPsters to dismiss their views as hyperbolic zealotry. NAPsterism, then, is self defeating.

  266. Steve m

    Put me down as an Anarchist who believes that all monitary systems from sea shells to gold to debts to bit coin are illusions. And that no one political philosophical ideal will ever win control of the earth. We are more likely to agree on a single religion.

  267. Robert capozzi

    Sm:And that no one political philosophical ideal will ever win control of the earth

    Me: Great point. The TAAALIST model factors that fact in. NAP-sterism requires near unanimity to be sustainable. Hence, it is not.

  268. Starchild

    Paulie writes (January 17, 2016 at 14:54), “All I know is that all who find themselves in the I-5 corridor that forms the population center of Oregon, whether L or not, are in grave danger of being deceived by the mind fog put out by the great demon that ruthlessly rules that region. Just look at the grand stupidity of the Portland 2006 convention, as well as everything that has happened with the Oregon LP squabbles ever since, for instances of proof. I have other examples unrelated to the LP but I think that should be enough all by itself for any objective observer.”

    LOL! But I just had a chilling thought, paulie. That same I-5… also runs the length of California! Could this be the source of the California LP’s malaise — the malign influence of Oregon? 😉

  269. Starchild

    Paulie writes (January 17, 2016 at 23:09), “In the 20 plus years I have been in the LP the party has been relatively stronger organizationally in terms of membership, fundraising, number of candidates, etc., when it has been relatively more radical ideologically, and relatively weaker when it has been at its ideologically most compromising stages.”

    Yes. In the larger movement, a similar parallel can be seen between the support that Ron Paul generated, versus the much lower level that the less libertarian Rand Paul has generated. On paper, the more moderate/conservative and less libertarian Rand Paul was more “electable”, but it doesn’t look like it’s turning out that way, does it?

  270. Starchild

    I do hope that I’m wrong about Rand Paul, and that he climbs out of his currently low poll numbers and wins the GOP nomination — Ron Paul he is not, but he’s still much better than all the other Republicrat/Demopublican candidates. Nevertheless, wishing him well is about as far as it goes. I’m just not inspired enough to get out and actively campaign for him, or send him money.

  271. Starchild

    Regarding “the cult of the omnipotent State”, it’s a rhetorical flourish, like “all men are created equal”. Statism may not literally be a “cult”, but the phrase conveys a recognition of the sheeplike mentality that statism cultivates in the populace, and is therefore apt.

    Similarly, people who tend to feel that whenever there is any kind of problem in society, government ought to get involved, may not literally believe the State is omnipotent, but again the term captures an essential truth about their approach.

    In short, it is a phrase of art, like “the pursuit of happiness” or “we have nothing to fear, but fear itself” or “one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

    Art has the power to convey truth in ways that mere recitation of facts cannot. This is why the Libertarian Party platform ought to contain strong, soaring, inspirational rhetoric. We would be foolish to drop the CotOS language.

  272. paulie

    Yep. It is what i signed up for. I don’t have an issue with it. If I did, I would have either not joined or left when I figured out I had a problem with it. I am okay with both interpretations of the Pledge too btw. I challenge issues based on the SoP not the Pledge.

    Exactly. Same here!

  273. paulie

    I’m not really a fan of that distinction, as it seems rather contrived, given that most people tend to automatically interpret the word “government” as the monopolistic, force-driven kind that exists in the status quo. I think a far more useful distinction is between law and government. “Law” merely implies the existence of rules, which are not only compatible with, but essential to, a society based on peace and freedom. On the other hand, “government” implies not only rules, but also rulers. Unlike rules, rulers are not only unnecessary to achieve peace and freedom, but they are actually a hindrance to that goal (an insurmountable one, in my view). Any “real” libertarian (by which I mean any libertarian who takes the NAP seriously, regardless of whether they consider themselves an anarchist) should be for rules, but against rulers.

    I agree. However, I see the party’s role more in terms of being a wider funnel on the front end, bringing a lot of people who sense that government is too big in the door and then distilling them (and from them) the heretofore latent hardcore libertarians as well as the heretofore latent political activists, and most importantly of all the heretofore latent hardcore libertarian political activists. However, the only way to find them is by at least somewhat bringing into our general orbit a lot of near-libertarians who may not oppose all (territorial force monopoly) government as such but to do find “big government” troubling. Both the wide scoping outreach and the distilling “inreach” parts of this process are important. Once within the party, our goal should be to make people more libertarian as well as more politically active over time, making the most hardcore ideological libertarians into the most hard working political activists and vice versa, and making those who stay involved with us the more extremely libertarian and the more politically active the more they become involved with the Party.

    That’s why we start with the automatically scary “big government” rather than just “government.” It’s crowd psychology. If we limit ourselves only to those who see “government” as such as being bad to begin with, we don’t cast a wide enough net to bring in enough people to be able to find enough potential hardcore libertarian political activists from among them. But, it’s equally important to keep the eye on the prize, which is defeating our enemy, the cult of the omnipotent state, while we do that. If we forget what exactly is the enemy (or more accurately enemy mindset) that we are trying to defeat, we have already lost. It’s important to keep both ends of the funnel functioning, bringing in all who would shrink big government and churning them like diamonds from coal into those who would have the sharp edge to not just scratch but cut like a sharp dagger into the cold glass heart of the cult of the omnipotent state.

  274. Robert Capozzi

    s: On paper, the more moderate/conservative and less libertarian Rand Paul was more “electable”, but it doesn’t look like it’s turning out that way, does it?

    me: Trump changed everything in this cycle.

  275. Robert Capozzi

    s: it is a phrase of art, like “the pursuit of happiness” or “we have nothing to fear, but fear itself” or “one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

    me: I can work with phrases of art, especially if they are either true or sound like a sane mind wrote them, as your examples do. CotOS is not true, it appears you agree. As a flourish, it sounds like something Mel Gibson might have said in CONSPIRACY THEORY. The LP is positioned with that statement as part of the lunatic fringe.

  276. Starchild

    Chuck Moulton writes (January 18, 2016 at 00:12), “There are libertarian policies that are non-minarchist/non-anarchist. For example: Cutting the income tax by 50%. Or allowing gay marriage without eliminating all marriage licensing. Or legalizing marijuana without legalizing all drugs.”

    In the same sense, cutting a single dollar from the federal budget is also libertarian. As is deciding not to authorize one particular drone strike likely to kill civilians (while authorizing many others). As is pardoning one person (out of many) imprisoned under the “War on Drugs”.

    Any step in the direction of freedom can be called libertarian, just as any step in the direction of tyranny can be called statist.

    But the larger context matters. Someone who takes any of these steps and then actively resists going further is not pursuing a libertarian policy. Cutting the income tax by 50% stops being libertarian as soon as it becomes a rationale for not cutting it by 51%, or 60%, or 100%.

    Chuck, I think you have a point in arguing that the current approach amounts to a kind of “bait and switch”. However I disagree with the conclusion that the solution to this problem is to scrap the Pledge. A better approach is to make the party more consistently radical, not less. We should not give people joining the LP the impression that it is appropriate for them to be involved in setting party policy, unless they understand and support the Non-Aggression Principle and are prepared to base their public policy stances on how they interpret it.

    This standard should be seen as beneficial to the party as a whole and to all of its members no matter how libertarian they are. An LP member who is only moderately libertarian can be proud to belong to a party that is too principled to allow him or her a hand in setting its policies!

    A church whose stated values are compassion, humility, and charity will not inspire much love or respect from its community if anyone walking in the door is welcome to write and deliver the Sunday sermons no matter how little evidence they show of being compassionate, humble, or charitable.

    Similarly, if your organization’s highest value is freedom, it has a strong interest in seeing that its leaders and representatives are chosen from among those who most strongly uphold and embody that value.

  277. Robert Capozzi

    pf: Once within the party, our goal should be to make people more libertarian as well as more politically active over time, making the most hardcore ideological libertarians into the most hard working political activists and vice versa, and making those who stay involved with us the more extremely libertarian and the more politically active the more they become involved with the Party.

    me: Pure Rothbardian Leninism here.

    It assumes that the “cadre” (Rothbardians) are “more L.” I find this offensive, and I suspect a lot of non-Rothbardians do as well.

    pf: That’s why we start with the automatically scary “big government” rather than just “government.” It’s crowd psychology. If we limit ourselves only to those who see “government” as such as being bad to begin with, we don’t cast a wide enough net to bring in enough people to be able to find enough potential hardcore libertarian political activists from among them.

    me: So, it’s a Rothbardian scam, then. OK. Let’s call a spade a spade. This is a classic cult approach. Funnel them in with promises of one thing, then sell them something else.

    pf: But, it’s equally important to keep the eye on the prize, which is defeating our enemy, the cult of the omnipotent state, while we do that. If we forget what exactly is the enemy (or more accurately enemy mindset) that we are trying to defeat, we have already lost.

    me: If YOU wish to look at it that way, knock yourself out. Myself…I see no CotOS, so there’s nothing to defeat! I see liberty as an invitation, not a battle.

  278. paulie

    I know this is a popular dream among many libertarians, but I am very skeptical that it will ever happen. I do not envision the state ever just gradually withering away to nothing, simply because the people who stand to lose in such a scenario are precisely the kind of people who won’t relinquish their power without a fight.

    I completely agree. They will absolutely go down fighting. That’s why we need all the allies we can get for that fight, which means all who oppose big government, not only those who oppose government.

    Now, I don’t advocate any sort of violent revolution, but at some point, probably long after I am dead, when a sufficient number of people begin to categorically reject the use of aggression, the advocates of aggression will attack them, and the libertarians will be justified in fighting back

    It may be a physical fight, but it may be a fight of ideas and a fight for public opinion. Mahatma Gandhi and MLK understood how this works. Neither rejected violent resistance in principle, they just saw non-violence as a more potent weapon in their circumstances. We have to learn to win hearts and minds, at which point the aggressors will find themselves to be impotent bullies and without the public support to do what they want to do. Furthermore, more and more of them will find order-takers unwilling to follow their orders and at some point sooner or later a lack of resolve in their own conscience because the inner voice that tells them that what they are doing is justified doesn’t find enough support even within themselves.

    (in theory, we would be justified in fighting back now, but such action would be suicidal at this point).

    If you mean fighting back physically, yeah, that would be suicidal right now. At some point it may or may not be, but it could also be rendered unnecessary over time through increased and ever more widespread success with persuasion.

    I don’t like the idea of having to physically fight for freedom, but I don’t see any alternative. The idea that those who run the state will ever voluntarily relinquish their power strikes me as akin to the fox telling you that if you will just leave him in charge of the henhouse, he will promise to be on his best behavior.

    Once again you are correct. We can’t expect them to give up without a fight and they can’t help being foxy. It’s just part of their genetic makeup.

    The only solution, then, is to modify them genetically through powerful persuasional alchemy that completely transforms their very DNA, or evolves beyond DNA altogether through what Capozzi calls the “Frankel Singularity.” This coming transformation finally evolves humanity beyond the reptile brain that is the legacy of billions of years of human evolution, while our non-initiation of force principle offers the only way for our species not to destroy itself and anything else it touches in that process.

    It’s the only way to outfox a fox. And, hey, if that doesn’t work, we’ll be doomed no matter what.

  279. paulie

    I think there are numerous examples of people (large numbers of them) who ascribe supernatural qualities to the government. These qualities include, but are not limited to:

    1. Personal Infallibility: Many people (following the lead of Thomas Hobbes) will tell you that the whole reason we need a powerful government, or any government, is because people are inherently greedy, selfish, and so forth. However, this entire argument relies on the notion that once a person goes to work for the government, they no longer have these flaws. They are magically transformed into saints.

    2. Economic Infallibility: Many people subscribe to the belief that government action is not subject to the laws of economics. For example, many people (including many well respected economists) hold that it is not only acceptable, but actually beneficial, for governments to run up massive debts that they have literally no chance of ever repaying. Yet all of these people would agree that an individual or private business doing the same thing would be disastrous.

    Exactly!

  280. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Starchild,

    You are exactly right on all counts. And particularly on your points about the art of the CotOS language. The hyper literalism makes me SMH very hard.

    I would argue the bait and switch the other way. The LP is billed as the Party of Principle. It has an embedded SoP that is radically minarchist with nods to anarchy. To try to ignore that or expand that or complain it isn’t broad enough is trying to pull a switch on what the Party itself has defined itself and that others who know perfectly well what it says have joined.

    If the Nolan quiz or people administering it are allegedly deceiving people (I do outreach – no one ever got sold a bill of goods by me) then too bad for the quiz or those techniques. Scrap THAT.

    I am the one correctly identfying what our SoP says. I don’t have an issue with what our Party principles say. If that isn’t “big tent” enough then the big tenters have an issue with the Party. Okay. But if the baseline is what the Party docs say, I am normative vis a vis the Party and not the one with a problem.

    The SoP defines our core principles but anyone moving that way is welcome to join us. I will not support in leadership or as a candidate anyone who trashes them but I can work with them as members in the libertarian direction we agree on.

  281. Andy

    There are also steps in the direction of liberty that if done in isolation, or without a transition plan, could cause serious problems. Such as:

    1) Laying off all prison/jail guards, therefore leaving all prisons and jail unguarded, which would mean the inmates could just walk out. Sure, lots of people are in jail or prison for victimless crimes, so it would be good if they could just walk out, but what about the real criminals who are locked up? Murderers, rapists, child molesters, armed robbers, etc… walking out of jail/prison would not be a good thing.

    2) Laying off the people who maintain roads/highways/bridges/etc…. with no transition plan to replace them could cause a lot of problems.

    3) The government has a huge stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. What happens to all of the nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons if you were able to push a button and shut the military down?

    4) Lots of people are dependent on Social Security. If you shut down the Social Security program with no transition plan it would cause major problem for a lot of people.

    These are just a few examples.

  282. paulie

    Pure Rothbardian Leninism here.

    I included it just for you. Glad you picked up on that 🙂

    It assumes that the “cadre” (Rothbardians) are “more L.”

    Yes, but that is only because we actually are. Especially those of us who are LongBardians.

    I find this offensive

    Don’t be so defensive!

    So, it’s a Rothbardian scam, then. OK. Let’s call a spade a spade. This is a classic cult approach. Funnel them in with promises of one thing, then sell them something else.

    Except that what we are “selling” (actually – giving away) isn’t flim flam or trickery into personal power and profits for our cult leadership, it’s the only chance at freedom and survival our species has. Our goal isn’t to concentrate power, it’s to disperse it. But we can only cast the ring into the fiery pit of Mt. Doom if we get to that position through all the treacherous and twisted paths to get to and climb that mountain and manage to get past all the temptations and dangers along that path.

    You can only cut a diamond with a diamond. Only through the cult of the diamond chart can we defeat the very real and literally true cult of the omnipotent state!

    If YOU wish to look at it that way, knock yourself out. Myself…I see no CotOS, so there’s nothing to defeat!

    There are none so blind as those who trick themselves into not seeing.

    I see liberty as an invitation, not a battle.

    I see it as both.

  283. paulie

    As an atheist and libertarian, I should be somewhat disposed to this attempt to equate religious fundamentalism (or “cults”) with support for authoritarian government.

    Both are faith based institutions. We need to erode faith in the ability of government force monopolies to solve problems and increase faith in the viability of voluntary alternative solutions.

  284. paulie

    I would say that it’s all-but-impossible for the government to control everything completely. Based on the failure of communist and most communal experiments, there comes a point where command-and-control systems break down, clashing with the individual’s inherently autonomous mind.

    I agree. That’s why I think they will ultimately lose and we will win the grand battle of all the ages. But as langa pointed out they will go down fighting every step of the way, and they will fight dirty with every trick and their ancient bag of tricks.

    Command and control also breaks down *because* governments are made up of autonomous minds who cannot divorce their private interests from their belief that they know best what is in the collective’s interest. They don’t have enough information or a basis for assessing the information they possess.

    This leads to chaos.

    Yep!

    And chaos leads to spontaneous order.

    This absolute certainly doesn’t work for me. ONLY NIOF? Why not the TAAAList ideal?

    I’m all for the approach that takes us in the direction of the non-initiation of force conclusion being taoist, asymptotic and asynchronous. Those all strike me as being very liberty-oriented traits, so as I have told you for a long time, I heartily approve. The journey is the destination and the destination is the journey. We both win, and so does everyone else!

    If more and more believed that LESS force initiation worked, and then LESS force initiation, and so on, over time is it not possible that a virtuous circle could develop, making the deleterious impact of the State less and less?

    That’s exactly my plan!

    IF zero aggression is an absolute requirement, then you need to make an airtight case. I’ve never seen one, from you or any NAPster.

    I’m not too worried about it. You’ll see it sooner or later. How soon will be entirely up to you. Just as long as you get on that path it’s all good. I have faith in the power of the virtuous circle to pull you upward toward the light.

    And you have to tell us why TAAALism *cannot* be a fruitful path.

    That’s because I find it to be a very fruitful path, with strong notes of cedar, oak and chocolate and a nice fruity chocolate aftertaste. Very cherry!

    NAPsterism, then, is self defeating.

    I think it’s self-vindicating. But then I have faith that the TAAAList path will lead up to the mountain of NAPsterism, even though we can’t see the top of the mountain above the clouds from our vantage point here at the base of the path.

  285. paulie

    And that no one political philosophical ideal will ever win control of the earth. We are more likely to agree on a single religion.

    We will, and I think pretty soon, maybe this decade. The “Frankel” singularity will become the only political philosophical ideal and the only religion left, or there will be no more earth, only a dead shell of what once was with TRUMP spelled in giant nuclear fireballs on the surface as a warning for the ages, like Ozymandias.

  286. paulie

    Does that make me a member of the sceptic’s

    It depends on what is in your sceptic tank 🙂

    (Play on words. Yes, I know you meant skeptics).

  287. paulie

    LOL! But I just had a chilling thought, paulie. That same I-5… also runs the length of California! Could this be the source of the California LP’s malaise — the malign influence of Oregon? ?

    I wouldn’t rule out the possibility.

  288. Andy Craig

    @Starchild Yes. In the larger movement, a similar parallel can be seen between the support that Ron Paul generated, versus the much lower level that the less libertarian Rand Paul has generated. On paper, the more moderate/conservative and less libertarian Rand Paul was more “electable”, but it doesn’t look like it’s turning out that way, does it?

    Rand Paul’s problem is not that he went from the radical paleolibertarianism of his father to a more moderate-centrist libertarianism. The problem is that he abandoned libertarianism altogether, in favor of being a Tea Party style social conservative and war-hawk. On many issues he became more *conservative* than his father, not more *moderate.* He tried to occupy an ideological space where, it turns out, there weren’t any votes. But it’s a failure of the same-old conservative-libertarian fusionism that’s been around since William F. Buckley in the 1950s, not the libertarian-leaning center that he never tried to focus his appeal on and that he was, indeed, farther away from than Ron ever was.

    In Nolan Chart terms, he moved a lot more to the right than he did the center.

  289. Robert Capozzi

    ac: In Nolan Chart terms, [RP2] moved a lot more to the right than he did the center.

    me: Excellent point!

  290. Caryn Ann Harlos

    ==But it’s a failure of the same-old conservative-libertarian fusionism==

    Which fusionism BTW, Petersen currently supports.

    AWP: “I wanted the Tea Party to win. I believed that a new form of Buckley’s fusionism could emerge between social conservatives and libertarians. Together we could crush the big government conservatives, and a libertarian might be elected. Men like Rand Paul gave me hope, and I was happy to see that true conservatives like Ted Cruz and Mike Lee were also elected.”

  291. lew

    Still arguing about 9/11 False Flag yes or no? And whether Bush could be considered responsible for anything, empty vessel that he was?

    This is a leading group of thinkers?

    The discussion shifted to how most efficiently to accomplish the necessary revolution some time ago, and you haven’t noticed.

    If the Libertarian Party doesn’t run with 9/11 Truth and Sandy Hoax as the major issue, it is irrelevant.

    https://thinkpatriot.wordpress.com/2016/03/04/an-open-letter-to-third-parties/

    This will not be handled with voting.

  292. David Pratt Demarest

    The function of government is to get the hell out of our way. The function of the media is to report whether or not the government is fulfilling their function to get out of our way.

    Governments have always existed for the benefit of those who govern. In the facetious words of Mel Brooks in “The History of the World Part 1”, “It is good to be the King!” Building on Brooks’ well-directed sarcasm, it is good to be a crony of a ruler, it is good to be on the payroll of a ruler and it is good to be on the welfare roll of a ruler. Our role of subjugation is inevitable only as long as we continue to delude ourselves that rulers are necessary.

    That being the case, what the hell do we need rulers for? We can do it better ourselves. It is time to withdraw our permission for the government to maintain a coercive territorial aggressive-force monopoly, without which government abuse would be minimized and competitive free-market societal governance structures would take on a whole new meaning in our society.

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