Jim Davidson: Why two libertarian parties are better than one

Found on the Boston Tea Party website

Earlier this year, I was asked by my good friend Thomas Knapp to help him with a problem. He wanted to keep the Boston Tea Party going, but most of its national committee had gotten bored or left for other reasons. After some reflection, I concluded that it was a good thing to do.

It turns out that Tom and I were right to keep the group around, because after the Libertarian Party nominated Bob Barr, we had a surge in membership. Activists from all over the country have joined our party, which now boasts nearly 700 members. We’ve formed state affiliates in a dozen states this year, and we’ve helped dozens of candidates with our endorsement, volunteers, and campaign contributions from our members. We even elected two public officials this year, both members of the Boston Tea Party and both in non-partisan races.

So, after all, there’s really no need for the LP to come to grips with its traditions of secrecy, abuse of power, corruption, and mistreatment of members. After all, libertarians now have choices when they look for a political party.

During the last six months, The Boston Tea Party had occasion to test our openness policy. A controversy arose over the vice presidential candidate in Florida, John Wayne Smith. Rather than have these discussions secretly, or trying to hide the facts until after the election, we boldly deliberated on our open-to-the-public national committee discussion list. We were even challenged by the presidential nominee, and added to the openness by publishing more documents to review the facts involved. I aver we made a strong case for openness.

In June, we tested our membership rule policy. The members of our party have the authority to review any action of our national committee. At present, it only takes 5 members of the party to agree that the members as a whole should be polled to review such an action. Doing so in June managed to avert an attempt to pervert our presidential nomination process by the former vice chair of the party.

I believe the Boston Tea Party has the only effective approach to corruption of its national party. The national party is not authorised to raise or spend any money. Ever. So there is no national staff. All the financing is done on the state or county level, or by the campaigns. We’ve seen far too much corruption and abuse of power by the national committees and national party staff of other parties to want that for ourselves.

In some ways, I would like to see the LP continue to prey upon its members for a little bit of money. It would also be great to see the LP continue to be a party without principles, a party of corruption, and a party where ne0-conservative candidates like Barr can embarrass the members by snubbing the Campaign for Liberty.

Of course, that’s only because I’d like to see the Boston Tea Party win the hearts and minds of libertarians and be the party of principle for the future. It gives me great satisfaction that I stopped paying national dues to those people in the late 1990s. As long as they bicker and feud over who was allowed to say what, justify their secret sessions, and make a mockery of the members, I’ll continue to refuse to be a member of that party.

One of the things that reading Tim Weiner’s book Legacy of Ashes has reminded me is how thoroughly we went through this whole issue of secret politics and secret assassinations and secret wars during the 1970s. The crimes of Nixon, Kissinger, Rumsfeld, Cheney, et al., were not adequately punished at the time. Although we discovered and thoroughly reviewed the repeated failures of secret politics, secret assassinations, and secret wars, with events like the Pentagon Papers, the Watergate Hearings, and the Church Commission, these problems did not go away. We had Iran Contra, we have the Iraq war, and it turns out the link between the Taliban and al Qaeda was largely manufactured, too. (The USA went to war in Afghanistan, not because the Taliban refused to turn over bin Laden, but because they asked to see some evidence that bin Laden had planned and executed the 11-Sep-2001 attacks. Don’t ask for evidence, or the USA gov’t may bomb your country into oblivion.)

Moreover, we’ve learned a great deal since the 1970s about poisonous secrets during FDR’s reign, about the extent to which Churchill and FDR knew exactly what the Japanese were about to do and how they deliberately failed to warn allies and their own military about these plans. We’ve learned about more secret wars in Congo, in Indonesia, and elsewhere. We’ve learned about more massacres of civilians funded by USA taxpayer dollars. We’ve learned more about Kissinger’s role in Mao killing (by slow torture) a group of generals who wanted to overthrow him in 1971, his role in Pinochet’s government coming to and holding onto power, and darker secrets about Cambodia and Laos.

We have, in short, learned a great deal about how secrecy is a disease. It is an illness that thwarts the success of a free society. Gorbachev had more to teach about openness in the 1980s than, judging by their comments on George Donnelly’s site, any member of the LNC has learned with the noteworthy exception of Angela Keaton.

Those of the LP “leadership” who want to seize the reins of power and be in charge of the next round of secret wars, the rounding up of the usual suspects, and all the governmental power to destroy lives are, of course, going to continue justifying their use of secrecy for this purpose or that. In a free society, people who want to be employed by a national political party should expect full disclosure of the terms of their agreements. In an open society, wrongdoing by a member of the staff of a national political party should be known to the members of that party, and to the public generally. In the unlikely event the LP is going to accomplish anything with a lawsuit, they’ll need to spend the money of the members of their party, and they ought to inform the members what they plan to do with their money.

But they don’t think so. They think the LP ought to have secrets. They want to get away with things, keep secrets, and attack anyone who tells those secrets. They are fools, incapable of making a free society, or an open one.

Which, after all, is why the Boston Tea Party exists. They were fools to dismantle the LP’s carefully crafted platform in 2006. They were fools to nominate a nasty former-CIA agent, former drug war prosecutor, former neo-conservative Congress critter who voted for war, who continues to seek military intervention in Colombia, and who has been a complete jerk toward people in the gay and pagan communities.

What they ought to understand is that people are watching what the leaders of the LP do. And every time they do something incredibly stupid, The Boston Tea Party pick up more members. Every time they do something foolish, we get more activists working for us.

I don’t mind telling them, because it would be really nice if there were two very high quality libertarian political parties in the country. It would be great if those guys ever got their act together. After all, this year a majority of the candidates the Boston Tea Party endorsed and worked to support were candidates from the Libertarian party—a vast majority. We’re not averse to working to elect libertarians when they are sincere and principled ones.

But even if they got their act together for a time, I don’t think it’s going to last. Which is why I’m committed to the growth and success of BTP. We’re here to stay because the LP’s commitment to principles has been fickle. We’re watching them, too. And we have no legal, ethical, nor moral obligation to keep quiet about their choices. Quite the reverse.

You don’t have to join the LP or the BTP. But if you do join either one, you might think about joining both. The membership obligation for the Boston Tea Party is to read our one-sentence platform and signal your agreement with it—there is never any membership fee or dues. Membership is free and open to everyone who visits www.bostontea.us to join or just to check us out.

Here’s that platform. See what you think about it.

“The Boston Tea Party supports reducing the size, scope and power of government at all levels and on all issues, and opposes increasing the size, scope and power of government at any level, for any purpose.”

As a libertarian, as an individualist, as a free and sovereign individual, you ought to have fun with the political process. I think having two libertarian parties is better. I believe in free markets and open competition.

My own role in the party changed in late October. I did not want to run for office. I don’t ever want to be elected to any office. I don’t consent to be governed, and I don’t agree to govern anyone else. (As Dennis Wilson can attest, I signed the Covenant of Unanimous Consent.)

The new national chair is Jason Gatties. I continue to be the chair of the Kansas state affiliate of the Boston Tea Party until that group holds elections, some time in early 2010.

My further thoughts on the party and its recent national convention may be seen here: bostontea.us/node/405 including both text and video.

Jim Davidson is a sovereign individual who writes extensively on topics ranging from individual liberty to nanotechnology. He is an entrepreneur with extensive experience in space tourism, online sales, medical practice management, real estate, port development, toll road development, and education. He is currently working on an initial public offering for a computer company and a massively multiplayer online gaming project. He also markets gold and silver to individual seeking to hedge against inflation. Please visit one of his sites, such as Vertoro.com, Indomitus.net, or GoLightSpeed.com

58 thoughts on “Jim Davidson: Why two libertarian parties are better than one

  1. George Phillies

    Jim:

    To your other critiques, note that the current LNC Agenda for December includes ‘Discipline of Angela Keaton” and that, with ten days to go, she has not been informed either of the names of her accusers or of the charges against her.

    George Phillies

  2. LibertarianGirl

    I thought Aaron Starr and M were her accusers and that the issue was disclosing info from inside a closed meeting . That and I heard somewhere accusations of sexual harrassment lodged at her (ROFLMAO) I thought she had to make a public apology or resign .
    Is this a whole different issue they are dealing with now?
    I hope she makes a funny -outrageous -ridiculous spectacle of all of them ! LOL
    go angela!!!

  3. George Phillies

    LibertarianGirl

    M Carling is not a member of the LNC at the moment, so it seems difficult for him to be an accuser.

    My statement does not mean that you are wrong.

    George

  4. MattSwartz

    Theoretically, the two libertarian parties will compete for activists and push one another forward to new levels of transparency, purity, innovation, and courtesy.

    The problem is that libertarians have no consistent history of demanding any of these “products” from their political parties.

  5. TheOriginalAndy

    “1 George Phillies // Nov 26, 2008 at 11:54 am

    Jim:

    To your other critiques, note that the current LNC Agenda for December includes ‘Discipline of Angela Keaton” and that, with ten days to go, she has not been informed either of the names of her accusers or of the charges against her.

    George Phillies”

    Well, considering that Angela Keaton made a bunch of false accusations – including false criminal accusations – about myself and fellow long time Libertarian activist/petitioner Gary Fincher, I see this as poetic justice.

    I agree with Mary Ruwart that Angela Keaton does not belong on the LNC, especially when one considers that fact that her lie-filled unprovoked personal attack against myself and Gary was aimed at protecting the job of the incompetent SLIMEBALL Political Director, Sean Haugh (who was the co-author along with Shane Cory of the infamous “kiddie porn” press release that was meant as a cheap shot at Mary Ruwart).

  6. TheOriginalAndy

    “Thomas M. Sipos // Nov 26, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    Angela Keaton belongs on the LNC because the delegates put her there.

    The delegates decide who belongs on the LNC — and not the LNC itself.”

    I was one of those delegates who put her there, as was Gary, as was Paul for that matter (Keaton stabbed Paul in the back too). I deeply regret voting for Angela Keaton. If I would have known her true nature instead of the facade that she puts up most of the time there is no way that I’d have voted for her.

    Keaton has proven herself to be unethical (making false criminal accusations about people, spreading lies about people, stabbing people in the back for no reason, protecting the job of the incompetent SLIMEBALL Sean Haugh) and has abused her position of power within the party.

    Anyone who would spread lies to protect the job of the parasite Sean Haugh does not deserve to hold office in the party.

    Angela Keaton’s low ethics and unstable personality make her a poor choice for the LNC or for any other office.

    There are plenty of other anti-war Libertarians who could fill her position on the LNC and do a better job than she is doing.

  7. BrianHoltz

    http://libertarianintelligence.com/2008/09/why-multiple-freedom-parties-is-dumb.html

    Another freedom party makes sense only if your goal is A) to displace the LP or B) to start an explicitly anarchist party. Competing with the LP to improve it makes about as much sense as Henry Waxman starting his own Democrat Party in order to replace John Dingell as the Energy And Commerce chair. Instead the Democrat caucus narrowly chose Waxman over Dingell, and then united to shove that choice down the throats of the Republicans.

    The difference between a Party and a Caucus is politics 101. A Party is for uniting all the voters who cluster around a common policy goal/direction. A Party uses caucuses to settle internal disputes over strategy, tactics, or candidates — and then comes out united and swinging. Splitting from the Party over such disputes is inane if killing the old Party isn’t your goal.

  8. TheOriginalAndy

    “B) to start an explicitly anarchist party.”

    The Boston Tea Party’s platform is less radical than the LP’s, and the Boston Tea Party endorsed George Phillies for President in New Hampshire, and Phillies is a moderate. So I don’t think that the Boston Tea Party is an explicitly anarachist party.

  9. Ross Levin

    They could work together instead of competing. With one of the major leaders of the BTP running for the 2012 Libertarian Party nomination for president, it looks like that’s entirely possible.

  10. paulie cannoli Post author

    I think that was always the idea. If a BTP compatible candidate wins in the LP they will co-endorse him or her, and if not, they will run their own.

  11. Thomas M. Sipos

    Many Libertarians think the LP exists “to keep the GOP honest,” by providing libertarians with someplace to go if the GOP fails on its small govt promises.

    By that same token, the BTP may be useful in keeping the LP honest, by providing libertarians someplace to go if the LP fails to live up to its principles.

  12. JimDavidson

    @17 I think that’s true. It is a recursive process, though perhaps the three major design features of the BTP process (openness, lack of national budget, rule by the members generally) can keep the BTP from having to be “kept honest” by an offshoot of our own.

    I would dearly love to see a more honest GOP. Let’s see how the LP has done since 1971. There was Nixon, Agnew, Watergate, the Pentagon Papers, Kissinger helping Mao exterminate the generals who tried to overthrow him, the secret war in Cambodia and Laos, the overthrow of Allende. I think Kissinger is still wanted as an international criminal for his role in the massacres under Pinochet’s government. Then there was Reagan with Iran Contra, arms for hostages, drugs for weapons, CIA drug sales in Los Angeles, shredding madness by Fawn Hall and Ollie North, the brutal and insane shelling of Lebanon by the 16 inch guns of WW2 era battleships, the senseless massacre of poorly defended Marines in Lebanon, the bizarre bombing of Libya, all kinds of other military interventions, and lots of sleaze and corruption in the usual government contracting.

    Then we had George HW Bush with his “read my lips, no new taxes” lie. And his quick war in the Persian Gulf that cost enormous numbers of lives. His betrayal of the Kurdish and Shi-ite groups that he told to overthrow Saddam Hussein. Lots more money for CIA, lots more international intrigue, espionage, and plenty of scandals.

    Lately we’ve had his son’s wars and scandals, abuses of power, a new preference for torture, the end of important civil liberties like habeas corpus, the end of telephone privacy. And all through all these GOP administrations, we’ve had the war on drugs, the war on money, the war on privacy, the war on freedom, the war on “terror,” and the redefinition of terror to be whatever the established order doesn’t like. Lots of police have rioted into lots of peaceful civilian crowds, with loss of life, chemical weapons abuses, and many injuries.

    So, let me say about how the LP is doing, keeping the GOP honest. You guys suck at it. M’kay?

    “If someone could keep the GOP honest, I would be soooo happy.” Craig from South Park.

    Hey, good news, we grew a bit more today. Now 700 people have joined the Boston Tea Party on our national web site, this year.

    @16 In general, the Boston Tea Party has the option to endorse any candidate from any other party provided that candidate agrees with (and is not observably in conflict with) our smaller government platform. However, there is certainly no guarantee that the LP running a principled libertarian candidate would necessarily result in our members preferring that person over a nominee of their very own.

    @15 I see no reason not to work with other parties and other individuals in any sort of groups, where we have common cause. I don’t see competition as destructive, nor do I see it as a waste of resources. Competition is how free markets excel. Among other things, a free market is the only way ever found to establish a market clearing price – to allow for the rational allocation of resources.

    So, we can both work together and compete.

  13. George Donnelly

    @17 Well said!

    @Jim “work together and compete”, well said. IOW, cooperate and compete. Isn’t this how the world works? Sometimes we cooperate with each other and sometimes we compete with each other. It’s entirely natural and productive.

  14. TheOriginalAndy

    “I believe the Boston Tea Party has the only effective approach to corruption of its national party. The national party is not authorised to raise or spend any money. Ever. So there is no national staff. All the financing is done on the state or county level, or by the campaigns. We’ve seen far too much corruption and abuse of power by the national committees and national party staff of other parties to want that for ourselves.”

    This is something that can be done right now in the Libertarian Party. That is don’t send any money to LP National, or, if you do send any money to LP Naitonal, only send them the bare minimum $25 to be an official party member. All of or the bulk of your donations to the Libertarian Party can be made at the local or state level or to individual candidates.

  15. songster7

    I have long hoped for two libertarian political parties:

    (1) one holding the frontiers of liberty and pushing for the rollback of power (including but not limited to its overtly political form) — from the institutions, corporations and other statist entities to voluntary communities & sovereign individuals; and

    (2) a second, focusing merely on smaller, less powerful governmental structures, and accepting incremental measures in the course of this process, while aiming mostly at electing people to office and presenting itself as a mainstream alternative to the statist quo.

    I had always thought that the LP would remain as the former alternative, providing “cover” for the second group, who could always say they were “less radical” in their views …

    Now we come to the LP and the BTP — which have swapped roles somehow, in spite of the simplified (and ostensibly less radical?) platform of the latter. Those who voted on pure libertarian principle in 2008 voted for Charles Jay and Tom Knapp (where they could), or wrote in Ron Paul or other options, rather than opting for the LP Dixiecrat/crackpot semi- conservative ticket!

    So now I’m on the board of the party that was SUPPOSED to be the pragmatic one (acc to its platform), and avoiding the allegedly “radical” group (to which I devoted a good part of my life, for about 30 of its almost 40 years!) like the plague …

    Sure wish Aaron Russo’s initial idea for the Constitution Party had worked!

  16. songster7

    another thing:

    Andy said: “This is something that can be done right now in the Libertarian Party. That is don’t send any money to LP National, or, if you do send any money to LP Naitonal, only send them the bare minimum $25 to be an official party member. ..”

    correction – that “bare minimum $25” is to be a “SUSTAINING MEMBER” … which is the manipulation of reality (anyone who has ever signed the pledge is a member for life, until/unless (s)he requests to be removed from the rolls — or have they found a way to rewrite that Bylaw now?) to effect a pathetic goal (continuing to treat the LP as a membership, dues-paying exclusive club!), one which has nothing whatsoever to do with political parties (which run on donations, pledges, contributions … and volunteer effort!).

    The dumbshits had their chance to smarten up; they rejected it. Covering it over by redefining terms does nothing to advance either liberty or politics in general …

  17. BrianHoltz

    Nothing said above answers any of the nine points I raised at http://libertarianintelligence.com/2008/09/why-multiple-freedom-parties-is-dumb.html

    The LP putting reform pressure on the GOP or the DP can make sense, because the LP’s official principles are very distinct from those of the nanny state parties, and there are natural flows from their voter clusters to ours that we want to encourage. Nobody here has identified a difference between the official LP and BTP principles, nor between the goals/direction of the LP’s million+ regular distinct voters and those of the N thousand who have ever voted for a BTP ballot line.

    Electoral organizing for a cluster of voters desiring the same goal/direction is a natural monopoly, in which high fixed costs and low marginal costs lead to economies of scale that make competition inefficient. The purpose of general elections for us in the freedom movement is to measure electoral demand for more freedom. It’s silly to try to use general elections to settle intramural disputes like whether to restore the 2004 platform, or whether nominating Bob Barr was a good idea. If the BTP thinks the LP is unsalvageable and needs to be replaced, then have the courage to say so. But spare us this claptrap that you’re using general elections as a “market” to “efficiently” settle intramural disputes. Look at all the socialist parties and candidates that run for president. Is “competition” helping their cause? The people here follow politics pretty keenly. Don’t insult their intelligence.

    P.S. Keep in mind that what I’m saying here is an http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Admission_against_interest. If you take my advice and fold up the BTP, that only increases the number of LP radicals that I have to caucus against. But that’s OK, because radicals give the LP disproportionate numbers of quality activists and candidates, who seem very willing to tone down their radicalism when facing the public.

  18. coming on the back of the LP

    Holtz is right. One libertarian party is already bad enough, why compound the error?

  19. JimDavidson

    @23 Nobody cares.

    @24 Everyone has choices. If you don’t want any libertarian parties, don’t attend any. If I knew who you were, I would not invite you to my next party.

  20. Melty Rox

    I agree with Brian that two libertarians competing for the same office is not helping. If it’s a primary, though, it can be a plus.
    I think more than one libertarian party is a good idea for now (I don’t mean LP or BTP specifically, but just in general). In lots of local elections, it’s mostly candidates uncontested, and no libertarians. Any libertarian party that would form and fill in those voids is doing good work. If a given party operates well it expands and mergers may occur.

  21. JimDavidson

    @27 Not me. Perhaps the Black Knight would like to use his real name. I find his use of mine to be offensive.

    @26 I don’t think mergers are a good idea. I think the consolidation of any industry leads to corruption and abuse of power. If that hasn’t dawned on people watching the finance industry, which has, in the last 100 years, gone through a monumental consolidation, I don’t know how to reach such people.

    In 23, Holtz babbles about natural monopoly. There are no natural monopolies. There are monopolies enforced by government intervention – with the attendant public utility commissions that earnestly approve rate hikes when fuel prices rise but mysteriously fail to approve rate drops when fuel prices plummet. There are no other sorts.

    To speak of natural monopoly in such glowing terms, Holtz reveals himself to be from one of the socialistic schools of economics. My guess from reading his other drivel is that he is a frank socialist, eager for government intervention in the market place, with a decided preference for the killing and stealing that may only be justified by government personnel – it would be called murder and theft if others tried it. Whether he is an enthusiast for the new pattern scope sighted rifle now being promoted by spokes-monster Lon Horiuchi, I don’t know.

    For my own part, I think the LP state organisations are a very mixed bag, with some quite vigorous and effective and others absent entirely. I think a strong case can be made for abandoning the national LP and its corrupt headquarters staff, especially vermin like Andrew Davis and Bill Redpath, as unsalvageable. But the LP is not mostly its national party and court apparatchiki. It is mostly its state parties.

    There’s quite a lot of vigorous activity in the Texas LP, for example. I don’t think it covers all the available ground, and we do have an active BTP chapter in Texas. But there were something like 150+ candidates run in Texas this year by the Texas LP. That doesn’t seem unhealthy, nor unsalvage-able.

    Holtz is scum, and tricky scum. He wants to change the terms of the discussion from what is here on this page, with what I wrote at the top, to the babblings he issued earlier on some other page.

    He also wants to conflate the LP as it really is, which is a large number of activists, at least 50 state organisations, and many disagreements within them, plus a directorate at the national level with all the Reign of Terror connotations in place. (Are they going to chop off Angela’s head?) The LP is not nearly so well orchestrated. It is not monolithic, but divided and disparate.

    I am not the first LP activist to utterly despair of fixing the national LP. I am, however, one of those who is willing to compete directly with the LP in the market for ideas and in the market for political parties. Holtz doesn’t like that, so he rants about natural monopolies. And he pretends his interests would be better served by having fewer LP radicals in his party, where he could make demands of party loyalty and address them with his riding crop of party discipline.

    @28 That’s more like the 100 year plan, isn’t it?

  22. JimDavidson

    @5 I think that would be a desirable outcome, Matt. And, I do think many of us have been demanding those very things from the LP, and have been getting them from the BTP. In any event, I have a personal commitment to openness and transparency in liberty politics, for the reasons described in my essay.

  23. coming on the back of the LP

    Get a clue LP sheep…

    No discipline for LNC staff. None.

    If you haven’t figured it out yet, you probably never will.

  24. JimDavidson

    @21 Steve, I don’t think there is anything in the BTP bylaws to prevent you from being active in other parties, such as the LP, to your heart’s content. I am not sure about the bylaws of the LP. Then again, I deliberately don’t read bylaws because I don’t think a fixation on rules is healthy for anyone.

  25. JimDavidson

    @32 I don’t think Andrew Davis has been disciplined for his role in the press release calling for more federal involvement and spending on child porn interdiction efforts.

    I do think Shane Cory was asked to resign over that matter. But maybe he was asked to resign simply because there was a vexing conflict of interest with his taking a senior position with the Barr campaign. In any event, he wasn’t disciplined, but was larded over with endless payments after he resigned.

    No punishment for scalawags.

    One of my criticisms of Angela Keaton is that she has said that Andrew Davis is “just a kid” and should not be fired for his role in that press release. I disagree. I think he should not only be fired, but also black listed by libertarians everywhere.

  26. TheOriginalAndy

    “JimDavidson // Nov 27, 2008 at 5:52 pm

    @32 I don’t think Andrew Davis has been disciplined for his role in the press release calling for more federal involvement and spending on child porn interdiction efforts.

    I do think Shane Cory was asked to resign over that matter. But maybe he was asked to resign simply because there was a vexing conflict of interest with his taking a senior position with the Barr campaign. In any event, he wasn’t disciplined, but was larded over with endless payments after he resigned.

    No punishment for scalawags.

    One of my criticisms of Angela Keaton is that she has said that Andrew Davis is “just a kid” and should not be fired for his role in that press release. I disagree. I think he should not only be fired, but also black listed by libertarians everywhere.”

    What about Sean Haugh who was a co-author and defender of the “kiddie porn” press release smear? What about Angela Keaton going so far to defend Sean Haugh that she posted lies – including false accusations of crimes – about people who were blowing the whistle on Sean Haugh for his corruption in ballot access drives?

  27. Dprice

    I had been a member of the Libertarian Party for a long time. I was initially excited about the idea of the Boston Tea Party, but I am sad to see that it is more outrageous and less credible than even the LP. I have recently joined the Whigs, and while I don’t agree with everything they say, their leadership seems far more “with it” and in tune with reality. Let’s hope the LP inspires me as the Whigs did to return.

  28. JimDavidson

    @40 I wonder how it could be possible to be less credible than the LP. It certainly hasn’t done enough for my freedom to justify its lack of cleverness, outrageousness, or innovation.

    The Boston Tea Party is whatever you choose to make of it. It is completely unformed in nearly every county in the country, and all but 12 or so of the states. There’s no reason for you to suppose it is what I say it is – I’m just one member.

    If you have joined the Whig party, can you tell me their views on central banking, tariff barriers to protect domestic industry, and immigration? I would be curious to learn whether they are any sort of libertarians, or just another sort of authoritarian.

  29. BrianHoltz

    Jim Davidson apparently doesn’t know that “natural monopoly” is just a technical term in economics describing any industry with high fixed costs and vanishingly low marginal costs. As the Wikipedia article notes, “there may, or may not be, a single supplier in such an industry.” To an economist, “natural monopoly” is a positive claim about an industry’s cost structure, and not necessarily a normative claim about how many firms there should be in it. Davidson knows the normative claim is strongly suggested by the positive claim, and so he just stamps his foot and denies the positive claim, calling it “socialistic drivel”. Everybody chant with Jim: there’s no such thing as high fixed costs and low marginal costs.

    Davidson apparently can’t answer my arguments, so he calls me “scum” and “socialist” and suggests I might be an “enthusiast” for murders by agents of government. Such is the sort of person who the BTP elects as its chair. (In fairness, the BTP seems to get a new chair every few weeks, so one data point may not tell us much.)

    Davidson says absolutely nothing to rebut any of the 9 reasons I gave in an earlier article why having multiple freedom parties is inefficient. Instead, he says that an argument about his sandbox party is only valid if it’s posted in the sandbox of his blog thread.

    Davidson cites the LPTX as salvageable, but doesn’t explain how the BTP can improve the LPTX by competing with it. Davidson doesn’t try to repeat his claim that the BTP can improve the LPUS by competing with it, but instead says that “a strong case can be made for abandoning the national LP” as “unsalvageable”. This, of course, is what I argued must be claimed by any BTP advocate who doesn’t want their party to be an explicitly anarchist one.

    Davidson nevertheless says that the BTP is going to “compete directly with the LP in the market for ideas”. And what are the “ideas” of the Boston Teapot-Tempest Party? Well, it is permanently stuck with a version of the World’s Smallest Political Platform that author Tom Knapp admits has one mistake per sentence. (WSPP 1.0 opposes only increases in government’s “size, scope, AND power”, but 1.1 broadens that to any increase in government’s “size, scope, OR power”.) The only other idea of the BTP has been to say “me too” to four proposals co-endorsed by theocrat Chuck Baldwin and socialists Cynthia McKinney and Ralph Nader — not exactly a bold act of product differentiation. Davidson even admits that the BTP “is whatever you choose to make of it” — a claim of market position that is sure to strike fear in the heart of a Party of Principle.

    Davidson fantasizes that I want to keep libertarian radicals in the LP so that I can “discipline” them. He apparently is ignorant of the how I’ve been chiding radical LP candidates (like Dan Grow, Tom Knapp, Susan Hogarth, and Morey Straus) for running stealth campaigns that hide their anarchism. I have no need to discipline LP radicals, when electoral reality is already such a harsh mistress.

  30. George Donnelly

    I am sad to see that it is more outrageous and less credible than even the LP

    How did you arrive at this conclusion?

    Jim, from the Modern Whig website.

    http://modernwhig.org/issues.html

    “If somebody is in this country illegally, then he or she should be deported if caught. ”

    “The Modern Whig Party proposes offering tiered subsidies and tax breaks to U.S. corporations who remove their manufacturing operations from China.”

    “We support the Second Amendment right to bear arms. Our general viewpoint is that states can regulate firearms to whatever their local values dictate, but these regulations must be reasonable and can’t be too costly or otherwise prohibitive to a point where it would violate the constitutional right”

    http://modernwhig.org/index.htm

    WHO ARE MODERN WHIGS?

    We were the original party of Abraham Lincoln and four other U.S. Presidents.

    Today, the Modern Whigs … represent middle-of-the-road voters from all walks of life who cherry-pick between traditional Democratic and Republican ideas.”

  31. George Donnelly

    Such is the sort of person who the BTP elects as its chair. (In fairness, the BTP seems to get a new chair every few weeks, so one data point may not tell us much.)

    1. Jim was appointed, not elected. This is only a clarification of the facts. I am not agreeing with anything you have said about Jim.

    2. Your exaggeration about the BTP getting new chairs every few weeks only discredits you. A new slate of officers was elected in late Oct. A week ago, the newly elected chair resigned for family/health/personal reasons and we are now set to elect a new one.

    You have taken one resignation and blown it up out of all proportion to facts.

    Make war on Jim if you like, but may I recommended you more strictly limit the collateral damage?

    You are officially nitpicking about the “and-or” issue in the BTP platform.

    The only other idea of the BTP has been to say “me too” to four proposals co-endorsed by theocrat Chuck Baldwin and socialists Cynthia McKinney and Ralph Nader — not exactly a bold act of product differentiation.

    You’re damning us for endorsing Ron Paul’s own program? I say if it’s good enough for Ron Paul it’s good enough for the BTP. ‘Nuff said.

    Davidson even admits that the BTP “is whatever you choose to make of it” — a claim of market position that is sure to strike fear in the heart of a Party of Principle.

    You are twisting his words to mean something they do not. Another way of expressing his meaning is:

    You get out of the BTP what you put into it.

    This is true of almost anything.

  32. BrianHoltz

    Gosh, George, thank you for your concern over whether my satirical aside about BTP chair turnover might “discredit” me. I guess it tells us what you think of your ex-chair’s “credit” that you had absolutely nothing to say when in this thread he called me “scum” and “socialist” and a possible “enthusiast” for murders by agents of government, and instead you suggested that _I_ am the one “making war” on HIM. Instead of worrying about my credit, you may want to pay a little attention to your own.

    Oh, and there’s a little more than one health-related resignation in play here. After the Florida disaffiliation fiasco and the resignation from the BTP by John Wayne Smith, there was talk of Davidson resigning but he said he wouldn’t as his term had only a couple weeks left. None of this is relevant to the the theory and practice of multiple freedom parties, but there is so much mud-slinging in the the BTP sandbox that it’s hard to resist slinging a little back.

    I wouldn’t have even noticed the nit in WSPP 1.0 if Tom Knapp hadn’t picked it first, so you can redirect your nitpicking charge to him. Also, my point would have been moot if the allegedly member-controlled BTP trusted its members and vaunted processes enough not to make its so-called platform eternally immutable.

    I hardly consider Ron Paul to be the living and breathing embodiment of libertarianism, so endorsing his tepid 4-point Campaign Against The Establishment doesn’t impress me as competing with the LP in the marketplace of ideas. The most relevant other endorsement there is that of the LP itself, which endorsed Paul’s 4 points even before the BTP did. Wow, that BTP competition with the LP is working so well, it’s even having backwards-time-travel effects. 🙂 Wake me if the BTP ever tries to create some actual contrast with the principles of the Party of Principle.

    If Davidson says of the LP that you get out of it what you put into, then that completely undercuts his every criticism of the LP.

  33. George Donnelly

    Gosh, George, thank you for your concern over whether my satirical aside about BTP chair turnover might “discredit” me.

    Brian, I am not concerned about your credit or lack thereof.

    I simply state that by using exaggeration in an attempt to discredit the BTP, you instead bring discredit upon yourself.

    I guess it tells us what you think of your ex-chair’s “credit” that you had absolutely nothing to say when in this thread he called me “scum” and “socialist” and a possible “enthusiast” for murders by agents of government, and instead you suggested that _I_ am the one “making war” on HIM.

    It takes two for war. You’re participating in the battle as much as he is. It is you who decided to lump others in with Jim in your attack.

    It’s not up to me to defend you. And I am not responsible for Jim’s manner of arguing.

    Instead of worrying about my credit, you may want to pay a little attention to your own.

    If you want to claim I have done something to discredit myself, by all means, make your argument. Otherwise, without specifics, your statement strikes me as coming from anger and desperation.

    there is so much mud-slinging in the the BTP sandbox that it’s hard to resist slinging a little back.

    Who other than Jim in the BTP has slung mud at you in this thread? Bringing grievances from outside a thread’s topic is usually not productive.

    my point would have been moot if the allegedly member-controlled BTP trusted its members and vaunted processes enough not to make its so-called platform eternally immutable.

    The question of trust does not enter into the equation. If people want a more verbose platform there are lots of other political parties to choose from. It’s a design feature.

    I hardly consider Ron Paul to be the living and breathing embodiment of libertarianism

    In the realm of politics many people do. He is the most prominent libertarian politician today.

    doesn’t impress me as competing with the LP in the marketplace of ideas

    I am unaware of the LP adopting the four points as their program or endorsing them in any way. If this happened it was done between LNC meetings when all LNC actions are secret, so perhaps only LP insiders are privy to this information.

    Bob Barr does not act on behalf of the LP. His endorsement is not that of the LP.

    Wake me if the BTP ever tries to create some actual contrast with the principles of the Party of Principle.

    – BTP leadership elections/conventions are held online. All you need to participate is agreement with the platform, a computer and connectivity.

    – The BTP national committee operates with radically greater transparency than the LNC. The BTPNC handles business on a mailing list that is open to the public. The LNC conducts business secretly and requires 81 days to release minutes to the public.

  34. BrianHoltz

    George, I’ll leave it to our readers to decide for themselves whether the BTP should somehow be exempt from some gentle satire about BTP chair tenure from lil’ ole me in a thread where the the BTP’s immediate past chair has hurled the most boorish and vicious insults at the LP (“corrupt vermin”) and at me (“scum”). I guess that gentle satire about BTP chair tenure “discredits” me, but Davidson calling the LP leadership “corrupt vermin” doesn’t “discredit” him. Unless you’re willing to say you expect more from me than from your immediate ex-chair, then this asymmetry in your chiding doesn’t credit you.

    Thank you for not trying to defend your claim that I am the one “making” war on Davidson. It’s equally indefensible to suggest that in defending myself from epithets like “scum” and “enthusiast” for state murder, I’m somehow operating on the same ethical plane as he. “It takes two for war”, but it also takes two for an act of self-defense.

    In saying that the BTP is characterized by mud-slinging, I wasn’t claiming that anyone else besides Davidson had thrown any mud at me in this thread. I’m not bringing in grievances from elsewhere, I’m just trying to fit in with the local Romans, whose customs were exhibited during the Florida disaffiliation teapot tempest.

    Let-em-join-another-party is a dodge you could use to evade any criticism of the BTP. The fact remains that the BTP’s founder did indeed not trust its membership with the power to change the party’s platform. If it wasn’t a matter of trust — in the wake of the Portland platform massacre, no less — then do you think it was just some play by Knapp for eternal platform authorship credit?

    LP spokesman Andrew Davis wrote of “the recent Libertarian, Green, Constitution, and independent party endorsements of a quartet of issues compiled by Republican Congressman Ron Paul”. It would be specious to suggest that the BTP’s endorsement of the Paul/Baldwin/Nader/McKinney/Barr statement differentiates the BTP from the LP in the marketplace of ideas. I’d love it if anybody from the BTP could explain to me precisely how in the marketplace of ideas the BTP is offering any disagreement with principles in the platform of the Party of Principle.

  35. George Donnelly

    whether the BTP should somehow be exempt from some gentle satire about BTP chair tenure from lil’ ole me

    No one requested exemption from satire.

    You are so very good at constantly changing the topic of the discussion in such a way as to maintain your opponent on the defensive. I find this tactic to be in especially bad faith.

    this asymmetry in your chiding doesn’t credit you

    You strayed from your attack on Davidson to attacking the BTP. I have displayed no asymmetry.

    I wasn’t claiming that anyone else besides Davidson had thrown any mud at me in this thread

    You said you wanted to throw some mud BACK. In order for the word ‘back’ to be valid, mud would have had to come your way in the first place. It did not. Therefore, your attack on the BTP was unjustified.

    Let-em-join-another-party is a dodge

    By this logic all political parties must be all things to all people. Now that would be a failure to differentiate.

    LP spokesman Andrew Davis wrote

    A lukewarm blog post by party staff does not carry anywhere near the weight of the adoption of it as program in convention by the membership.

    Silence does not necessarily mean agreement.

  36. BrianHoltz

    Asking people to confront my arguments isn’t bad faith. If there’s bad faith here, it’s you pretending not to see the asymmetry I identified. I’ll repeat it. 1) Davidson criticized the LP as being led by “corrupt vermin”. 2) I gently satirized the BTP because scandal pushed Davidson to the brink of resignation, and his replacement a couple weeks later promptly resigned. 3) You chided me for gentle satire against the BTP’s leadership, but didn’t chide Davidson for vicious calumny against the LP’s leadership. That’s obviously asymmetric.

    If Davidson calling me “scum” and the LP leadership “corrupt vermin” isn’t throwing mud, then I don’t know what is.

    It’s a clumsy fallacy of the excluded middle to claim that either 1) all parties must be all things to all people, or 2) no party can be criticized as limiting its members’ choices if those members are free to patronize competing parties. It strikes me as bad faith for you to thus evade my point that Knapp clearly didn’t trust the BTP membership not to screw up its platform the way that he thinks the LP membership had just screwed up the LP platform.

    Yes, there are more formal ways that the LP could have endorsed the Paul/Nader/McKinney/Baldwin/Barr program. It strikes me as bad faith for you to thus evade my question, which I repeat: can you explain to me precisely how in the marketplace of ideas the BTP is offering any disagreement with principles in the platform of the Party of Principle?

  37. BrianHoltz

    Ah, so when I systematically answer your disagreements with my statements that’s bad faith, but when you selectively ignore my disagreements with your statements that’s good faith. Gotcha. 🙂

  38. George Donnelly

    Brian I answered you. If I don’t answer you maybe it’s because I stand by a previous answer and feel no need to expound on it. Maybe I simply don’t feel the topic warrants further discussion.

    You are a master word-twister. I said that the tactic of answering a rebuttal with a change in topic + new attack was bad faith.

    I did not say that systematically answering is bad faith.

    Once I have some time I will review your comments again and examine the possibility of responding in more detail.

  39. BrianHoltz

    I’m not a word-twister, I’m a word-quoter.

    I’m sorry that you’re embarrassed that I chose to highlight the asymmetry in 1) your response to my satire about BTP chair tenure vs. 2) your non-response to the BTP ex-chair calling the LP leadership “corrupt vermin”. Your immediate ex-chair made engaged in vicious mud-slinging at me and the LP, and my response included a little satire aimed at his involvement with the BTP. You then selectively lectured me about “collateral damage” against the BTP, while remaining utterly silent about the BTP ex-chair’s slurs against the LP.

    When I insisted on pointing out this asymmetry, you then lectured me about “bad faith”, and baldly denied the asymmetry without making any good-faith effort whatsoever to address the evidence I offered for it.

    You can “feel” all you want that a topic doesn’t “warrant further discussion”, but I take your charges against me seriously, and I’ll continue to answer every single clause of them.

  40. JimDavidson

    Holtz is a sick twisted scum. He likes to take things out of context. He likes to make assertions about his own words, without expecting anyone to research them. He’s a lunatic reformer who has never seen an affront to liberty he didn’t love. I don’t know why you bother with him, George. He’s just another authoritarian masquerading as a libertarian.

  41. Ms. Know

    Anything is better than the left-wing illuminati party we are stuck under for the next two years at least. Prepare to be in a socialist world.

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