Libertarian Party: Is the LP really an ‘alternative?’

Via email. Posted to IPR by Paulie.


Dear friend,

Backed by a growing swing vote that decides elections and support for its economic plans, the Libertarian Party is not an “alternative” political party.

“Alternative” implies something outside the mainstream or an unconventional choice. The Libertarian Party, with its sensible balance of fiscal responsibility and social moderation, is, in fact, the nation’s only mainstream political party.

In a nation where a vast swath of the electorate define themselves as generally fiscally conservative and socially liberal, it is the Democrat, Republican, Constitution and Green parties that find themselves isolated on the extreme left and right. Not only are these the voters who decide elections, poll after poll finds these voters generally agree more with the Libertarian Party than any other.

In their 2006 study of the American electorate, The Libertarian Vote, Cato Institute scholars David Boaz and David Kirby find between ten and twenty percent of the electorate is generally fiscally conservative and socially liberal – in other words, libertarian. A 2006 Gallup Governance Survey puts the “libertarian” vote at 21 percent, tied with the “liberal” vote and behind only the “conservative” vote at 25 percent.

That growing libertarian vote is getting close to the same percentage as those describing themselves and liberal or conservative and large enough to assemble a winning coalition in election races. Many of the “unaffiliated” or “non-ideological” voters agree more with libertarians than with conservatives or liberals.

So why haven’t Libertarians won more elections than they already have? With a renewed focus on winning the LP did win 200-plus races in 2008 and increased its presidential vote total for the second straight election, but there is room for so much more growth.

Much of the blame lies with ballot access laws placing an intolerable burden on citizens who wish to vote for something other than Republicans or Democrats. The Libertarian Party is hard at work in state legislatures across the country changing those laws.

Right now is a great time to be a Libertarian. Voters cite economic issues and job growth as their top concerns in poll after poll, both Libertarian strengths.

Those same polls show majorities support the libertarian solution of reducing the size and government and expanding regulatory and tax relief for employers. They know it does more to create jobs and renew faith in the economy than spending $30 million on the “salt marsh mouse,” as Democrats propose, or spending $700 billion bailing out unsuccessful businesses and trillions more expanding government, as the past big-spending Republican administration and Congress did.

They’re looking for someone to let them know that, if elected, they’ll focus on their concerns by sticking to proven solutions that create jobs and get capital flowing. Libertarians are the only ones who agree.

The Libertarian Party is not an “alternative.” It is the only mainstream political party in America. That’s why it is up to you and me to listen to those voters, learn what they want us to do and promote solutions voters agree on.

With optimism,

Donny Ferguson
Director of Communications
Libertarian Party
Donny.Ferguson@lp.org

135 thoughts on “Libertarian Party: Is the LP really an ‘alternative?’

  1. Melty

    not really mainstream but now with the 2008 Platform it’s no longer what you could call fringy either…

    Donny’s right. “Alternative” ain’t a good word for LPers to use.

  2. Robert Capozzi

    hmmm, ambivalent here. I agree with Donny…in many ways, the LP is speaking to the desires of a VERY large portion of the electorate.

    But, sure, at this stage, we’re “alternative.” There may be a better working title, but none is coming up for me.

  3. Melty

    “alternative party” is way better than “third party” or “minor party” and the ruling parties would like to leave you no alternative…
    still it’s better to call somebody else’s party “alternative” because it’s generic-sounding

    “alternative” sounds better than “libertarian” too … long n clunky
    mmmaybe…”common sense party” “free will party” …?? things of that nature

  4. paulie cannoli Post author

    I like alternative because it represents several things that are not the same, but related: having a real alternative to the staus quo, alternative lifestyles, alternative music, being different from the herd, alternative states of perception, alternative medicine.

    Google related searches:

    Searches related to: alternative

    alternative music
    alternative fuels
    alternative energy
    alternative bands
    alternative apparel
    real alternative
    alternative medicine

    Good associations.

    Plus – people who are mainstream are most likely to go with establishment parties.

    A party which even hopes to break into the main stream has to present itself as young, bold, different….

    Presenting itself as mainstream, without having the power that comes with being a part of teh establishment, does not get people who are happy with the status quo to switch.

    Getting noticed, at such a stage, is job one. Preferably by people who are not happy with the way things are.

  5. Melty

    Yes. For the Libertarian Party to present itself as mainstream is not good, unlike the Modern Whig Party which does well with that.

  6. Melty

    seems like they’ve built up membership rapidly and they even got two local candidiates elected, right? always presenting themselves as mainstream centrist most normalest.

  7. Brad Forschner

    How about instead of caring about what people call us, and standing up for people in our local communities, at the state level, and federal level.

    Libertarians won’t gain credibility till the folks in the small neighborhoods see libertarians out there working for them every day. And I guarantee that will happen at the local level before we ever make headway at the federal level.

  8. libertariangirl

    I hate the word mainstream , the ‘mainstream’ never accomplishes anything.

    Its the dissenters , the alternatives if you will , that always lead the way for change.

  9. Melty

    People call us “Huh? Librarian?”
    It’s in what we call ourselves, how we choose our words.
    Your right, Brad, bottom-up bootwork. But, mind you, poor wordchoices can sabotage hard work. For example, “healthcare” is a poor wordchoice.

  10. robert capozzi

    pc, personally, I’m pretty “alternative” culturally, so I like the association. ma and pa kettle? not so much. the kettles may not like the status quo either, but they think acupuncture is commie and three doors down is someone giving directions.

    narrowcasting to the counter culture is disrespectful and not peaceful, as I see it.

  11. Steven R Linnabary

    Personally, I prefer the term “opposition” to alternative.

    “Alternative” doesn’t mean as much as it did 25 years ago when “alternative music” really did mean alternative. Alternative music today is merely a category of bland mainstream pablum.

    Not exactly the way I want to think of the LP.

    Do you want to thought of as the “bland mainstream pablum” or do you prefer to be the opposition?

    PEACE

  12. Melty

    What’s a good word instead of “mainstream”?
    mmm…”blow-with-the-wind” “centrist” “middlin”

  13. robert capozzi

    sl, I definitely prefer to NOT position the LP or myself as the opposition. It’s oppositional, dualistic and not peaceful. Poor rhetoric, poor positioning, poor politics. IMO.

    I don’t “oppose” the term, but I surely don’t support it! 😉

  14. robert capozzi

    lg, help us understand your view better. it appears the mainstream accomplishes most EVERYTHING. that’s where most people are, after all.

    perhaps you mean to say that those on the edge of the mainstream tend to inspire changes in direction?

    outliers are sometimes influential, like, for ex., karl marx. most times, though, outliers are just angry malcontents who have no influence on direction – soapbox lunatics, for ex.

  15. HS

    The Modern Whigs use “mainstream” because we are working to attract the majority of Americans who hold “mainstream” American values. This means most people are not limited to one distinct ideology but rather are more independent-minded. We aspire for common-sense and rational thought that is in line with our basic principles of fiscal responsibility, strong national defense and bold social progression. This is what we generally view as mainstream American values, which as always , is highly debatable.

    At the same time, we are not really centrist per se because we do take stands on issues. If you look at our tenets, we hold some libertarian principles, but also principles that would be construed as traditional Republican and traditional Democrat. We have put it into what we are calling the Modern Whig philosophy.

    I think the LP would be smart to adopt a strategy of branding itself as “mainstream,” because that is how most voters (with many exceptions of course) view themselves.

  16. HS

    According to this article, the LP is looking to follow the Modern Whig method of branding itself as mainstream. The writer makes a compelling case. If we take his words into account, then it is the GOP and Dems, along with the other political groups out there who are on the fringes of average American values. He is trying to brand the LP as the only party that meets the average American personal value system.

    I don’t think it’s politics as usual but an attempt to reformulate the image.

  17. libertariangirl

    I didnt mean Donnys argument or his attemts to bring the Libertarian Party to the people are politics as usual , I just mean the word itself – mainstream- instantly brings connotations of politics as usual for me.

  18. paulie cannoli Post author

    seems like they’ve built up membership rapidly

    The Whigs’ definition of membership is any email address they can get their hands on.


    and they even got two local candidiates elected, right?

    Not that I am aware of. Were they elected solely as Whigs, with that label on the ballot?

    The LP has several hundred people in local office.

  19. paulie cannoli Post author

    How about instead of caring about what people call us, and standing up for people in our local communities, at the state level, and federal level.

    Libertarians won’t gain credibility till the folks in the small neighborhoods see libertarians out there working for them every day. And I guarantee that will happen at the local level before we ever make headway at the federal level.

    I agree.

    However, that does not mean we should ignore national and international issues. See this:

    http://www.harrybrowne.org/2000/WasItWorthIt.htm

  20. paulie cannoli Post author

    I hate the word mainstream , the ‘mainstream’ never accomplishes anything.

    Its the dissenters , the alternatives if you will , that always lead the way for change.

    I agree.

  21. paulie cannoli Post author

    ma and pa kettle? not so much. the kettles may not like the status quo either, but they think acupuncture is commie and three doors down is someone giving directions.

    narrowcasting to the counter culture is disrespectful and not peaceful, as I see it.

    I don’t see it as either. We have limited resources; we should focus them on the audience that is most likely to be receptive, but has not already been the focus of our appeals.

  22. HS

    How many of the LP elected members are elected through non-partisan races? Besides, they have been around for 30 years, we’ve been around for less than one.

  23. paulie cannoli Post author

    Do you want to thought of as the “bland mainstream pablum” or do you prefer to be the opposition?

    I don’t know. I like opposition, but it has a twinge of opposition for opposition’s sake to me that I don’t like.

    I think alternative is edgy enough, but not so edgy that all you get is cuts and burns. It seems to hit the sweet spot for me.

  24. paulie cannoli Post author

    it appears the mainstream accomplishes most EVERYTHING. that’s where most people are, after all.

    In the same way that most people in the US who can and do vote, vote Democratic and/or Republican.

  25. paulie cannoli Post author

    We aspire for common-sense and rational thought that is in line with our basic principles of fiscal responsibility, strong national defense and bold social progression. This is what we generally view as mainstream American values, which as always , is highly debatable.

    Two out of three of those fit in with the ideas this country is supposed to represent. I say supposed, because it never really lived up to the ideals set out in the Declaration of Independence and other founding documents, including during the tenure of those who wrote them.

    One thing they got right was to be very suspicious of the concept of standing armies in peacetime, which even by then had a long and sordid history throughout the world.

    True American values, prior to the constant state of emergency since the last depression and world war, were fiscal responsibility, gradually increasing social tolerance (often radical by the world standards of the time), and community self-defense.

    Of course, as with all lofty values and goals, there is still much work to be done – including restoring community self-defense as a value.

  26. paulie cannoli Post author

    How many of the LP elected members are elected through non-partisan races?

    Many. However, my understanding is that there still quite a few who are actually elected on the LP line.


    Besides, they have been around for 30 years, we’ve been around for less than one.

    True as well.

    I didn’t say you can’t have success – you certainly might. But it’s too early to hold out the Whigs as an example of success for the LP to follow.

  27. HS

    This is why we are taking the relatively gradual, methodical approach. We want people to feel comfortable with something that isn’t D/R and slowly warm to us. This is opposed to thrusting ourselves upon people all at once, which in my opinion cultivates the culture of losing elections while also failing to appeal to such voters.

  28. HS

    “I didn’t say you can’t have success – you certainly might. But it’s too early to hold out the Whigs as an example of success for the LP to follow.”

    We know our standing in the pecking order 🙂

  29. paulie cannoli Post author

    This is why we are taking the relatively gradual, methodical approach. We want people to feel comfortable with something that isn’t D/R and slowly warm to us. This is opposed to thrusting ourselves upon people all at once, which in my opinion cultivates the culture of losing elections while also failing to appeal to such voters.

    It can have that downside. It can also have a different effect, which is to introduce a shockingly different concept, making a synthesis somewhere in the middle more conceivable. This is known as a dialectical method; in other words, don’t give away your position before you have a seat at the bargaining table.

    A combination of both methods – through some division of labor – can be powerful.

  30. robert capozzi

    pc, I think we should take a page from the perot and ventura experiences. non R/D candidates can win with the right packaging and ideas. not easy, of course.

    targeting the counter culture COULD be a place to grow first, but if the LP becomes disproportionally the counter culture party, I have a hard time imagining attracting the “normals” in the next phase. if everyone in the room has body piercing, the kettles might well be inclined to silently slink away.

  31. paulie cannoli Post author

    We know our standing in the pecking order 🙂

    I was originally addressing someone above (Melty, I think) who was holding out the Whigs as an example of success for the LP to follow. That was all I was trying to address – not trying to bring you down.

  32. HS

    Paulie,

    I didn’t feel like you were trying to bring me or us down at all. We are not shy about expressing the fact that we do know where we stand. We are building this thing with no delusions of grandeur and are keeping our personal egos in check. A large part of our strategy is that mainstream America is not yet ready to vote for a third party in large enough numbers, let alone a party called the Whigs. It is in this context that I state that we know where we stand in relation to established parties.

  33. paulie cannoli Post author

    pc, I think we should take a page from the perot and ventura experiences. non R/D candidates can win with the right packaging and ideas. not easy, of course.

    Notwithstanding that Perot didn’t win any elections, I know what you mean. However, he also had billions of dollars at his disposal, and the willingness to spend tens of millions of them (probably the equivalent of hundreds of millions in terms in todays dollars as a percentage of major parties campaign spending). He also had a record of credibility as a billionaire businessman, with instant access to fora such as Larry King, and a charisma of sorts.

    Ventura had fame and charisma working for him, and the record of credibility Perot’s millions and the votes they bought brought to their party at the time.

    To say that their moderate issue stances were the key element in their success is, I think, missing the point.

    On the other hand, I do think this was a major factor in their subsequent rapid decline, since the party had no ideological focus – just change for the sake of change – attracting a motley assortment of ill-matched discontents.

    Even with all the advantages of tens of millions in federal money, fame, record in previous Republican primaries, service in past administrations, and personal friendship with media gatekeepers, Pat Buchanan barely beat Harry Browne.

    Since then, it has rapidly moved towards virtual non-existence. I think Kansas has the only relatively functional affiliate left.


    targeting the counter culture COULD be a place to grow first, but if the LP becomes disproportionally the counter culture party, I have a hard time imagining attracting the “normals” in the next phase. if everyone in the room has body piercing, the kettles might well be inclined to silently slink away.

    I honestly doubt it would go anywhere near that far. As SL points out above, “alternative” is much more mainstream these days.

  34. paulie cannoli Post author

    I didn’t feel like you were trying to bring me or us down at all. We are not shy about expressing the fact that we do know where we stand. We are building this thing with no delusions of grandeur and are keeping our personal egos in check. A large part of our strategy is that mainstream America is not yet ready to vote for a third party in large enough numbers, let alone a party called the Whigs. It is in this context that I state that we know where we stand in relation to established parties.

    I do like your attitude. I think I told you before. Would be nice to have some more of that in our party, too.

    😛

  35. Cork

    Bah, I never liked the “fiscally conservative, socially liberal” mantra. People hear that and think Rudy Giuliani (who is the total opposite of a libertarian).

    Where is the LP on the war on drugs?!

  36. robert capozzi

    pc, melikes alternative path for the mainstream. long, though. mainstream alternative?

  37. Steven R Linnabary

    mainstream America is not yet ready to vote for a third party in large enough numbers….

    And here, I think we are wrong. I sincerely believe that America is fed up with business as usual in Washington and our state capitals.

    There is only one opposition (or “alternative) candidate for US Congress of the past ten years that has been sufficiently funded to take on the mainstream democrats and republicans. And his campaign appears to have been riddled with misspent funds and/or outright fraud.

    I don’t think it would take much at all for the American voter to look at a Green or Libertarian (or for that matter a Whig, Socialist or Constitution) in a positive light. Provided the candidate looked like the rest of the district, and had the funding to make people forget about throwing away their vote.

    Maybe it’s not that mainstream America isn’t ready for an alternative. Maybe the alternatives aren’t ready for America.

    PEACE

  38. Tiz

    “Alternative” is a bad word to use for sure to describe the LP.. This is mainly because America has been trained – no, even worse: CONDITIONED – to accept the two party system as being “MAINSTREAM”.

    When you actually look at the issues and platforms, it’s the LP that is the true “mainstream” party.

    America may just not be ready with it’s strong divde and passionate right.

  39. paulie cannoli Post author

    And here, I think we are wrong. I sincerely believe that America is fed up with business as usual in Washington and our state capitals.

    True. It IS possible for certain alternative party candidates to break through. But it is far from easy.

    Provided the candidate looked like the rest of the district, and had the funding to make people forget about throwing away their vote.

    It’s not just a matter of looks. Certainly, looks, charisma and money are factors. Opposition research is a factor. Debate skills can be a factor. Creative use of free/earned and paid media. Shoe lather, if it’s not a national or large-statewide campaign. Having a well-trained backup team is really important. Timing. Issue selection. Family/business community ties. Ability to listen and come across as caring and concerned. Some kind of record of accomplishment, whether in politics, business, or whatever.

    There are a lot of factors. A non-big box party label can be a drag, but like any negative can be turned into a positive.

    Maybe it’s not that mainstream America isn’t ready for an alternative. Maybe the alternatives aren’t ready for America.

    To a large extent, true. There needs to be some serious training for candidates and support staff. We need to learn and apply lessons across campaigns, states, etc. It’s about the issues to some extent, but it’s more about framing the issues and selling individual candidates – and then using them to build a brand, not just letting a brand define them.

    And we need to take a serious look at where the available votes are.

    For example: 90% of people get settled into a party and don’t change after age 30. So, it should be screamingly obvious that people under 30 are a prime target. And, by the way, they are voting at much greater rates now. But it’s not just about votes – it’s about volunteer time, and building people who will become your future donors and candidates.

    There’s much, much, much more to all that – it’s just the bare tip of the iceberg.

  40. paulie cannoli Post author

    pc, melikes alternative path for the mainstream. long, though. mainstream alternative?

    Main stream’s alternatives. Main stream is two words here, intentionally.

    Also, recycling can be good:

    A choice, not an echo.

  41. paulie cannoli Post author

    “Alternative” is a bad word to use for sure to describe the LP.. This is mainly because America has been trained – no, even worse: CONDITIONED – to accept the two party system as being “MAINSTREAM”.

    When you actually look at the issues and platforms, it’s the LP that is the true “mainstream” party.

    There is a mainstream in all things.

    In politics, the mainstream is the establishment; how most voters vote.

    Saying in effect “we are the establishment” when everyone knows you aren’t does not make you the establishment.

  42. paulie cannoli Post author

    the kettles may not like the status quo either, but they think acupuncture is commie and three doors down is someone giving directions.

    On the other hand, the Kettles are probably also over 70 (since they were over 30, and that was 40 years ago) and think Obama is a radical Muslim. Forget the Kettles. They are too stuck in their ways. Sure, they’ll grumble and gripe all day, every day, but they are not going to strike out in a new direction.

    So who is?

    Well, people under 30, for one. 90% of people stick with their existing voting pattern after that age. Of course, that leaves 10%, and that could double or triple a well-organized recruitment effort for a party our size in no time….but only with nine or ten times the effort of getting to folks before they are already stuck in the mud, which has the benefit of building your volunteer force AND your next generation of leaders at the same time.

    And, while there are probably some people under 30 who think acupuncture is communist and Lawrence Welk is the cat’s pajamas, let’s face it – they’re Amish.

    Fact is, the main stream ain’t what it used to be. And our job is to grab the future and steer it our way. That means going after the forward thinking people, those willing to strike out of the main stream in some form or fashion, and those who haven’t found their way yet.

  43. Melty

    No, I’m saying the LP should not do like the Modern Whigs, though the Whigs styling themselves mainstream just might work for the Whigs.

    The LP Platform is not mainstream, which is good.

  44. robert capozzi

    hmm, pc, i’m not sure things have changed all that much in the past 40 years. they have been alternative youth – hippies, punks, grunge, goths – and “amish”-types as you say, all thoughout the eras. I know some former hippies that are pretty kettle,too, others that still wish jerry’d not died so young.

    and ranges of attitudes and cultures. hippies with amish tendencies, amish with hippie tendencies.

  45. John Famularo

    The LP is not anything until it decides on a clear, unambiguous, focused, and achievable mission statement. They are going to try again this weekend. I don’t think they will succeed.

  46. robert capozzi

    john, please elaborate. why is a mission statement mission critical? the draft i’ve seen is clear enough, but I found it odd, as it doesn’t mention elections.

    so, if it passes, i’m not sure what is gained by adopting the statement.

  47. Bryan

    Alternative? Opposition?…

    Why not Political Party?

    As a former Green, who ran for town and county office, I have a little insight on politics at the local level.

    At the local level media gives you equal time, and in some cases more coverage due to the “uniqueness” of your campaign. When I went to debates and forums, I received equal treatment with those from the “big two”. Even on election night of my county campaign, the local tv station noted my (somewhat surprising) percentage.

    Politics begins at the local level. Keep in mind, precincts have their organizational meetings prior to the county conventions. I really don’t care what party you support, it must begin at the roots of the grassroots. Until friends and neighbors know you are a member of a political party other than D&R, how can you expect to rally support for a local candidate? Without “viable” local candidates, how can anyone expect to get someone elected to US Congress or Senate, much less POTUS?

    I guess my point is…be PROUD of the party you are representing, get as many people, locally, that you can to support your position, and build from there.

    You are not an “alternative”…you are not “opposition”…you are a viable political organization which have stated objectives and goals….

    DON’T LET YOURSELVES BE MARGINALIZED!!!!

  48. paulie cannoli Post author

    You are not an “alternative”…you are not “opposition”…you are a viable political organization which have stated objectives and goals….

    No reason those are mutually exclusive.

  49. paulie cannoli Post author

    i’m not sure things have changed all that much in the past 40 years. they have been alternative youth – hippies, punks, grunge, goths – and “amish”-types as you say, all thoughout the eras. I know some former hippies that are pretty kettle,too, others that still wish jerry’d not died so young.

    Sure, there have been alternative cultures the past 40 years. The difference is, 40 years ago, it is far less likely that their parents and grandparents had used illegal drugs, been divorced and remarried, had “interracial” marriages, listened to rock, were openly practicing alternative sexual orientations, had lived on communes…

    There have been a lot of changes in 40 years. Desegregation, drug culture, acceptance of single parents, normalization of what was previously “obscene,” gay rights, feminism, and all of this now spanning more than one generation.

    I can relate to the culture chasm that the 60s counterculture tended to have with their parents, because all these things were new to them and foreign to their parents. Although I am a generation younger, the USSR (where I was born) was a generation behind in these social changes, and my parents in their social attitudes grew up like the Americans who were adults in the 1940s.

    However, US-born kids my age had parents who had been through all of that themselves; these things were not some alien culture to them, they are part of their culture that they grew up with. Even country songs often incorporate rock and even rap now.

    And like you said, there are a lot of exceptions and cross-categorizations.

    And, to be fair, Americans have always had a rebellious streak. After all, this is a country born in revolution and rebellion, in escape from the social, economic, religious and ethnic distinctions of the Old World, of seeking freedom and independence on frontiers.

    That is, of taking the road less traveled, the alternative road. That has, in fact, always been a part of the American main stream.

  50. Steven R Linnabary

    The LP is not anything until it decides on a clear, unambiguous, focused, and achievable mission statement.

    This sounds disturbingly like Steve Givot’s demand for a Libertarian “Program”. The LP gave in, spent untold hours developing and retooling a “Libertarian Program”.

    Then it was forgotten. Not because it was a bad idea, necessarily. It just didn’t add anything.

    How does a “Mission Statement” differ from a Libertarian Program”? How does either further define the LP? Why are either needed?

    And this is on top of the LP Platform, LP Statement of Principles, and of course the LP Bylaws.

    PEACE

  51. Robert Capozzi

    sl, good analogy. If someone wants to write a program, they can do it today.

    If an L candidate wants to adopt a “mission statement,” they can do so as well.

    For “individualists” and people “anti-authoritarians,” some Ls can be control freaks. Look at the 7/8ths requirement to change the (embarrassing) Statement of Purpose. Looks like control-freak-ism, writ large.

  52. Robert Capozzi

    pc, not sure I get the difference between “mainstream” and “main stream.” Please clarify.

  53. volvoice

    @64
    …..That is, of taking the road less traveled, the alternative road. That has, in fact, always been a part of the American main stream…..

    Ever since Jack Kerouac and his novel “On the Road”

    “One moment less than this is future nothingness already” JK

  54. paulie cannoli Post author

    On The Road: read it, loved it, then lived it.

    Main Stream: making it two words is an attempt to reconnect the catchphrase with its origin in river systems.

  55. paulie cannoli Post author

    For “individualists” and people “anti-authoritarians,” some Ls can be control freaks.

    Not too surprising, really. Having uncompromising tendency is what leads people to join smaller parties rather than work within the big ones, and it also goes hand in hand with being an individualist, so the LP gets a double whammy.

    Naturally, people who want to be in charge don’t like to have others in charge of them (although there are some that like both). Some will put up with it in hopes of climbing the ranks, while others will refuse to work within established hierarchies precisely because they can’t put up with being anything less than the top dog. Of course, all these tendencies exist to lesser and greater degrees.

  56. robert capozzi

    kerouac’s a false analogy. he was a novelist of some cultural influence. the black panther party is a poor model for the LP. alienation is not peaceful, it stokes anger, which is the wrong direction from peace and liberty. imo.

  57. volvoice

    How about Peter Jenkin’s “A walk across America” I discovered Kerouac a little later in life, for me it was Jenkin’s book that I discovered, in the library, as a teeneager that inspired the wanting of freedom and exploration outside the area where I grew up. The LP should be framed much in the same way…as the road less traveled, but far more adventuresome. I also agree with one of earlier posts about 90% of the people over 30 never change their voting habits. That is why the LP’s future should be directed towards educating and indoctrinating the young people. The Ron Paul movement is just a start we need to take advantage of it. Here in NE Tn. at ETSU a couple of our college age Libertarians have started a non-partisan group called “Students of American Liberty” and next week they will host Justin Raimondo from antiwar.com at one of their events. Our State LP is dedicated to supporting these guys and other college level affiliates across our State. The old people want to bitch and moan, the young want to get off their asses and do something, its our job to support, encourage, and assist the younger activists that have found the LP thru RP, a facebook page, a meetup page, or our state website. If the RP movement has showed us anything it is that the future lies in the internet.

  58. paulie cannoli Post author

    kerouac’s a false analogy. he was a novelist of some cultural influence. the black panther party is a poor model for the LP. alienation is not peaceful, it stokes anger, which is the wrong direction from peace and liberty. imo.

    Oh, I wasn’t suggesting that the LP organize as a hobo cult. Although it might be an interesting offshoot.

    Alienation can be peaceful or not, depending on context, but “On the road” was just a tangent, and I don’t think it was the original source of the tendency towards striking out from the main stream, within mainstream American culture. As I said above,

    Americans have always had a rebellious streak. After all, this is a country born in revolution and rebellion, in escape from the social, economic, religious and ethnic distinctions of the Old World, of seeking freedom and independence on frontiers.

    That is, of taking the road less traveled, the alternative road. That has, in fact, always been a part of the American main stream.

    If you have ever been in the wilderness by yourself, with no signs of other humans being on this planet anywhere around you, you might know that it can be a very peaceful feeling. But, certainly not always.

  59. volvoice

    @73
    ….kerouac’s a false analogy…

    I am not talking about some dumbass mission statement that our LNC may or may not come up with this weekend. I am talking about the “spirit” of the freedom movement and what the LP needs to do to be “ahead of the curve” in order to capture the current momentum and recruit people to our party. I assure you guys one thing… a mission statement doesn’t mean jackshit to college age people, they want action not words.

  60. paulie cannoli Post author

    Interesting perspective from the Republican Governor of Utah at politics1:

    Q: In December you talked about people 40 and under having a very different view on the environment. Is there a similar generational gap on gay rights?

    HUNTSMAN: You hit on the two issues that I think carry more of a generational component than anything else. And I would liken it a bit to the transformation of the Tory Party in the UK. They went two or three election cycles without recognizing the issues that the younger citizens in the UK really felt strongly about. They were a very narrow party of angry people. And they started branching out through, maybe, taking a second look at the issues of the day, much like we’re going to have to do for the Republican Party, to reconnect with the youth, to reconnect with people of color, to reconnect with different geographies that we have lost.

    Q: Why do you think winning back the intelligentsia matters?

    HUNTSMAN: I think we’ve drifted a little bit from intellectual honesty in the tradition of Theodore Roosevelt, for example, where they would use rigorous science to back up many of their policies, and in this case many of their environmental policies. Richard Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency. We declared the war on cancer. A lot of intellectual rigor went into the policies of those days, and we’ve drifted a little bit from taking seriously the importance of science to buttress much of what we’re doing today.

    Q: It sounds like what you’re saying is that Republicans need to win the educated class of America.

    HUNTSMAN: Absolutely. … I’m not sure that we have connected fully, meaningfully and in any complete way on the issues of the day.

    I may as well point out here, again, for anyone who happens to still be reading but who has not heard me mention it any of the other hundreds of times I’ve said it, but I’ve done hundreds of OPHs at colleges, scoring hundreds of people each time, and the biggest distribution cluster is left-center-libertarian.

    Combine that with the far greater propensity of people under 30 to not be too tied with a major political party to change, and it becomes pretty obvious to me what we need to do – and I don’t see how it isn’t obvious to everyone.

    Not that Huntsman is a great model – he thinks the porkulus should have been bigger, for one thing – but as politics1’s Ron Gunzburger concludes,

    Can someone who believes his party is currently ideologically bankrupt and the GOP base is essentially “a very narrow party of angry people” succeed in trying to build a national movement to fix his party? Agree or disagree with Huntsman — but it’s a very bold political move which sets him sharply apart from Sarah Palin, Bobby Jindal, Mark Sanford, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney and the other social conservatives who are seeking to rebuild the Republican Party by moving it further right.

  61. robert capozzi

    my feedback is there’s edgy, then there’s EDGYYYY.

    I do think that under 30s have different attitudes toward things, but I wonder whether Radical Ls are the best people to reach out to the young. sorry to be so provocative, but my take is that the young are greener – much greener – than rothbardians, who seem to think that torts solve just about everything.

  62. paulie cannoli Post author

    Another point is that iconoclasm – while not always peaceful – has long been part of the mainstream American tradition.

    The puritans escaped Europe because their religion was out of the mainstream there. Many succeeding generations of immigrants from all over the world came to the US for similar reasons. This included my parents, who got me out of the USSR because we did not fit in the mainstream of that society, and chose the US over Israel because of latent indicators of traditional American individualism – relative prosperity, which is due to a relatively freer market, and the lack of military conscription.

    Cowboys, outlaws, vigilantes, pioneers, adventurers, entrepreneurs going against the established business and political grain, explorers, cops who defy the orders of the brass, private detectives, crimefighting superheroes who are hunted by the establishment – individualist, anti-authoritarian archetypes have long been part of the American tradition.

    This, more than any other country that comes to mind at the moment, is where the alternative IS the mainstream.

  63. paulie cannoli Post author

    I do think that under 30s have different attitudes toward things, but I wonder whether Radical Ls are the best people to reach out to the young. sorry to be so provocative, but my take is that the young are greener – much greener – than rothbardians, who seem to think that torts solve just about everything.

    I’m probably greener than most Rothbardians.

    For examples of interesting approaches, see

    http://aaeblog.com/2006/11/24/greensleeves-was-all-my-joy/

  64. paulie cannoli Post author

    my feedback is there’s edgy, then there’s EDGYYYY.

    Yes, that was my point to SL regarding “opposition.”


    I do think that under 30s have different attitudes toward things, but I wonder whether Radical Ls are the best people to reach out to the young.

    Not to all. Different approaches work for different people.

    The key is emphasizing that you share their goals – a healthy environment, social justice, etc. – and that you believe that peaceful, non-coercive means are better at achieving those goals than monopolistic goevrnment acting through coercion.

    And then having facts to back it up.

  65. robert capozzi

    I’d say iconoclasm WAS a bit of an American tradition.

    The last iconoclast on the national scene was George Wallace…not a model for the LP. David Duke even cleaned up his act. Ron Paul, whom I admire personally, is pretty iconoclastic, but Newslettergate exposed his tendency to draw Wallace/Duke types into his inner circle.

    This sort of L perception is poisonous.

  66. volvoice

    Robert,

    Whether it’s the radicals or moderates reaching out to the young really makes no difference. I will say that it appears to me that the rads are the activists and the moderates are the ones who want to spend oodles of hours on how our statement of principles is too anarchist, ala Brian Holtz. Your arguments about Rothbardians is over the head of about 99.9% of college age potential Libertarians. The LP needs to decide three things:

    1. Are we against war.
    2. Are we against the drug war
    3. Are we for the constitution

    The national LP needs to say yes to these three things “LOUD and PROUD” in order to recruit the younger crowd. They are out there and they are out there in numbers. The LP needs to quit F%^&*’n around, take a stand, and get to work.

  67. paulie cannoli Post author

    The last iconoclast on the national scene was George Wallace…not a model for the LP.

    I would say Howard Dean is something of an iconoclast. He didn’t win the nomination, but his strategies – youth-based, grassroots carefully combined with coordinated management, street activist, new technology, 50 states – paved the way for the Democrats to take Congress in 2006 and the white house in 2008.

    Libertarians would be well advised to copy those strategies.

    A big chunk of what got Obama elected was the promise of change, which is an iconoclastic image. Never mind that it was fool’s gold, it’s the image people bought.

    McGovern was an iconolcast in his way, as was Goldwater. Both lost badly, but paved the way for major changes in their parties.

    Reagan certainly campaigned and won on a great deal of iconoclastic, cowboy on a horse imagery.

    Ross Perot’s appeal was mostly as a man who would shake things up and change the business as usual ways of doing things. Even the name he chose for his party was Reform – that doesn’t sound like the go along, get along way of doing things to me.

    Martin Luther King and Malcolm X were no less iconoclasts than George Wallace, for that era.

    David Duke even cleaned up his act.

    Temporarily; he is back to the “bad Duke” now that he can’t run for office anymore.

    Ron Paul, whom I admire personally, is pretty iconoclastic,

    Indeed. And has been remarkably effective at reaching young people, certainly when compared with the LP, despite…

    Newslettergate exposed his tendency to draw Wallace/Duke types into his inner circle.

    As I’ve said many times, the paleo strategy was a big mistake, as even Lew Rockwell has now admitted.

    I think Rothbard was at his best when working on making an alliance with the New Left. Others, like Konkin and Karl Hess, continued that work after he abandoned it.

    The LP could take the message that vaulted Ron Paul to prominence, minus the social conservatism, migrant-bashing, and newslettergate-like themes. Pity that isn’t happening.

  68. paulie cannoli Post author

    I will say that it appears to me that the rads are the activists and the moderates are the ones who want to spend oodles of hours on how our statement of principles is too anarchist, ala Brian Holtz.

    Not fair to Brian. He has an impressive activism resume, which includes making videos and graphics – something we need to do a lot more of – running for office, donating money to candidates, organizations and causes, and more.

    I say this as someone who disagrees with him on many fine points of ideology, strategy and tactics.

  69. volvoice

    …..The LP could take the message that vaulted Ron Paul to prominence, minus the social conservatism, migrant-bashing, and newslettergate-like themes. Pity that isn’t happening…….

    Here in Tn. there is a law moving through the house that will disallow gays and single people from adopting children. The Tennessee Equality Project was started to combat this legislation. Their facebook page has almost 4500 people in a short span of a month or two. The upper left quadrant is where all the action is…. to ignore these guys and not try to appeal to them is a death knell for the LP.

  70. paulie cannoli Post author

    The upper left quadrant is where all the action is…. to ignore these guys and not try to appeal to them is a death knell for the LP.

    Exactly.

    BTW are you guys going to Charleston?

  71. paulie cannoli Post author

    The key is emphasizing that you share their goals – a healthy environment, social justice, etc. – and that you believe that peaceful, non-coercive means are better at achieving those goals than monopolistic goevrnment acting through coercion.

    And then having facts to back it up.

    Good examples;

    Mary Ruwart – Healing Our World

    Peter McWilliams – Ain’t Nobody’s Business If You Do

  72. robert capozzi

    pc, king and x WERE iconoclasts, assasinated ones, and not pols…false analogy.

    mcgovern…a bit, but he was pretty chill stylistically. dean…sure, a bit, until The Scream and the DNC apparently engineered his demise.

    no way is obama an iconoclast. verrrrry chill and hollywood

    goldwater illustrated the dangers of iconoclasm. walked into the door with his extremism. reagan presented similar ideas, but was chill.

    hmm, edgy chill seems a pretty good formula.

  73. volvoice

    BTW are you guys going to Charleston?

    Sorry Bro, I am not going to be able to make it this time around. If something changes on the homefront here I might try and make a quick dash that way. BTW where in the hell is the agenda for this event? Are they going to have a prime speaker? There has been no promotion of this event whatsoever. I am disappointed in the lack of publicity of this event. Maybe Mr. Flood should have spent more time organizing and promoting this event than crucifying Angela. People want to give Jim Duensing hell about the 911 forums in Vegas, but at least he had an agenda, events, and a web page for promoting the event. My guess is that after this event, the monetary surplus left by Jim will be killed and the event may not make enough money to get the next one off the ground.

  74. paulie cannoli Post author

    My guess is that after this event, the monetary surplus left by Jim will be killed

    Stewart told me there was actually a deficit of several thousand dollars from Vegas, and no accounting report.

    Is that false?

  75. paulie cannoli Post author

    king and x WERE iconoclasts, assasinated ones, and not pols…false analogy.

    Political action does not always mean candidates for office. Certainly, King participated in a political process.

    X was engaged in a political movement, although not in electoral politics.


    mcgovern…a bit, but he was pretty chill stylistically. dean…sure, a bit, until The Scream and the DNC apparently engineered his demise.

    Nothing about edgy that says you can’t be chill.

    Jesus, Ghandi and King – the people most well associated with non-violence – were all rebels against the established order.


    no way is obama an iconoclast. verrrrry chill and hollywood

    Again, Obama is not so much the point as the fact that “change” (however fake) was/is one of his main selling points.


    goldwater illustrated the dangers of iconoclasm. walked into the door with his extremism. reagan presented similar ideas, but was chill.

    Godwater blazed the way for Reagan. Reagan could never have come to power otherwise.


    hmm, edgy chill seems a pretty good formula.

    Finally – exactly what I have been saying!

    🙂

  76. robert capozzi

    pc, now it’s a matter of defining edgy chill. I found the paul campaign too edgy, but I can put him in edge-land.

    chill? no. he had his chill moments, but he made outbursts in the debates that were just too much for me. too much anger, creating cognitive dissonance against the peace message.

    barr was edgy chill, but too legalistic and not enough smiling happy warrior.

    there may well be a place for firebrands, but in america, we want reagan, clinton and obama style from leaders.

    and there’s a big diff bet. edgy and fringey. clark and barr were edgy, not fringey…the rest were fringey in my book.

  77. paulie cannoli Post author

    I don’t know, I think Harry Browne was chill enough.

    Mary Ruwart is, if anything, too chill.

    The thing is, I don’t think we necessarily have to have the electable leader type. We need someone who will get our message noticed and talked about, thus blazing the way for someone else to actually win on a more chill version of it a little later – much as Goldwater and McGovern did for their parties, and much as the Socialist parties did a hundred years ago for their movement.

    barr was edgy chill, but too legalistic and not enough smiling happy warrior.

    True.

  78. paulie cannoli Post author

    I don’t know, I think Harry Browne was chill enough.

    Mary Ruwart is, if anything, too chill.

    But, I think Mary is better at talking to people coming from the left.

    Kubby, actually, when he’s getting good feedback, I think combines the better qualities of both.

    Too bad we didn’t have the starter elements to get him to that point last year, and that he had a flu in San Diego and Vegas and was just learning to read from a teleprompter, creating a bad false impression.

    But, he did well in the CSPAN debate in Vegas – too bad that is not the image we got out a year earlier, with time to build.

  79. volvoice

    Stewart told me there was actually a deficit of several thousand dollars from Vegas, and no accounting report.

    Is that false?

    That may be a question for Stevie G. my info. is not what I would consider second hand, but I would absolutely like an answer from anyone besides Mr. Flood on that. As a matter of fact maybe Stewart can come on here and restate what he told you.

    On all the convention info….. I see that it was posted on the 25th and its on the LP blog for the 25th. Was it anywhere else any sooner and I missed it? If so I apologize to all for my mistake. I am all over the internet all the time, so if I missed it, I would feel comfortable in stating that alot of others have missed it also. The website is nice. I hope that its a good event and the LP makes money, I hate that I am not going to be able to make it, but I have family plans that were already in the works.

  80. paulie cannoli Post author

    Was it anywhere else any sooner and I missed it?

    Yes, there was a LP.org story on the 18th, and I believe others times before as well.

    Here is an IPR story from January 12:

    https://independentpoliticalreport.com/2009/01/libertarian-party-make-your-reservations-for-the-2009-lsla-conference-in-charleston-sc/

    Comments I made here at IPR include:

    https://independentpoliticalreport.com/2009/02/indianapolis-city-county-councilman-joins-the-libertarian-party/comment-page-1/#comment-41797

    https://independentpoliticalreport.com/2009/01/alabama-libertarians-prospective-candidates-upcoming-coalition-meetings-business-plan-progress/comment-page-1/#comment-38080

  81. paulie cannoli Post author

    Also, if you are on LP Radicals, we’ve posted about it there quite a few times.

    And I’ve gotten several emails about it from LP.org

    I’m sure there’s more.

  82. volvoice

    I would hope that the Libertarian world is not totally dependent upon IPR for dissemination of LP information. Tennessee has a website geared for spreading the word also, as well as all the other state websites. I would encourage others in the future to take advantage of as many media outlets as possible for promoting the LSLA events. Did you guys post this stuff on your bama state website? IMO if you want people to pay the kind of $$ that they are asking then you need a speaker that can attract attendees, and while David and Wayne are good guys, surely we could find someone that could create a turn out on their appearance alone. How about a John Stossel or a Micheal Badnarik constitution class. Michaels class here in Tn. a month or so ago had 136 attendees and counting the others milling around they may have pushed 150. The antiwar rally next week at ETSU may draw 2 -300 people. I am not trying to play quarterback here, and I do appreciate the hard work that everyone involved has done and wish those guys good luck. I am sure that its like Tennessee… a small group usually has to do everything.

  83. volvoice

    @102

    I am not talking merely about the date of the convention, I was aware of when it was. I reckon I am referring to is….where is the “big name” that could get people excited about attending and the promotion that should accompany him/her. Considering the way the LP has been leaning so hard to the right in the last few years all the possible speakers that the LSLA would even consider are all at CPAC this weekend. Come on… there’s mpp, drug policy alliance, GOA, LEAP, antiwar.com just to name few.

  84. paulie cannoli Post author

    I would hope that the Libertarian world is not totally dependent upon IPR for dissemination of LP information.

    I found three LP.org posts, posted several times on LPradicals yahoo, gotten several emails from the LP HQ.

    Did you guys post this stuff on your bama state website?

    No, but I don’t have posting privileges there.

    I know it’s been on all our state party yahoo groups.

  85. paulie cannoli Post author

    Considering the way the LP has been leaning so hard to the right in the last few years all the possible speakers that the LSLA would even consider are all at CPAC this weekend. Come on… there’s mpp, drug policy alliance, GOA, LEAP, antiwar.com just to name few.

    True indeed.

  86. paulie cannoli Post author

    I’m going to guess that part of the problem with getting a big name speaker would be fixed costs.

    Then if people don’t come anyway, despite the name speaker, what do you pay them with?

    It’s never a good idea to gamble with money you don’t have. Trust me, I learned that one the hard way.

  87. Stewart Flood

    Since I’m not actually part of the LSLA I can’t verify if what I was told was accurate, but I will confirm that I was told that there was less money now than there was before last year’s LSLA.

    I don’t know what the actual numbers are, but that’s what I’ve been told. I would certainly agree that the best source for that information would be the treasurer’s report at the Sunday business meeting.

    As far as this year’s LSLA goes, Charleston is the host city but the LSLA selects the speakers.

    There is an agenda, which I understand has been sent to the state chairs list. I’ll be getting the final agenda today from Stephen Gordon and it will be printed and distributed with other materials. I know that several speakers changed in the last week, including the addition of the newly defected councilman from Indiana who will be here.

    I can certainly say that this year’s LSLA should be at break-even or in positive cash-flow. It won’t make zillions, but the registration list I have indicates that more money has come in than the final bill for the event should be.

    To put it in perspective against last year’s event, we’re not asking for sponsors at the last minute to print the handouts. I know that several people, including myself, were asked to contribute for the printing last year. I remember being told that there was no more money and that there would be no materials unless someone contributed $500. Maybe that was just an attempt to raise extra money, but they also could have actually run out of cash.

    I’m handling registration and printed materials, and it will end up costing significantly less than the budget I was given. So far I’ve spent about $2/person for registration materials and I was told I could spend $5. It should end up around $3.50 after I’ve finished printing stuff this afternoon.

  88. Stewart Flood

    @76

    “I am not talking about some dumbass mission statement that our LNC may or may not come up with this weekend. I am talking about the “spirit” of the freedom movement and what the LP needs to do to be “ahead of the curve” in order to capture the current momentum and recruit people to our party. I assure you guys one thing… a mission statement doesn’t mean jackshit to college age people, they want action not words.”

    Well said. Rewriting the mission statement is a complete waste of time. The one we have isn’t that great, but the proposals I’ve seen would only make it worse.

    Whether we keep the existing one, adopt a better one, or adopt a worse one, college students and MOST people who vote won’t care and won’t even read it.

  89. Robert Capozzi

    pc: But, I think Mary is better at talking to people coming from the left.

    bc: perhaps so. the youngish left seem generally quite green to me. mary’s “torts only” approach to the environment seems a non-starter with them, and me, for that matter.

    but you can’t be “too chill”…impossible!!!

    imo.

  90. John Famularo

    ” MOST people who vote won’t care and won’t even read it[mission statement]”

    A mission statement is not an outreach tool, it is a tool for evaluating strategic decisions, and that is why it must be clear, concise, unambiguous and contain measurable goals. The current mission statement is ambiguous and contains no measurable goals. There is ample discussion on the whys and hows of mission statements all over the web.

    The real reason the LP won’t agree on an unambiguous mission statement is that the LP is basically an anarchist organization comprised of individuals more interested in “doing their own thing” than actually achieving something as an organization. The refrain, “we all know what has to be done, so let’s get at it”, should be translated into the anarchize “let’s do what I want”.

    Those who want to be “leaders” in the LP try to please as many people as possible, especially financial supporters. In this way they are no different than the congressional Dems and Reps.

  91. libertariangirl

    There was NOT a deficit from Vegas . Not only was it the best state chairs conference ever , it made money too.

  92. Leymann Feldenstein

    The LP is a joke pimping for washed-up paleocons like Bob Barr and infomercial clowns like Wayne Root. I’d vote for Vince from “Sham-Wow” before I’d vote for the likes of Barr and Root.

    Alternative or not doesn’t matter. If they were really sincere about making a difference they would simply disband and reorganize as a PAC supporting candidates (independent or partisan) who are anti-war and pro-civil liberties.

    Of course that won’t happen because there are too many egotistical blowhards who get their jollies every time they see their name in print or video.

  93. Michael H. Wilson

    Y’all have fun with my ancestors down amongst the magnolias this weekend.

    On another point. I tend to be something of a Karl Popper guy. His idea of an “Open Society” struck a positive nerve with me. Just the phrase “Open Society” seems to say more to me and for me than anything we generally use. We should be thinking more in that mold than most others. It does have much more to give and I think we can point out that it can do much to help with many of the probelms we see.

    One issue I work on is urban mass transit. The market is for the most parrt closed but opening it to other modes of transit might help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and that should be a positive whether or not you believe in global warming. I have read some reports that suggest we might be able to reduce those emissions by as much as 50% or more. Though I think those numbers are high ,a step in that direction might be a big help. It might also reduce sprawl, relieve street congestion and help reduce poverty.

    Just a thought .

    MW

  94. Robert Capozzi

    lf: …disband and reorganize as a PAC supporting candidates (independent or partisan) who are anti-war and pro-@ ?<ies.

    bc: leymann, you can do that tomorrow if you’d like. If your business plan makes sense, perhaps other Ls will follow your lead.

    I am curious: do such candidates exist? And would the Leymann PAC support candidates who are anti-war, pro-civil liberties, and much bigger government? That is, do you not care about economic policy?

    If so, while I wish you luck, I can’t say I’d be joining your PAC.

  95. Steve Trinward

    my .02 oz. Cu … I think the attempt to create a 4-level LP Platform (ca. 2002) was well intended; in fact, I worked toward that when I somehow found myself on the Platform Committee. The idea of having a clear and principled background statement of ultimate intention, coupled with a “transition” statement of what would be an acceptable step in the right direction toward that end, was frankly quite brilliant for a political party based on principle to attempt.

    Unfortunately (just like the project-funding model we also tried to advance a bit later?), it was sabotaged and bastardized by those who still think the LP should “act like the Demopubs” instead of as it was conceived of — a long-term focused, visionary watchdog of liberty.

    Now it is neither that nor the political mainstream force these fools tried to make it into … sad, really

  96. Robert Capozzi

    Steve, I don’t know of ANYONE who believes the old 4-level platform was not “well intended.”

    IMO, it had some really, really embarrassing, highly theoretical language in it. My favorite example was the passage that NO weapons that were inherently dangerous could be banned. I called that the “right to private nukes” clause.

    Libertarians don’t all agree on what’s is principled and what isn’t. There are now and always have been different schools of L-ism.

    The new platform is designed to allow co-existence among “minarchists,” anarcholibs, constitutionalists, and even theoretical asymptotic anarchists/applied lessarchists.

    I find it disappointing that you feel the need to brand those you disagree with as “fools.” But I do find it fool-ISH for a political party to endorse private nukes! I guess that makes me a fool in your book 😉

    So be it.

  97. John Famularo

    “The new platform is designed to allow co-existence among “minarchists,” anarcholibs, constitutionalists, and even theoretical asymptotic anarchists/applied lessarchists.:

    That is the problem with the LP, it can not decide what it is. Without a clear understanding as to what “libertarian” means, the LP can not be an effective political party.

    It is fine to be vague if all you are concerned with is having a social debating club, but not if you are trying to change public policy through political action.

    The Republicans are finding this out as their coalition of liberals, free marketers and religious right wingers has come apart after the fall of the soviet union.

  98. Mik Robertson

    The Republican coalition is at odds with itself. Different factions are trying to pull the party in different directions. At least in the LP the different factions are all working in the same direction.

    Some in the LP recognize a legitimate role for government, some do not. But all are working to increase individual liberty. The same cannot be said of the Republican or Democratic Party.

    That is a big difference, and there is no reason the factions in the LP cannot work together. If the public policy positions the LP advocates are seen as too radical, they will be easy to ignore. In that case it won’t matter if the the LP has a perfectly clear vision of what “libertarian” means, the public policies won’t be implemented.

  99. Robert Capozzi

    John, let’s test your premise by looking at an extreme example. I know anarcholibertarians who are pro-life, some who are pro choice.

    You seem to point to an LP that might be, for ex., the “AnarchoLibertarian Pro Choice Party.”

    Perhaps we add in the other fissure among: pro private nukes rights vs. con. Maybe add in open borders vs. not. Then we get the “AnarchoLibertarian Pro Choice Open Borders Party.” I wonder how many people hold that position and are interested in political action. 50? 500?

    Is THAT what you mean? Is THAT what you want? A political Borg, where everyone agrees on everything?

    Seems kinda silly to this hombre.

  100. Robert Capozzi

    hmmm, make that the “AnarchoLibertarian Pro Choice No Private Nukes Open Borders Party.”

    Absurd enough?

  101. Michael Seebeck

    “New Mainstream”?

    along with calling the D/R statists

    “Old Extremes”?

    Just a thought.

  102. Thomas L. Knapp

    “Rewriting the mission statement is a complete waste of time. The one we have isn’t that great …”

    I agree that “re-writing the mission statement is a complete waste of time.”

    I don’t agree that “[t]he one we have isn’t that great,” because we — if by “we” you mean the LP — don’t have one. What the LP has is a set of purposes listed in its bylaws, and an LNC that seems intent on exceeding its brief.

  103. Susan Hogarth

    John F writes: The real reason the LP won’t agree on an unambiguous mission statement is that the LP is basically an anarchist organization comprised of individuals more interested in “doing their own thing” than actually achieving something as an organization. The refrain, “we all know what has to be done, so let’s get at it”, should be translated into the anarchize “let’s do what I want”.

    Interesting. At the ‘Future of the LP’ panel discussion in Charleston on Saturday evening, we actually had a state LP Exec Director express something very close to this, and he is no anarchist as far as I could tell.

    On the other hand, I *am* an anarchist, and have argued vigorously for what you seem to be arguing for here – a strong and specific set of goals for the LP as opposed to a vague and at the same time exclusionary one such as the one Stewart maintains the LP has.

    This was not specifically a discussion about a mission statement, but about the whole idea of spending time discussing radical/reform, differing strategies, etc. I sympathize with the frustration folks can feel at seeing the same discussions ongoing over so long a time, but they are important discussions that we need to be having. But I agree with John here that they need to come to some definite conclusion – after which, of course, we can start scheduling the next round. That’s just the nature of an organization full of passionate folks like us who are pretty much each convinced we’re correct.

    I agree with Knapp that we do not have an extant mission statement by that name, but that we *do* have a specific set of goals and purposes determined and approved by the members written into the bylaws as the ‘purposes’ statement. This is perfectly sufficient to me; I just want folks to stop referring to something that was voted on by a long-gone LNC and which comprises a very small subset of the member-approved ‘purposes’ as the LP’s ‘mission’.

    For more background on my take on the idea of a LP mission statement, you might start here:

    http://www.colliething.com/2007/01/lp-is-not-just-about-getting-people.html

  104. robert capozzi

    susan, I’m convinced I’m always wrong…it’s easier that way 😉 and it’s a paradox.

    it does seem that things got pretty settled based on the last two convention platform votes. we’re a party of folks that want a lot more liberty and a lot less government, with varying takes on where that might ultimately go in the very long run.

    anarchists can run on the current platform as can moderate minarchists.

    why don’t we declare victory and turn our focus outward vs. inward?

  105. paulie cannoli Post author

    There was NOT a deficit from Vegas . Not only was it the best state chairs conference ever , it made money too.

    I have researched this some more. Vegas ended up netting around $500 after expenses. It is not yet clear how SC did, but they thought it was plus or minus a few hundred dollars.

  106. paulie cannoli Post author

    If they were really sincere about making a difference they would simply disband and reorganize as a PAC supporting candidates

    You could start such a PAC if one does not already exist.

  107. paulie cannoli Post author

    That is the problem with the LP, it can not decide what it is. Without a clear understanding as to what “libertarian” means, the LP can not be an effective political party.

    It is fine to be vague if all you are concerned with is having a social debating club, but not if you are trying to change public policy through political action.

    The Republicans are finding this out as their coalition of liberals, free marketers and religious right wingers has come apart after the fall of the soviet union.

    So do you think everyone in the Democratic Party marches in lockstep? As a former Democrat, I can reassure you this is most certainly not the case.

  108. paulie cannoli Post author

    there is no reason the factions in the LP cannot work together.

    I agree. I think a lot of the nastiness is because the more legitimate targets of our ire have no reason that they have to listen to us, so we use each other as proxies for our frustration at the way things are headed. Which is unfortunate.

  109. paulie cannoli Post author

    turn our focus outward

    I agree that a lot of our focus should be outward. Let me know if/when you want to cooperate on the specifics I have proposed.

  110. John Famularo

    Paulie said; “So do you think everyone in the Democratic Party marches in lockstep?”

    The “mission” of the Democratic party is clear. Primarily it is to gain and retain power. Secondarily it is to implement its socialist policies. . It will partially compromise on the socialist agenda in order to retain its control, (e.g the “blue dog Democrats”).

    However, the internal problems that the Dems and Reps may have are irrelevant to whether the LP will ever be a viable alternative to a majority, or a significant plurality, of American voters.

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