Former Libertarian Candidate Sundwall Endorses Democrat Scott Murphy

Former Libertarian candidate for New York’s 20th Congressional District, Eric Sundwall, wrote a letter slamming Republican candidate Jim Tedisco and his allies. He also endorses Democrat Scott Murphy for the congressional seat. Here’s part of the letter:

Mr. Tedisco denies any involvement with the concerted effort by his supporters to knock me off the ballot. I don’t believe him. The ruthless effort by his supporters to knock me off the ballot without a word of protest by him proves his unfitness for any office let alone Congress in these critical times.

I will be voting for Scott Murphy on Tuesday. While we disagree on some important issues, I find him to be a man of honor, a good family man and successful businessman. Unlike Tedisco, he actually lives in the District. And, unlike Mr. Tedisco, I view Scott’s business success as a virtue, not a vice.

I urge my supporters and all those who believe in open and free elections to show their disgust at the tactics of the Republican political machine to win at all costs. Please join me in voting for Scott Murphy on Tuesday.

The full version can be found here, and the original article can be found here. Sources: The Albany Project and Political Class Dismissed.

Thanks to George Phillies who linked to the article in the original post, about Sundwall being kicked off the ballot.

103 thoughts on “Former Libertarian Candidate Sundwall Endorses Democrat Scott Murphy

  1. sunshinebatman

    This story needs context. What is Mr. Tedisco’s first name? What party is he in? What party is this Scott Murphy in?

  2. Joey

    They’re seeking a congressional seat, not a Senate seat, by the way.

    So, has anyone gotten into the issue of why these signatures were found to be fraudulent or whatever? Yeah, it might not be fair, but the issue still boils to what legal provisions were violated in obtaining those signatures.

  3. Joey

    By the way, Tedisco had truckloads of Young Republicans flocking into CD-20 to help canvass towns and streets.

    How many Libertarians did that for Sundwall?

    This is another glaring example of the need for the LP to stay out of the federal elections and focus on winnable races in towns, counties, etc.

    Just my opinion though.

  4. Joey

    By the way, Eric Dondero’s Libertarian Republican blog is reporting that Tedisco is a “dues-paying” member of the Republican Liberty Caucus.

    Link: http://libertarianrepublican.blogspot.com


    A representative of the New York RLC stood to announce that Republican Congressional candidate Jim Tidesco in the special election set for Tuesday near Albany, is a dues-paying Republican Liberty Caucus member.

    See, so we have a potential “liberty” ally in Congress already.

  5. Ross Levin

    Joey, it sounds like they were technical issues like leaving off part of the address or fixing a mistake without initialing it. I mean, even the person who threw Sundwall off the ballot said that the law is unfair and needs to be changed:

    Commissioner Evelyn Aquila voted to throw Sundwall off the ballot, but she said it is time to change election law.

    “I’ve always felt if you receive mail at the address (used on the petition) it should be good enough for us,” Aquila said. “I will vote the way I’m supposed to, but it is time to correct this.”

    http://www.timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=783567&category=REGION

    And I generally would agree with you that small parties should focus on more winnable races, but I think this has been a good race for the LP. It has gotten some attention for the cause of improving ballot access laws, it has gotten the LP and Sundwall’s positions some attention, and I think Sundwall has managed himself very well.

  6. Nate

    I think with only a Democrat and a Republican on the ballot, libertarians will lose regardless. Although there is an independent write-in candidate running.

  7. Gene Berkman

    Joey @ #5 – apparently enough Libertarians turned out to collect 7000 signatures in 12 days for Eric Sundwall.

    Joey @ #6 – I have known Eric Dondero for 15 years, and he has no idea how to judge whether a politician is committed to freedom. He has praised Republican officeholders who support the War on Drugs, the Patriot Act, the Iraq War, the whole panoply of statist BS that the Republicans pushed when they had power.

    Nobody pays attention to Eric Dondero anymore.

  8. Ron

    Sundwall is not a libertarian. Sundwall is an anarchist — there is a big difference, and if his endorsed candidate wins it will hurt liberty, not help it. It would be another vote for the big government policies of Obama.

    Pathetic, Sundwall.

  9. Catholic Trotskyist

    Praise God, I have recently returned from another long special mission for the Vatican, and come here to find this great news. Hearty congratulations to Eric Sundwall for being a sane libertarian who understands the greatness of the Democratic Party and the Holy Obama Revolution. Hopefully this will turn the eys of God on Scott Murphy and propel him to victory on Tuesday. Despite all protests to the contrary, Sundwall is obviously moving step by step towards Catholic Trotskyism, because he understands the primacy of the Democratic Party over the Republicans even while disagreeing on some issues, he called Murphy a good family man, meaning that he supports family values like the Catholic church, and he understands even while disagreeing with socialism that it is better than the Republican fascist war machine. Thi is also a big step for the Fringe Alliance strategy, which is an alliance between all leftists including Democrats, with libertarians and Paulists and constitutionalists/anti-war far-right, and independent moderates, to defeat the Republican McCain/Palin/HillaryClinton fascist war machine once and for all, propelling Obama and his liberal successors to victory time after time and creating a Catholic Trotskyist New World Order with an end to abortion and anti-family policies, combined with peaceful foreign policy and leftist economics. The Fringe Alliance Strategy is much better than Milnes’s Progressive Alliance strategy, I’ll tell you that. Congratulations to Eric again, and may all pray for Catholic Trotskyist blessings as the Lentine season nears its end, amen.

  10. Catholic Trotskyist

    Very well, thank you Ross. I am in negotiations for the pope and President Obama to make a joint press conference in 2010 or 2011 to jointly endorse Catholic Trotskyism and announce the conversion of Obama, along with Rick Warren and Jeremiah Wright, to Catholicism and that Obama and Wright now oppose abortion and the degradation of culture.

  11. Robert Milnes

    Nate, can you tell us more about this independent/write in candidate? Maybe if he/she is in any way progressive or libertarian it might be worthwhile to endorse that candidate rather than the dem or rep.

  12. paulie

    politics1.com front page

    NEW YORK. A new Siena Research poll shows venture capitalist Scott Murphy (D) has erased State Assembly Minority Leader Jim Tedisco’s (R) previous double-digit lead and now leads by a 47-43 vote in Tuesday’s CD-20 special election. A prominent national Republican political consultant — who has worked extensively in New York race over the years — told Politics1 he is convinced Tedisco will lose. “Tedisco should have had this in the bag against someone who was a total unknown just eight weeks ago — but he took the wrong tone,” said the consultant. In other related news, Libertarian Party nominee Eric Sundwall — who was disqualified from the ballot this week — endorsed Murphy on Friday.

  13. Robert Milnes

    paulie, why didn’t you just post the heading & link? According to Wikipedia the independent has withdrawn. Is this the write in previously referred to? If so, all is lost on this ballot. I do not think is helps the libertarian or progressive alliance cause to endorse either a dem or a rep. By the way I include dinosaur fossil Ron Paul in this. We need to elect some Congresscritters & Governors using the progressive alliance strategy asap. If we elect a progressive/libertarian alliance ticket in 2012 it will be problematic to have a dem/rep congress & governors. We need to sweep them out!

  14. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    There’s an old saying: “Need in one hand. Shit in the other. See which one gets full first.”

    Regardless of how bad you think that “we” might “need” to elect congresscritters using the progressive alliance strategy, that is not — and more importantly, was never — going to happen in this election.

    For one thing, at this time there is no “progressive alliance strategy.

    A strategy is a plan for using specific tactics to achieve a particular goal. Implicit in that definition is the notion that those tactics can, in fact, achieve that goal.

    Problem is, there’s no plausible reason to believe that the tactics you propose can achieve the goal you’ve set. Therefore, what you have is a fantasy, not a strategy.

  15. Catholic Trotskyist

    And Robert, after over a year on these same websites, you have yet to respond as to why the Fringe Alliance Strategy is not as good as the Progressive Alliance strategy. Although admittedly, since Sundwall endorsed a Democrat, he must be somewhat of a Left Libertarian, and since the Green Party didn’t mount a candidate, he was somewhat using the Progressive Alliance strategy. Yet you downplay the huge role that religion plays in politics, as opposed to the relatively unreligious natures of both the Greens and Libertarians. That’s why at least the Constitution Party needs to be in this strategy too, for national unity.

    On the Chris Matthews show Hardball, ironically a Democratic consultant predicted that Murphy would lose. Consultants are just not feeling confident lately.

  16. Andy

    “Gene Berkman // Mar 28, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    Joey @ #5 – apparently enough Libertarians turned out to collect 7000 signatures in 12 days for Eric Sundwall.”

    Most of the people who were hired to gather petition signatures for Eric Sundwall were NOT Libertarians. The only actual Libertarian that I know who worked on the drive is Al Anders, and he was not there for the entire drive as he was called in later.

  17. John Francis Lee

    I think this article skipped over the essentials of this shameful episode :

    The decision of the Board of Election to remove my name from the ballot proves once again that the political system in New York is rigged by professionals to make sure that average citizens are excluded from the process. While the two major parties could choose their candidates in a smoke-filled room, they made us go out and attempt the impossible: obtain 3500 valid signatures in just 12 days. We came very close but ultimately, the technicalities they built into the law to disenfranchise the people proved too strong to overcome.

    It’s not just NY of course, but every political jurisdiction across the country that’s been locked up by the duopoly.

  18. Robert Capozzi

    Andy, I’m curious whether it’s meaningful that some Sundwall petitioners were L or not.

    It strikes me that in a short window of a special election, the scramble for petitioners indicated the need to get boots on the ground quickly.

    It didn’t work out, but can we know whether an all L team — if one could have been assembled — would necessarily have led to a different result?

  19. paulie

    Andy, I’m curious whether it’s meaningful that some Sundwall petitioners were L or not.

    Andy was responding to Gene Berkman’s point which was in response to Joey Dauben.

    It strikes me that in a short window of a special election, the scramble for petitioners indicated the need to get boots on the ground quickly.

    Again, I hold no grudge here, but wouldn’t that logically mean that experienced petitioners shouldn’t have been turned away?

    It didn’t work out, but can we know whether an all L team — if one could have been assembled — would necessarily have led to a different result?

    Here’s how someone else summarized this in an email exchange:

    “The total count collected wasn’t the issue. We weren’t low on the numbers. We hit 7,000. It was due to a technicality that hinges on what town or city the voter or witness lives in as opposed to their community of residence.”

    There’s no dichotomy between what I’ve said (about making assurances that I’d have garnered numbers capable of withstanding a challenge) and what’s said here (about residency anomalies). I’ve vast experience working within district constraints, and know that shooting for standard gross signature totals, without first factoring in out-of-district considerations, is a recipe for disaster, and will invite a challenge in a challenge state (such as NY). I’ve been intimately involved in such drives not only as a circulator, but in the role of trying to formulate projections as well. This probably makes me better at it than most, i.e., than coordinators who haven’t circulated, and circulators who haven’t strategized. And I could have told you you’d need more than 7,000 raw to sail past a challenge – unless, of course, there’s a quirk in NY law that places a maximum on gross totals that can be turned in. Thus turning back willing and able circulators at any point in a 12-day window drive would have been ill-advised.

  20. George Phillies

    Sundwall’s decision to endorse Murphy, after Tedisco and cronies had Sundwall knocked off the ballot, is a sophisticated political act that will benefit future Libertarian candidates. Sundwall has established that future duopoly candidates who pull ballot access stunts like this will pay a price at the ballot box.

    And with respect to the complaints about endorsing a socialist (is this true? Which does he want to nationalize first, the coal mines or the steel mills*), the alternative is allowing a Republican in. The Republican party wiretapped every phone in America, through people arrested in the USA in prison without benefit of trial, and ordered the use of torture. In short, if Democrats are democratic socialists, Republicans are honest-to-goodness police-state fascists.

    *Yes, I am old enough to remember what real socialism is.

  21. paulie

    Phillies is correct @ comment 25.

    Or as Knapp put it at http://knappster.blogspot.com/2009/03/in-support-of-sundwall.html :

    In support of Sundwall

    Scenario:

    Big Government Candidate A and Big Government Candidate B find themselves opposed, in a special congressional election, by Smaller Government Candidate C.

    Big Government Candidate A openly and honestly debates Smaller Government Candidate C.

    Big Government Candidate B avoids debate, recruits some shills to file frivolous challenges, and succeeds in getting Smaller Government Candidate C thrown off the ballot.

    Smaller Government Candidate C then endorses Big Government Candidate A, saying true and nice things about him (while not denying their ideological differences).

    I’m with Smaller Government Candidate C on this one.

    There’s no “party loyalty” question here.

    The voters in Eric Sundwall’s district don’t have a Libertarian option on their ballots in this election.

    The reason they don’t have a Libertarian option on their ballots in this election is that the Republican candidate used legal maneuvering to abusively deny them a Libertarian option on their ballots in this election.

    Ideological questions being otherwise at least roughly equal, and no Libertarian option being available, the remaining reasonably worthwhile objective in this election is to punish the son of a bitch who screwed the voters.

  22. Ross Levin

    George, it’s not a matter of age in knowing what real socialism is, it’s a matter of being educated and not making stupid comments.

  23. ProfessionalPetitioner

    Robert Capozzi // Mar 29, 2009 at 6:58 am

    “Andy, I’m curious whether it’s meaningful that some Sundwall petitioners were L or not.

    It strikes me that in a short window of a special election, the scramble for petitioners indicated the need to get boots on the ground quickly.

    It didn’t work out, but can we know whether an all L team — if one could have been assembled — would necessarily have led to a different result?”

    Your question boils down to: “Will honest-to-God, dedicated, Libertarian petitioners do a better job garnering the required number of valid signatures than mercinaries.

    The answer is:

    YES !!!!!

    ABSOLUTELY YES !!!!

    ALWAYS !!!!

    THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS !!!!

    Real LP petitioners will always get better results: more signatures in good weather or bad, better quality signatures, honest signatures. They will work long hours, go without sleep, drive long distances, sleep on the floor in members’ houses, and wait to get paid, if they think it will help the LP, and if they believe in the coordinator who hired them.

    This has been proven by experience over and over and over and over again.

    The LP needs to run its own ballot drives with its own coordinators and its own petitioners.

    If possible, the LP should never employ mercs.

    AND, good, honest LP petitioners should return this favor of loyalty by ONLY collecting signatures for the LP.

    AND, in a further show of loyalty and good faith, the LP should try to keep its petitioners employed all year round on voter registration drives in targeted states and petition drives where they can be started and completed early.

    Let the dishonest circulators and coordinators work for the competition.

  24. paulie

    So, has anyone gotten into the issue of why these signatures were found to be fraudulent or whatever?

    They were not found to be fraudulent, but were disqualified on minor technicalities such as abbreviating town names or writing the town that appears on the mailing address rather than the one on the voting address.

  25. sunshinebatman

    The pragmatic political thing for any libertarian voter in a binary choice is to default to voting for the Congressional candidate of the opposite party of that holding the Presidency(*), unless there is something particularly exceptional about the other candidate.

    Under these circumstances, Sundwall has a right to his pique and endorsement of the Democrat on a gut personal level. But there isn’t much reason to follow his lead.

    (* Actually, the most pragmatic thing is to no vote; as it’s generaly a sucker’s game. Side issue.)

  26. paulie

    a dues-paying Republican Liberty Caucus member.

    See, so we have a potential “liberty” ally in Congress already.

    It’s a good thing you put liberty in quotes.

    See Jim Ostrowski details what a “liberty” supporter Tedisco is over many entries at

    http://www.sundwall4congress.org/archives.html

    But then, many in the RLC are “liberty” supporters (rather than liberty supporters).

  27. paulie

    Sundwall is not a libertarian. Sundwall is an anarchist — there is a big difference

    No, there isn’t. Sundwall is a libertarian anarchist, a true libertarian.

  28. ProfessionalPetitioner

    paulie // Mar 29, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    ” Sundwall is a libertarian anarchist, a true libertarian.”

    Agreed.

  29. Robert Milnes

    Tom, my nemesis has been dinosaur fossil Ron Paul. But you are morphing into a nemesis. Are you replacing Ron Paul? Sorry to contradict you; there IS a progressive alliance strategy. I’ve stated it repeatedly. Just because blogosphere know(no?)-it-alls poo-poo it & haven’t tried it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. A simple vote coordination between the Green & Libertarian parties in lieu of The Progressive Party and Milsted’s “New Upper Left Party”. Now, who’d’ve thunk when Kennedy got shot & liberals immediately sought to get another liberal in the White House (LBJ was certainly no liberal) a strategy would develop that involved manipulating the progressive vote & playing the vote democratic because you are black & vote black because you are black to elect a black liberal president 45 years later? Was their strategy a fantasy? Well perhaps for 44 years it was. Now in the Sundwall matter, we dropped the ball. We failed to get the required # of valid signatures in the brief time allowed. As long as the duopoly is in place we will have to do absurd unfair things to get on the ballot. & also Sundwall failed to publicly declare that he supported the progressive alliance strategy. Perhaps a brigade of left libertarians/Greens would have suddenly gone to the 20th. I know I considered going up there & passing out progressive alliance strategy leaflets. So, let’s be more prepared next time. Perhaps signature gatherers could check that the signer dotted his/her i’s & crossed the t’s. & have the signature requirements put to the signer at the time to lessen errors. & perhaps L’s petition for L’s better. But why not let G’s & mercenaries gather also, esp. when there is a time constraint & when we are actually trying to promote Green & Libertarian party coordination?

  30. Thomas L. Knapp

    “The pragmatic political thing for any libertarian voter in a binary choice is to default to voting for the Congressional candidate of the opposite party of that holding the Presidency(*), unless there is something particularly exceptional about the other candidate.”

    Pragmatism merely means going with what “works” — and that in turn implies a goal.

    The approach you suggest is “pragmatic” if the goal is to achieve conditions conducive to gridlock … and if that goal is achievable through the approach you suggest.

    In this particular election, that goal is not achievable. There’s only one seat at stake, and the Democrats have a 257-178 majority. The outcome, regardless of what that outcome is, will not change the balance of partisan power.

    Whether pushing toward gridlock balances of power, or punishing candidates and parties who threaten our ballot access is the better general, usual goal is an interesting question. It just wasn’t an applicable question in this very specific circumstance. The only real, bankable prospect was the punishment one.

  31. paulie

    George, it’s not a matter of age in knowing what real socialism is, it’s a matter of being educated and not making stupid comments.

    Good point.

  32. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    Not all strategies work. My problem with your strategy is not that it won’t work, but that it transparently can’t work; or at least that it doesn’t pass simple mathematical tests for workability, nor does it offer any component substantially different from past similar experiments which haven’t worked.

    “Ballot coordination” between two parties which routinely poll in the low single-digit range is not going to magically catapult them into the plurality range. The math’s just not there. Less than 10% plus less than 10% (usually WAY less than 10% on both variable) does not equal more than 34%.

    Limited past “coordination equivalents” tell the same story.

    For example, in Missouri’s 2nd US House District, the Libertarian candidate had no Green Party opponent, actively campaigned to Green voters … and performed a fraction of a percentage point better than Libertarian candidates usually do in that district.

    In Missouri’s 2002 US Senate primary, the Green Party didn’t have a slate (they were petitioning for ballot access, so no primary). Their executive director publicly recommended that Greens vote in the Libertarian primary. The Libertarian Party’s primary turnout did not jump significantly, and even though the Libertarian and Green candidate campaigned together on various occasions, their combined vote was well within the low single-digit range usual to one or more third party candidate.

    A fantasy is not a strategy.

  33. Robert Milnes

    Tom, you are talking about isolated incidents in a sea of incidents. & we know how the sea can swallow one up. Inertia. There is inertia in favor of the dem/rep duopoly. & against the progressive alliance strategy. History. Tradition. What is needed is either a mass grassroots movement for the strategy and or official word from one or both the GP & LP on DELIBERATE, CALCULATED vote coordination-one Green OR one Libertarian on EVERY ballot. Not haphazard isolated incidents. Let’s talk up the strategy & it may gain grassroots support & actually take effect in the voting booths. Your negative vibes are like a self fulfilling prophesy.

  34. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    You write:

    “Tom, you are talking about isolated incidents in a sea of incidents. & we know how the sea can swallow one up.”

    No problem — but the burden of proof to find the “swallowed up” incident in which your strategy worked is on YOU, not me.

    “Inertia. There is inertia in favor of the dem/rep duopoly. & against the progressive alliance strategy.”

    I agree.

    “What is needed is either a mass grassroots movement for the strategy and or official word from one or both the GP & LP on DELIBERATE, CALCULATED vote coordination-one Green OR one Libertarian on EVERY ballot.”

    A grass roots movement might work. Deliberate coordination between the LP and GP is not only unlikely in any case, but there’s no reason to believe that it would work.

    “Let’s talk up the strategy”

    I’ll start talking up the strategy when there is one. For the nth time, a fantasy is not a strategy.

    And no, I’m not morphing into Ron Paul — I’m still a 42-year old libertarian shit-stirrer of no great stature, and he’s still a septuagenarian Republican congressman.

  35. Thomas M. Sipos

    Robert, Ron Paul is not your nemesis. Nemsis implies that 1. Ron Paul is roughly on your level, 2. that he’s aware of you, and 3. that he’s actively trying to block you in your efforts.

    I’m not sure that you have a nemesis. Perhaps reality itself, which at least meets #3.

  36. Robert Milnes

    Thank you for your continued interest in me, Thomas, like a vulture. Ron Paul is a dinosaur. Yet dinosaurs have their fascinations see Jurassic Park. & various museums & dusty University sections. My level is far above & beyond this. Even farther than Teddy Roosevelt. Ron Paul is an artifact of the past. A ball and chain. I guaratee if Ronulans/Paulnuts had cotributed $30 million to my campaign instead of his, we’d be a lot further along than we are. I think he is aware of me. Why do’t you ask him, Thomas? Actively blocking me? Perhaps some. But that is mostly the FBI & NSA. Reality is not my Nemesis. That is why I’m not a drunk or drug addict & never will be.

  37. Robert Milnes

    Tom, like libertariangirl, you demand a Catch-22. Missourian-I must show you an example of the success of the strategy before you change your perception of it from fantasy to reality? Why didn’t Einstein have this problem with FDR? The best I can show you is Teddy Roosevelt 1912-27% second place-the best third party/independent showing in the past century.

  38. Robert Capozzi

    pc: No, there isn’t. Sundwall is a libertarian anarchist, a true libertarian.

    me: interesting. did Eric advocate abolition of the State during his campaign?

    if he didn’t, then I wonder whether “anarchists” consider him to be “principled.” (this assumes that Eric IS an “anarchist,” which I don’t know for sure.)

    if, OTOH, he advocated incremental measures, I do wonder how the “purists” square their condemnation of the minarchist and lessarchist positions as being “sell out” positions, or somehow “unprincipled.”

    I’ve never seen an argument from an “anarchist” that lays out just how “radical” any given position has to be to be “principled.” A 50% cut in spending vs. a 5% cut, for ex., which is “L enough” and which not, and why? Or, does a “true” L have to advocate pushing the button for anarchy tomorrow?

    Politics, it seems to me, is a relativistic game. If it isn’t, then perhaps we’re watching a different movie.

  39. paulie

    did Eric advocate abolition of the State during his campaign?

    Not to my knowledge.

    if he didn’t, then I wonder whether “anarchists” consider him to be “principled.

    Different anarchists hold different views. I think the vast majority of the anarchists in the LP consider a Harry Browne rhetoric/policy approach as sufficiently principled.

    I’ve never seen an argument from an “anarchist” that lays out just how “radical” any given position has to be to be “principled.” A 50% cut in spending vs. a 5% cut, for ex., which is “L enough” and which not, and why? Or, does a “true” L have to advocate pushing the button for anarchy tomorrow?

    Most, including me, are in favor (and advocate) cutting as much as we can. If we run for office, we realize that we are running to be part of a divided government. There are already plenty of candidates and parties arguing in favor of government programs and taxes; our job, whether campaigning or elected, is to argue against them.

    If anyone is concerned that we’ll get too much power and cut government too much or too fast, I suggest they are out of touch with reality.

    I’ve never seen an argument from an “anarchist” that lays out just how “radical” any given position has to be to be “principled.” A 50% cut in spending vs. a 5% cut, for ex., which is “L enough” and which not, and why? Or, does a “true” L have to advocate pushing the button for anarchy tomorrow?

    Your mileage may vary. I think we have more important questions to consider, such as how to even begin moving things in our direction. But, yes, I think it is a good thing to also spread the message that taxes are morally wrong, as well as to make any incremental cuts we can make.

    Tax abolitionists are a lot like slavery abolitionists 200 years ago. Sure, they would be in favor of some slaves being set free and some being treated less harshly, and wholesale abolition was not yet on the table. But they held it out as a goal and eventually made the impossible into the possible.

    Politics, it seems to me, is a relativistic game.

    Well, yes, to some extent it is.

    But I think you may have read too much into my statement. I was responding to someone who claimed that anarchists can’t be libertarians. I trust you would also disagree with that contention?

  40. Robert Capozzi

    pc: I trust you would also disagree with that contention?

    me: short answer, yes.

    my point is different. i don’t know any “anarchists,” that is, push the button tomorrowists. it’s just so ridiculous a position on many levels. and there IS NO button.

    we’re all lessarchists is my contention. the differences among Ls is just a matter of how fast and how far and some theoretical ethics views.

    at least that’s what my Inner Rodney believes 😉

  41. paulie

    my point is different. i don’t know any “anarchists,” that is, push the button tomorrowists. it’s just so ridiculous a position on many levels. and there IS NO button.

    That’s true, there’s no button. I would go as far and fast as I can, but I realize I can’t go as fast as I’d like.

  42. Robert Capozzi

    pc, right. now if you can only persuade sanctimious “purists” that others can advocate more moderate increments as a strategy to build support for liberty are in fact L.

  43. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    You write:

    “i don’t know any ‘anarchists,’ that is, push the button tomorrowists.”

    Yes, you do. If there was a button that would eliminate the state, I’d push it tomorrow. Or better yet, today. The fact that I realize there is no such button doesn’t change that.

    “I’ve never seen an argument from an ‘anarchist’ that lays out just how ‘radical’ any given position has to be to be ‘principled.’”

    And I’ve never seen an argument from a “minarchist” that lays out just how “cutaneous” any given position has to be to be “gustatory.”

    My sentence made about as much sense as yours. Radicalism is not a unit of measure, nor is there any direct correlation between radicalism and principledness.

  44. paulie

    I find myself in general agreement with this…

    This is from last month’s Knox Area newsletter, The Torchlight.

    -Allan Wallace
    Chair of the Knox Area Libertarian Party
    & TN Coordinator for Outright Libertarians

    Characters Welcome!

    There is a cable TV network that advertises, “Characters Welcome” and points to their successful lineup of shows about odd and out of the mainstream people.

    The Libertarian Party has always had more than its fair share of “characters”. For any party member that has attended a national LP Convention, I only need to say the name “Starchild” and there is instant recognition.

    I remember when I first joined the party while living in Georgia; we had some LPGa members that reminded me of my great uncle who had chewed tobacco so long that he barely had any teeth left. These LPGa members were gun enthusiasts from rural Georgia that came to meetings looking like they had been working on a farm all day and didn’t have time to change (which was probably the case).

    My first thoughts were not complementary. I could not understand why they would come to our meeting dressed like this, and besides, at the time I thought Second Amendment issues were just too difficult to explain to my liberal friends.

    But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that there is always a place in the LP for hard working independent thinkers from any side or corner of the libertarian spectrum, just as there has always been a place for people who want to end the War on Drugs, and people who want to end all War (except in defense of our borders). Starchild, Angela Keaton, and other liberal-leaning Libertarians are welcome in a party that welcomes characters.

    I consider Bob Barr a character! Before he became a member of the LP, he attended several Georgia LP Conventions representing conservative philosophy and was quite entertaining. We laughed with easy-going, personable banter and at his conservative take on several issues. On the way between where he was in 1988 when I first met him and where he is now on those issues he stepped across the dividing line between conservative and libertarian.

    Bob Barr is still a heavily right-leaning libertarian, but he is a libertarian. He is still that same congenial and entertaining character, that’s one reason he won enough votes at the LP Convention last spring to become our party’s nominee. He and other conservative-leaning Libertarians are welcome in a party that welcomes characters.

    And, Ron Paul is DEFINITELY a character! Anyone who works within the Republican Party to pull Republicans to a more libertarian position has to be a character or the work would drive him insane. Ron Paul and his followers are welcome to come into a party that welcomes characters.

    The Libertarian Party has always been a “big tent” party, welcoming “Characters” from BOTH the right and the left. But, in the last two years or so, the LP has Lurched Right, constricting its outlook and reach to only the Right, and now I find myself apologizing for that often.

    Someone in a position of leadership in the party who is a part of our new conservative leadership had the gall to claim that they represent the “new center” of the party. This attitude has already hurt our influence in the greater libertarian movement. If we do not fight this rightward movement, it will serve as confirmation to libertarians on and from the left that they are not welcome in the party.

    If this trend continues beyond 2010, the movement will fracture, right and left, and start working against each other. Instead of being a Bridge between opposing factions, the LP will plant itself firmly on one side forcing the other side to rally against it. There have always been factions within the movement that love to bicker with each other, but this could become all-out war, ultimately damaging what influence we have and forever painting us as a fringe that easily can be dismissed.

    So, the choice boils down to that of being a party that welcomes characters, seeks to reconnect factions, and leads the whole libertarian movement, or being the party on the fringe of a fringe group.

    The Libertarian Party can be a “big tent” party once again, it will take work on our part to move it back to Center, but it can be done. We must vote with our dollars and our time, giving to our state and local LP when they encourage “big tent” party building. And, we must prepare for the 2010 LP Convention when we must re-elect left wing libertarian representatives to the LNC and otherwise elect as many centrist or “big tent” Libertarians as possible.

    This can begin with our state LP convention in April here in Knoxville. We can rebuild the left side of our big tent, balancing the tent once again. For the future health and strength of our party and our movement we must restore that balance in the party. And, we must be able to once again proclaim that the Libertarian Party is the party where Characters Are Welcome, from both the right and the left. I look forward to working with you at our state convention.

    -Allan Wallace, Chair
    Knox Area Libertarian Party
    & TN Coordinator for
    Outright Libertarians

  45. robert capozzi

    tom, technically, we’ve never met, but, OK, you’d push it if it existed. not me.

    thanks for the feedback, but I made sense to at least me. I am pleased that you acknowledge litmus tests of “radicalness” or “L-ness” are nonsense.

    It’s a start.

    Rodney will be pleased.

  46. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    You write:

    “I am pleased that you acknowledge litmus tests of ‘radicalness’ or ‘L-ness’ are nonsense.”

    Not so fast. I acknowledged no such thing.

    All I said with regard to radicalism is that one either is or is not a radical (either in general or on some specific issue). It’s not a range of intensity thing, it’s an either/or thing.

    Of course, there are different kinds of radicalism.

    Susan Hogarth describes herself as a radical, and she is. Specifically, she’s a radical who agrees with Murray N. Rothbard on what and where “the root” to be addressed is.

    Brian Holtz also describes himself as a racidal, and he is. Specifically, he’s a geolibertarian or ecolibertarian radical. His conception of what/where “the root” is, and how it should be addressed, is different than Hogarth’s.

    In the libertarian movement in general and the LP in particular, “Rothbardian” radicals have for the most part monopolized the term “radical” as an identifier.

    I won’t say that that monopoly is unjustified, but it’s more a matter of convenience of identification than of strict fact. There are other kinds of radicals in the movement and in the party.

    The “Rothbardians” constitute a reasonably large movement/party bloc, they’re forward about identifying themselves as radicals, they maintain a fairly effective, if not especially formal, internal discipline of identification, and they concentrate their arguments in favor of their kind of radicalism on non-radical ideas rather than on other radical ideas.

    As to “L-ness,” the definition of the word has always been, remains, and will likely always be, contested. I have my own opinions on what constitutes libertarianism and what doesn’t. I prefer some definitions to others.

    Since I’m not on the OED’s definitions committee, my opinions carry only as much weight as I can give them in argument … and recently, I’ve found that I prefer arguing issues other than the definition of libertarianism, and that I prefer arguing those other issues with “definitely not Ls” rather than with those I identify as “possibly Ls,” “probably Ls,” or “definitely Ls.”

  47. Catholic Trotskyist

    Bob, it is not Tom or Ron who is your nemesis, but actually I, myself, Catholic Trotskyist. Your archaic references to 1912 and the strategy of combining the progressive green/libertarian vote pale in comparison to my Fringe Alliance Strategy, of combining anyone who is unhappy with the current state of affairs (Greens, Libertarians, Constitutionalists/theocrats, Kucinich supporters, Paul supporters, moderate independents, etc). This would most likely gain 50% of the vote, leaving each Democrats and Republicans with 25% and leading the way towards the Catholic Trotskyist New World Order. Yet you are afraid to respond to this for some reason, because you know that my strategy is quickly gaining power and popularity over yours, amen.

  48. robert capozzi

    Tom, ok. Interesting idea that radical is either/or. am I correct you view being “radical” is virtuous? more important, are non-radicals the “enemy” by your estimation?

    I consider myself FAR more radical than Rothbard himself. And yet I advocate far more “moderate” policy positions than he or his adherents tend to, generally positions more likely to garner support and even be implemented.

    But some Ls are both philosophically moderate AND advocates of moderate, positive change.

    all are in the tent in my book. yours?

  49. SSave our SStatism

    It’s important that we identify exactly who the libertarians are. How else are we going to know who to round up?

  50. Robert Capozzi

    Statism, round up for what purpose? Strikes me that Ls are the vast minority, so don’t we need more numbers before considering any sort of “round up”?

  51. SSave our SStatism

    All cancers start small. One rotten apple spoils a barrel. And the purpose? Ssurgical, I ssupose.

    SSave our SStatism

  52. SSave our SStatism

    “Statism, so are you saying that those who disagree with you are “cancer”?”

    Those who oppose the SState are worse than a cancer. Resistance is futile; get assimilated or get eliminated. But if you get assimilated, you might still get eliminated.

    SSave our SStatism!

  53. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    “am I correct you view being ‘radical’ is virtuous? ”

    I view radicalism as a correct approach to ideology. I don’t consider radicalism virtuous or non-radicalism non-virtuous any more than I assign virtue or non-virtue to a correctly or incorrectly solved math problem … but that doesn’t mean I won’t try to correct an incorrect solution if I believe that’s what I’m seeing.

    “more important, are non-radicals the ‘enemy’ by your estimation?”

    No — or at least not per se.

    In a conflict between a radical approach (try to diagnose and cure the disease) and a non-radical approach (try to treat the symptoms without properly diagnosing the disease), I’ll certainly come down on the side of the radical approach, so I’m likely to be at odds with non-radicals much of the time. That doesn’t mean that I don’t consider us on the same side versus a common enemy, even if I think I’m seeing the nature of the enemy, and the best way of beating that enemy, more clearly than they are.

  54. Robert Capozzi

    TK: In a conflict between a radical approach (try to diagnose and cure the disease) and a non-radical approach (try to treat the symptoms without properly diagnosing the disease), I’ll certainly come down on the side of the radical approach, so I’m likely to be at odds with non-radicals much of the time.

    Me: What makes you think there’s a “conflict”? Certainly I agree that a true “diagnose and cure” approach is preferable to surface analysis. Hogarth, Holtz and I, for ex., are all “radical.” But we each diagnose in ways that may be somewhat or very different from, say, your approach, yes?

    All four of us have broad agreement on cures, or at least triage operations to help the “patient” mend for the day when a cure is possible. What concerns me is that Rothbardians seem to think they have cornered the market on both diagnosis AND cures. My radical analysis tells me they are misguided on some of their diagnosis, and most of their cures. Rothbard himself was prone to logic leaps….the State is the “enemy,” therefore we must “hate” it, and we must call for its abolition.

    Even if we accept that the State is the “enemy,” it does NOT follow that we must “hate” it, and it definitely does not follow that there’s an IMPERATIVE to call for its abolition. Hate is dysfunctional and a psychological projection. And calling for abolition is inappropriate and counterproductive UNLESS one wishes to be irrelevant to those less inclined to deeper inquiry. (I’d love to be schooled on how non sequiturs and reductio ad absurda do follow!)

    The human condition being what it is, I’m humble enough to realize that I, too, am very likely at least somewhat misguided. Aren’t we all? Maybe this is the most radical inquiry of all! We take our best shot at approximating Truth, but no one ever quite nails it.

    What purpose is served in positioning oneself in ways that are incomprehensible to the vast majority of humanity?

  55. Susan Hogarth

    We take our best shot at approximating Truth, but no one ever quite nails it.

    Oh, but Robert, you can’t be _sure_ of that, can you? Maybe someone _has_ ‘nailed it’.

    What purpose is served in positioning oneself in ways that are incomprehensible to the vast majority of humanity?

    You appear to have some level of disdain for the ‘vast majority of humanity’, else why would you suggest that something you can (presumably) comprehend would be ‘incomprehensible’ to most others?

    I don’t share your low opinion of humanity.

  56. robert capozzi

    Susan, you are the sunshine of my life.

    Yes, perhaps someone HAS nailed it. Any recommendations of all-knowing Oracles?

    But, no, I love all humanity. I consider my interest in politics a curse of sorts. There are far more noble pursuits, don’t you agree? It would seem the natural position for an anarchist to take, since you want no State, hence no politics.

  57. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    You write

    “calling for abolition [of the state] is inappropriate and counterproductive UNLESS one wishes to be irrelevant to those less inclined to deeper inquiry.”

    Or unless one believes that by calling for the abolition of the state, one may make progress toward recruiting people into the movement that, um, abolishes the state.

    Or unless one believes that by calling for the abolition of the state, one may make progress toward inspiring an inclination toward deeper inquiry on the part of more people.

    I know an extreme apriorist when I meet one, and you, sir, are an extreme apriorist. Your a priori starting point is the idea that the mere mention of anarchy is certain to arouse feelings of horror and disgust in all who hear it.

    That’s a faulty premise. While some do greet the mention of anarchy with horror and disgust, others do not; and even among those who do greet the notion with horror and disgust, persuasion to the contrary is sometimes possible.

    There was a time when your type of apriorism was routinely applied to communism … and that time was before communism conquered 1/3 of the world, making itself very relevant even to those (perhaps even especially to those) “less inclined to deeper inquiry.”

    Anarchists aren’t the only radicals, of course, but it may be that the root we’re striking at — the root you’re terrified to even be seen as contemplating striking at — is the taproot.

    Or not.

  58. Robert Capozzi

    tk: Your a priori starting point is the idea that the mere mention of anarchy is certain to arouse feelings of horror and disgust in all who hear it.

    me: actually, it’s just been my experience, for the most part, by and large. good luck to you with rallying to the black flag the sorts of numbers the Communists did, at least.

    some apriori assumptions work, some don’t. for instance, I assume I’ll take another breath in the next few seconds. that’s been working for 50 years now 😉

  59. robert capozzi

    Tom, congrats. might I suggest you work on the most impractical aspects of a Stateless society and work back toward the easier ones. ya know my favorite that keeps me a TAAAList…what to do with the munitions stockpiles?

  60. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    If I was the Revolutionary Commissar What’s In Charge of Disposing of Stockpiles of Munitions (yes, GE, I know you want the subjunctive tense, but it’s dead), I’d

    1) Get a subscription fund up to pay for destroying the chemical and biological weapons;

    2) Auction off all the small arms, artillery, tanks and aircraft (one per buyer for the big stuff, natural persons only — corporations are done, remember?);

    3) Find two or more competing entrepreneurs interested in setting up large-scale aggression deterrent agencies and give each one a sweet deal on a portion of the nukes.

    Next?

  61. Rocky Eades

    @ #90 – Hell, I’m not even real confident that we can convince the “masses” that government is too big, let alone that it should be abolished!

  62. paulie

    Depends on the time horizon. I don’t know how long it will take, but I’m confident coercive monopoly government is doomed in the long run.

  63. libertariangirl

    some days i feel like we are changing the world and sometimes I feel like it is hopeless:)

    lucky for me the first one is still greater than the second.

  64. Robert Capozzi

    Tom, I’m curious if your Acme Defense Co. and Shield Inc. would be worldwide operations. If a former nation goes Black, but others don’t, I don’t find your vision at all plausible. And I will still use the subjunctive in the future, were I to remember to! 😉

    Girl, Rocky, and Paulie, I’m actually quite optimistic, mostly because I’m comfortable with paradoxes. The state of play in the world is at once perfect AND must change entirely. And, while the “masses” have a range of sometimes contradictory views about the virtues of liberty and the dysfunction of coercion, when you REALLY question people’s beliefs, everyone wants peace and liberty for all at an innate level. Near as I can tell, the desire to breathe free is hard-wired in us all.

    However, peace and liberty can be frightening. (No FDA? Won’t we be poisoned by greedy drug companies?) That’s why I believe in incrementalism, in demonstrating peaceful solutions gradually. Success breeds success.

    Things will unfold as they will. All we have is today. Grandiose plans are sure to fail, as they are wont to; expect many, many adjustments along the way, to the point where the original plan becomes unrecognizable. Constructs are conceited.

    Whether ALL coercive government is doomed, I can’t say. Feels awfully other-side-of-the-Marxist-coin to me. As the decades roll by while we’re vertical, we’ll see how it goes. Enjoy the ride, is my “plan.”

  65. paulie

    According to politics1.com, Tedisco is currently ahead by 12 votes. Yesterday, Murphy was ahead by 25 in the ongoing recount.

    With a margin this narrow, it is certainly possible that Sundwall will have changed the outcome, even without having been on the ballot.

  66. Susan Hogarth

    Capozzi:
    But, no, I love all humanity.

    I didn’t say you didn’t. I said this:

    You appear to have some level of disdain for the ‘vast majority of humanity’, else why would you suggest that something you can (presumably) comprehend would be ‘incomprehensible’ to most others?

  67. robert capozzi

    Susan, I love BOTH all humans and humanity, which is the same thing, near as I can tell. You have an impressive grasp of linguistics, but on this one, I sense a distinction without a difference.

    You are correct that my sense is that many/most don’t display an interest in obscure polysci theory. Perhaps you have a different sense of things. I really doubt few would have an interest in Dallas Accord-type debates about whether any State is legitimate. I find them ponderous and futile myself.

  68. Joey

    Just curious if IPR was ever going to report that Sundwall is no longer the NYLP chairman.

    He was replaced by Chris Edes, a very formidable strategist.

  69. libertariangirl

    was Sundwall replaced at convention ? did he run and lose? when did this happen ?
    Ive heard good things about Edes , so either way NY LP is in good hands

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