Libertarians Say Move Nobel Announcements To April Fool’s Day


October 9, 2009

Contact: Wes Benedict, Executive Director
Phone: 202-333-0008 ext. 222

Libertarians suggest Nobel announcements should be moved to April Fool’s Day

WASHINGTON – The Libertarian Party today suggested that, in the future, the announcement date every year for Nobel Prizes be moved to April 1.

“Unlike the gullible people who listened to The War of the Worlds radio broadcast in 1938 and thought Martians really were attacking the United States, when I heard this morning that Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize, I changed the channel in disbelief. But, the same thing was being said in multiple places,” Libertarian National Committee Chairman William Redpath said.

“The gravity of the Nobel awards has not been augmented by some of their recent selections, including today’s announcement, last year’s award of the Economics prize to Paul Krugman, or the 2007 Peace Prize to Al Gore, whose global warming theories he will not defend in open debate. Maybe an early Springtime announcement date would be more appropriate.”

Redpath continued, “I didn’t know that it was the role of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee to be handicapping the future performance of individuals and organizations. Nonetheless, we congratulate President Obama on his award and hope that three-and-a-quarter or seven-and-a-quarter years from now the Nobel Peace Prize Committee will be seen as prescient.

“President Obama will best fulfill the promise of peace that the Nobel Committee apparently sees in him by not trying to cure all the ills of the world, but by working to make the United States an example for the other nations of the world through implementation of a Libertarian foreign policy–military non-interventionism combined with free trade policies in fact, and not just in rhetoric. With those guiding principles, the world will be a freer, safer and more prosperous planet at the conclusion of the Obama Administration.”

For more information, or to arrange an interview, call LNC executive director Wes Benedict at 202-333-0008 ext. 222.

The LP is America’s third-largest political party, founded in 1971. The Libertarian Party stands for free markets and civil liberties. You can find more information on the Libertarian Party at our website.

86 thoughts on “Libertarians Say Move Nobel Announcements To April Fool’s Day

  1. Brian Holtz Post author

    Great press release!

    Inevitable Quibble Department: the technical work in free trade theory for which Krugman won the prize was solid: Krugman is actually pretty good on free trade. Here is a very readable essay of his on the importance of the concept of comparative advantage:

    The key idea is that your comparative advantage is not the thing you do better than anybody else does. Rather, your comparative advantage is the thing you do best compared to all the other things you could do. This distinction explains why free trade is positive-sum. Krugman’s paper is about how so few people understand comparative advantage.

  2. George Phillies

    “Al Gore, whose global warming theories he will not defend in open debate”

    I see that far right wing sock puppets are still generating LP Press releases. What will it be next? Trutheroidism or birtheritism?

  3. Don Lake, late at night

    award could be a burden
    The Kansas City Star
    Breaking News

    “…. Political scientists said Friday the stunning award would complicate Obama’s decision-making as he weighs escalation of the war in Afghanistan, Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the war in Iraq, what to do with detainees in Guantanamo and other tough policy questions….”

    “It’s going to complicate things,” said Terry Clark, director of the graduate program in international relations at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. “He’ll be pressured as a result of this award.”

    …..Still, former U.N. ambassador John Bolton went as far as urging Obama to decline the prize.

    “I think those who don’t want a massive increase in troops will now be saying, ‘But, Mr. President, you just won the Nobel Peace Prize, how can you agree to 40,000 more troops on the ground?’?.

  4. R. Swanson

    Verry funny. Yet, I would encourage the LP US to focus more on the good work members are doing instead of giving publicity to the other guys. At the least, where is what the members of LP US have done or are doing for peace mentioned? A few profiles or an ad with a request for donations has worked well in the past.

  5. Robert Capozzi

    I was stunned yesterday when I saw Obama’d won the Nobel. He’s done almost nothing, has not moved as surely on Iraq and Gitmo, is finally rethinking Afghanistan, etc. etc.

    But we as Americans may lack perspective on some of his speeches overseas. I do give the guy props for changing the tone, if nothing else. Yes, that’s hard to quantify, but that doesn’t mean it’s not observable.

    Krugman’s academic work on trade was good, but one wonders whether his punditry got him the prize.

    Gore’s punditry DID get him a prize, and there was dubious stuff in his presentation, regardless on one’s take on Polar Warming (the more accurate label, I hear).

    So, yes, provocative release. I’m kinda doubting it gets much pickup, as everyone’s chattering on this one. The April Fool’s angle might merit some mention.

  6. Kimberly Wilder

    I don’t like when in politics people get a real mocking tone. So, the April Fools thing seems a little extra belittling to me…

    But, it does resonate. And, it was a top hit getter on this site…So, it grabbed people’s attention.

    And, I just have to say, when my husband told me the Obama, Peace Prize news, I truly thought it was an Onion story.

    And, part of that is that it was a “sneak attack”, where no one knew he was being considered. Would be really interested in the background and politics of how that all happened. I was among folks who were lobbying for Pete Seeger to get the prize…

  7. George Phillies

    Ridiculing the escalator of the war on the Afghani people, and the supporter of their puppet President who just faked his re-election, is absolutely sensible. Obama, Obama, your bombing of Pakistan murdered her momma, and his momma, and the mothers of large numbers of other little Pakistani children whose photos should start showing up soon in antiwar ads.

    Tying this up with right-wing fruitcake global warming deniers — which had nothing to do with Obama’s failing’s — just showed the lack of reality of the national party leadership.

  8. Tom Blanton

    The Green Party’s press release posted here was a nice fact-filled read.

    I did get a laugh from Redpath’s line:

    ?The gravity of the Nobel awards has not been augmented…..”

    That is absolutely true. Drop some Nobel awards off the roof and they all fall at the same speed. The same thing applies to the award winners.

    I’d suggest moving election day to April 1st and spend less time worrying about the graveness of Nobel Peace Prizes.

    Meanwhile, why hasn’t Redpath issued a statement on the David Letterman scandal? Isn’t the undermining of the morality of western civilization important? You can bet that libertarians like Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin are concerned about the gravity of the Letterman Affairs.

  9. Tom Blanton

    By the way, what does Redpath think about this Roman Polanski thing?

    Yet another issue of enormous gravity just like the Letterman Affairs and the Nobel Peace Prize.

  10. Michael Seebeck

    I, too, thought at first it was an Onion story.

    Considering I also had a cordial, prompt, and actually useful conversation with a government bureaucrat that day, and had a sprinkler timer running backwards, I was beginning to look for the dimensional portal I had fallen through to get back to reality. If Obama was wearing a spiked goatee I would not have been surprised at that point.

    (not kidding, those things actually happened, except the spike goatee, and I fixed the sprinkler this morning!)

    But AlGore deserved the Nobel Peace Prize for his carbon credit scam just as much I deserve the Nobel Peas Prize for my award-winning recipe of TNT and Peas with nitroglycerin sauce served over fried ricin and Chicken Little.

    And Obama deserves it even less than AlGore’s scam and my fictional recipe.

    It’s become the joke fodder of the year on the web, and in reality it puts him in a very bad spot.

    Now he has to live up to that expectation or face being crucified over it by his political opponents at every turn, including making him a 1-term President. If I’m one of those (as libertarians tend to be), then I’m rubbing my hands with glee about this gift handed us on a platinum platter.

    Had he been smart enough, he would have declined the award by saying he hadn’t earned it. Had he done that, he would have dodged a political nightmare. But at least now his anti-birther legal costs are covered.

    Although it is kinda ironic that a warmongering President gets a Peace Prize named after the inventor of TNT…

  11. Michael H. Wilson

    Biggest problem in all of this is that the Repugnicans will be out to make life miserable for Obama and we’ll be caught in the cross fire. As you all jolly well know they don’t care who dies as long as it benefits them.

  12. Michael Seebeck

    OK, I figured it out, should have thought of it sooner, the ultimate:

    Nobel Peace Prize to…


  13. Robert Capozzi

    tb, I applaud LPHQ’s judgment NOT to opine on Letterman or Polanski.

    But, just among friends, what’s your take? Some Ls would say that blackmail should not be considered a crime, and that Polanski only committed a tort. I’m aOK with those laws and State enforcement of them (with the caveat that the day may come when a State is no longer necessary to keep the peace).

  14. Tom Blanton

    Along with who wins the Nobel Peace Prize cash, I consider the Letterman and Polanski matters to be trivial in the grand scheme of things.

    Despite the amount of airtime given to the Letterman and Polanski stories, the media has failed to inform us of the details of these stories. Given that I don’t have all the details of Letterman’s relationships or Polanski’s plea bargain, etc., I can’t form an opinion that would be worth anything.

    I’ll leave it to the partisans and the culture warriors to entertain the rubes by beating their chests about Peace Prizes, Letterman and Polanski. Besides, if the media were to present hard news, the rubes would start channel surfing and advertising rates might suffer.

    So, I don’t care about who deserves to win some bogus prize. Americans should consider whether some poor kid in Pakistan deserves to have his legs blown off by rockets launched from a drone. Or whether future generations of Americans should have to pay for these rockets.

    One thing is for certain – Americans deserve the media they continue to consume and they deserve the political leaders they continue to vote for.

  15. Maybe cover up in my opinion

    I call this a diversion since he didn’t get the Olympic. Of course they have to make Obama look good because he didn’t win the Olympic.

  16. robert capozzi

    tb, I agree it’s trivial, but you brought the subject up.

    I’d be curious about the views of a NAPsolutist. If the laws against blackmail and molestation are “evil,” then how can “evils” be ranked? The NAPsolutist, I’d think, would be just as concerned for the “right” of the blackmailer to blackmail as the citizen has the right not to be taxed/stolen from. What’s the difference?

    Perhaps an absolutist L can school us….

  17. Tom Blanton

    No, Bob. I didn’t bring up the trivial matter of the Nobel Peace Prize. I merely pointed out that it was trivial and compared it to other trivial matters in the news that many people have felt the need to comment on.

    If you are curious about the views of a “NAPsolutist”, I’d suggest you find one. I don’t own “The Capozzi Guide To Sophomoric Labels Intended To Marginalize”, so I’m not even sure what that cute little word precisely means in your mind.

    Personally, I think blackmail and molestation are bad acts, whether legal or not. That you don’t know the difference between a blackmailer and a victim of theft tells me that you have conducted so many “thought experiments” that you have lost your grip on reality, Bob. What on earth are you talking about?

    Perhaps you can school the gang on just who exactly thinks people have a right to blackmail others.

  18. robert capozzi

    tb, if memory serves, plumbline L Walter Block and MNR believe/d that blackmail is merely a capitalist act, cash for information suppression.

  19. Thomas L. Knapp


    I’m not sure I’d take the case all the way, but with respect to Letterman, I just don’t see what was done that should have been illegal.

    If Halderman had written a screenplay or book incorporating (true/factual) bad things he knew about Letterman and sold that screenplay to a Hollywood producer or that book to a New York publishing house, no law would have been broken.

    If Halderman had written a screenplay or book incorporating (true/factual) bad things he knew about Letterman and AUCTIONED it off, with Letterman as eligible to bid as anyone else, no law would have been broken.

    If Halderman had even written a treatment or a sample chapter and circulated them for interest, then accepted payment from Letterman for the rights to the project, no law would have been broken.

    In any of those cases, he might well have made more than $2 million.

    Why should telling someone “here is something I can legally do — but I figure you’d rather I didn’t do it, so I won’t do it if you make it worth my while to not do it” be against the law?

  20. robert capozzi

    tk, because the intent is to shakedown. Of some of the more challenging old-school L views — private nukes, baby selling, molestation as potential tort — I have the LEAST problem with blackmail as a capitalist act among consenting adults.

  21. Tom Blanton


    It is very bizarre that you hear the voice of the dead Rothbard whenever I post something. He’s not my hero and never was, and I’m not particularly fond of Block either. I wish you wouldn’t shove their words into my mouth.

    I have never identified myself as a Rothbardian or as an anarcho-capitalist. I read For A New Liberty years ago and a few articles here and there, but never memorized Rothbard’s writings or transformed him into a deity.

    You need to build a different straw man to whip.

    P.S. – I will confess to hearing the voices of Carl Milsted and Brian Holtz sometimes when you post – but I don’t mention it.

  22. Robert Capozzi

    tb, interestingly, the record shows that I’ve not suggested anything about your personal views. I said “some Ls.” MNR and Block are quite influential for a significant subset of Ls. You brought up the Letterman blackmail and Polanski matters, not me. Your post did create an appropriate opportunity for me to challenge old-school L absolutism, and I took advantage of the opportunity. So, thank you!

  23. Robert Capozzi

    tb, oh, yes, thanks for associating me with Milsted and Holtz. Both are FAR more intelligent than I am, so I take that as a tremendous — if undeserved — compliment.

  24. Tom Blanton

    No, Bob, you didn’t say “some Ls” @ #23 – you specifically address me then write:

    “I’d be curious about the views of a NAPsolutist.”

    Then go into your ramblings about blackmailers. I don’t think it is a stretch to say you are asking for my views on something you attribute to Rothbard later.

    You are full of it and you don’t do glib very well. I wouldn’t take anything I said as a compliment. It was more about you relying on others to do your thinking for you – you know, that trait you like to project on to me with your little references to Rothbard.

  25. Robert Capozzi

    tb, when I posted 23, I assure you I was wondering whether someone like Susan Hogarth might chime in. Tom Knapp DID chime in on the blackmailing issue. I’d really be interested in hearing the molestation as potential tort argument.

    Mea culpa that I enjoy testing absolutism and a highly theoretical approach to L-ism. It seems indicated to me to keep testing it.

    Based on your postings, Tom B., I’ve only been able to discern that you’re anti-Party; strongly anti-war; particularly critical of anything that sounds or comes from a conservative place; now not a MNR or Block devotee.

  26. Tom Blanton

    Bob, you should also try testing the absolutism of the raging moderate faction of the libertarian movement. These absolutists tend to be the most dogmatic extremists of all.

    When libertarians start parroting DNC talking points on a regular basis and embracing people like Michael Moore, claiming they are libertarians, I think you might find that I can also be very critical of those things coming from a liberal place.

    To say I’m anti-party is incorrect. People should be free to waste their time any way they wish just as people should be free to waste their time criticizing what political parties do. Parties are just too cult-like for me just as being a devotee of writers is also.

    And guess what, molestation isn’t a potential tort – it is already an intentional tort just like assault.

  27. Robert Capozzi

    tb: you should also try testing the absolutism of the raging moderate faction of the libertarian movement. These absolutists tend to be the most dogmatic extremists of all.

    me: Happy to, but I’m not seeing it. What do you suggest I test? Or, feel free to test it yourself. I’m a moderate, so I’m happy to answer your questions.

    tb: To say I’m anti-party is incorrect. People should be free to waste their time any way they wish just as people should be free to waste their time criticizing what political parties do.

    me: We seem to have a definitional disagreement. You say people are “wasting their time”…to me that sounds critical, even anti. But I certainly agree with your sentiment…different strokes for different folks!

    tb: molestation isn’t a potential tort – it is already an intentional tort just like assault,

    me: Assault may be a tort, but it’s also a felony. So, allow me to rephrase… I’m curious to hear from those who believe that molestation (and assault?) should not be a felony.

  28. John Famularo

    These kinds of discussions are what help keep the LP and libertarians in general in the backwater of political relevance. At some point in the future after the LP has gained credibility in getting people elected to office and those people have served effectively and have reduced the size and scope of government while continuing to secure individual rights and standard of living, THEN they may begin to address the restructuring of statatory law and some common law. Only then will they have the attention of the public and the crdibility to discuss such fundamental changes. Only then will the general public be able to join in on the minarchy-anarchy-optimarchy debate.

  29. Tom Blanton

    Bob writes @ #38:

    “I’m a moderate…”

    Bob writes @ #39:

    “btw, I’m also a radical”

    I’m glad you cleared this all up, Bob. Now we all know where you are coming from.

    But when you say “I’m not seeing it” (@ #38), I could not agree with you more. Which is exactly why I suggested you “test” the absolutism of raging moderates. Perhaps a test for myopia is also in order.

    Maybe John makes a good point @ #40.

  30. robert capozzi

    tb, I’m philosophically radical in the sense I inquire down to the root. I’m moderate in what I advocate for reasons the first L, Lao Tsu, laid out thousands of years ago. Rapid, radical change dislocates, generating fear, not peace.

  31. Tom Blanton

    I am familiar with Lao Tzu and the Tao Te Ching. Perhaps you have mistaken the methods of governance with change itself.

    Those who insist on making small incremental changes in the face of tyrants who make rapid radical changes toward totalitarianism are a strange breed.

    The fear of upsetting the apple cart as death, destruction, poverty and despair are created at an escalating rate by elitist rulers is madness.

    When your house is on fire, you should run out of it as fast as possible as opposed to making small deliberate baby steps.

    I suppose some people out in the burbs worrying about tax cuts so they can buy a 2nd SUV are oblivious to the fact that there is genuine suffering going on around America and the world caused by politicians that they think they merely have policy disagreements with.

    Real people are dying, suffering in prisons, being tortured, starving, homeless because of the policies you don’t want to see changed as fast as possible.

    This is about real shit, Bob. Not some theory about the fucking rights of a blackmailer or the gravity of the Nobel Peace Prize.

    Folks need to wake up, pull their head out of their asses, and see what is going on. It is ugly.

    Go tell the millions of dislocated people in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan about moderate change. Go tell the farmers in Mexico who found themselves unable to earn a living because of NAFTA and US farm policies (subsidizing agribusiness corn) about Lao Tzu. Go tell untold thousands of poor black kids they will never be employable in America because they got caught with 10 bucks worth of crack (which is a felony) about incremental policy changes. Go tell millions of retirees in America that lost their nest eggs due to financial bubbles that reform is just a few million baby steps away.

    That’s why I wonder why Redpath isn’t pontificating about Letterman and Polanski along with the gravity of the Nobel Peace Prize. It’s almost like there is some kind of disease flowing out from DC that is affecting NOVA now.

  32. Michael H. Wilson

    Tom you’re on point to say the least.

    Two million Mexican farm workers put out of work because of the ag policies in the states. Then many of those same workers cross the southern U.S. border looking for work and we bitch about illegal immigration.

  33. Michael H. Wilson

    Just a bit of clarification is needed here on my part.

    While I think the news release made a nice use of humor and was a nice change from what we’ve seen recently, Tom has a point that there are far more important issues that sould be targeted regularly. Perhaps daily.


  34. Michael Seebeck

    Yup. Not a word from LPHQ on the ongoing swine flu poison, er, vaccine, controversy…

  35. Danny S

    I didn’t know where to put this, but I was watching Fox Business Network’s show Happy Hour right now, and one of the pundits (Cody Willard) predicted that 30% of all Representatives will be “Independent Parties” within 4-8 years. (Which I think is way too hopeful, but I don’t mind the press).

    Normally that wouldn’t be enough to warrant mention, but then it went to “Could the tea partiers make a massive third party?”

    Then they went and specifically mentioned Libertarians. They talked a bit about if Libertarians were making the right choice running with Republicans, Willard said no. Someone said Beck and Stossel should run with the Libertarians.

    If someone could find a youtube, that would be great! It was right before their healthcare segment.

  36. Robert Capozzi

    Tb: I am familiar with Lao Tzu and the Tao Te Ching. Perhaps you have mistaken the methods of governance with change itself.

    Me: Consider reading the FRONT of the Tao, not just the back on governance. The key theme is the notion that “resistance if futile.” Rather, the counsel is to flow toward virtue by taking the path of least resistance. I’d say Gandhi is the more effective model. Tim McVeigh is the polar opposite, ineffective and indeed counterproductive.

    Tb: The fear of upsetting the apple cart as death, destruction, poverty and despair are created at an escalating rate by elitist rulers is madness.

    Me: I respect that your premise is that dysfunction is escalating, but I take the longer view. It wasn’t THAT long ago that chattel slavery was the law. It wasn’t that long ago that the most brutal act in history – Nagasaki, IMO – was done. And Vietnam was more dysfunctional that the Iraq War, as far as I’m concerned. While we’re in a tough period, no doubt, I don’t see it as dire as you apparently do.

    You mischaracterize my view if you think I fear upsetting the apple cart. I’m in the LP, fer chrissake! I want a real change in direction. But, yes, I’d also like to see the apples stay IN the cart so that people can eat them! McVeigh blew the apple cart up. Gandhi, OTOH, got the oppressors to walk away from the cart by using non-violence, not only in deeds, but in words. He taught that “There is no way to peace. Peace is the way.”

    I share your concerns about the many injustices in the world today. We apparently disagree on the optimal means to undo these injustices. Fair enough.

  37. Michael H. Wilson

    Robert if Ghandi is the more effective role did you do something in that mode this week? 😉

  38. Tom Blanton

    Bob, you are truly beyond contempt when you compare what I advocate and my methods of advocacy with Tim McVeigh and blowing up buildings.

    Unlike you, I advocate peaceful resistance and noncompliance – inaction rather than action – as opposed to supporting clever manipulators running for office.

    This is much more akin to the methods of both Ghandi and Lao Tzu than your childish attacks on those who aren’t moderate enough for you.

    In fact, you advocate nothing other than superficial changes to a system that is out of whack. It is you that seeks political power over others to force an agenda that may well be better than what exists, but you still refuse to allow people to live their lives as they see fit without coercion.

    It is you that always brings things down to violent terms and projects that inclination onto others.

    Go back and read the Tao again, Bob. It doesn’t teach that resistance is futile, it teaches that meddling and violence is futile. It is you that equates resistance with violence, just as you equate me with Tim McVeigh.

    Then there is the matter of simple truth and speaking in terms of what actually exists. Clever euphemisms don’t convey truth. Strategies to manipulate the perceptions of others don’t convey truth.

    You are fortunate to be able to sit back and take a long view. I guarantee you that the slaves and the abolitionists didn’t take the long view. Abolutionists did not not lobby for lighter balls, longer chains, and shorter whips. In fact, they ran the Underground Railroad to bring people to freedom – nonviolently. I doubt if those who decided resistance is futile would have become involved with that and I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t have been involved either.

    There are millions of people who experience dire realities on a daily basis as a direct result of actions taken by politicians. Anyone who denies that is an ignorant fool or a liar, perhaps both. Apparently, having crimes against humanity committed in your name and on your dime doesn’t bother you as much as it bothers some people.

  39. Tom Blanton

    @ #49:

    “Someone said Beck and Stossel should run with the Libertarians.”

    I said Beck should be the LP nominee for 2012 sometime ago. Of course, I was being sarcastic.

    It seems Time Magazine, Joe Scarborough, and now FOX thinks Beck is a libertarian. Beck even says he is on “at heart”. Even Brian Holtz welcomes Beck into the libertarian quadrant of the Holtz Libertarian Purity Test. I suppose millions of Americans are coming to believe Beck is a libertarian.

    I’m pretty certain I am in a really bad episode of Twilight Zone that never ends.

  40. Michael H. Wilson

    So Robert other than practicing peace did you do anything to question the authorities?

    Did you write a letter to your congresscritter, or the newspaper this week? How about to the local city council, or whatever body that may be?

  41. Robert Capozzi

    tb, recall this:

    Yield and overcome;
    Bend and be straight.

    He who stands of tiptoe is not steady.
    He who strides cannot maintain the pace.

    Returning is the motion of the Tao.
    Yielding is the way of the Tao.


    McVeigh’s state of mind by all indications was that of “angry man.” He acted out his anger in a most graphic and violent way. I could have selected Charles Manson, except I have no reason to believe that Manson was a L.

    Gandhi’s state of mind was focused on peace — not anger, not violence, not fear.

    Actions, in short, follow states of mind. Anger is a resistant thought pattern. Peace is an accepting thought pattern. Choose what you will.

  42. Brian Holtz Post author

    When people start moving into the libertarian quadrant, and saying things like

    * I’m going through a change here. Because the more history I read the more I realize how right the libertarians have been
    * I am almost horizontal, I’m leaning so libertarian right now
    * 18 months ago, when we were saying Ron Paul is a crackpot on so many issues, gosh, I’d like to re-examine all of those issues

    — is our best play really to call the person a “tool” and say they’re not allowed to move toward libertarianism?

  43. Robert Capozzi

    tb: There are millions of people who experience dire realities on a daily basis as a direct result of actions taken by politicians. Anyone who denies that is an ignorant fool or a liar, perhaps both. Apparently, having crimes against humanity committed in your name and on your dime doesn’t bother you as much as it bothers some people.

    me: since what you’re describing here describes — to one degree or another — ALL of human history, I’d like to know who my being “bothered” or upset makes the situation any better. Does your being upset really improve things, Tom? Or does it actually exacerbate the situation, ruining your particular episode of the Twilight Zone?

    Perhaps there’s another approach, a peaceful approach. If the opportunity arises and we have the means, it seems indicated to advance peace through non-violent means. Angrily railing against every perceived injustice? Not so much.

  44. Brian Holtz Post author

    Bob, it’s hard for people without a scorecard to know exactly what you and Tom are disagreeing about. I suggest trying to keep it concrete, like whether freedom-loving voters should unite to try to move policy in a libertarian direction. Tom seems to think not, as far as I can tell.

  45. Robert Capozzi

    bh, yes, I’m grateful to Brian Doherty — aka, Mr. Angela Keaton 😉 — for his schooling us on Freud’s notion of the narcissism of small differences as it applies to intra-LM squabbling.

    Of course, “small” is subjective. Those who believe that “taxation is theft” may believe that their difference with people who prefer lower taxes, preferably to internalize externalities, is large. It seems obvious that both are in the same direction, but perhaps that’s not close enough for some.

    Perhaps we’ll settle that small difference in St. Louis…I hope so!

  46. Robert Capozzi

    bh, sorry we’re being so abstract. Epistemological discussions can get that way.

    I certainly would like to see liberty-lovers of all stripes unite to move things in an L direction. One way to characterize Tom and my dialog is as an example of absolutism vs. incrementalism. He bristles at my allusion to McVeigh, which I use as an extreme example of absolutism. McVeigh would seem to have been absolutely certain of his violent act to follow through on it.

    I don’t mean to imply to that all absolutists are violent. Rothbard, to my knowledge, never acted out violently. Rand didn’t either, although she did make Roark a hero for doing so in her novel.

    As you’ve pointed out, absolutism does tend to lead to an asymmetry…those who don’t buy into the absolutist plumb line are not in the tent. Incrementalists tend to include absolutists in the tent.

    I’d submit that we can’t heal this rift by avoiding it.

  47. Robert Capozzi

    tb, seems like you could find more damning archives. This video you link to, from last year, shows some information about AQN plots against US schools.

    So, perhaps you can explain to us your rationale for linking to this video.

    Are you saying that Beck, who has been moving in an L direction and acknowledges that he was wrong before, has done pieces in the past about AQN…and this is a problem for you?

    More importantly, are you saying that people who change their position can never be L? Or do you have some sort of statute of limitations/penance? Please lay your rules out for us on when and under what conditions someone can be let into the fold?

    I say this as a Beck skeptic, btw. Not a fan, never was. It’s helpful, though, that he’s rethinking his viewpoint and obviously moving toward liberty.

  48. Michael H. Wilson

    R.B. @ 58 you wrote; “Gandhi’s state of mind was focused on peace — not anger, not violence, not fear.”

    One might think that you see Gandhi as a model, granted you don’t specifically say so. We need to remember Gandhi also agitated for peace. He didn’t give the authorities much rest.

    People who seriously take him as a role model remember that and go out and actually do something. And we should be agitating for peace just as Thoreau did before Gandhi and Martin Luther King did after him.

    We can’t just wait for it to happen. We need to do something for it.

    Every week we need to write one letter to a congresscritter, or to a newspaper, or some such action.

  49. Robert Capozzi

    mhw, thanks for the time management counsel. I’ll take it under advisement.

    Near as I can tell, MLK and Gandhi were pretty focused — eyes on the prize. In my case, the prize is peace and liberty. The best way to express those values is through a vibrant, effective LP. The primary obstacle to that expression is intra-party carping and litmus testing, the implicit judging of NOT L that’s held the LP back all these decades. (There are other obstacles, like ballot access laws, but my diagnosis stands.)

    Hence, the need for the St. Louis Accord. With it, those interested in liberty can agitate without playing internal defense.

  50. Thomas L. Knapp


    You write:

    “In my case, the prize is peace and liberty. The best way to express those values is through a vibrant, effective LP. The primary obstacle to that expression is intra-party carping and litmus testing, the implicit judging of NOT L that’s held the LP back all these decades. (There are other obstacles, like ballot access laws, but my diagnosis stands.)”

    A “diagnosis” usually implies some evidence. Care to provide any?

  51. Robert Capozzi

    tk, I’m not an empiricist per se, but, sure:

    The LP’s growth rates and prez vote totals from 1975-1980 vs. 1980-85.

    When big-tent Lism was ascendant, we grew. When litmus-test Lism was ascendant, we shrank.

    Intuitively, the broader we define anything, the more you get of it. Politics is a numbers game, so, all else equal, more people, more resources, leads to more effectiveness.

    We don’t have the resources to conduct elaborate polling, but I suspect I know the answer from these poll questions:

    1) Do you support

    a) lower taxes and spending
    b) no taxes and spending
    c) more taxes and spending

    2) The USG wages
    a) too many wars
    b) too many wars since all wars the US has fought are evil
    c) not enough wars, we should impose our will on the rest of the world

    3) The Bill of Rights
    a) should be defended; government has been whittling it away
    b) Government is antithetical to rights; government’s very existence guarantees that our rights will be violated; insurance companies will defend our rights far better
    c) We have too many rights; in the name of security, we should give up MORE of our rights

    My assumption is that the a)s would do very well, and perhaps garner majority support. The b)s might register single-digit support. And, frighteningly, c) might do well, too.

  52. Tom Blanton

    The Bush Agenda from 2000:

    a) lower taxes and spending, a 2% tax cut and defunding the National Endowment for Arts

    b) The USG wages too many wars, we need a “humble foreign policy”, for example, no more wars like Yugoslavia and bringing home our troops from Haiti.

    c) The Bill of Rights should be defended, I will appoint only strict constructionists to the Supreme Court.

    Libertarian Neal Boortz was right to have supported Bush, George W. Bush is a libertarian!

    The LP needs to abolish litmus tests and purge the absolutists if they don’t pass the big tent….litmus test, er uh….St Louis Accord…..uh, won’t be fooled again.

  53. Michael H. Wilson

    @ 68 RC writes; “mhw, thanks for the time management counsel. I’ll take it under advisement.”

    Glad I could be of help. Any time you feel the need let me know and I’ll set aside some time to help.

    Don’t forget write one letter this week. That’ll break the logjam and get things movin’.

  54. Tom Blanton

    LP problem solved!

    Glenn Beck for LP President.

    Sure he used to be a fear monger and pass off novelists as terrorism experts who know what secret conversations took place between Osama and his Imam. Sure he used to favor domestic spying, warrantless wiretaps, torture, undeclared wars, GOP deficits, and GOP bailouts, but the minute Obama was sworn in, Beck became a libertarian!

    Hooray for the LP!!!

    Where are my pom poms?

  55. Robert Milnes

    Oh, I see the real libertarians are over here wasting time debating. While the real solution-voting the reactionaries out in November-is being ignored. Pissed away. Losers. Losertarians.

  56. Brian Holtz Post author

    Nobody in the LP has advocated nominating Glenn Beck even for dogcatcher, let alone President. I’ll repeat my list of people I wish would (again) seek the LP presidential nomination:

    * Walter Williams
    * John Stossel
    * Ed Clark
    * David Friedman
    * Thomas Sowell
    * Tom Palmer
    * Ron Paul
    * Larry Elder

    Feeding trolls is contra-indicated, especially when all they bring to the picnic table is a straw man.

  57. libertariangirl

    Brian , I like your list , but what are the chances anyone on it will seek the LP nom?

    seems like a far fetched wish list:)
    BTW my friend Brandon has a class with Walter Williams this semester . So flippin jealous I am!

  58. Brian Holtz Post author

    Most on my list are more likely to be an LP POTUS nominee than Glenn Beck is.

    Beck as LP POTUS nominee is a straw man, employed to mask the lack of good arguments against the LP trying to unite — and increase the number of — voters in the libertarian quadrant.

  59. HumbleTravis

    Williams would make an excellent candidate as he already has experience with the media. However, he along with Larry Elder and Tom Sowell have views on foreign policy that won’t sit well with many in the LP. Sowell in particular has said some weird things such as that article in National Review where he felt that the U.S. might eventually need a military coup to save itself. I am a fan of Mr. Sowell’s books but this statement certainly disappointed me.

    My understanding is that David Friedman & Ed Crane want out of Iraq. I know John Stossel thinks that the war was a mistake but I don’t know what he thinks the military should do now.

    Also Tom Palmer was one of the main figures in the whole paleo vs. beltway argument & you can bet that this would replay that situation all over again.

  60. Marc Montoni

    * Walter Williams
    * John Stossel
    * Ed Clark
    * David Friedman
    * Thomas Sowell
    * Tom Palmer
    * Ron Paul
    * Larry Elder

    Williams, Stossell, Friedman, Sowell, Paul, and Elder have all been contacted on numerous occassions by LP members up to and including former prez candidates and sitting Party chairs. None has budged from a loud “no”.

    Clark is probably good and done with putting his entire life on hold for the LP; and it’s not like he’s a spring chicken any more. Doesn’t he deserve quietitude and gratitude, rather than further demands?

    Wishful thinking led us to Barr. Libertarians need to get real. After thirty years of speaking for the LP, Ruwart richly deserved her shot, but was turned away. In 2012, we’re going to get yet another wishful-thinking selection, unless some attitudes change.

    BTW, Elder has made clear that he has a lot of differences with the LP. Here’s a few in this article.. There are lots more areas where he disagrees with the LP; enough so I’ve heard at least one reformer say he shouldn’t be considered a libertarian.

    Tom Palmer — I haven’t read enough of his work to know whether I could support him for the presidential nod. Is he even interested? Since his buddies at CATO are all deeply wedded to the Republican Party, I’d say him running for the L nomination would be a long shot.

    On another subthread, Beck might say he’s becoming more of a libertarian, but once again Libertarians need to ignore such empty hype and actually listen to the conservative mouthpiece for a while. I do. Mostly just for the entertainment value. For example I thoroughly enjoyed his video clip of that woman in the Obama administration who cited mass murderer and thief Mao TseTse-Fly-Tongue as one of her philosophical heroes.

    I know, I know — “Don’t all Obamanoids worship mass murderers like Che, Pol Pot, and Mao?”

  61. Robert Capozzi

    mm, I’m not sure how you’re getting that CATO is “deeply wedded” to the GOP. They were promoting the “libertaltarian” thing, Tim Penny, etc.

    LvMI, OTOH, seems MUCH closer to partisan Rs. Ron Paul, Rand Paul, Peter Schiff….

    You’ve left us hanging, btw, on what you mean by “get real.” For all its flaws, the Barr campaign was the “real-est” since Clark, and probably a LOT more real.

  62. Marc Montoni

    For all its flaws, the Barr campaign was the “real-est” since Clark, and probably a LOT more real.

    ROFL!! I had no idea you were a comedian.

    That’s almost as good as the one liner in Denver about how it was going to be a $20 million campaign.

  63. Robert Capozzi

    mm, glad to’ve brought a smile to your face.

    OK, which L prez campaign did you find “real,” and why?

    btw, I think Beck makes a good point: If the Obama Administration’s Communications Director cites Mao as a hero, that’s deeply concerning and really, really poor judgment. Admiration for zealots of any kind, but especially mass murderers, by someone in the West Wing is unfathomable.

  64. paulie

    Welcome to Orwell’s world

    John Pilger | New Statesman | 12.31.2009

    In Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell described a superstate, Oceania, whose language of war inverted lies that “passed into history and became truth. ‘Who controls the past,’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past’.”

    Barack Obama is the leader of a contemporary Oceania. In two speeches at the close of the decade, the Nobel Peace Prize-winner affirmed that peace was no longer peace, but rather a permanent war that “extends well beyond Afghanistan and Pakistan” to “disorderly regions, failed states, diffuse enemies”. He called this “global security” and invited our gratitude. To the people of Afghanistan, which the US has invaded and occupied, he said wittily: “We have no interest in occupying your country.”

    In Oceania, truth and lies are indivisible. According to Obama, the American attack on Afghanistan in 2001 was authorised by the United Nations Security Council. There was no UN authority. He said that “the world” supported the invasion in the wake of the 11 September 2001 attacks. In truth, all but three of 37 countries surveyed by Gallup expressed overwhelming opposition. He said that America invaded Afghanistan “only after the Taliban refused to turn over Osama Bin Laden”. In 2001, the Taliban tried three times to hand over Bin Laden for trial, Pakistan’s military regime reported, and they were ignored.
    “Hearts and minds”

    Even Obama’s mystification of the 9/11 attacks as justification for his war is false. More than two months before the twin towers were attacked, the former Pakistani diplomat Niaz Naik was told by the Bush administration that a US military assault would take place by mid-October. The Taliban regime in Kabul, which the Clinton administration had secretly supported, was no longer regarded as “stable” enough to ensure US control over oil and gas pipelines to the Caspian Sea. It had to go.

    Obama’s most audacious lie is that Afghanistan today is a “safe haven” for al-Qaeda’s attacks on the west. His own national security adviser, James Jones, said in October that there were “fewer than 100” al-Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan. According to US intelligence, 90 per cent of the Taliban are hardly Taliban at all, but “a tribal localised insurgency [who] see themselves as opposing the US because it is an occupying power”. The war is a fraud. Only the terminally gormless remain true to the Obama brand of “world peace”.

    Beneath the surface, however, there is serious purpose. Under the disturbing General Stanley McChrystal, who gained distinction for his assassination squads in Iraq, the occupation of Afghanistan is a model for those “disorderly regions” of the world still beyond Oceania’s reach. This is known as Coin (counter- insurgency), and draws together the military, aid organisations, psychologists, anthropologists, the media and public relations hirelings. Covered in jargon about winning hearts and minds, it aims to incite civil war: Tajiks and Uzbeks against Pashtuns.

    The Americans did this in Iraq and destroyed a multi-ethnic society. They built walls between communities which had once intermarried, ethnically cleansing the Sunnis and driving millions out of the country. Embedded media reported this as “peace”; American academics bought by Washington and “security experts” briefed by the Pentagon appeared on the BBC to spread the good news. As in Nineteen Eighty-Four, the opposite was true.

    Something similar is planned for Afghanistan. People are to be forced into “target areas” controlled by warlords, bankrolled by the CIA and the opium trade. That these warlords are barbaric is irrelevant. “We can live with that,” a Clinton-era diplomat once said of the return of oppressive sharia law in a “stable”, Taliban-run Afghanistan. Favoured western relief agencies, engineers and agricultural specialists will attend to the “humanitarian crisis” and so “secure” the subjugated tribal lands.

    That is the theory. It worked after a fashion in Yugoslavia, where ethnic-sectarian partition wiped out a once-peaceful society, but it failed in Vietnam, where the CIA’s “Strategic Hamlet Program” was designed to corral and divide the southern population and so defeat the Vietcong – the Americans’ catch-all term for the resistance, similar to “Taliban”.

    Behind much of this are the Israelis, who have long advised the Americans in both the Iraq and the Afghanistan adventures. Ethnic cleansing, wall-building, checkpoints, collective punishment and constant surveillance – these are claimed as Israeli innovations that have succeeded in stealing most of Palestine from its native people. And yet, for all their suffering, the Palestinians have not been divided irrevocably and they endure as a nation against all odds.
    Imperial cemeteries

    The most telling forerunners of the Obama Plan, which the Nobel Peace Prize-winner and his general and his PR men prefer we forget, are those that failed in Afghanistan itself. The British in the 19th century and the Soviets in the 20th century attempted to conquer that wild country by ethnic cleansing and were seen off, though after terrible bloodshed. Imperial cemeteries are their memorials. People power, sometimes baffling, often heroic, remains the seed beneath the snow, and invaders fear it.

    “It was curious,” wrote Orwell in Nineteen Eighty-Four, “to think that the sky was the same for everybody, in Eurasia or Eastasia as well as here. And the people under the sky were also very much the same – everywhere, all over the world . . . people ignorant of one another’s existence, held apart by walls of hatred and lies, and yet almost exactly the same – people who . . . were storing up in their hearts and bellies and muscles the power that would one day overturn the world.”

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