Libertarian Party Survey on Proposed 2010 Platform Changes

The Libertarian Party is running a survey at www.lp.org/platformsurvey, asking members whether they support or oppose the 24 Platform Committee recommendations adopted at the PlatCom’s December meeting.  Here is the text of the survey:

The Libertarian Party Platform Committee’s job is to recommend changes to the platform, to be voted on by the delegates to our national convention.

Two years ago, based on survey feedback by thousands of you, the 2008 Platform Committee learned what type of platform you wanted. This critically important feedback helped us construct proposals to successfully rebuild our party platform in a new style – short, bold and outwardly focused, yet still in keeping with our core values.

Thanks to your input, the 2008 convention delegates were able to accomplish an amazing feat, getting the 2/3rds agreement necessary to rebuild a complete platform in a single convention day.

With the 2010 convention just around the corner, our convention delegates will soon be voting on improvements to the platform. This time the Platform Committee is focused more on polishing existing language, rather than venturing into new territory.

The 2010 Platform Committee met last month and adopted a series of 24 recommendations. By completing this new survey you will be able to share with us your thoughts on our recommendations, many of which were inspired by written comments received on the 2008 survey.

Your responses will be very helpful. If you identify important factors we overlooked, or if you can think of improvements for the proposals, the Committee will have an opportunity to modify our report when we meet again in St. Louis just before the convention in May.

Thank you for taking a few minutes to participate in the process by completing this survey which allows you to show support/opposition for each recommendation as well as an opportunity to provide comments on each.

Alicia Mattson
Platform Committee Chair

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NOTES ABOUT THE SURVEY SOFTWARE: As a measure to prevent abuse of the online survey, at the end you will be asked provide a valid email address to which we can send a confirmation code. For reasons not always evident to us, sometimes due to spam filters, sometimes not, some people are not receiving the confirmation codes. If you do receive it, please use it to confirm your valid email address for us. If you do not receive it, don’t worry…your survey answers ARE still saved, and your time was not wasted. The software merely files your record in a category for manual review to make sure the system isn’t being abused before those records are added to the survey results.

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LEGEND: Unchanged existing language – language to be addedlanguage to be deleted

Recommendation 1 of 24

Plank 1.0 – Personal Liberty

Purpose:
This amendment improves readability, protects our candidates from accusations on many subjects where we make no distinction between young children and adults, and removes the discussion of foreign affairs policy from a plank regarding Personal Liberty. Note that the non-initiation-of-force concept is already addressed in the 3.0 Securing Liberty plank.

——————————START OF PROPOSAL——————————

1.0 Personal Liberty
Individuals should be free to make choices for themselves and to accept responsibility for the consequences of the choices they make. No individual, group, or government may initiate force against any other individual, group, or government. Our support of an individual’s right to make choices in life does not mean that we necessarily approve or disapprove of those choices.
Libertarians recognize individual self-ownership and the right to make personal choices. Our support of an individual’s right to make choices does not mean that we necessarily approve or disapprove of those choices. With rights come responsibilities, and individuals must accept responsibility for the consequences of the choices they make. Unlike adults, children realize certain rights as they mature and develop the ability to understand and accept responsibility for the consequences of their actions. Government exists to protect the rights of every individual.

——————————-END OF PROPOSAL——————————-

Recommendation 2 of 24

Plank 1.1 – Expression and Communication

Purpose:
This is the first of two proposed changes to the 1.1 Expression and Communication plank.

The existing language focuses on only some aspects of the First Amendment. This amendment incorporates other First Amendment issues.

——————————START OF PROPOSAL——————————

1.1 Expression and Communication
We support full freedom of expression and assembly, and to petition for redress of grievances. We oppose government censorship, regulation or control of communications media and technology. We favor the freedom to engage in or abstain from any religious activities that do not violate the rights of others. We oppose government actions which either aid or attack any religion.

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Recommendation 3 of 24

Plank 1.1 – Expression and Communication

Purpose:
This is the second of two proposed changes to the 1.1 Expression and Communication plank.

This edit improves the readability of the plank, without changing its basic meaning. Also, some of the existing language (e.g. “aid” and “attack”) comes across as either vague or strident.

——————————START OF PROPOSAL——————————

1.1 Expression and Communication
We support full freedom of expression and oppose government censorship, regulation or control of communications media and technology. We favor the freedom to engage in or abstain from any religious activities that do not violate the rights of others. We oppose government actions which either aid supporting, subsidizing, or attack impeding any religion and favor the freedom to engage in or abstain from any religious activities that do not violate the rights of others.

——————————-END OF PROPOSAL——————————-

Recommendation 4 of 24

Plank 1.2 – Personal Privacy

Purpose:
This is the first of three proposed changes to the 1.2 Personal Privacy plank.

This proposal arose from concerns that the existing language implies our rights aren’t inherent, but rather exist because of their enumeration in the Bill of Rights.

——————————START OF PROPOSAL——————————

1.2 Personal Privacy
We support the protections provided rights recognized by the Fourth Amendment to be secure in our persons, homes, and property. Only actions that infringe on the rights of others can properly be termed crimes. We favor the repeal of all laws creating “crimes” without victims, such as the use of drugs for medicinal or recreational purposes.

——————————-END OF PROPOSAL——————————-

Recommendation 5 of 24

Plank 1.2 – Personal Privacy

Purpose:
This is the second of three proposed changes to the 1.2 Personal Privacy plank.

This proposal would add more direct coverage of some contemporary concerns, such as the Patriot Act. Recently we have also seen government require third parties, such as banks and retailers, to report certain personal information about us. If the government succeeds in creating single-payer healthcare, all of our medical records will belong to the government.

——————————START OF PROPOSAL——————————

1.2 Personal Privacy
We Libertarians support the rights recognized by the Fourth Amendment to be secure in our persons, homes, and property. Protection from unreasonable search and seizure should include records held by third parties, such as email, medical, and library records. Only actions that infringe on the rights of others can properly be termed crimes. We favor the repeal of all laws creating “crimes” without victims, such as the use of drugs for medicinal or recreational purposes.

——————————-END OF PROPOSAL——————————-

Recommendation 6 of 24

Plank 1.2 – Personal Privacy

Purpose:
This is the third of three proposed changes to the 1.2 Personal Privacy plank.

There are many victimless crimes, but this plank highlights only the most controversial one. The next proposal below adds this exact phrase to the 1.5 Crime and Justice plank, where more readers are likely to look for our stance on the War on Drugs.

——————————START OF PROPOSAL——————————

1.2 Personal Privacy
We support the protections provided by the Fourth Amendment to be secure in our persons, homes, and property. Only actions that infringe on the rights of others can properly be termed crimes. We favor the repeal of all laws creating “crimes” without victims, such as the use of drugs for medicinal or recreational purposes.

——————————-END OF PROPOSAL——————————-

Recommendation 7 of 24

Plank 1.5 – Crime and Justice

Purpose:
This proposal completes the move of this language from the 1.2 Personal Privacy plank to the 1.5 Crime and Justice Plank, where more readers are likely to look for our stance on the War on Drugs.

——————————START OF PROPOSAL——————————

1.5 Crime and Justice
Government exists to protect the rights of every individual including life, liberty and property. Criminal laws should be limited to violation of the rights of others through force or fraud, or deliberate actions that place others involuntarily at significant risk of harm. Individuals retain the right to voluntarily assume risk of harm to themselves, such as the use of drugs for medicinal or recreational purposes. We support restitution of the victim to the fullest degree possible at the expense of the criminal or the negligent wrongdoer. We oppose reduction of constitutional safeguards of the rights of the criminally accused. The rights of due process, a speedy trial, legal counsel, trial by jury, and the legal presumption of innocence until proven guilty, must not be denied. We assert the common-law right of juries to judge not only the facts but also the justice of the law.

——————————-END OF PROPOSAL——————————-

Recommendation 8 of 24

Plank 1.3 – Personal Relationships

Purpose:
This proposal improves the readability of the first sentence, and it makes a change to refer to government’s treatment of individuals, since the government does not grant our rights. The opportunity was also taken to reorder the sentences to conclude the plank with a positive statement.

——————————START OF PROPOSAL——————————

1.3 Personal Relationships
Sexual orientation, preference, gender, or gender identity should have no impact on the government’s treatment rights of individuals by government, such as in current marriage, child custody, adoption, immigration or military service laws. Government does not have the authority to define, license or restrict personal relationships. Consenting adults should be free to choose their own sexual practices and personal relationships. Government does not have the authority to define, license or restrict personal relationships.

——————————-END OF PROPOSAL——————————-

Recommendation 9 of 24

Plank 1.6 – Self-Defense

Purpose:
This is the first of two proposed changes to the 1.6 Self-Defense plank.

The committee believes that the strength of the language is improved by making reference to the constitutional recognition of this individual right.

——————————START OF PROPOSAL——————————

1.6 Self-Defense
The only legitimate use of force is in defense of individual rights — life, liberty, and justly acquired property — against aggression. This right inheres in the individual, who may agree to be aided by any other individual or group. We affirm the individual right recognized by the Second Amendment to keep and bear arms, and oppose the prosecution of individuals for exercising their rights of self-defense. We oppose all laws at any level of government requiring registration of, or restricting, the ownership, manufacture, or transfer or sale of firearms or ammunition.

——————————-END OF PROPOSAL——————————-

Recommendation 10 of 24

Plank 1.6 – Self-Defense

Purpose:
This is the second of two proposed changes to the 1.6 Self-Defense plank.

The existing plank already deals with infringements on our rights to own firearms, but many states are also experiencing controversies over laws that tell certain business owners (e.g. privately-owned sports stadiums) they either must permit firearms on their property, or in other cases (e.g. restaurants serving alcohol) that they must prohibit firearms on their property.

——————————START OF PROPOSAL——————————

1.6 Self-Defense
The only legitimate use of force is in defense of individual rights — life, liberty, and justly acquired property — against aggression. This right inheres in the individual, who may agree to be aided by any other individual or group. We Libertarians affirm the right to keep and bear arms, and oppose the prosecution of individuals for exercising their rights of self-defense. We oppose all laws at any level of government requiring registration of, or restricting, the ownership, manufacture, or transfer or sale of firearms or ammunition. Private property owners should be free to establish their own conditions regarding the possession or use of personal defense weapons on their own property.

——————————-END OF PROPOSAL——————————-

Recommendation 11 of 24

Plank 2.0 – Economic Liberty

Purpose:
The existing plank language describes the desired policies, but this proposal would add focus on the benefits derived from the policies, emphasizing that our solutions will improve people’s lives.

——————————START OF PROPOSAL——————————

2.0 Economic Liberty
Libertarians want all members of society to have abundant opportunities to achieve economic success. A free and competitive market allocates resources in the most efficient manner. Each person has the right to offer goods and services to others on the free market. The only proper role of government in the economic realm is to protect property rights, adjudicate disputes, and provide a legal framework in which voluntary trade is protected. All efforts by government to redistribute wealth, or to control or manage trade, are improper in a free society.

——————————-END OF PROPOSAL——————————-

Recommendation 12 of 24

Plank 2.2 – Environment

Purpose:
The existing plank language dedicates too much space to stating platitudes rather than recommending policy.

——————————START OF PROPOSAL——————————

2.2 Environment
We support a clean and healthy environment and sensible use of our natural resources. Private landowners and conservation groups have a vested interest in maintaining natural resources. Pollution and misuse of resources cause damage to our ecosystem. Governments, unlike private businesses, are unaccountable for such damage done to our environment and have a terrible track record when it comes to environmental protection. Protecting the environment requires a clear definition and enforcement of individual rights in resources like land, water, air, and wildlife. Free markets and property rights stimulate the technological innovations and behavioral changes required to protect our environment and ecosystems. We realize that our planet’s climate is constantly changing, but environmental advocacytes and social pressure are the most effective means of changing public behavior.

——————————-END OF PROPOSAL——————————-

Recommendation 13 of 24

Plank 2.3 – Energy and Resources

Purpose:
The 2008 Platform Committee proposed this existing language “recycled” from older platforms as a placeholder, but knew it was inadequate and expected a future committee would revisit it. This proposal would add language for a free-market policy and show that we share the reader’s concerns.

——————————START OF PROPOSAL——————————

2.3 Energy and Resources
While energy is needed to fuel a modern society, government should not be subsidizing any particular form of energy. We oppose all government control of energy pricing, allocation, and production.
Energy is needed to fuel a modern capitalistic society. Government should not be subsidizing any form of energy. Energy sources need to compete in an open and free market, which rewards new technological advances. Our current dependence on carbon-based fuel has led to our involvement in wars throughout the globe, threatened our national security, increased pollution, and diverted money that could be spent on finding new clean alternative energy options.

——————————-END OF PROPOSAL——————————-

Recommendation 14 of 24

Plank 2.5 – Money and Financial Markets

Purpose:
The existing language bred confusion and concern among readers, as stated in some previous survey comments (e.g. “Does this mean we could pay our taxes in chickens?”). This proposal extracts some confusing language and clarifies the remnant.

——————————START OF PROPOSAL——————————

2.5 Money and Financial Markets
We favor free-market banking, with unrestricted competition among banks and depository institutions of all types. Individuals engaged in voluntary exchange should be free to use as money any mutually agreeable commodity or item. We support a halt to inflationary monetary policies, the repeal of legal tender laws and compulsory governmental units of account. and unconstitutional legal tender laws.

——————————-END OF PROPOSAL——————————-

Recommendation 15 of 24

Plank 2.8 – Education

Purpose:
This proposal improves the readability of the plank, which is somewhat stilted.

——————————START OF PROPOSAL——————————

2.8 Education
Education, like any other service, is best provided by the free market, achieving greater quality and efficiency with more diversity of choice. Schools should be managed locally to achieve greater accountability and parental involvement. Recognizing that the education of children is inextricably linked to moral values, therefore we would return authority to parents to determine the education of their children, w. Without interference from government. In particular, parents should have control of and responsibility for all funds expended for their children’s education.

——————————-END OF PROPOSAL——————————-

Recommendation 16 of 24

Plank 2.9 – Health Care

Purpose:
This is the first of two proposed changes to the 2.9 Health Care plank.

This proposal addresses a significant problem created by government interference in the health care markets. Under the tax code, there are advantages conferred to companies in providing tax-free health insurance benefit to employees, while it is not tax-free to individuals paying for their own health insurance. The consequence of this policy is people having non-portable insurance policies that terminate with their employment, leaving many individuals unable to obtain new insurance due to pre-existing conditions.

——————————START OF PROPOSAL——————————

2.9 Health Care
We favor restoring and reviving a free market health care system. We recognize the freedom of individuals to determine the level of health insurance they want, the level of health care they want, the care providers they want, the medicines and treatments they will use and all other aspects of their medical care, including end-of-life decisions. Individuals should not be penalized by health insurance related tax code inequities.

——————————-END OF PROPOSAL——————————-

Recommendation 17 of 24

Plank 2.9 – Health Care

Purpose:
This is the second of two proposed changes to the 2.9 Health Care plank.

This proposal addresses a significant factor in the high cost and availability of health insurance. Many states create regulatory regimes for insurance that prevent carriers from competing across state lines. Not only does the lack of competition increase the cost of insurance to policy holders, but because some states mandate coverage for what otherwise would not be an insurable event (e.g. drug treatment programs), policyholders in those states are forced to underwrite the cost of others’ bad choices, rather than having the option to pay only for the risk of catastrophic loss (e.g. cancer).

——————————START OF PROPOSAL——————————

2.9 Health Care
We favor restoring and reviving a free market health care system. We recognize the freedom of individuals to determine the level of health insurance they want, the level of health care they want, the care providers they want, the medicines and treatments they will use and all other aspects of their medical care, including end-of-life decisions. People should be free to purchase health insurance across state lines.

——————————-END OF PROPOSAL——————————-

Recommendation 18 of 24

Plank 2.10 – Retirement and Income Security

Purpose:
This is the first of two proposed changes to the 2.10 Retirement and Income Security plank.

The existing language scares some readers who fear an immediate end to Social Security would cruelly leave elderly and disabled people in dire circumstances after it was too late for them to make alternate plans for their future welfare. This proposal offers more flexible language to give our candidates the option of advocating a more incremental approach, making our message more palatable to older voters.

——————————START OF PROPOSAL——————————

2.10 Retirement and Income Security
Retirement planning is the responsibility of the individual, not the government. Libertarians favor replacing would phase out the current government-sponsored Social Security system and transition to with a private voluntary system. The proper and most effective source of help for the poor is the voluntary efforts of private groups and individuals.

——————————-END OF PROPOSAL——————————-

Recommendation 19 of 24

Plank 2.10 – Retirement and Income Security

Purpose:
This is the second of two proposed changes to the 2.10 Retirement and Income Security plank.

The existing language implies that our opposition to the welfare state is purely ideological. This proposal would clarify that our opposition to the welfare state is also because we care about helping those unable to help themselves.

——————————START OF PROPOSAL——————————

2.10 Retirement and Income Security
Retirement planning is the responsibility of the individual, not the government. We Libertarians favor replacing the current government-sponsored Social Security system with a private voluntary system. The proper and most effective source of help for the poor is the voluntary efforts of private groups and individuals. We believe members of society will become more charitable and civil society will be strengthened as government reduces its activity in this realm.

——————————-END OF PROPOSAL——————————-

Recommendation 20 of 24

Plank 3.1 – National Defense

Purpose:
The existing language is arguably ambiguous because it can be read: The United States should both abandon its attempts to… avoid entangling alliances. This proposal would reorder the sentence to improve readability.

——————————START OF PROPOSAL——————————

3.1 National Defense
We support the maintenance of a sufficient military to defend the United States against aggression. The United States should both avoid entangling alliances and abandon its attempts to act as policeman for the world and avoid entangling alliances. We oppose any form of compulsory national service.

——————————-END OF PROPOSAL——————————-

Recommendation 21 of 24

Plank 3.2 – Internal Security and Individual Rights

Purpose:
The existing language is not strictly true, in that both the Third Amendment and Fifth Amendment make exceptions for time of war. This proposal would correct the factual error.

——————————START OF PROPOSAL——————————

3.2 Internal Security and Individual Rights
The defense of the country requires that we have adequate intelligence to detect and to counter threats to domestic security. This requirement must not take priority over maintaining the civil liberties of our citizens. The Constitution and Bill of Rights shall not be suspended even during provides no exceptions for a time of war. Intelligence agencies that legitimately seek to preserve the security of the nation must be subject to oversight and transparency. We oppose the government’s use of secret classifications to keep from the public information that it should have, especially that which shows that the government has violated the law.

——————————-END OF PROPOSAL——————————-

Recommendation 22 of 24

Plank 3.4 – Free Trade and Migration

Purpose:
This is the first of two proposed changes to the 3.4 Free Trade and Migration plank.

This proposal merely clarifies that only credible threats should be considered for immigration restrictions.

——————————START OF PROPOSAL——————————

3.4 Free Trade and Migration
We support the removal of governmental impediments to free trade. Political freedom and escape from tyranny demand that individuals not be unreasonably constrained by government in the crossing of political boundaries. Economic freedom demands the unrestricted movement of human as well as financial capital across national borders. However, we support control over the entry into our country of foreign nationals who pose a credible threat to security, health or property.

——————————-END OF PROPOSAL——————————-

Recommendation 23 of 24

Plank 3.4 – Free Trade and Migration

Purpose:
This is the second of two proposed changes to the 3.4 Free Trade and Migration plank.

Many libertarians responding to a previous platform survey stated they could better support our existing immigration plank if the welfare state were first abolished. This proposal would better address this issue by stating we welcome immigrants who are seeking a better life, but not those doing so at taxpayer expense. It also removes an internal contradiction in the existing language, in that one sentence appears to advocate no restriction, while a later sentence does impose conditions on entry.

——————————START OF PROPOSAL——————————

3.4 Free Trade and Migration
We support the removal of governmental impediments to free trade. Political freedom and escape from tyranny demand that individuals not be unreasonably constrained by government in the crossing of political boundaries. Economic freedom demands the unrestricted movement of human as well as financial goods and capital across national borders. However, wWe support control over the prohibiting entry into our country of those foreign nationals who pose posing a credible threat to security, health or property. We invite those not requiring public assistance to come to our country to embrace the American dream.

——————————-END OF PROPOSAL——————————-

Recommendation 24 of 24

Plank 3.5 – Rights and Discrimination

Purpose:
The 2008 Platform Committee proposed this existing language “recycled” from older platforms to fill a gap in the platform, but it includes too many issues having little to do with Rights and Discrimination (private thoughts about bigotry, parenting decisions), and could even be read to mean that parents have a right to abuse their children. This proposed rewrite of the plank would focus on the stated subjects of the plank.

——————————START OF PROPOSAL——————————

3.5 Rights and Discrimination
We condemn bigotry as irrational and repugnant. Government should not deny or abridge any individual’s rights based on sex, wealth, race, color, creed, age, national origin, personal habits, political preference or sexual orientation. Parents, or other guardians, have the right to raise their children according to their own standards and beliefs.
Libertarians embrace the concept that humans are born with inherent rights. We reject the idea that a natural right can ever impose an obligation upon others to fulfill that “right.” Government should neither deny or abridge any individual’s right, nor create or enhance individual privileges, based upon sex, wealth, race, creed, age, national origin, personal habits, political preference or sexual orientation.

——————————-END OF PROPOSAL——————————-

63 thoughts on “Libertarian Party Survey on Proposed 2010 Platform Changes

  1. Michael Seebeck

    Survey is flawed. It needs a “no opinion” option.

    Like Duesgate, Mattson again shows poor design and planning. This won’t bode well for her track record for e-Voting at the convention.

  2. Brian Holtz

    Given that abstention is an option for delegates during the Platform debate, I agree that it should have been an option in the survey. Still, keep in mind that these reccomendations will each get an up-or-down no-amendment vote.

  3. Robert Capozzi

    ms, Mattson expresses the intention of this survey here:

    “If you identify important factors we overlooked, or if you can think of improvements for the proposals, the Committee will have an opportunity to modify our report when we meet again in St. Louis just before the convention in May.”

    If PlatComm is soliticiting feedback for tweaks, “no opinion” is of no use to the survey. No opinion is non-actionable by PlatComm. This isn’t a vote, near as I can tell.

  4. Kimberly Wilder

    I just skimmed this. But, did they entirely take out a statement against the use of force? Or, just change it in the Personal Liberty section.

    I definitely liked the crossed-off first version better.

  5. Mik Robertson

    The use of force is also discussed in the plank on self-defense, as well as being in the Statement of Principles associated with the platform. I don’t know that it needs to also be in the plank on personal liberty.

  6. Robert Capozzi

    If kw means this: “No individual, group, or government may initiate force against any other individual, group, or government,” then I certainly applaud its proposed deletion. Like many of these vestigial passages in the SoP and platform, it’s a nonsensical and false statement. In fact, force is initiated all over the place, so to say “no [one] MAY initiate force” is ridiculous. If this abstract point needs to be made yet again in the platform, it should probably say something like “The initiation of force is inappropriate and intolerable,” or for old-school Ls, “The initiation of force is immoral,” or something.

  7. Susan Hogarth

    As a member of the Committee, I believe that Alicia Mattson exceeded any reasonable mandate as chair of the Committee with this report/survey, especially in the following particulars:

    * Preparing a Committee report without asking for input, review, or approval from committee members. Such input and review could have easily been obtained by email or phone conference. A Committee Report – which this survey is called – should be the product of the Committee, not solely its Chair.

    * This report – as you can see – included more than just the recommendations, with ‘explanatory’ text being offered by Ms. Mattson herself for each proposal. This includes text even for those proposals she voted against in Committee. She could have easily asked supporters to provide the best explanation/rationale rather than relying on her own interpretation.

    * The report/survey was emailed to a list of people (members? previous convention attendees?) unknown to at least some of the Committee members. The first I heard of it, for instance, was when I received the link to the survey/report. Imagine my surprise when I realized I was responsible for a report I had nothing to do with.

    * The survey is flawed, as has been pointed out, by not having a ‘no opinion’ option – but even more grievously by the fact that one cannot proceed past any particular recommendation without making a choice. This precludes people from reviewing the entire set of changes before deciding which option they would like to choose (if any). Information about later changes may easily change one’s opinion about earlier choices.

    I was not on the Platform Committee for the previous term, but it is my understanding that similar issues were raised then.

  8. Robert Capozzi

    sh, your comment says “report/survey.” It’s labeled as a “survey.” If it said “report,” I’d be inclined to agree with your opinion, but it doesn’t.

    Is there some bylaw violation here I’m not aware of?

  9. Mik Robertson

    I think this adds to the transparency and openness of the process. Clearly these were changes that had been voted on the the committee, as Susan Hogarth indicates, so this is not coming solely from the chair.

    It looked to me like different changes to the same plank were presented together, so people could look at the entire thing before responding. There was also an option to include comments for each response.

    The comments introducing the changes I found to be superfluous and they did not influence my opinion of the proposals at all. There is also an opportunity for overall comments at the end of the survey, so any problems with previous choices could also be raised there.

    It is also clear that any report would be a draft at this point, as there will be a final meeting of the committee with an opportunity for revision of the report.

    I think the survey at this stage is a good thing, and provides an opportunity for input that you don’t see in a lot of other organizations. I think the best way to express no opinion would be to not take the survey.

  10. Michael H. Wilson

    Who is getting this survey? I did not see it posted of referenced on the national site. I would think it should be emailed to everyone who gets the Monday message for starters. Is it just a select group getting? Maybe I failed to read carefully and missed this point so don’t hesitate to let me know.

  11. Michael H. Wilson

    At the end it request some information. I find it annoying that I am asked what conventions I have attended. Unfortunately the company I worked with for a number of years had a sale starting during or just around the time of the convention and it was difficult to get away. So what bearing does this question have on the results of the survey? Why is it even being asked?

  12. John P. Slevin

    Good point Mike. Maybe I am stupid but from what I hear you asking maybe some others should have been consulted prior to sending out the survey?

    No one ever logically accuses Libertarians of living in or knowing the real world concerns with which the rest of us mere mortals must wrestle.

  13. John P. Slevin

    And, why the hell do they need to ask about convention attendance?

    IDIOTS might not take not of convention attendees…if they are that stupid don’t trust em with a buck.

  14. Austin Battenberg

    When discussing Plank 2.3 Energy and Resources I have a minor suggestion.

    At the end of the statement, it says, “Our current dependence on carbon-based fuel has led to our involvement in wars throughout the globe, threatened our national security, increased pollution, and diverted money that could be spent on finding new clean alternative energy options.”

    The problem is that it sounds like government money that is spent on war could be better spent on finding alternative energy options, and while I do agree with that, it assumes that the government should subsidize different energy options. I just think it needs to be phrased differently.

  15. Bruce Cohen

    This is just a petty urination match on the part of Susan Hogarth. [@9] Alicia is doing her job as best she can. ( I don’t know Alicia, I think I met her and shook hands with her a few times.)

    But, this is ideological on the part of Susan Hogarth, wanting to pick a fight with someone she disagrees with.

    There are ways I would have done the poll differently, and Susan would be well within her rights to call up Alicia and say, ‘hey, fellow Libertarian, how about this idea I have?’

    But accusing her of some kind of malevolent intent is laughable.

    Alicia isn’t that machiavellian.

    Sorry.

    This is a nasty little elbow in the ribs from someone using Alinsky tactics.

    Miss Mattson just wants to get some good poll data to learn what Members are thinking.

    If Susan or any other ‘radical’ has some serious ideas for a serious supplemental poll to give Alicia and the rest of our micro-world more and better data, how about you come up with one?

    I’ll personally ask Alicia to run it.
    And I bet she would.

    So back off on the nastiness.

    It’s almost as bad as it is in California.

    Bruce Cohen – on Suspension for being BAD.
    Bad in the LPCA

  16. Brian Holtz Post author

    What, an actual comment about Platform content? Since when do Libertarians care about substance over procedural wrangling?

    Good point, Austin. That, plus the shrill “wars throughout the globe” language, is why I’m betting this recommendation (which I opposed) won’t pass in its present form.

    Bob, the survey does say “Platform Committee Report 2010” at the top. Of course, the survey contains everything that so far constitutes the Report, so that’s not completely misleading. Note that the Bylaws say that the Chair “shall have up to two minutes to explain” each recommendation, so I don’t have a problem with Alicia including in the survey a preview of the remarks she would be making during the Platform debate.

    Mik, while it’s true that the recommendations are subject to reconsideration (which is the whole point of the survey), these are not merely draft recommendations. They are our current formal recommendations.

    Susan writes “Imagine my surprise when I realized I was responsible for a report I had nothing to do with.” It’s hard to have something to do with a report when you miss the meeting at which its payload — the 24 recommendations — were debated and voted on. 🙂 So where’s the beef? With which of Alicia’s explanatory remarks do you have a problem?

  17. Robert Capozzi

    BH, oh, thank you, yes, it DOES say “report” on the survey. I amend my view, SH. You’re correct, that’s a poor headline for that communication.

    I can’t imagine that any reader would get the impress that that communication is THE Platform Committee report, given the text and the survey format. Do you contend otherwise, Susan?

  18. Michael H. Wilson

    RC @ 17 you are spouting nothing but nonsense.

    It has no bearing on the survey if some has attended a convention before.

  19. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    You write:

    “Like many of these vestigial passages in the SoP and platform, it’s a nonsensical and false statement.”

    I was about to say the same thing about “Government exists to protect the rights of every individual” in Proposal 1.0. The next government which exists for that purpose will be the first.

  20. Robert Capozzi

    tk, it’d read truer for me if it said: “Government’s purpose should be to protect the rights of every individual.”

    Aspirational language is far more appropriate in this case.

    I can’t think of a case where government has truly done that, but then I’m not sure rights are protected in stateless territories, either. I’d say I have more rights protected in the US vs in Somalia, however.

  21. Robert Capozzi

    mhw, thanks for the feedback. It seems quite obvious to me that likely and frequent attendees are a valuable data point for Platcomm to consider. It’s certainly not the only consideration, I’d agree.

  22. Michael H. Wilson

    Instead of Somalia you might try this place. It sounds like an interesting start.

    “Soroland may not be a breakaway zone, but for seven years the inhabitants of this zone have got used to living without government taxes, customs charges and even water and electricity bills.”
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8446994.stm

  23. Morey

    @19
    Among your many problems is one of reading comprehension.

    Where did Susan accuse Alicia of Malevolence?

    She didn’t.

    You made it up.

    And then you go on at length to defend the character of someone you’re not even sure you’ve ever met.

    Alicia did the same thing last term. No other members were given the opportunity to review or make suggestions.

    Some complained. But it she doesn’t listen.

    And the pattern continues.

    Just like the baseless attacks of Bruce Cohen.

  24. Susan Hogarth

    “But accusing her of some kind of malevolent intent is laughable.”

    I didn’t accuse Alicia of ‘malevolent intent’. I assume her intent is the same as mine – to make the Libertarian Party a strong and successful voice for freedom. Your comments have the effect of creating a sense of discord where none exists.

    One of the duties of the Committee is to present a report to the Convention. Alicia prepared an interpretative Report without bothering to involve the Committee, which I think is a concern.

  25. Michael H. Wilson

    @ 28 I thought that is what I understood from the previous posts and is unfortunate. We need to get beyond this. It has been going on for way too many years.

  26. Brian Holtz Post author

    One of the duties of the Committee is to present a report to the Convention.

    The duty of the Committee is to “prepare a report containing its recommendations”. There is no requirement that the report contain anything other than the recommendations themselves. By contrast, there is the explicit requirement that “The Platform Committee Chair, or some other person designated by him or her, shall read the proposed recommendation and shall have up to two minutes to explain the recommendation.”

    The phrase “creating a sense of discord where none exists” broke my irony meter. That deafening silence you here is the sound of PlatCom members who were actually in the room in Vegas and are now accusing Alicia of writing inaccurate or tendentious explanations for any of our recommendations.

    These attacks on Alicia continue a pattern established back when there were still platform wars in the LP. I guess old habits die hard.

  27. Michael H. Wilson

    Well hopefully the replies will be shared with all the members of the committee.

  28. Mik Robertson

    @20 “Mik, while it’s true that the recommendations are subject to reconsideration (which is the whole point of the survey), these are not merely draft recommendations. They are our current formal recommendations.”

    Usually when a report is taking comments into consideration it is a draft report. If it was a final report then it would not change, so taking comments would be meaningless. While the recommendations may be formal, any report seems to still be subject to change, at least that is my reading of what was presented. It seems that the recommendations may be modified based on the comments received, or is that not the case?

  29. Austin Battenberg

    It is a shame to see so many people who consider themselves libertarians end up arguing over what I consider to be small problems. Instead of working together despite our differences towards reducing the size of government, we instead see people clash over minor details and it results in silly name calling and mud slinging. No wonder the major parties don’t take Libertarians seriously.

  30. Aroundtheblockafewtimes

    C’mon, Austin, have you ever attended a meeting of Young Republicans or a State GOP convention, or even a caucus of County committeemen? There are all manner of feuds, sniping, one-upmanship, paybacks, insults, etc. etc. The major parties don’t take Libertarians seriously for one reason – lack of votes. You really think “the public” gives a damn, or even hears, the crap that goes on in this blog??

  31. Austin Battenberg

    lol…you’re right. But the difference is, they have a much bigger tent then we do. Granted, there will always be people who disagree in any party, but because Democrats and Republicans have so much power and influence, ultimately it doesn’t matter.

    Granted, I agree that “the public” largely doesn’t give a damn, or hears the crap going on in this blog…but its what goes on in this blog, and others, that prevents us from increasing our numbers, and thus creates the situation were in where the LP doesn’t get any votes. So, sure, I would say that there is at least a little bit of an indirect role involved.

  32. wolfefan

    FWIW, I’m not a Libertarian although I have voted for some LP candidates in the past and might in the future. The level of discourse on this (and other blogs) does affect how I view the party and it’s prospective candidates.

    While I know that an LP win in a major office is unlikely in the near future, it could be possible with the right candidate and the right cirumstances. Based solely on this blog and the commenters here, would it look to an outsider like the LP is ready to govern if that happens?
    Each person can draw their own conclusions – my point is just to suggest that anything discussion a party chooses to conduct in public will affect the public’s perception of that party and it’s fitness to govern.

    The public at large doesn’t give a damn about intramural LP politics, nor GOP or Democratic politics. But when the intramurals do go public, then some part of the public will care – and that is likely to be the part of the public that is most open to your positions otherwise. IMO posters who are interested in getting votes for the LP would do well to keep that in mind before they make some sort of vulgar, name-calling, or barely articulate comment.

  33. Don Lake .......... More

    Austin Battenberg // Jan 12, 2010:
    ” …… but its what goes on in this blog that prevents us from increasing our numbers, and thus creates the situation were in where the _____ doesn’t get [us] any votes.”

    Lake: so you are saying that some times the sweat and good faith effort of loyal activists actually bounces back to hurt us as unintended consequences ?????

  34. Brian Holtz

    Wolfefan, this is not a “discussion [the LP] chooses to conduct in public”. This thread should not be confused with an LP-hosted discussion, any more than a radio sports-talk show should be confused with the actual game in question.

    The LP’s actual 2010 platform discussion started on our private PlatCom forum, went public at our meeting in Vegas, and is now accepting public comments via the survey above. It will wrap up with the platform debate at our 2010 convention in St. Louis.

    If our platform process sparks passionate public discussions like this, it may very well be because we in the “Party of Principle” are more passionate about our principles than other parties are. Indeed, we’re the only significant party formed expressly to promote and implement a Bylaws-protected Statement of Principles.

  35. wolfefan

    Hi Brian –

    Thanks for your thoughtful response. I guess I’m not being clear and I apologize for that. I don’t mean to be critical of the OP in any way, and I understand that this blog is not an official Party instrument. I think seeking feedback like this is a good thing.

    What I was trying to say was that a group of people, mostly LP members, are discussing something here, on this board, in public. As an outsider, I read and evaluate those party member’s comments as one way to determine whether the party as a whole or certain candidates in specific may get my vote.

    When a poster refers to all of those who disagree with him as pissants or un-American, to choose examples from other unrelated threads, that is something that I will factor into my evaluation of that particular poster’s maturity and judgment. If that person is later chosen for leadership in the LP or to be an LP candidate, that kind of comment will affect my evaluation of whether or not the poster (or the party) has the tempermant to serve. (I don’t have reference to anyone who is seeking any public office or office in the LP to my knowledge.) It’s also the same with any other political party, as we see now with Sen. Reid and many others over the years.

    This is exactly the same as sports radio. If someone from, say, the Nationals comes on to a sports talk radio show and says something that I find stupid or offensive, that’s something I will factor into what kind of support I offer that player or the team as a whole. I grew up with Marge Schott owning my favorite team – I got used to it! 🙂 I know that Marge Schott wasn’t all of baseball, but she was part of it. Likewise, posters here aren’t the official LP, but many of them are a part of it, and many appear to have leadership roles.

    I appreciate the passion that many LP members bring to the table. I have not seen nearly as many serious discussions of what it means to be a Democrat or a Republican as I have with regard to being a Libertarian. Passion is a good thing, and caring about your party is a good thing, and caring about liberty is a good thing. I hope the LP never loses that passion.

    Sorry for the long post!

  36. Mik Robertson

    It should also be remembered that even though there are a lot of LP members who post here, it is by no means representative of the general thinking or positions of those in the LP. This may be particularly the case when it comes to a discussion of the platform.

  37. Susan Hogarth

    “It is a shame to see so many people who consider themselves libertarians end up arguing over what I consider to be small problems.”

    People can argue vigorously while working toward the same goal. If they take things seriously, they WILL argue vigorously. Committees such as Platform, Bylaws, etc., and where such discussion belongs. *After* these discussions are settled is when we pull together.

  38. Susan Hogarth

    “With which of Alicia’s explanatory remarks do you have a problem?”

    I have a problem with her issuing a report with absolutely zero feedback from the Committee, absolutely zero indication that such a report would be issued by her (after I’d repeatedly asked), and absolutely zero idea of who got the report, who will tally the responses, and how they will be used.

  39. Robert Capozzi

    sh, noted, and your point certainly has merit.

    Of course, virtually none (or perhaps very few) of the current membership had any input on the 7/8ths protected SoP, either. Three-quarters of convention delegates tried to expunge some of the SoP’s loopiest language…oh well, we gave it a good-ole college try. I guess that’s the nature of nature of voluntary collectives…we accept what we can live with.

  40. Michael H. Wilson

    RC what does anything in that last little piece you wrote other than the first line have to do with the survey?

  41. Thomas L. Knapp

    “Of course, virtually none (or perhaps very few) of the current membership had any input on the 7/8ths protected SoP, either”

    Every last member of the LP has input on the SoP. They are free to consider its merits and amendability when deciding whether or not to join, as well as when considering whether or not to remain members, pay dues or contribute to the party. They’re free to attempt to amend it by the same rules that existed for amending it when they joined.

    By definition, anyone who’s in the LP either supports the SoP or is willing to live with it.

  42. Robert Capozzi

    mhw and tk, the relevance is that we all have to accept that there’s aspects of the LP and its administation that we won’t like, or even offensive. I for ex. for “cult of the omnipotent state” off-the-hook ridiculous and embarrassing. SH finds this Platform survey dysfunctional.

    There’s no getting around the fact that there will be things in the LP that someone will most likely object to in some form. Deal with it, I’d suggest.

    In 1980, Tom, I agreed that “cult of the omnipotent state” was insightful language, as I found most everything MNR wrote to be. I wasn’t aware of the 7/8ths protection, which, even then, I’d of disagree with Murray and Bill.

    By your logic, Tom: I suppose you could say that Susan agreed to Alicia’s survey, too, when Susan joined the LP, since there’s no *specific* prohibition against such a communication in the Bylaws.

  43. Thomas L. Knapp

    “By your logic, Tom: I suppose you could say that Susan agreed to Alicia’s survey, too, when Susan joined the LP, since there’s no *specific* prohibition against such a communication in the Bylaws.”

    I’m not sure what equivalence you’re fantasizing there. If it’s an application of “my logic,” it’s such a convoluted one that I can’t see it.

  44. Michael H. Wilson

    LG I see both sides of that issue but maybe we should focus our efforts on making political change and not put so much effort on changing a statement.

    Hell we have a government that is way out of bounds and it is going to costs us a great sum of money and people are spending time on the little stuff.

  45. Robert Capozzi

    tk, when we joined the LP, the SoP was in place and there was no prohibition against surveys of the membership. We’re living with both.

    Of the two, I’d say the SoP is actually damaging to the party’s prospects. The ability to survey members is neutral to positive. Yet, we soldier on….

  46. Brian Holtz Post author

    Michael, if the statement in question is silly enough, it can be an obstacle to “making political change”. If the SoP said “we want the letter X stricken from English as redundant”, or “bans on child pornography are like bans on drugs and prostitution — they don’t work”, then fixing it would be a top priority. The Cult statement is silly, but it’s not as silly as personal secession or other stuff that could be in there.

  47. Brian Holtz Post author

    They’re free to attempt to amend it by the same rules that existed for amending it when they joined.

    Not quite, as it depends on when they joined. The SoP was allowed to be changed by merely a 2/3 vote in 1974. That allowed the Rothbardians to remove the original SoP statements that

    * “the sole function of government is the protection of the rights of each individual”
    * “government has only one legitimate function, the protection of individual rights”

  48. Austin Battenberg

    Don @38 Well….maybe maybe not. Look, you guys have been posting here for a long time, you know how things work a lot more then myself, so it’s likely that what is said or done has no negative consequences. However, I’m sure that in life, no matter what you do, there is always unintendended consequences.

    Even though I’m a new poster, I’ve been visiting IPR for some time now because I am passionate about my libertarian beliefs and ALSO because I am passionate about dismantling the two party system. I enjoy reading peoples thoughts on issues and thoughts on how to get independents to win elections. I think it is all valuable to read and to learn. But not everything that is said is positive, and while there is nothing wrong with being in disagreement with someone else on policy, sometimes, there is a lot of hate. I think wolfefan hit the nail on the head when he said that “any discussion a party chooses to conduct in public will affect the public’s perception of that party and it’s fitness to govern.” (though Brian makes a great counter point as well)

    Susan @42 Your right, absolutly. But remember, after the 2008 platform was created there was still plenty of heated arguments AFTER the fact. Despite the fact that radical and moderate libertarians have similar goals of decreasing the size, scope, and power of government, because they have different ideas of HOW small, they never agree, get mad at the end result, don’t help campaign for candidates in the party and sit out yet another election.

    No matter what seems to be done or who is in charge, people get angry and don’t work together. I think this needs to change. This blog contains only a tiny smidgen of activists in the party, but I think it still encapsulates the many different views that many different people hold.

  49. LibertarianGirl

    well said Austin .

    the infighting renders us impotent and the duopoly of the Dems and GOP are laughing their asses off. as long as we are divided , we are conquered.

    If we are heading in the same direction cant we overlook the nuances??

  50. Bruce Cohen

    I took the poll.

    It’s been sitting in my in box a few days.

    It seemed pretty straightforward to me. There was a poll question about the changes the Committee suggested.

    It boiled down to: ‘do you like the old or the new language better?’

    They also had a comments field for every question if the ‘thumbs up or down’ format didn’t suit you exactly.

    Puhleeze.

    Nothing going on there Miss Susan H Troublemaker.

    Move along.

  51. Brian Holtz Post author

    Some LP radicals (*) did sit out the 2008 LP presidential campaign, but Susan wasn’t one of them. As far as I can tell, she worked hard on the Barr campaign.

    * Example: Tom Sipos, the then-editor of California Freedom, which is surely second only to LP News itself in terms of circulation, expense, and staff compensation — over $4K/yr for Sipos alone. He used the pages of CF to announce to LPCA dues-payers that he voted against the LP’s candidate.

    Example: Tom Knapp, who is asking LP convention delegates to choose him as their 2012 nominee. He says openly that he voted against their 2008 choice for nominee.

  52. Thomas L. Knapp

    Mr. Holtz,

    I did not “sit out” the 2008 LP presidential campaign.

    As an individual, I voted my conscience and am content with having done so.

    As a member of my county’s LP central committee, chair of that committee for the last three months of the campaign cycle, and an LP candidate for Congress, it’s very likely that I handed out, or hung on doors, as many or more Barr/Root brochures as anyone in my county or, for that matter, my state.

    Additionally, I ran my own congressional campaign with an eye toward heavy use of the Libertarian brand — yard signs, robocalls, print and online advertising, etc. — so as to hopefully benefit other candidates including Barr/Root.

    Regards,
    Tom Knapp

  53. Robert Capozzi

    bh 54, yes, personal secession WOULD be sillier were it contained in a document that represents a prescription for political change. Still, in theory, at least, I think it’s a grand idea in the form of nonarchy pods. I wouldn’t push for pods, but were I in Congress, for ex., I’d vote for it.

    For some reason, Ls seem to equate “principle” with “advocating obscure theory.” I shake my head ruefully when I see that. It takes all kinds, but the compulsion to display a kick-me sign seems pronouncedly dysfunctional, no?

  54. D Now

    The statist ROT in the U.S.A. is due to an evil combination of

    1. unequal ballot access laws
    2. minority rule gerrymanders — half the votes in half the gerrymander districts = about 25 percent minority rule
    3. partisan elected executive officers and judges
    4. major violations of separation of powers.

    Obvious remedies –
    1. equal ballot access laws.
    2. proportional representation — total votes / total seats
    = equal votes for each seat winner
    3. nonpartisan nominations and elections for all elected executive officers and all judges.
    4. abolish the veto — a carryover from the Dark Age and divine right of kings.

    Unfortunately the LP Bylaws have many of the above defects — result the nearly invisable LP since 1971.

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