Libertarian Party Founder David Nolan to seek seat on Libertarian National Committee

David F. Nolan, who was the prime instigator behind the formation of the Libertarian Party in 1971, has announced that he intends to seek an at-large seat on the Libertarian National Committee at the LP’s upcoming national convention in May.
The LNC is the party’s governing body, and consists of four officers, five at-large members, and nine regional representatives. Nolan was a member of the LNC (then known as the Executive Committee) in the party’s early days, but has not been on the LNC since the early 1980s.

When asked why he wants to return, Nolan said “The Libertarian Party has an unprecedented opportunity to tap into Americans’ dissatisfaction with big government and the two establishment parties – but we’re blowing it. Many members of the current LNC waste far too much time bickering over tiny details, engaging in personal feuds, and attempting to expel people they dislike or disagree with.

“Membership in the national LP is about 40% of what it was at its peak, ten years ago. Fundraising has dropped by more than two-thirds. Many of the people in leadership positions have become obsessed with short-term electoral victories, at the expense of adhering to libertarian principles. Advocates of compromise and concealment are increasingly shaping the party’s message.
“We need to reverse this trend, stand firm for our principles, and focus on rebuilding our membership. Our message of personal liberty is resonating with more Americans than ever before. Let’s take advantage of this opportunity.”

151 thoughts on “Libertarian Party Founder David Nolan to seek seat on Libertarian National Committee

  1. Steve LaBianca

    Going back to principles, huh . . . I guess that’s what was meant by “Libertarian Party – The Party of Principle”.

    David ought to know, since he’s been there since day one!

  2. Michael Seebeck

    This is wonderful news, and I’m most happy to be the first one up here to endorse David. When the Party’s founder is willing to step up and serve the organization he founded once again, that tells everyone just how important it is this year for the LP and the LNC to unify all our members under the banner of Liberty and make a difference, together. I look forward to the opportunity to serve with and work with David on the LNC.

  3. Kettle, meet Pot

    Who is David Nolan to scold others for engaging in bickering and personal feuds?

    He’s notorious for being publicly rude and personally insulting when he disagrees with someone in the party.

    He just wants a piece of the action…

  4. Rorschach

    Why shouldn’t he be rude? It’s almost literally HIS Party, and we’re just guests in it. He can cry if he wants to.

    I am greatly heartened by the news that he is taking an active position in the Party again. If anyone can get people to shape up and sit up straight and run the Party the way it’s supposed to be run, it’s David.

    Thank you for your willingness to serve, Sir, and best of luck in your campaign.

  5. Carolyn Marbry

    Yay! This is great news, and I enthusiastically support David Nolan in his run for at-large.

  6. D. Frank Robinson

    This is great news. I was with David almost at the beginning and Chair the CB&R Committee at the founding convention in Denver in 1972. Our committee threw David a curve by introducing the Statement of Principles and Judicial Committee into the rules to a convention with many disparate delegates focused on rhetorical sparing. With courtesy and determination David got the delegates to focus on ‘petty details’ of great long-term importance. Function sometimes follows form.

    David is great leader with a real grasp of human realities – people wanting to go into the same direction sometimes trample on one another to get there. David knows how to call a cadence that respects the rights and aspirations of all.

    I urge that we accept his contributions while we still can.

  7. Steve Kubby

    This is fantastic news! I’ve been begging David for awhile to run for a party position, simply because the LP has wandered so far from its principles and foundations. Now that he’s thrown his hat in the ring, it’s time for all of us to go to work to make sure he is elected.

  8. David Euchner

    If the convention elects David Nolan to an at-large seat, then there may still be a chance to salvage the national LP. For the last several years, the LP has engaged in nothing but petty bickering and has completely failed to take a leadership role in defining our party for the general public. The problem with our party’s current leadership has nothing to do with positions on the issues or the platform.

    We need an LNC that can unite the hardcore purists and the moderates. We’ve done that in Arizona for the last 7 years – disagreements are resolved amicably here. All it requires is people in leadership who have a purpose other than grinding axes and settling old scores. David can do that.

    I haven’t been active with the national LP for a few years now because of how disgraceful and embarrassing it has become. If the LNC is reconstituted with positive leaders like David, then I will definitely reconsider.

  9. Thomas L. Knapp

    I second Mr. Kubby’s opinion.

    I don’t always agree with David Nolan, but it would be hard to make a case that there’s anyone more qualified to serve on the LNC.

  10. Gary Chartier

    This is excellent news. Like Tom, I don’t always agree with Mr. Nolan. But I do regard his experience, expertise, institutional memory, and commitment to principle as of immense value to the LP.

  11. LibertarianGirl

    Awesome news!!! I love David Nolan , he did found the Party , if anyone challenges him Ill beat them up!!

    seriously though , if anyone knows the workings of the Party its this man . it would be silly not to vote for him.

    plus he’s charming and super funny and could give the LNC a desperately needed shot of PERSONALITY!
    vote for him or else!!!!!

  12. Brian Holtz

    I would like to know if Mr. Nolan disagrees with anything in the following draft St. Louis Accord.

    The Party’s purpose is to implement and give voice to the Statement of Principles by uniting voters who want more personal and economic liberty behind the electoral choices that will most move public policy in a libertarian direction. The Party’s ultimate goal is to banish force initiation and fraud from human relationships. The Party does not claim to know how close our society can come to this ideal, but we are united in our conviction that governments must never add to the amount of aggression in the world. Principled libertarians can disagree about how best to reduce aggression or even about precisely what constitutes aggression, but we are united in defending the full rights of each person to his body, labor, peaceful production, and voluntary exchanges. Principled libertarians can disagree about whether every function of government can be performed by the free market, but we are united in opposing government’s growth beyond the protection of the rights of every individual to her life, liberty and property. Principled libertarians can disagree about how best we may each serve the cause of freedom, but we are determined to build a Party that welcomes and unites all those who want more personal and economic liberty. We defenders of freedom are too few, and the enemies of freedom are too many, for us to indulge in seeking heretics in our midst, rather than awakening allies across this freedom-loving land.

  13. Gene Trosper

    Seeing as I am still a national LP member, I will chime in and say that a David Nolan candidacy is very much welcomed and I sincerely hope he is able to get a seat on the LNC.

  14. Aroundtheblockafewtimes

    Well, it is interesting to know The Nolan still finds the Party worth fighting for. Let’s not forget that Nolan has experience in the infighting for control: he was on the LNC during the tug of war between the Crane supporters and Rothbardians after the 1980 election. That Nolan came down on the side of the radicals in that fight, not the pragmatics, should be remembered. Some would say that purge/walkout condemned the LP to 30 years of irrelevancy as it refused to behave like a political party that wanted to win. Nolan, famously, thought winning was an afterthought. Perhaps he still does. Or maybe he agrees with the St. Louis Accord. If he sees “an unprecedented opportunity to tap into American’s dissatisfaction with big government”
    then he must realize that “the party of principle” can only tap that dissatisfaction if it hides or compromises certain principles that have always been a staple of the LP. For those who have been out and about in the Tea Party movement, it is obvious to us that tons of libertarian education is still necessary before any appreciable number of them will move our way when it comes to military intervention, drug legalization, abortion rights, gay rights, and other social liberty positions. Those dissatified with big government have a long way to travel before they become LP activists.

  15. Michael Seebeck

    BTW, to clarify, I am endorsing David as a national member and regional rep candidate, NOT as an LPCA Officer, nor should my endorsement be considered in any way to be an endorsement by the Officers or Executive Committee of LPCA, nor any other of its members. Gotta keep the hats straight, folks.

  16. Eric Dondero

    ATTENTION LIBERTARIAN PARTY FRIENDS!

    Do your Libertarian Republican buddies a big favor and recruit a decent candidate for Governor of California. Latest word, Meg Whitman is pissing off the entire rightwing of the Republican Party, dissing Palin, endorsing political correctness, even going fiscal moderate.

    Hard Rightists will have nobody to vote for come November in this race. The guy the LP already has running, some dude named Ogden, seems like a typical LP Losertarian candidate. Surely, you all can do better than him.

    If you do, bet you’ll get a whole shitload of disgruntled GOP support.

  17. Bruce Cohen

    Dale Ogden is a very smart and nice guy who gets along with everyone.

    He is successful in his business and respected in his field.

    He is a homeowner, has no criminal record, speaks well and smells good.

    I’m fine with that.

    Dale would literally make an excellent Governor.
    Not everyone is as telegenic as Art Olivier or Wayne Root.

    Because Dale is a bit more unassuming, he might just click with the audience.

    Dale is good.

    Dale Ogden – Libertarian for Governor
    Repeat after me until you are used to hearing it.

    But thanks for the advice over in Republican Texasland, Eric.

    I’ll give you credit when you’re right.
    Not this time, though, ’cause you’re not.

    Dale will be just fine as a place for a truckload of Republicans to go if their gruntles get dissed enough.

  18. Tom Blanton

    David Nolan says:

    When asked why he wants to return, Nolan said “The Libertarian Party has an unprecedented opportunity to tap into Americans’ dissatisfaction with big government and the two establishment parties – but we’re blowing it. Many members of the current LNC waste far too much time bickering over tiny details, engaging in personal feuds, and attempting to expel people they dislike or disagree with.

    “Membership in the national LP is about 40% of what it was at its peak, ten years ago. Fundraising has dropped by more than two-thirds. Many of the people in leadership positions have become obsessed with short-term electoral victories, at the expense of adhering to libertarian principles. Advocates of compromise and concealment are increasingly shaping the party’s message.
    “We need to reverse this trend, stand firm for our principles, and focus on rebuilding our membership. Our message of personal liberty is resonating with more Americans than ever before. Let’s take advantage of this opportunity.”

    I just thought a few of the folks around here could stand re-reading what he said there, especially this:

    “Many of the people in leadership positions have become obsessed with short-term electoral victories, at the expense of adhering to libertarian principles.”

    And this:

    “Advocates of compromise and concealment are increasingly shaping the party’s message.”

    Now, go back and read it again.

  19. Robert Capozzi

    Yes, liberty certainly has been compromised and concealed.

    The question is how to get it back? Sanctimoniously holding high the banner of extremism? Doesn’t seem to be working, we’d likely all agree, based on results.

  20. Rachel H

    YaY! :o)

    Having David Nolan run for party office is one of the best news stories this year.

    David, you have my whole-hearted endorsement.

    Thank you.

  21. Rachel H

    @3 Kettle, meet Pot // Feb 2, 2010 at 12:40 am

    “He just wants a piece of the action…”

    What “action”? The huge salaries, adulation of millions and gaggles of groupies?

    RIIIIIGHT.

  22. Robert Capozzi

    tk, I assume you are kidding. As someone who embraces you, Root, and even Lew Rockwell as Ls, I can’t say I’ve got a sanctimonious bone in my body. Anyone who’s a lessarchist is on my team.

    If I thought holding high “pure” theoretical L endpoints would be effective in rolling back the State, I’d be FOR IT as a strategy. My reading of history, strategy, and group psychology say otherwise, but — even now — I’m open to a compelling case for radical posturing as the best means to advance the case for liberty.

  23. Brian Holtz

    Bob, I think Tom is accusing you of sometimes arguing against a strawman. To the extent you complain about unilateral nuclear disarmament and selling babies, he has a point. The non-strawman banner of extremism that I see actually being waved consists instead of things like completely open borders, immediate non-enforcement of all tax laws, and personal secession.

  24. Robert Capozzi

    bh, it’s a fair point. I simply use those positions that SOME Ls take to illustrate the dysfunction of claiming that there is an absolute, principled position — a plumbline, in some circles — that define who is and who is not L.

    Nolan’s language is “[a]dvocates of compromise and concealment…”, yes? Fact is, politics is compromise, even L politics. Some Ls believe that the NAMBLA position is correct regarding children’s bodies. Most Ls don’t. Those who take the NAMBLA position “compromise” by remaining in the LP. Thankfully, most of them “conceal” their view.

    Those examples of compromise and concealment are both good things, from where I sit.

    I am checking Nolan’s premise, and unless he makes a stronger case, I’m unpersuaded. “Intransigence” may be a fine quality for one to have in one’s personal dealings, but clinging to an absolutist intransigent approach is a prescription for a party of one, which is highly unlikely to roll back the state.

  25. Robert Capozzi

    …it would of course be wonderful if Co-Founder Nolan throws his support behind the St. Louis Accord!

  26. Erik Geib

    RC,

    I doubt there are many people who view others’ opinions on things such as personal secession, NAMBLA, etc. as “absolute, principled position[s]” the party has to take. However, I think we can or should both agree that there are certainly lines to be drawn. As I’ve said in another thread, things like interventionist wars should certainly be among the lines drawn. ‘Lessarchy’ should be another. Undoubtedly, there are likely 3-5 or so lines we could draw that would leave plenty of room for people having varying views on topics such as abortion or styles of taxation (if any!).

  27. Thomas L. Knapp

    Brian writes:

    “I think Tom is accusing you of sometimes arguing against a strawman”

    That’s about the size of it.

    For example, after years of listening to Bob complain about “private nukes,” I finally recently wrote an article on the subject just so he wouldn’t be the only one talking about them.

  28. Michael H. Wilson

    Ya know I have never heard the private nukes argument. That might be fun but not know.

  29. Tom Blanton

    I’d like to hear someone make the case for how moderate absolutism has worked well for the libertarian movement. It certainly doesn’t seem to be getting LP candidates elected. In fact, it doesn’t get LP candidates 1% of the vote in national elections.

    And this is in a nation where half the population doesn’t vote.

    I’d say raging moderate extremism has failed as a political strategy.

    On the other hand, large numbers of the American people seem to be quite comfortable with the radical policies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Preventive wars, the assassinations of suspects, flagrantly ignoring the laws, treaties and the Constitution of the United States, massive debt, the payment of hundreds of billions of dollars to the Wall Street supporters of the regime, massive imprisonment of Americans – the list is endless.

    Calling for the immediate abolition of the federal government is far less radical than what has been going on in DC over the last 10 years.

    Of course, Bob would have to worry about his neighbors building nukes in their tool sheds and we don’t want that. After all, the government has been doing a wonderful job of preventing Bob’s neighbors from building nukes.

  30. Michael H. Wilson

    I notice that cybergremlins were at work when I wrote that little comment at 39. Got an unnecessary letter k in there some how. 🙁

  31. Robert Capozzi

    eg, re: “drawing lines,” I draw them, too. Mine is haters. I won’t support a hater (e.g., racist, sexist, homophobe) even if he or she is a lessarchist.

    The extreme examples I use are for illustration. My assessment is the same as yours…few NAMBLA L, although you may be surprised how many personal secessionists there are, including me! (though my support for that issue is very passive).

  32. Robert Capozzi

    tb: ..”moderate absolutism…”

    me: Haven’t I explained this to you, Tom? I happen to believe that a moderate L approach is indicated, but I’m certainly not absolutist about it. Under different circumstances, a more extreme approach might work.

    What I do object to is Ls having “purge parties,” saying this person or that person isn’t L because he or she takes X, Y or Z position. I’m offering a different perspective, that’s all. I, for ex., consider Lew Rockwell to be an L, despite his views of the King beating, which I:

    a) strongly disagree with.
    b) believe is bad positioning for L-ism.
    c) associates Ls with haters.

    I find it most unfortunate that all these years later he STILL refuses to disavow his words. And then there was NewsletterGate.

    People make mistakes. People change their minds. Adults recognize that, and are willing to forgive.

  33. Erik Geib

    RC @45,

    I think the passions on this issue cloud some of our assessments.

    While there may be some disagreement over how ‘libertarian’ Lew Rockwell is, it ultimately doesn’t matter much in party terms since he is neither running for the chairmanship or presidential nomination of the party.

    It is to my belief that a lot of the ‘reform’ crowd misappropriates hostility amongst ‘radicals’ towards people such as WAR because of their beliefs, not their ambitions. As I’ve said before, I have a much larger problem with WAR as a leader of the party than a member given that he’s not as strong on some issues as I’d like him to be and that his ‘conversion’ to libertarianism is fairly recent. Granted, I’ve never labeled myself a ‘radical,’ but I would probably consider myself ‘radical-friendly’ when it comes to these factioning terms within the LP.

    The compromise I’d like to see?

    Strong statements on certain issues in the LP platform that cannot be overturned (supposedly the function of the statement of principles) on issues such as war/interventionism, condemnation of discrimination, opposition to government growth, and respect for individual privacy/self-ownership. Basically, a minor clarification for practical purposes of the non-aggression principle and self-ownership in a few areas that nearly all libertarians can agree.

    That, and I don’t see the problem with anarcho-friendly language. Though I’m not an anarchist, it’s certainly easy enough to use such language without appearing ‘radical’ to ‘mainstream’ America. The first time I read Mary Ruwart’s book (Healing Our World), I had no idea she was as ‘radical’ as people say. In fact, it never even occurred to me that she never actually gave a role for government.

  34. Brian Holtz

    Erik, all those things are already in the Platform, and are in no danger of coming out.

    I wonder if Nolan considers it “concealment” when anarchists run stealth-anarchist campaigns and smuggle crypto-anarchism (viz., personal secession) into the Platform.

    We don’t need to un-conceal/de-cloak one particular school of libertarianism and bless it as a so-called plumbline. We just need to delineate the common ground shared by all principled Libertarians. If anyone doesn’t agree that the current Platform does an excellent job of that, I’d love to hear specific suggestions of how it could do it even better.

  35. Robert Capozzi

    I read Knapp’s essay. As a theoretical asymptotic anarchist, it seems to me HIS argument is the strawman. This:

    Not only does the existence of nuclear weapons not constitute an argument against the stateless society, precisely the opposite is true: Only states or state-privileged organizations are likely to command the resources to build nukes, or to have any motive to do so. Only states or those attacking states have any incentive to use nukes as instruments of warfare.

    sidesteps my view. I don’t argue against a stateless society, but I don’t advocate one unless and until I’m satisfied that a transition to one could be made that maintains a reasonable level of domestic tranquility, or is likely to be sustainable. There are more dysfunctional configurations than the force being initiated. Ending a state may or may not lead to a peaceful civil society; our one modern-day example (Somalia) hasn’t worked out too well. Assessing a political regime is not a one-dimensional, dualistic test, IMO. Given the choice of ending force initiation that leads to a Somalian state of affairs is not something I support.

    Some Ls seem to believe that the “test” of being an L is this one-dimensional test. I don’t buy it. More important, while people are entitled to their opinions and freedom of association, it seems awfully presumptuous to label OTHER people’s political philosophy. Who is the L Moses and where is his or her stone tablet, I ask?

    I don’t even buy, Btw, TK’s premise that nukes would only be used against states. If AQN, for ex., gets their hands on one and uses it, I’m not at all sure it would be directed at a “state,” per se, but rather against the “western world.”

  36. Robert Capozzi

    eg, yes, I consider both Rockwell and Root to be L. Both are very articulate, and I’d probably live with either as a candidate or in a leadership role. Both also have made statements that I wish they’d not, then, haven’t we all?!

    I’m told by a good source that Rockwell’s proximate cause for bolting the LP was over the children’s rights issue. On that one, I’d largely agree with Rockwell…having laws enforced by a State to protect kids against predators is something I’m aOK with, although I’m open to theoretical alternatives that go to the same place.

  37. Michael H. Wilson

    @ 45 RC writes; “What I do object to is Ls having “purge parties,” saying this person or that person isn’t L because he or she takes X, Y or Z position.”

    In reply I have seen more efforts by reformers to oust radicals than the other way around.

    And @ 48 RC ask; “Who is the L Moses and where is his or her stone tablet, I ask?”

    In reply: I can’t begin to answer that one specifically but we might ask ourselves what would happen if the LP started insisting that the government live up to the wording in the ninth amendment.

  38. Erik Geib

    RC @ 49,

    I suppose that’s the difference between us then. I view Rockwell as too much of a race-baiter (if not outright closet racist) and Root too much of a lot of things (too new to the cause, too much of a self-promoter, too mild on some issues that most libertarians are strong on) to be a leader. Many people perceive organizations based on their leaders, because leaders are seen as the face of said organization. This is particularly true when organizations aren’t widely known (such as ours). Having either of those men in positions of leadership inside the LP puts the party in a pretty damning position with a lot of people.

    Also, I’ve stated before that it’s better to be principled than pragmatic, and I hardly consider WAR to be very principled. If one’s going to put ‘pragmatism’ into the political debate, perhaps they should first consider that the true ‘pragmatism’ voters practice is in falling for the traps of plurality voting. No moderate or ‘pragmatic’ qualities from an LP leader are going to attract many votes given the ‘pragmatic’ tendencies of voters.

  39. Erik Geib

    BH @ 47,

    BH: “We don’t need to un-conceal/de-cloak one particular school of libertarianism and bless it as a so-called plumbline. We just need to delineate the common ground shared by all principled Libertarians. If anyone doesn’t agree that the current Platform does an excellent job of that, I’d love to hear specific suggestions of how it could do it even better.”

    Response: And what is this common ground, and how do you define it? As long as there are pro-war ‘libertarians’ like Cohen and Dondero running around, I’m uncomfortable with the vague and ambiguous terminology you promote. I still insist there must be clear lines on some issues. This is not to say we have to have a viewpoint on everything, but there are likely 3-5 issues we must take very strong stances on.

    BH: “Erik, all those things are already in the Platform, and are in no danger of coming out.”

    Response: I’m aware that they’re in the platform, but the key words that I used were ” that cannot be overturned,” which is why I followed with “(supposedly the function of the statement of principles).” I think most libertarians would be a lot more at peace concerning all this in-fighting if the said 3-5 things we can all supposedly agree on (mostly) were more permanently untouchable. I also believe this would discourage conservatives and others from ‘infiltrating’ the party, or at the very least be a more effective tool in quieting paranoia about such things occurring. Non-debatable stands against things like war or social conservatism are likely to keep many schemers away.

  40. Brian Holtz

    what is this common ground, and how do you define it?

    Erik, as I already said: the current Platform does an excellent job of delineating the common ground shared by all principled Libertarians.

    It would be weird to have a Party position “that cannot be overturned” — even by a unanimous vote of the membership. The only thing that can protect the LP’s stated principles is its membership, working through the Party’s processes for declaring its principles.

    Again: if you have actual language for “non-debatable stands against things like war or social conservatism”, let’s hear it. I’m still waiting to hear how it would be different from the current Platform.

    And if you’re just saying you want to modify the SoP to include more of what’s already in the Platform, well, somebody with your cannot-be-overturned idea already got there first. 🙂

    If you don’t want to get specific, then I will. Should the LP Statement of Principles include language that would have ruled out the LNC’s Oct. 2001 statement of qualified support for the U.S. attack on the Taliban? It said:

    While the Libertarian Party has been a consistent voice against reckless foreign interventionism by the U.S. government, we support action against the perpetrators responsible for the terrorist attacks. The vicious and barbaric attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, which bin Laden allegedly masterminded, cost 5,000 innocent Americans their lives. Such horrific crimes cannot go unpunished.

    A fundamental role of the United States government, as defined in the U.S. Constitution, is to protect American citizens against foreign attack. Therefore, it is proper for the government to take forceful action against terrorists who have already killed thousands of Americans, and who have threatened to kill more. Such criminals must be rooted out and destroyed before more innocent people die. Their training camps and weapons must be eliminated. Their supply infrastructure must be shattered.

    At the same time, the United States’ response must be appropriate and measured. Every precaution must be taken to minimize injury or death to innocent civilians and non-combatants — in Afghanistan and in other nations. To do otherwise is not only a violation of America’s ideals, it would also create future enemies for our nation and continue the cycle of violence and revenge.

  41. Gary Chartier

    Brian @53: my bias is that terrorists are criminals and can be dealt with using the existing criminal justice infrastructure here and elsewhere. As a first step, I’d favor a provision calling for the use of USG military forces for defensive purposes only and only within the USG’s territory. That draws a bright line–certainly not as narrow as I’d prefer, but narrow enough to prevent lots of abuses.

  42. Gary Chartier

    To be clear: I emphatically do not mean that, if you don’t agree with me on this point you’re not a libertarian or a Libertarian. Feel free to think I’m silly. Feel free to challenge me bluntly and directly. That’s what a healthy party looks like. I just believe that the worse thing the state does, by an order of magnitude or more, is to engage in warfare, and that opposing the state power on display and the state violence deployed in warfare is the most crucial kind of opposition to state power there can be and the clearest expression of basic libertarian principles imaginable. I’d like to see official party documents reflect that.

  43. Brian Holtz

    It strikes me as simply bizarre to say that “the clearest expression of basic libertarian principles imaginable” is for the U.S. military to officially declare the rest of the planet a safe haven for those who plan or execute military-style attacks on America(ns).

    The LP and its Platform are already very anti-interventionist. To insist that they be even more so is small-tent, litmus-testing sectarianism.

    The clearest expression of libertarian principles is the first sentence of the first plank of the LP Platform: “Individuals should be free to make choices for themselves and to accept responsibility for the consequences of the choices they make.”

    Once again, a conversation about general Libertarian principle and strategy is about to be hijacked by “anti-war” litmus-testers. Oh well, at least you guys have now been mostly paper-trained into denying that what you’re doing is litmus-testing… 🙂

    Theory and argument aside, the political reality is that a plurality of NatCon delegates would support/defend the resolution that the LNC adopted in Oct 2001. Do you “anti-war” types really think that you’re about to stumble upon the magic arguments that will persuade the many LP activists who have disagreed with you for so long on this subject? If you’re really serious about making the LP even more anti-interventionist than it already is, then go out and recruit people who agree with you, and do it faster than the recruiting that is being done by those of us who disagree with you. Don’t harangue us, and don’t tell us we shouldn’t recruit people to the LP who happen to disagree with you on this safe-haven question.

  44. Gary Chartier

    Brian, I went out of my way to say that this wasn’t a litmus test: any party with which I have anything to do is one in which you’re welcome.

    There are no libertarian sacred texts, and I don’t think quoting anyone settles an argument. But I think the point about the centrality of war to the state abuse which I tried to make in my earlier post is articulated very nicely here: “The libertarian position, generally, is to minimize State power as much as possible, down to zero, and isolationism is the full expression in foreign affairs of the domestic objective of whittling down State power. In other words, interventionism is the opposite of isolationism, and of course it goes on up to war, as the aggrandizement of State power crosses national boundaries into other States, pushing other people around etc. So this is the foreign counterpart of the domestic aggression against the internal population.”

    The entire interview is well worth reading.

    http://www.antiwar.com/orig/rothbard_on_war.html

    Bottom line: most wars are entered into for bad reasons. Wars involve taxation and, frequently, conscription on a grand scale. All parties in wars—especially modern ones conducted from the air—consistently and heedlessly violate the basic principle of noncombatant immunity. And wars (though they may also lead to some good consequences) lead to many awful consequences—vast destruction, hatred, fear, and the consolidation and growth of the state power.

    So: I think most (extraterritorial) wars should be opposed on the merits. And there’s very good reason to oppose even the tiny number of permissible ones, if there are any, because (a) they are likely to be pursued using unjust means and to lead to bad consequences and (b) a bright-line no-war rule is easier to operationalize, and following it makes it less likely that there will be precedential support for involvement in clearly awful and unjustifiable conflicts.

    Am I arguing this because I want to silence you? To keep you and anyone who agrees with you out of the conversation or out of the party? Of course not. I’m just trying to articulate my sense of why this matters so damned much, why there’s something deeply troubling about treating this issue as anything but central to the Libertarian message.

    Again: “central” doesn’t mean “designed to serve as a litmus test.”

  45. Robert Capozzi

    mhw 50, when I say “purge parties,” I am referring to the defining of some people as not-L. I don’t care if “reformers” or “radicals” do this, I do not support this behavior.

    As for actual purges, the only one I’m aware of was recently reversed in CA. There may have attempts at purging NatCom members, but the 2 I can think of were not supported by me.

    Please don’t engage in guilt by association, especially associations that don’t exist!

    As for the 9th Amendment, my feedback is it’s kinda (very) vague and most “radicals” I know don’t themselves refer to 9A, since they don’t support the Constitution itself. Most I know would prefer to abolish the Constitution and the State.

  46. Robert Capozzi

    eg 51, actually, we probably agree more than you think. Rockwell’s rhetoric — esp. on matters of race — make me very uncomfortable, so I’d prefer he NOT be an LP leader.

    My view of Root is that I prefer him as a pundit to a presidential candidate. Whether he’s the best option in 2012 remains to be seen. IMO.

  47. Spence

    @23 & @24

    Odgen’s website sucks. He has no appearances to speak of. I don’t think it’s gonna matter what the fuck he’s like if he doesn’t have some aid from the LP. Oh but right. They’d rather squabble their cash on the LNC.

  48. David F. Nolan

    @3 – Gee, a vague and unsubstantiated smear by an anonymous poster. I’m mortified. (NOT!)

    @18 – I see Holtz’s “Accord” as somewhere between harmless and pointless. It adds little or nothing to the mass of verbiage already in existence that covers what we are supposed to be about: the Statement of Principles, the Preamble to the Platform, and the all-generalities 2008 Platform. Sadly, the 2010 PlatCom report contains no specific stands on key issues of the day; it just tinkers with the already-vague language we adopted in 2008. I hope the delegates in St. Louis will vote to table this worthless report, and use the time that saves to adopt resolutions on specific policies, programs, agencies, etc.

  49. Lidia Seebeck

    Gary @54

    I as always appreciate your views and inputs. Would it be possible to add into your definition something about posse comitatus? I have been pretty concerned about the use of the military within our borders ever since Hurricane Katrina. As I know one of the families that was trapped by that hurricane and was roughed up by a military crew, I guess I get sensitive on the subject. Also it feels to me like a tabling of the 3rd Amendment to some extent.

  50. Gary Chartier

    Lidia, you’re too kind. My starting point is something like this:

    http://justwarriors.blogspot.com/2009/11/smedley-butler-amendment-for-peace.html

    But I think you’re very, very right to be concerned about posse comitatus. Any sensible statement about limits on the use of the military should certainly take the Third Amendment seriously and definitely place very strict limits on the use of the military within as well as outside the border. By objecting to uses outside US borders, I didn’t mean to imply approval of any of the abuses inside US borders to which you’ve rightly called attention–I strongly oppose them.

  51. Lidia Seebeck

    Not a bad starting point! Back in 1936 the military (mostly) respected the rights of the citizenry. (That would change just a few short years later) which may be why posse comitatus was not mentioned.
    Sigh the more things change, the more they stay the same. Thanks for the historical as well as the current perspective. I think as a nation we’ve yet to truly learn the lesson of how to have a good defense whilst not being an offense to the world.

  52. Gene Berkman

    I hope that Dave Nolan has come to understand that the Libertarian Party must build a foundation of local activism before it can challenge the big government bipartisans in a national election.

    The low vote totals people complain about, the fact that the media -after 38 years – does not take us seriously, the continuing burnout of activists and turnover in membership, is because we don’t have the resources or attractive candidates to run for President or even Senator in most cases, yet we insist on doing things we are not prepared for.

    People do care about wasting their vote, and slogans about “invest your vote, don’t waste it” don’t convince people who are not already convinced.

    Dave, show some leadership. That means looking at the resources that are available for libertarian political action, and figuring out what can be done. It does not mean trying to imitate the big parties that clearly have more resources than we do.

  53. Brian Holtz

    The principles in the 2008 Platform are indeed “general”, but they’re hardly “vague”. Which part of the following does anybody here not understand?

    Emphasis added, to show how much our Platform kicks ass. And the list above samples less than half the planks.

  54. David F. Nolan

    Gene @66 – As you know, I have long maintained that the LP spends too much time, effort and money on Presidential contests. Until and unless we get a real heavy-hitter as a candidate, we are not going to be even remotely competitive in the Presidential race. None of our past candidates or aspirants have had the name recognition or resources to compete seriously.

    As things stand, anyone who runs for President as a Libertarian does so because they want to promote themselves, or their book, movie, talk show ambitions, etc. That’s OK, but I want our candidate – whoever he or she is – to spread a LIBERTARIAN message, not some wimpy compromised version. Local races are about local issues, and advocating “baby steps” makes sense in those races. But there’s no point running for President and advocating Republican-style (or Democrat-style) policies.

  55. Brian Holtz

    Bylaw 12.4: “The National Committee shall respect the vote of the delegates at Nominating Conventions and provide full support for all nominees for President and Vice-President as long as their campaigns are conducted in accordance with the Platform of the Party.”

    The LNC should definitely yank support from any presidential nominee whose campaign disagrees with the Platform. LP members should not hesitate to quote Platform language at prospective presidential nominees and ask them whether their campaign would ever contradict it.

  56. David F. Nolan

    Brian @67 – You keep talking PAST me, and others on this list. As I said in Denver, the 2008 Platform is about 2/3 of a good platform. What it says is mostly fine, but it lacks SPECIFICS. We need to identify, by name, specific programs and agencies we’d eliminate: DEA, CIA, IRS, whatever. We need to specifically talk about Iraq, Afghanistan, the “Patriot” Act, etc., etc. The 2010 PlatCom Report does none of that, that I know of. It’s worthless.

    Nobody cares about the off-year platform of a third party. Rather than wasting time “fine tuning” the language of 2008, we should pass hard-hitting resolutions that clearly state where Libertarians stand on the pressing issues of the day!

  57. Brian Holtz

    I agree: presidential campaigns should be self-financing (or at least not at all financed from LP dues), and LPHQ should only spend on presidential ballot access where it helps the state affiliate and/or down-ticket candiates get/maintain ballot access. And I would fully support reallocating any or all of the Platform debate time to passing hard-hitting resolutions that clearly state where Libertarians stand on the pressing issues of the day.

    We could easily adapt/adopt this 2008 statement against the bailouts, that was issued by 18 California Libertarian candidates for Congress.

    And if we want a list of agencies to abolish and laws to repeal, Wayne Root’s 2008 campaign already gave us a head start on one: http://libertarianmajority.net/realizing-liberty

  58. Gene Berkman

    “I would fully support reallocating any or all of the Platform debate time to passing hard-hitting resolutions that clearly state where Libertarians stand on the pressing issues of the day.”

    That actually sounds like a good idea. A permanent platform that stresses the principles combined with resolutions passed by the LNC and the national conventions to deal with current issues.

  59. David F. Nolan

    Gene, Brian – it sounds like we may have a consensus emerging here! When we adopt an agenda at the start of the St. Louis convention, I hope we can get a majority of the delegates to vote in favor of tabling the platform debate and using the time to pass resolutions. As I recall, resolutions require only a majority vote, vs. 2/3 to change the platform. (I may be wrong, but that’s my recollection.)

  60. Andy

    “David F. Nolan // Feb 4, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    Gene @66 – As you know, I have long maintained that the LP spends too much time, effort and money on Presidential contests. Until and unless we get a real heavy-hitter as a candidate, we are not going to be even remotely competitive in the Presidential race. None of our past candidates or aspirants have had the name recognition or resources to compete seriously.”

    I see the Libertarian Party’s presidential campaigns as advertisements for the Libertarian Party and movement. I got involved with the Libertarian Party back in 1996 after being exposed to the Harry Browne campaign, and I know many other Libertarians who got involved in the party/movement after being exposed to a Libertarian Party presidential campaign.

    So even though the Libertarian Party has yet to field a presidential candidate who has the money/name recognition to compete seriously in the election, it is still important for the Libertarian Party to run a presidential candidate as the presidential candidate is one of the best advertisements for the party/movement that there is.

  61. Paulie

    Oh well, at least you guys have now been mostly paper-trained into denying that what you’re doing is litmus-testing…

    Why not accept a win?

    You were among those who convinced me that no single issue by itself should be a litmus test.

  62. paulie

    As for the 9th Amendment, my feedback is it’s kinda (very) vague and most “radicals” I know don’t themselves refer to 9A, since they don’t support the Constitution itself. Most I know would prefer to abolish the Constitution and the State.

    While it’s no secret I would ultimately get rid of the state, I think the constitution and its ninth amendment are a good step.

  63. Andy

    “David F. Nolan // Feb 4, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    Andy @ 74 – I don’t disagree at all. I just want to be sure our candidates are promoting LIBERTARIAN ideas and policies, not conservative sludge.”

    I agree.

  64. Brian Holtz

    Convention resolutions require 2/3 vote.

    I agree on with Andy re: the recruiting potential of presidential campaigns — and I agree that if the campaign doesn’t run on the LP platform then it’s a wasted opportunity, and even potentially counter-productive. But just as important as a recruiting tool, an unwinnable campaign is useful as a way to measure/advertise the strength of the voting bloc that demands both more personal freedom and more economic freedom.

  65. Erik Geib

    Brian @ 53,

    I would certainly prefer language against wars of intervention to be included in the language of the Statement of Principles. However, I’d also like to see the SoP appear stronger than it is- as it is the principles are too vague (“we support the prohibition of the initiation of physical force against others”) on this issue and arguably/potentially a handful of others. I’d also like it more prominently noted that these principles are virtually unchangeable – a deterrent, I believe, from ‘infiltration.’ When a party’s this small, it’s not inconceivable that a populist movement claiming to be ‘libertarian’ could try to overwhelm the current members and leadership (imagine the nightmare of Beck, Palin, or someone else equally scary trying to use our ballot access for their campaign).

    To answer your last question, I basically agree with Gary’s sentiments.

    By the way, it may serve you better in life to try and condescend less. Or at least work on the language you use (you’re clearly intelligent) to appear less condescending towards others. I’m not saying this to be an asshole, as I like much of what you say and find you to be a valuable contribution to the party (not to mention a fellow advocate of geolibertarianism), but I can’t help but feel like I and others are being talked ‘down to’ more often than necessary.

  66. Brian Holtz

    Erik, I can’t tell whether you know that the SoP is virtually impossible to change — it requires 7/8 of the registered delegates, a total that is hardly ever even available on the floor at any one time.

    Explicit anti-interventionism will never be added to the SoP as long as it’s protected by the 7/8 rule. I’m confident that Prof. Chartier’s “only within U.S. territory” language wouldn’t get the 2/3 support needed for a platform change or a resolution, and probably wouldn’t even get a plurality. Please forgive me if I bristle at what I see as extremely unrealistic insistence by a vocal minority that the Party enshrine in our central texts their absolutist view on what has always been a divisive topic within the LP.

    Here’s my friendly advice for Libertarians who think the LP is somehow insufficiently anti-intervenionist. Compose some language that you think is anti-interventionist enough, and see if you can convince the requisite supermajorities needed to adopt it as a resolution by various LP bodies — e.g. 3/4 on LNC, 2/3 at LPUS and LPCA conventions, etc.

    It’s easy to call for LP unity by saying the LP should unite behind one’s own ideas. What’s far harder is finding language that actually promotes LP unity. I’ve worked very hard at the latter, and so I’m sometimes frustrated by people who seem to only want to do the former.

    No Platform or SoP language can stop a competent takeover attempt. The way to stop a takeover is with rules like what the Bylaws committee is proposing, such as lengthening the terms of JudCom members. For details, search for “takeover” at http://lpbylaws.blogspot.com/.

  67. Michael H. Wilsonm

    Hey Brian you write “It strikes me as simply bizarre to say that “the clearest expression of basic libertarian principles imaginable” is for the U.S. military to officially declare the rest of the planet a safe haven for those who plan or execute military-style attacks on America(ns).”

    Apparently when it comes to safe havens the U.S. is one. There is a person who is wanted in Cuba for blowing up a Cuban Airline back in the 1970s or about that time. Last time I heard he was living in Orlando. Seems like about 70 people were killed. I seem to recall his name is Luis Posada or something like that. You can check it out.

    What the hell. We got this beef with Cuba so it is okay to kill some third party people. Lets see if I get how this works. Tom pisses me off so I punch you. Sorry Tom.

  68. Thomas L. Knapp

    Quoth Brian Holtz:

    “I’m confident that Prof. Chartier’s ‘only within U.S. territory’ language wouldn’t get the 2/3 support needed for a platform change or a resolution, and probably wouldn’t even get a plurality.”

    So am I.

    It’s a mistake to conflate the notion of “defending the United States” with some vision of soldiers merely standing at the border or on the coastline fending off an invader’s assault.

    Non-interventionism does imply the defensive position at the level of grand strategy — the objective being the defense of the United States, not seeking out wars or creating enemies.

    It does not, however, imply the strategic or tactical defensive once attacked.

    Per Objective, the first of the US armed forces’ nine principles of war (adapted from Briton JFC Fuller’s work), “the ultimate military purpose of war is the destruction of the enemy’s armed forces and will to fight.”

    That means going after the enemy where HE lives once he has attacked you, not just squatting in place and hoping you can continue to fend him off in perpetuity.

  69. Darryl W. Perry

    “paulie // Feb 4, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    As for the 9th Amendment, my feedback is it’s kinda (very) vague and most “radicals” I know don’t themselves refer to 9A, since they don’t support the Constitution itself. Most I know would prefer to abolish the Constitution and the State.

    While it’s no secret I would ultimately get rid of the state, I think the constitution and its ninth amendment are a good step.”

    I think we could use existing laws & documents (including the 9th Amendment) in our favor as precedent to abolish the State.

  70. Robert Capozzi

    DFN: I see Holtz’s “Accord” as somewhere between harmless and pointless. It adds little or nothing to the mass of verbiage already in existence that covers what we are supposed to be about: the Statement of Principles, the Preamble to the Platform, and the all-generalities 2008 Platform. [emphasis added]

    Me: Do you really mean “supposed to be about”? In a crowd of individualists, I’d be shocked if we were to get even a plurality on what we are “SUPPOSED” to be about. That pre-supposes a lot!

    We’ll likely never know just how popular the SoP is, since it’s be made virtually sacrosanct by a 7/8ths vote…pretty presumptuous by the founders of the LP, especially given that it contains some illiterate and/or phrases like “cult of the omnipotent state.”

    David, perhaps we’re watching a different movie, but in these nearly 40 years, have you not noticed that there are and always have been a range of L schools of thought? Perhaps in the very earliest days, the LP was mostly Randians, but that like-mindedness has fractured into several approaches to L theory and practice.

    I’d suggest that’s a healthy development. The Accord is designed to create an environment of peaceful co-existence, to dial way back on the factionalism which holds the LP back from becoming influential in American politics.

    Or, do you find the factionalism somehow helpful to the cause of liberty? Or, perhaps you deny that there is factionalism?

    Please clarify.

  71. Starchild

    Robert,

    You don’t have to be a Randian to acknowledge the centrality of Non-Aggression to the libertarian message. I’m not, and I do.

    The point isn’t for the LP to be influential in American politics. The point is for *libertarianism* to be influential in American — no, scratch that — in *world* politics.

    I think those who want a “big tent” party that’s fuzzy on ideology should start a different party that doesn’t have the word “libertarian” in the name.

    As for building a large coalition, we don’t need to restrict ourselves to doing that within the LPUS. We should be seeking to build working political relationships throughout the libertarian movement and beyond with single-issue groups that are pro-freedom on their issues of emphasis. Also with libertarian political parties in other countries.

    A broad coalition beyond the party has two major advantages:

    (1) You don’t run the risk of losing ideological focus that you do when a single libertarian group starts playing around in electoral politics.

    (2) It reminds people that it is the *ideas* of our movement that ultimately matter, not any particular organization. The Libertarian Party should always be a means to an end, the end being freedom — never an end in itself.

    That being said, losing the LP to conservatives (or any other non-libertarian ideology) would be a major setback that would undo decades of progress in educating the public about what it means to be libertarian, progress in which the party due to its unique visibility and mass participatory nature among libertarian groups in the U.S. has played an important role. We must not sacrifice quality for quantity in trying to move the LP forward.

  72. Bruce Cohen

    According to who’s definition?

    Who is the final arbiter?

    LP Members?
    LP Convention voters?

    Seems to me, a lot of radicals want to purge folks who are a lot less hawkish than Mister Child.

    But Star, he gets the ‘Starchild exception’.

    Starchild the official token warmonger of the LP Radicals.

    Why is Starchild ‘more equal’ than others?

  73. Starchild

    Re: Brian @67 on the LP Platform:

    The main shortcoming of the current LP Platform is just that — it is too short.

    Detailed planks that get into the specifics of public policy issues, like our platform used to have in abundance up until 2004, show that we weren’t just sitting around tossing off a bunch of vague generalities without any real depth of knowledge.

    Furthermore, each detailed plank represents an opportunity to reach out a group of people who have been hurt, oppressed, or marginalized by government. Each plank represents a chance to show them that we understand and share their concerns, and that we will stand up for their rights by taking a stronger and more detail-oriented stand on issues that matter to them than other political parties and groups will.

  74. Starchild

    Bruce @88,

    This is quite a sore point with you, isn’t it? 🙂

    Do you really fail to see the differences between my position and those of most who are open to extra-national military interventions? Or are you just trying to stir up discord among Libertarian radicals?

    Your famously congenial personality would lead me to suspect the latter, but your implicit identification of yourself as a “warmonger” shows a tendency toward knee-jerk semantic reaction to those who call themselves “anti-war” makes it hard to rule out the possibility that you just don’t get it.

  75. Brian Holtz

    Bob, saying the LP is “supposed to be about” something doesn’t necessarily mean favoring one school of principled libertarianism over the others. Bylaw 3 explicitly says what the LP is supposed to be about: “The Party is organized to implement and give voice to the principles embodied in the Statement of Principles”. The draft St. Louis Accord summarizes it this way: “The Party’s purpose is to implement and give voice to the Statement of Principles by uniting voters who want more personal and economic liberty behind the electoral choices that will most move public policy in a libertarian direction. The Party’s ultimate goal is to banish force initiation and fraud from human relationships.”

    Starchild, as I’ve pointed out to you for years, you equivocate between opposition to aggression and absolute abstention from anything that some libertarian might call “aggression”. Opposition to aggression is indeed the defining principle of libertarianism. It’s polemical sleight of hand to try to define libertarianism as ZAPsolutism: the idea that abstinence from aggression is more important than opposing/minimizing it. Did you really just invite a self-purge of anybody who doesn’t agree with the ideal of ZAPsolutism? (Be careful, because IIRC you’ve admitted that the ideal is unachievable, e.g. witnesses and the sometimes-innocent accused can be compelled to attend trials.)

    “Losing the LP to conservatives (or any other non-libertarian ideology)” is a bogeyman. Isn’t your real fear here that ZAPsolutism/anarchism will no longer be the LP’s privileged school of libertarianism?

    “Sacrificing quality to quantity” is a strawman. LP reform is about giving all principled libertarians an equal seat at the LP’s table.

    I totally agree with you that liberty is more important than the LP. While I oppose dividing our efforts among multiple pro-liberty parties, I advocate our tactical freedom to use fusion candidacies, selective non-entry into races, and even cross-party endorsements.

  76. Robert Capozzi

    Starchild, yes, we agree, not all NAPsters are Randians. Of course! (Did I suggest otherwise?) There are several schools of L-ism that cleave to the notion of the NAP. Other lessarchists are more interested in advancing liberty from a different paradigm. Some, such as myself, find NAP-ism an interesting construct that isn’t serviceable as a political philosophy or strategy.

    Similarly, some Ls want to use the party to promote a philosophical viewpoint. Others, such as myself, would like to see the party be means to influence elections and the electorate, to inspire in them a belief that advancing peace and liberty are the most effective and just solutions to political problems. Shifting the political dialog seems strongly indicated in these pronouncedly statist times.

    If you’re saying that ONLY NAP-adherents (as commonly practiced) are welcome in the LP, then we disagree. If we non-NAP-sters are to be tolerated as second-class citizens, then I’d ask “by what authority”?

  77. Robert Capozzi

    bh, thanks for reminding me of how the Bylaws refers back to the SoP. Those who think about the LP in a literal-minded way may conclude, for ex., that we Ls are “supposed” to “challenge the cult of the omnipotent state.” I for one don’t. Based on the vote in Convention in Portland, 3/4s of the party don’t think we’re “supposed” to do so, either, because that language is a ridiculous vestige of well-meaning but non-subtle thinkers who were under the sway of a persuasive — sometimes intimidating — economics professor from New York. That emperor has no clothes any longer, but the intrepid 70s vanguard HAS saddled us with some silly ideas and language.

    Those who see that language as dysfunctional and counterproductive to the cause of liberty may, like me, overlook it, despite its loopiness.

  78. Brian Holtz

    Actually, the “cult” language is a vestige of the Randian influence on the original 1972 convention, rather than of the Rothbardian influence on 1974’s. But yes, I don’t know of anybody who takes the cult-of-state-omnipotency seriously, and I’ve never once seen a Libertarian try publicly to “give voice to” that part of the SoP — let alone “implement” it, whatever that could mean. 🙂

  79. David F. Nolan

    @ 86 – The SOP was written by John Hospers, and while I find the “cult” phrase a little awkward, there’s nothing in the SOP that is “illiterate and/or” (and/or what?). It’s widely known that Dr. Hospers was a disciple of Ayn Rand, but that does not make the Statement he wrote any less (or more) valid than if he weren’t.

  80. Michael H. Wilson

    “We, the members of the Libertarian Party, challenge the cult of the omnipotent state and defend the rights of the individual.”

    LG last time I looked the U.S. government was not omnipotent and there were very few if any on the planet. Maybe we should keep that in mind.

    The U.S. government and state and local government are restrained by the Constitution and other laws.

    An omnipotent government might be one like in the book 1984. Nothing like the one we presently have.

    Now back to real work.

  81. Bruce Cohen

    Has the Nolan recanted his statements about Mister Hospers intelligence, sanity and Libertarian cred now?

    Or is Mister Hospers only selectively smart, sane and Libertarian? (That being when his position is ‘correct’ in the Book of Nolan.)

  82. David F. Nolan

    @99 – Huh? My previous post was a simple statement of historical fact. And please cite any instances of my questioning Dr. Hospers’ intelligence or sanity. DOCUMENTED instances, Bruce, not hearsay.

  83. Robert Capozzi

    dfn, dropped a word…meant to say “illiterate and/or false”…good catch.

    I’d not realized Hospers wrote the SoP…interesting data point. I’ve not questioned its validity per se, I just don’t agree with it any longer. I’m a Randian/Rothbardian in recovery. Some of my best friends are Randians and/or Rothbardians, so it’s nothing personal…I just don’t buy the absolutist construct any longer. Apparently, many Ls in the party don’t, and (possibly) most Ls outside the party don’t.

    I admire Hospers, you and the early vanguard for taking your best shot. I do, of course, object to the 7/8ths requirement…at the time, did you all not consider how arrogant it was to have such an obstacle to change?

    More importantly, you’re sidestepping my main point…if we’re “supposed to be about” the founding documents, and yet you yourself seem mildly supportive of the OPENING LINE, what are we to take away from that incongruity? Why should we — who’ve followed in your footsteps — defer to such blatantly inartful, awkward language in our approach to moving the party forward?

  84. David F. Nolan

    I’ve suggested several times that the “cult” language could be removed, and the opening two paragraphs of the SOP spliced together as follows:

    “We, the members of the Libertarian Party, hold that all individuals have the right to exercise sole dominion over their own lives, and have the right to live in whatever manner they choose, so long as they do not forcibly interfere with the equal right of others to live in whatever manner they choose.”

    I know several people, all good libertarians, who are passionate about keeping the “cult” language – and others who hate it (see LG, above). To me, it’s not a make-or-break issue.

  85. Brian Holtz

    Cohen apparently thinks that Nolan is required to think either that Hospers has never been right, or that Hospers has never been wrong.

    Bob, what specific provision of the SoP to you disagree with? I would agree that the literary reach of the cult language far exceeds its grasp, and I prefer the original 1972 SoP to the current 1974 version, but I see nothing in it now that contradicts any of my geolibertarian principles.

  86. Thomas L. Knapp

    “I don’t know of anybody who takes the cult-of-state-omnipotency seriously, and I’ve never once seen a Libertarian try publicly to ‘give voice to’ that part of the SoP”

    I take it seriously. I’ve used it in a public speech/debtate response or two.

    “Challenge the cult of the omnipotent state” may be my seven favorite words in the English language and are certainly my seven favorite words in LP documents.

    Since we seem to be on a streamlining binge lately, I propose that we get rid of all that extra “purpose” verbiage and just go with “the purpose of the Libertarian Party is to challenge the cult of the omnipotent state.” That would cover all our legitimate purposes nicely.

    You can take away that language when you pry it from my cold, dead party.

  87. Michael H. Wilson

    We spend all our time on this and we have two illegal wars and at nearly half a million troops scattered around the world.

    We otta adopt that old Freddy Fender song as our anthem; “Wasted days and Wasted Nights”. 😉

  88. Robert Capozzi

    bh, oh, I can live with the SoP, although I’d be far more enthusiastic about it if it dropped the cult language, as it’s a false statement. I don’t know any one person who is a blind worshiper of an all-powerful government, much less a full-blown cult full of them. It’s just ridiculous, ADR.

    As a theoretical asymptotic anarchist, I can live with “when instituted,” but were I advising Hospers and those who thought that the 7/8ths provision was appropriate, I’d suggest it far too theoretical to be something we should actively consider as a possibility. Somalia strengthens that view as the only test in our lifetimes.

    I find the 7/8ths provision contemptuous, presumptuous, and grandiose. Quite frankly, how dare they! What WERE they thinking?

  89. Brian Holtz

    Bob, at least “when instituted” echoes the DoI, and references a class of event that has happened twice in our nation’s history. “Where governments exist” is the one I could do without, as it’s the political equivalent of worrying about a http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetic_monopole screwing up your electric car design.

    Tom, I look forward to you using the 7-word cult phrase as often as you dare. If you can’t handle “smash the state”, then at least please make “cult” be to you what http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carthago_delenda_est was to Cato the Elder.

    If we’re going to have anarchists in the LP, let’s at least get some entertainment value out of them. 🙂

    Michael @106, it sounds like you agree with me: when a statement in our foundational texts serves as a divisive distraction for too many of our principled activists, we should just drop it so we can get back to work.

  90. Thomas L. Knapp

    Brian,

    At least once in every county LP committee meeting, I move “that we adjourn and smash the state.”

    Occasionally I even get a second.

    Bob,

    You might want to re-think what “cult of the omnipotent state” means.

    It doesn’t mean advocacy or worship of an actual or hypothetical totalitarian state.

    It means the common — indeed, the PREVAILING — belief that government is, or could be, an effective solution to any and every problem.

    It’s the largest and most powerful cult in existence and challenging it is key to the purpose of the Libertarian Party.

  91. Gene Berkman

    I like the option to “Challenge the cult of the omnipotent state,” and it would be a loss to lose that from the statement of principles.

    The line is clearly a reference to what Ludwig von Mises refers to as “Omnipotent Government.” And while America does not suffer under “omnipotent government” that is the direction that ever-expanding statism is taking us.

    Sad that after 38 years of activity, the Libertarian Party does not yet pose a challenge to the omnipotent state.

  92. Robert Capozzi

    tk, I’m surprised with your view. You are generally very literal in your interpretations. Omnipotent means having virtually unlimited authority or influence.

    If the phrasing was more like your INTERPRETION of “cult of the omnipotent state,” I wouldn’t object. Literally translated, it’s false, and it sounds loopy. The press loves to quote the line, because it so easily IDs Ls as wacky extremists…not good positioning for those who want to make political change.

  93. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    I am very literal in my interpretations.

    Calling something a cult implies that the deity or leader it follows does not exist and that its doctrines are false.

    If we believed in that same deity and those same doctrines, we wouldn’t be calling it a cult.

    The members of the cult of the omnipotent state — which frankly is most of humanity — believe that the state does, and should, have unlimited authority and influence.

    We believe that it doesn’t and shouldn’t.

  94. Lidia Seebeck

    And sometimes that “challenge the cult of the omnipotent state” language sure comes in handy when you have a bunch of Neo-Nazi rabble bullying the less fortunate of Riverside, doesn’t it, Gene?
    (That was an absolute master stroke in your speech, Gene)

  95. Gene Berkman

    Lidia,

    Yes, Nazis really are a “cult of the omnipotent state.”

    And the book by Mises titled “Omnipotent Government” is about the rise of National Socialism.

  96. Starchild

    Brian Holtz @92 writes:

    “Starchild, as I’ve pointed out to you for years, you equivocate between opposition to aggression and absolute abstention from anything that some libertarian might call ‘aggression’.”

    Brian, I am not in favor of “ZAPsolutism” or the “Zero Aggression Principle”, nor do I espouse “absolute abstention from anything that some libertarian might call ‘aggression.'” Those are *your* strawmen.

    Some libertarians might justly argue that using government-owned roads, a government-run postal service, etc., constitute aggression, and I am an imperfect libertarian in these and other respects.

    What I advocate is for the Libertarian Party to consistently advocate non-aggression, and to recognize the Non-Aggression Principle as the heart and soul of libertarianism.

    We already know that libertarianism is not all-encompassing. Unlike Randian Objectivism, for instance, it does not have anything to say about altruism, architecture, art, etc.

    So I don’t know see a huge problem with admitting that libertarianism does not offer a ready solution to every single political problem or dilemma, and that we do not see a clear path to entirely eliminating aggression in the world.

    This does *not* mean that we cannot or should not have a political party which champions the Non Aggression Principle as the general basis for public policy, because in 99%-plus of the cases, aggression *is* harmful.

    As a general matter, I think it is fair and accurate to say that aggression is wrong, just as we say that murder, rape, theft, etc., are wrong even though we could probably come up with rare hypotheticals under which such actions could be considered morally valid. I believe Libertarians should welcome philosophical discussions with those who want to get into arguing the philosophical details of the remaining 1%.

    I am not proposing that we deceive anyone — Libertarians like you and I who believe there are cases where no workable method of eliminating aggression has yet been envisioned, and that all that can be done in those cases is to minimize aggression (e.g. compel persons credibly accused of real crimes to stand trial, prohibit ownership of weapons of mass destruction) should be candid about our beliefs. I would discourage anyone claiming that aggression is *good* or *right*; rather we can simply admit that we see no alternative at present to tolerating it in a few limited instances. We should also make clear that where public policy does rely on aggression, its victims should receive fair restitution.

    Of course some libertarians — those who are anarchists — believe that outlawing all aggression *is* a workable solution. I think the Libertarian Party should honor the Dallas Accord and not take a position on the issue one way or the other, but simply refrain as a party or its representatives from ever *advocating* aggression.

    You write that, “Opposition to aggression is indeed the defining principle of libertarianism. It’s polemical sleight of hand to try to define libertarianism as ZAPsolutism: the idea that abstinence from aggression is more important than opposing/minimizing it.”

    I agree that opposition to aggression is the defining principle of libertarianism. I think one might just as readily call it a “polemical slight of hand” to acknowledge this and yet still argue that there are many different “schools” of libertarianism, all equally valid.

    One might also call it a “polemical slight of hand” to claim that embracing Non-Aggression as a general principle cannot possibly be the best way to minimize aggression and that minimizing aggression requires the Libertarian Party to openly embrace the idea that we must sometimes condone it.

    I believe minimizing aggression is best achieved by the Libertarian Party as an organization *never* condoning it, and thereby avoiding sending a mixed message that will inevitably be misinterpreted and cause libertarianism to be misunderstood.

  97. Starchild

    Robert Capozzi @93 writes,

    “Some, such as myself, find NAP-ism an interesting construct that isn’t serviceable as a political philosophy or strategy.”

    Robert, I would say that non-aggression *is* the basis of a political philosophy, whether one likes it or not, just as is true of communism, monarchism, etc. The more common name for the political philosophy based on non-aggression is “libertarianism”.

    Whether or not libertarianism is “serviceable as a political strategy” is a separate question. Obviously that will depend to a large degree on the characteristics of the larger society in which one is trying to advance it. In Egypt during the time of the pharaohs, for instance, libertarianism probably would not have been “serviceable as a political strategy.”

    No doubt some will argue that humanity is still insufficiently enlightened for libertarianism to succeed politically, but I feel we are at a point where we must try.

    I think part of the problem we’re up against here is the desire of people to label themselves as “libertarians”. I’ve come to the conclusion that saying people are or are not libertarians is intellectually sloppy, and I’m making an effort not to use that terminology.

    If we instead speak of the degree to which a person’s *views* are, or are not, libertarian, I think this is not only more accurate, but reduces the problem of people feeling that they are “second class citizens” in the Libertarian Party or the larger libertarian movement of which it is a part, when others say they aren’t libertarians.

    I see no shame in admitting that one’s views are not 100% libertarian. I have some views that are not libertarian. For instance I think that large, hierarchically-run organizations create inherently dangerous concentrations of power, and should be required to split up into multiple units if they reach a certain size. However, I do not think the Libertarian Party should promote this as public policy, because it violates the Non-Aggression Principle.

    Some people would say my belief in geo-libertarian (Georgist) ideas on land, and my belief on animal rights are un-libertarian, although in those cases I would disagree. In cases where there is sincere disagreement among libertarians over the correct interpretation of the Non-Aggression Principle, I believe the majority or plurality view should be embraced by the LP until such time as the majority or plurality may feel differently.

    I believe the Libertarian Party should welcome all voters, supporters, and activists who want to join us in the struggle for freedom. However I think we should (to the extent possible given current laws) limit people from representing the party as candidates or holders of either public office or internal party office, and from participating in the LP in a policy-making capacity, unless their views are strongly ideologically libertarian. Otherwise we risk the party becoming something other than a vehicle for promoting freedom.

    I would actually welcome a Libertarian Party that was so strong in its adherence to libertarianism that it excluded me from personally having a role in setting party policy or being a Libertarian candidate. I would be proud to work for and support such a party, because I would have a high level of confidence that it would not sell out my beliefs or become corrupted by the temptations of money, power, and/or attracting votes.

  98. Mik Robertson

    @116 I think it is possible to get too caught up in aggression and what constitutes aggression and lose the other part of the equation, which is to maximize individual liberty. Both of these things can be addressed by securing individual rights.

    Is it aggression for there to be taxation to have a criminal justice system or is it aggression for someone to enjoy the benefits of a criminal justice system then not pay the fair share? If a person gets the benefits from a criminal justice system but doesn’t want those benefits, who is the aggressor?

    If it is to be that a criminal justice system does contain some form of aggression, should the LP not advocate that there should be a system of criminal justice? If it should not, would that be a decision the LNC should make?

    The LP leadership may make suggestions and recommendations on policy positions, and those recommendations may reflect the philosophical and ideological background of the individuals on the LNC, but they should be representing *all* Libertarians while the policy positions are determined by the membership.

    I think to support a person for the LNC just because they may be more in line with your own policy views, including views on aggression and the cult of the omnipotent state, is not the best approach (if that is still what this thread is about).

  99. Thomas L. Knapp

    “Of course some libertarians — those who are anarchists — believe that outlawing all aggression *is* a workable solution. ”

    No anarchist that I’ve ever heard of believes any such nonsense.

  100. Mik Robertson

    @118, Wasn’t Henry George accused of being a socialist by some while at the same time was reviled by actual socialists?

  101. Michael H. Wilson

    @ 109 BH writes; “Michael @106, it sounds like you agree with me: when a statement in our foundational texts serves as a divisive distraction for too many of our principled activists, we should just drop it so we can get back to work.”

    Sorry Brian I don’t think the ” texts serves as a divisive distraction for too many of our principled activists”. I think too many people focus on it when they could be working on something else.

    People need to leave it alone for the time being and work on something positive instead of nit picking the SoP.

    @112 RC wrote; “The press loves to quote the line…”. Never in nearly thirty years that I have been in the party and thirty years of reading two newspapers a day (okay there are a few days I slipped) and watched the news on the box have I ever heard or read that phrase or any reference to it in the press. As well at no time while being interviewed, which has been more than once, has any members of the press asked me about that statement.

    Have you written to your Congress crittes this month?

  102. Erik Geib

    Mik @ 121,

    George was mostly accused of being a socialist for the views he espoused outside what is thought of ‘georg/geo-ism.’ Fans of land-value taxation (the ‘single tax’) include countless non-socialists, including, but not limited to, Adam Smith, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, etc.

    Some then (and today) do view some geo strains to be socialist, however, as they confuse its views on property. Leftist self-identified geoists don’t help this issue by labeling non-geoists ‘propertarians.’

    Essentially, it’s a mixed bag, but georg/geo-ism is by no means inherently socialist.

  103. Andy

    “Brian Holtz // Feb 5, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Cohen apparently thinks that Nolan is required to think either that Hospers has never been right, or that Hospers has never been wrong.”

    I saw John Hosper debate Gary Nolan over the war in Iraq at the Libertarian Party of California’s state convention in 2005. John Hospers took the pro-war in Iraq side and Gary Nolan took the anti-war in Iraq side. Not only was Hospers in the wrong, he came off as a delusional old fool and Gary Nolan clearly won the debate.

  104. Starchild

    Thanks Erik Geib and Michael Wilson for your appreciation of my comments.

    Thomas Knapp @120 caught me in a misstatement. I wrote,

    “Of course some libertarians — those who are anarchists — believe that outlawing all aggression *is* a workable solution.”

    To which Knapp crisply and accurately responded, “No anarchist that I’ve ever heard of believes any such nonsense.”

    Of course anarchists by definition do not believe in outlawing *anything*, since they do not believe in laws! What I should have written is,

    “Of course some libertarians — those who are anarchists — believe that simply ending all government aggression, even that designed to reduce the overall amount of aggression in the world, *is* a workable solution.”

  105. Andy

    “Or is Mister Hospers only selectively smart, sane and Libertarian?”

    A few years back I was gathering signatures on some California ballot initiatives in the San Fernando Valley section of Los Angeles (I think it was in either Studio City or Encino). Some guy that was in his early 20s was signing my petitions and during the course of the conversation I brought up that I was a member of the Libertarian Party. After I said that he said something like, “Oh yeah, one of my neighbors is a famous Libertarian.” I asked, “Who is that?” He replied, “John Hospers.” Then he said, “That old man sure smokes a lot of ganja.” LOL!

  106. Starchild

    Mik Robertson @119 asks several good questions about aggression. I’ll take a stab at answering them one at a time:

    “Is it aggression for there to be taxation to have a criminal justice system or is it aggression for someone to enjoy the benefits of a criminal justice system then not pay the fair share?”

    Taxing people coercively (taking their money without their individual consent is aggression, regardless of the purpose for which the money is taken. Whether it is aggression for someone to “enjoy the benefits of a criminal justice system” without paying for them, depends on the nature of the “free ride” being enjoyed. If it involves using the legitimate property of another person or organization without their consent, then it is aggression, but if it is simply enjoying an improved quality of life due to the existence of something (e.g. living in a neighborhood with less crime due to the existence of a functional justice system), that is not aggression.

    “If a person gets the benefits from a criminal justice system but doesn’t want those benefits, who is the aggressor?”

    There isn’t necessarily an aggressor; as above, it depends on the details.

    “If it is to be that a criminal justice system does contain some form of aggression, should the LP not advocate that there should be a system of criminal justice?”

    I think it is acceptable for the Libertarian Party to advocate changes in existing government-run criminal justice systems to bring them more in line with libertarianism (e.g. to call for governments to respect due process, treat incarcerated persons humanely, etc.), but not to endorse any specific practices that involve aggression. The party should also refrain from saying exactly what an ideal criminal justice system should look like, since that would be violating the Dallas Accord by taking sides in the minarchy/anarchy debate.

    “If it should not, would that be a decision the LNC should make?”

    Being for bottom-up governance of the Libertarian Party, I believe that important platform and policy decisions of this sort should be made by the largest possible body of qualified decision-makers within the party (i.e. convention delegates, under current practices). By “qualified decision-makers” I mean, ideally, Libertarians who meet some minimum ideological requirement. Currently the only such requirement is the party pledge that voting members must sign stating that they oppose the initiation of force to achieve political or social goals. I do not believe this requirement is sufficient to guarantee that the LP remains strongly libertarian, and would like to see the ideological requirements for voting on party policy expanded.

  107. Starchild

    Mik Robertson @119 also writes,

    “I think it is possible to get too caught up in aggression and what constitutes aggression and lose the other part of the equation, which is to maximize individual liberty.”

    Maximizing individual liberty is indeed the underlying aim of reducing aggression, but reducing aggression is the *means* by which liberty is maximized.

    So I see no conflict between talking about what constitutes aggression, and seeking to maximize individual liberty.

  108. Robert Capozzi

    tk: The members of the cult of the omnipotent state — which frankly is most of humanity — believe that the state does, and should, have unlimited authority and influence.

    me: I guess we just have to agree to disagree on this one, Tom. I reiterate that I don’t know ONE PERSON who believe the state should be unlimited.

    That’s the amazing thing about perceptions…2 like-minded people looking at the same fact set come to polar opposite conclusions. The epistemological implications are stunning!

  109. Mik Robertson

    @128 “There isn’t necessarily an aggressor; as above, it depends on the details.”

    I think it can also depend on the viewpoint, not just the details. Ask the people involved in a domestic dispute who the aggressor is and you are likely to get different answers. One person’s self-defense in another’s aggression. The rights of those involved remain the same, however.

    “I think it is acceptable for the Libertarian Party to advocate changes in existing government-run criminal justice systems to bring them more in line with libertarianism…, but not to endorse any specific practices that involve aggression. The party should also refrain from saying exactly what an ideal criminal justice system should look like, since that would be violating the Dallas Accord by taking sides in the minarchy/anarchy debate.”

    It sounds like you would not like to have the detailed platform that some would like to see.

    “I do not believe this requirement is sufficient to guarantee that the LP remains strongly libertarian, and would like to see the ideological requirements for voting on party policy expanded.”

    I think the LP has an advantage in that there is a large body of libertarian thought and philosophy that exists outside of the political party. It is certainly easier for someone in the LP to evaluate whether ideas and positions are libertarian by comparing them to that body than it is for, say, someone in the Reform Party to evaluate if proposed idea is the right kind of reform or someone in the Republican Party to evaluate if a policy is sufficiantly republican.

    I think that should eliminate the need for litmus tests for membership and policy proposals. The libertarian guideposts will remain in place regardless of what the LP does or what policy positions it adopts. There is more than one ideology that can fit in the libertarian line of thinking, so being too narrow can be a problem.

    @129 “So I see no conflict between talking about what constitutes aggression, and seeking to maximize individual liberty.”

    I agree and think there are cases where it can be helpful. Given that there are different interpretations of aggression, if the LP is to have an over-arching purpose, might not the promotion of individual rights be a better fit than the elimination of aggression to achieve political or social goals?

  110. Robert Capozzi

    sc: Robert, I would say that non-aggression *is* the basis of a political philosophy, whether one likes it or not, just as is true of communism, monarchism, etc. The more common name for the political philosophy based on non-aggression is “libertarianism”.

    Whether or not libertarianism is “serviceable as a political strategy” is a separate question. Obviously that will depend to a large degree on the characteristics of the larger society in which one is trying to advance it. In Egypt during the time of the pharaohs, for instance, libertarianism probably would not have been “serviceable as a political strategy.”

    me: Let me come at this another way. Most people I encounter believe in something approximating the Golden Rule. And yet most people and most political philosophers believe that SOME initiation of force is justified, i.e., a State is justified.

    Another way to say this is that most people are not absolutist about the Golden Rule. They at minimum believe a limited state is necessary to maintain some semblance of domestic tranquility.

    Even most Ls would say some aggressive initiation of force is justified.

    I submit that is a political philosophy and attendant strategy is not serviceable, it’s not a very good philosophy. I think it’s a mistake to invent a construct that is disconnected from the reality of the human condition.

    In my case, I’d certainly agree with “minarchists” that a stateless society is problematic. I’d also agree with abolitionist anarchists that a regime where the initiation of force was never legitimate has appeal.

    After much contemplation, I came to the conclusion that it is IMPOSSIBLE to calibrate how much State is justified, as there are FAR too many variables.

    I concluded that no school of L-ism was sufficient FOR ME. So I came up with theoretical asymptotic anarchism/applied lessarchism. So far, it’s working for me.

    Most/all on this board are not professional theorists, most def. inc. me. We talk about political application as a political party…that’s our job description, if you will.

    When the LP ventures away from lessarchism and attempts to engage in theorizing, we get pronounced disagreement. This is why we need a St. Louis Accord, IMO. We waste far too much time “polishing the turd” of political theory. Even if we all WERE bona fide political theorists, odds are low we’ll reach agreement for political action. Theorists have been squabbling in Ivory Tower for millenia.

  111. paulie Post author

    I saw John Hosper debate Gary Nolan over the war in Iraq at the Libertarian Party of California’s state convention in 2005. John Hospers took the pro-war in Iraq side and Gary Nolan took the anti-war in Iraq side. Not only was Hospers in the wrong, he came off as a delusional old fool and Gary Nolan clearly won the debate.

    Only because Nolan and Hospers were the only two sides allowed to present. I would have preferred a more anti-war position than G. Nolan’s to have been included as well.

  112. Bruce Cohen

    I was there.
    I helped arrange/promote/market/run that Convention.

    I wanted a more forceful and articulate pro-defense person up there with Hospers. It would have been far more interesting to have Nolan and Paulie vs. Hospers and me, for example.

    A ‘panel argument’, instead of a one one one debate.

  113. Thomas L. Knapp

    Starchild,

    OK, I’ll elaborate.

    First, you write:

    “Of course some libertarians — those who are anarchists — believe that outlawing all aggression *is* a workable solution. ”

    Not if you define “workable” as “something that works.” It’s utopian to believe that “outlawing all aggression” would end all aggression.

    Then you write:

    “Of course anarchists by definition do not believe in outlawing *anything*, since they do not believe in laws!”

    Which amounts to defining anarchism as political nihilism.

    Anarchism is opposition to the claim, seizure or investiture of a monopoly on the use of force.

    We oppose the institutionalization and legimitization of aggression.

    The anarchist position implies neither utopian claims that the absence of the state will result in complete absence of aggression, nor nihilist claims that law should be done away with.

  114. Michael H. Wilson

    @ 116 Starchild wrote; “So I don’t know see a huge problem with admitting that libertarianism does not offer a ready solution to every single political problem or dilemma, and that we do not see a clear path to entirely eliminating aggression in the world.”

    You go pretty close to the heart of the problem as I see it. No we don’t have an answer to every problem, political or otherwise which is why I believe in a free market, or as I usually tell people and open market where people are free to come and go as they wish. After all in America today much of the marketplace has been closed and it negatively impacts low income people especially in housing, medical care and transportation services.

    Different solutions will be applicable at different times and different places. I would hope that Libertarians would recognize that one of the benefits of an unrestrained market place but one governed by adequate liability laws ( guess we could argue what that means forever) is that new ideas are allowed to percolate to the surface. As needs and times change new ideas will take the place of those that no longer fill the needs of society or individuals.

    It would be nice to work something like that into our literature including the platform.

  115. Starchild

    Uh, that sentence Michael quotes of mine was missing a couple words (my fault not his). With the missing words in brackets, it should read,

    “So I don’t know [that I] see a huge problem with admitting that libertarianism does not offer a ready solution to every single political problem or dilemma…”

  116. Starchild

    Tom @138,

    To “outlaw” something, there has to be laws. Anarchists may believe in *rules*, but they don’t believe in *laws*, laws in this context being a product of the State. Noting this fact does not amount to calling them nihilists. I think you’re reading way too much into what I wrote. And by “workable” I simply meant that they believe a world without government will be at least as viable as one with governments. I was not implying an anarchist belief in utopia any more than in nihilism.

    Not that any of this has anything to do with my purpose in mentioning anarchists in my original message, which was to defend the Dallas Accord and oppose the LP adopting positions that rhetorically exclude anarchy. I would’ve thought you as an anarchist might appreciate that.

  117. Michael H. Wilson

    Starchild I saw that and the earlier one that Tom referred to about anarchist outlawing…

    One of the great things about writing on the computer is that you get to hope others can read what you meant and not what you wrote 😉

    Either that or write everything elsewhere and cut and paste which I don’t do but shood.

    Keep Smilin’

  118. paulie Post author

    To “outlaw” something, there has to be laws. Anarchists may believe in *rules*, but they don’t believe in *laws*, laws in this context being a product of the State.

    The problem here may be terminology. What Starchild calls “laws” here are what anarchist refer to by such terms as “monopoly edicts.” What he calls “rules,” anarchists call, e.g., polycentric law.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polycentric_law

  119. Thomas L. Knapp

    Starchild,

    Sorry if I seem to be confrontational here — what I actually am is flabbergasted.

    I’ve always wondered why you, of all people, aren’t an anarchist.

    It simply never occurred to me that the reason you aren’t an anarchist because you’re not acquainted with anarchist ideas.

    We can fix that!

  120. Robert Capozzi

    thanks, Ralph. This passage:

    …that their [anarchists’] conception is not a utopia, constructed on the a priori method, after a few desiderata have been taken as postulates. It is derived, they maintain, from an analysis of tendencies that are at work already…

    is interesting. Sounds about right. And that’s where I’m concerned. Insurance companies provide property protection, therefore insurance companies would provide military defense services. It might not technically be an a priori construct, but it sure looks like a tremendously large logic leap.

  121. Ralph

    @146 Thanks. A priori? They already do. They were doing it even more when he wrote, I believe. Many companies insure against events that end in the use of private military companies paid by the insurer. Some countries as well. However, I think that most insurers avoid acts of God and civil unrest.

    The correct Libertarian approach to both national offense and defense is along the lines of
    http://www.sister-cities.org/ and
    http://www.coalitionforcitizendiplomacy.org/

    These,coupled with the abolition of militaries, all of which is basically public policy, is what LIO encourages. It’s also something concrete (e.g. joining local sister city boards and working for peace) any Libertarian can do that works.

    Or as the leader of the Serbian Libertarians said during the war there, “Don’t send Marines. Send Libertarians.”

    Proudhon’s original definition of anarchism is at: http://www.spunk.org/texts/writers/proudhon/sp001863.html

    He defines it as a form of government based on developed consciousness.

    And that’s my fun links good deed for the week.

  122. Pingback: Libertarian Party Founder David Nolan running for US Senate in Arizona against John McCain | Independent Political Report

  123. Keith Gardner

    challenging the cult of the state is an anarcho-capitalist or anarchist belief. anarcho-capitalism is just one philosophical interpretation of libertarian principle. david nolan is a classical libertarian, following georgist principles of your classical liberals, the founding fathers, as one philosophical interpretation of libertarian principle.

    what makes david nolan an attractive candidate or director is that he has the ability to create a platform that all libertarians can agree upon.

    david nolan supports ending the federal reserve, but he doesn’t necessarily advocate one monetary solution over another. most people out there don’t want a return to the original federal reserve scam — the gold standard — only the people who want that are those brainwashed by the ludwig von mises institute and ron paul (who partnered with a neocon board member of pnac to promote just that and who receives donations to promote just that).

    david nolan supports ending the income tax, which all libertarians can agree upon, without alienating a lot of the party by proposing to replace property taxes with a sales tax or other taxation on labor, which is a neocon proposal pushed forward by arthur laffer and latched onto by your newer ron paul neo-libertarians, rothbardians, and right-wing anarchists.

    after the bob barr circus, the growth of neo-libertarians expressing greater support for ending land taxation rather than income taxation and a return to the original federal reserve scam, the gold standard, david nolan is a much needed relief to build some party unity.

    if it weren’t for david nolan, i would wish death to the libertarian party for being a propaganda arm of the neocon banking elite, the new world order, and an insignificant if not absurb far right-wing caucus promoting neo-feudalism.

    i don’t see classical libertarians being able to reform the libertarian party with all the rockefeller foundation, william volker fund, peter thiel, and george soros foundation funding out there. the “libertarian” word might be ruined and would be necessary for the “georgist” word being used to define a new political party able to draw from both the left and the right.

    even your original anarchists like proudhon recognized there is a difference between labor and land.

  124. Keith Gardner

    war is a racket. if you want to go fight and die for oil in iraq or heroin production in afghanistan, i’m sure the iraqi and afghanistan national guard are recruiting.

  125. Keith Gardner

    without david nolan, the libertarian party would be the rockefeller foundation and william volker fund party of ludwig von mises, murray rothbard, and henry hazlitt, george soros’s marijuana legalization fund, bilderberg peter thiel’s world gold standard scam, arthur laffer’s land monopoly scam, and king george’s world gold standard scam and land monopoly scam.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *