10 Questions For Libertarian Party Chair Candidate Ernest Hancock

On March 21 I wrote to Ernest Hancock and Wayne Root:

As a contributor for Independent Political Report, I’m writing to the two of you because in Austin you emerged as the front-runners in the race for Libertarian National Committee Chair. I’ve prepared for each of you a separate set of ten tough but fair questions that should give each of you an opportunity to address some of the issues raised by your respective candidacies for Chair.

Yesterday Hancock replied: “I’m answering them in the DVD that will be sent to all attendees of the past decades conventions so people interested in such things actually get first hand from me what I have to say. You are free to pull from that when you get yours.”

Here are my questions for Hancock:

1. Against Voting. While LNC Chair, would you continue to advocate against voting and use free airtime to announce you haven’t voted since 2004?

2. LPUS Existence. In 2003, you said “The national Party doesn’t even need to exist” and “I’m for the national Party just closing up, moving out of the Watergate, evaporate, and leaving it back to the states”.  You presumably would not keep saying things like this if elected Chair.  If you are not elected Chair, will you continue to question whether the LPUS is worth joining or even should exist?

3. Violent Revolution. While LNC Chair, would you continue to publicly predict a violent upheaval for which people should stockpile bullets, water, and canned goods?

4. Greatest Depression. While LNC Chair, would you continue to dispense stock market advice (like saying “sell now” before a 35% 12-month increase in the DJIA) and economic predictions (like forecasting “the greatest depression ever” just as the recession was ending and GDP growth resumed)?

5. Bob Barr. Did the Denver delegates nominate a non-libertarian? You say “you’re either a libertarian or you’re not. You’re wanting to leave people alone or you’re not.” Would you say that Bob Barr is disqualified for the following positions?

  • Would vote for a Fair Tax if it replaced the income tax
  • Defended the authority of the states to outlaw drugs, gay marriage, and abortion
  • Would physically secure the borders, checking immigrants for threats to security and health
  • Approved of the 2001 U.S. military overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan

6. Ron Paul. Is Ron Paul a libertarian?  He has expressed support for every single one of the Barr positions listed above. And in his 2008 campaign, Ron Paul also

  • Denied ever advocating abolition of public schools
  • Said he helped “save” Social Security and would “take care of the people who are dependent on” it
  • Advocated financing government with tariffs and excise taxes (which are force initiations, right?)
  • Advertised in TV commercials his blanket opposition to student visas from “terrorist nations”

7. Chuck Baldwin. Do you still think that in 2008 the Constitution Party nominated “a good hardcore libertarian”?  When you called Chuck Baldwin that in June of 2008, he was running for President on a Constitution Party platform advocating

  • banning marriage and adoption by gays
  • banning all abortion
  • banning suicide
  • “restricting access to drugs” and “stopping the flow of illegal drugs into the U.S.”
  • “vigorously enforcing our laws against obscenity”
  • tariffs “no less than the difference between the foreign item’s cost of production” and U.S. costs
  • “a moratorium on immigration”
  • “return of a U.S. military presence at the Isthmus of Panama”

8. Conspiracy Theories. While LNC Chair, would you ever seek to have the LP promote any of the following theories?

  • The 16th Amendment was never ratified and/or the government’s own laws don’t require paying income tax
  • FDR knew Pearl Harbor was about to be attacked
  • 9/11 was an inside job

9. Restore04. You were a signatory of the Restore04 petition to restore the 2004 LP Platform.  Which, if any, of the following provisions of the 2004 platform — each of which is more extreme than what Ron Paul R3volution ever advocated in 2008 — do you favor restoring?

  • “the right of individuals to renounce their affiliation with any government, and to be exempt from the obligations imposed by those governments”
  • repeal of all laws that restrict anyone, including children, from engaging in voluntary exchanges of goods, services or information regarding human sexuality”
  • “elimination of all restrictions on immigration”
  • “repeal of all taxation”
  • “all criminal and civil sanctions against tax evasion should be terminated immediately”
  • “privatization of public roads”
  • “termination of governmental monopolies for electricity, natural gas, or water supplies”

10. The Pledge. LPUS membership requires pledging that you “oppose the initiation of force to achieve political or social goals”.  Should LPUS membership be revoked from people who (like Bob Barr) advocate a Fair Tax, or who (like Ron Paul) advocate tariffs and excise taxes, or who (like David Nolan) say their “preference is for a single tax on land”?

33 thoughts on “10 Questions For Libertarian Party Chair Candidate Ernest Hancock

  1. Andy

    “7. Chuck Baldwin.
    restricting access to drugs” and “stopping the flow of illegal drugs into the U.S.””

    Chuck Baldwin and his VP running mate Darryl Castle both opposed the War on Drugs. I met Darryl Castle in person at a debate that was held in Nashville, TN and I asked him if he opposed the War on Drugs at both the federal level and the state level and he said that he did. He said that if he were running for a state office in Tennessee (where he lives) that he’d favor ending the drug war at the state level.

  2. Trent Hill

    Andy is quite right.

    Believe it or not–Chuck Baldwin, despite being a Baptist pastor, had the most libertarian impulses of any of the General Election candidates with the possible exception of Bob Barr.

    He was certainly more libertarian than the pre-LP Bob Barr. I’m not sure who was more libertarian out of the Presidential candidate Bob Barr and Chuck Baldwin.

  3. Andy

    “He was certainly more libertarian than the pre-LP Bob Barr. I’m not sure who was more libertarian out of the Presidential candidate Bob Barr and Chuck Baldwin.”

    I think that Chuck Baldwin probably was (is) more libertarian than Bob Barr.

  4. Melty

    I thought Ron Paul proposed declaring war on Afghanistan with intent to vote against the declaration.

  5. Steve

    Melty, you’re thinking of Iraq where Paul did that. In Afghanistan, Paul first introduced legislation drafting letters of marque and reprisal then voted for the resolution authorizing force. He seems to have turned against that war as it shifted from being a legitimate operation targeting the organization that attacked us to a nation building occupation.

  6. Robert Capozzi

    #11: At the 2003 Freedom Summit, you introduced Vin Suprynowicz, saying that he is “a good example and a great inspiration”. Suprynowicz during his talk said:

    “Does the right to own arms mean I can own a nuclear weapon? And the correct answer is “yes”. Where do you think the government got their nuclear weapons? They only are supposed to have powers we delegate to them. How did we delegate to them the power to have nuclear weapons if we didn’t have it ourselves? Even a Libertarian politician goes “Well, I’m certainly not campaigning for personal nuclear weapons this year.” This ducking-the-question stuff, we don’t need that. Most of them are crooks by the time they get on the ballot. Everyone’s free to make their own decision, but I’ve pretty much given up. The whole voting thing, it hasn’t worked in 30 years.”

    Do you still believe Vin Suprynowicz is “a good example and a great inspiration”?

  7. Robert Capozzi

    Very disappointed that Hancock won’t respond directly. He’s obviously a passionate, dedicated fellow, but he should address the L community about some of his more controversial stands.

  8. Jeremy Young

    I applaud Brian for sending pointed questions to Root and Hancock, but I’m disappointed he didn’t choose to send them to the other three declared candidates as well. Root and Hancock are unquestionably the two frontrunners, but because of the way the LP elections are run it’s quite likely that a third candidate will emerge in dark horse fashion and end up on the final ballot with either Root or Hancock. For instance, Myers supporters might support Phillies after Myers is eliminated, or Hinkle supporters might support Myers after Hinkle is eliminated. Especially given that Root and Hancock are such polarizing figures (not that Phillies is any less polarizing, but Myers and Hinkle are), it’s important to find out where all five candidates stand.

  9. Brian Holtz

    As I said in the sibling thread: please send suggested questions for Hinkle, Phillies, and Myers to contact.ipr@gmail.com. IPR has posted most if not all of their output so far, and it’s hard to think of a lot of pointed questions to aim at these three.

    Note that when JJM saw the questions above, he joked to me: I am not particularly interested in you making me a set of questions ; )

    A starter set of questions for Phillies remains at http://libertarianintelligence.com/2009/12/questions-for-george-phillies.html.

  10. Green Party Conservative

    Wow…some interesting points here. Thanks for the informative questions, much like those thrown at any and all people attempting to lead the Green Party.

    Green Party Watch reporting

    Delaware Green Party must register new voters to stay on ballot

    April 7th, 2010 by Dave Schwab

    According to a Delaware News-Journal article on new ballot access rules, the Green Party of Delaware needs to increase its registration from 561 to at least 612 by August 24th to remain ballot-qualified. Delaware residents who would like to register Green can find places to register and other relevant information at the Delaware Department of Elections site.


  11. Green Party Conservative

    Green Party to hold multiple Green Party conventions…

    Green Party watch also has coming Green Party conventions

    Upcoming Massachusetts Green Party regional conventions
    April 7th, 2010 by Dave Schwab

    From the Massachusetts Green-Rainbow Party:

    Green-Rainbow Party Regional Conventions provide a great opportunity to meet fellow Party members and supporters in your community, share your ideas, discover ways to support action on your key issues by working with others, and to get involved playing an important role in an important, high-profile campaign!

    This year’s slate of six regional conventions will feature appearances by gubernatorial candidate Jill Stein; Rick Purcell, candidate for Lieutenant Governor; Nat Fortune, running for Auditor of Massachusetts; and other candidates for local and legislative offices.


  12. Jeremy Young

    Sorry, I missed that mention in the other post. Is it all right if I post some here? It might help to have folks comment on whether they’re helpful questions or not.

    For Phillies, I think the most important question is #1 on your partial list: can he work with the Ron Paul movement given his own antipathy to them, and can he get new LP members from among their ranks? Other questions for Phillies include:

    2) By the admission of most observers, you’re not as charismatic a speaker as either Ernie Hancock or Wayne Root. Do you think this will be a hindrance when selling the LP to the mainstream media and to non-LP voters? More generally, do you see the role of the LP chair as being the public face of the party, and how would you achieve that goal?

    3) Is your decision to run with a slate of candidates a blow to the ability of the LNC to conduct business in a non-factionalized fashion? Why don’t you think you can work with the majority of the current LNC? And why didn’t Mary Ruwart and Lee Wrights agree to run on your ticket?

    Three questions for Mark Hinkle:

    1) Same as 2) above, about charisma.

    2) Your proposals for changes in LNC governance have amounted to small administrative changes, such as dividing up tasks among LNC members. Does this choice mean that you don’t see the LNC as requiring large-scale restructuring or repositioning, and if not, why are you comfortable with the current amount of factionalism and infighting on the LNC? Why have you not worked to improve relations between warring camps on the LNC during your tenure?

    3) What is your response to Mary Ruwart’s charge that you were unwilling to stand up to Aaron Starr on the Donor Confidentiality Committee when you believed he was violating the bylaws governing that Committee? If you were unwilling to oppose Starr then, why should delegates believe you will be able to control him as LNC chair?

    Three questions for John Jay Myers:

    1) At your first chair debate in Austin, you gave what IPR’s liveblogger described as a racially-tinged and offensive impression of Barack Obama. Do you intend to perform in similar fashion as LNC chair, particularly in taped or media forums? Why should delegates believe you will represent the LNC professionally?

    2) Since you have never served on the LNC, why do you believe you have the ability to unite the warring factions there? Why will they listen to you? Do you believe you can control either Aaron Starr or some of the radicals who may be elected to the LNC in St. Louis?

    3) You’ve stated that you want the LP to be a big tent, but also that you can’t support Ernie Hancock, who shares many of your views, because he’s an anarchist, and you’ve also been critical of Wayne Root for being too pro-Republican. How do you intend to reassure delegates that you will in fact allow both right-Libertarians and anarcho-Libertarians to hold office and influence within the party, or do you not intend to do so?

  13. Andy

    Brian Holtz said: “A starter set of questions for Phillies remains at http://libertarianintelligence.com/2009/12/questions-for-george-phillies.html.”

    George Phillies said: “As was well known prior to the discovery of his racist newsletters, he is a homophobic bigot, an antiabortionist, a Christian dominionist who believes the Bible trumps the Constitution, an opponent of the Constitution who rejects the 14th amendment etc.”

    To which Brian Holtz asked: “Given your harsh attacks on Ron Paul such as above, how would you be able to position the LP to work with the Tea Party movement, the Campaign For Liberty, etc?”

    The Ron Paul r3VoLution/Campaign for Liberty and the TEA Party movement are excellent places for recruiting people into the Libertarian Party. Bashing Ron Paul is a sure way to alienate these people. A Libertarian Party Chair or candidate who bashes Ron Paul like George Phillies did above will turn off a huge number of people who are a natural constituency for the Libertarian Party.

  14. Andy

    “2) By the admission of most observers, you’re not as charismatic a speaker as either Ernie Hancock or Wayne Root.”

    George improved a lot as a speaker when he ran for the LP’s presidential nomination. He’s actually not that bad a speaker so I don’t think that this would be that big a problem.

    A much bigger problem would be his history of alientating Ron Paul supporters.

  15. Andy

    “3) What is your response to Mary Ruwart’s charge that you were unwilling to stand up to Aaron Starr on the Donor Confidentiality Committee”

    Donor information is NOT confidential. Anyone who donates $200 or more per year is posted on the FEC’s website (see http://www.FEC.gov and check out the electronic filings). This information also gets reported on several places on-line such as Huffington Post, Newsmeat, City Data, etc… Also, even people who donate amouts that are under $200 per year have their names and locations on the LP National website as well as in LP News.

    Acting as though donor information is some big secret is absolutely ridiculous.

  16. No, no, no .......... Lake

    not one mention of his major faux pax as the good Doctor declared that the LP was the solo Peace Party.

    As with Root’s dum dum state ment of a rediculas $100T national debt, do not expect a ‘free pass’ from most non Libs. Two honors graduates from the 21st Century Clown College.

    ……… The howl we would have chorused if a Democan or a Republicrat would have so stumbled! Libs are rumored to be of above intelligence [TPW and IPR not with standing], but I will personally lobby to take away library cards and or Mensa memberships!

  17. Thomas L. Knapp

    “not one mention of his major faux pax as the good Doctor declared that the LP was the solo Peace Party.”

    This should be pretty simple to resolve. If you don’t believe the LP is the solo peace party, name another peace party. Even one will do.

    The Greens? Bzzzt. From their current platform: “The U.S. is obligated to render military assistance or service under U.N. command to enforce a U.N. Security Council resolutions.”

  18. George Phillies

    @19 That statement is a policy position, the same as “The US is Constitutionally obliged to ignore Security Council resolutions demanding it hand over military forces to UN command, at least in the absence of an appropriate act of Congress.

    Mind you, the statement that the Green Party is a political party, when its 2004 election plan was to refuse to campaign in states where it might cause Kerry to lose, is open to debate.

  19. George Phillies


    The donation records — full address and amount — of under-$200 donors to the LP are not available. The date and exact amount — which is what set this whole thing off — of small donors are not available. Unless, of course, you are Lee Wrights, in which case the Party Treasurer broadcasts his claims about you across the internet.

  20. Robert Capozzi

    hmm, that’s an interesting point, gp. If the US has signed treaties with the UN that were constitutionally executed, does that require the US to follow through on its standing treaty obligations, or does each act require a declaration of war? If a treaty requires that, it doesn’t seem like much of a treaty.

    This is a separate question of whether treaties in general and the UN in specific are good ideas. Washington may not have — warning of entangling alliances — but the Constitution certainly allows for them. In concept, if treaties keep the peace, I’m for them.

  21. George Phillies


    In my opinion, treaties are part of the law of the land, like it says in the Constitution, and have been ratified by the Senate.

    However the statements “we have a treaty to send troops, and should do so” and “we have a treaty, but Congress should act first” are both political positions, as distinct from ‘we have a treaty’, which is the historical statement correctly identified above as a fact.

  22. CommonSenseGuy

    Brian, next time try to appear unbiased. You forgot one very important question:
    “Do you still beat your wife?”

  23. Darryl W. Perry

    @19 “If you don’t believe the LP is the solo peace party, name another peace party. Even one will do.”

    The Boston Tea Party http://bostontea.us
    From a resolution passed at the 2008 Convention http://bostontea.us/node/434

    Be it RESOLVED that the Boston Tea Party calls for an immediate cease-fire of all military conflict and

    Be it RESOLVED that the Boston Tea Party calls for an immediate removal of all military personnel from all foreign nations and

    Be it RESOLVED that the Boston Tea Party calls for an immediate closure of all military bases in all foreign nations.

  24. Robert Capozzi

    dp: …immediate closure of all military bases in all foreign nations.

    me: Yep, I’d say BTP is a peace party. But the way this reads, it seems to say that all bases should be closed in foreign nations. I’m guessing y’all meant US bases in foreign nations, which seems like a good idea, although immediate seems a stretch.

    I wonder how many nations currently have troops in other countries at the moment? NATO nations, perhaps Russia, maybe China…

  25. Darryl W. Perry

    @Robert “I wonder how many nations currently have troops in other countries at the moment? NATO nations, perhaps Russia, maybe China…” good question…

  26. Holtz is Pro-War

    Holtz: “do you seriously think I would embed in my questions even a single fact that I can’t document?”


    I don’t consider links to your blog postings to be “documentation.”

  27. Brian Holtz

    I don’t say a statement is a fact just because I’ve asserted it before. Do you say a statement is not a fact just because I’ve asserted it before?

  28. Robert Capozzi

    bh, that’s the funny thing about facts…some people will not even listen to another’s presentation of facts if they disagree with the other’s opinions, which is tragic, IMO.

    Where things REALLY get tricky is determining whether facts are germane to the question at hand.

    I sometimes disagree with your opinions, but I can’t think of a case where you didn’t have your facts right.

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