Ernie Hancock & Wayne Allyn Root Face-Off – LP Chair’s Race

Submitted to IPR by Doctor Tom Stevens from his blog:
http://drtomstevens.blogspot.com/2010/05/hancock-root-face-off-in-debate-for.html

On Monday, May 10, 2010, Ernest Hancock & Wayne Allyn Root appeared at the Ukrainian East Village Restaurant located at 140 2nd Avenue in Manhattan for a meeting co-sponsored by the Manhattan Libertarian Party and the Libertarian Party of Queens County where each candidate for National LP Chair had an opportunity to present their vision for the future of the Libertarian Party.

Mr. Hancock led off with a presentation which was supposed to be about The Power of the Individual Activist but turned out instead to be a litany of his past battles with the national Libertarian Party. He mentioned the Arizona Libertarian Party’s former opposition to the Unified Membership Program (UMP) and stated how the National LP tried to recognize an insurgent Libertarian Party faction out of Tucson and how eventually, the elected state leadership won in the Courts and then deliberately decided not to place Harry Browne on the ballot in Arizona as the Libertarian Party’s Presidential Candidate, putting someone else on instead.

Mr. Hancock also mentioned how he came up with the “rEVOLution” logo but then refused to support Ron Paul for the Republican Presidential Nomination even though he knew Ron Paul would defend and be proud of the fact that he is a Libertarian. He also stated he would like the Libertarian Party to stick by its principles and be THE Anti-War Party. Mr. Hancock stated he has no interest in “obtaining a seat at the King’s Table” and has no interest in competing for elective office with the Democrats and Republicans. His only interest is in spreading “a principled libertarian message to change people’s minds” and believes “electoral success will follow as a natural result of the party’s success in promoting its principles”.

Mr. Hancock said “immigrants came to this country and wrapped their arms and legs around the liberty tree” and “now we are the only ones still protecting that tree”. He complimented Wayne Allyn Root for being a fighter but said about his efforts, “You’re scaling the ladder but it’s against the wrong freakin’ wall!”

When Wayne Allyn Root spoke, he set forth a vision for the Libertarian Party that was completely different from that laid out by Ernie Hancock. Mr. Root described himself as a “Big-Tent Libertarian” who, if elected National LP Chair intends to be “Rainmaker-In Chief” raising sufficient funds to make the Libertarian Party and its candidates viable and competitive throughout the country. He stated that if elected, he would ask LP candidates “to take a pledge not to accept any campaign contributions from corporations, lobbyists or unions”.

Wayne Allyn Root stated, “The Purity Police have been chasing the impure away through vicious comments. It is time we welcomed more people into our ranks with a message of smaller government and more individual freedom”. He said, “it does the party no good focusing on issues like the legalization of heroin that will just scare people away”. Mr. Root mentioned how “important it is that we package our message in a way that will be attractive to voters”. As an example, he mentioned that when the fish “grouper” was on restaurant menus, no one bought it but when they started calling it “Chilean Sea Bass”, people ordered it to the point that the fish is now an endangered species. His point was that “packaging and presentation” is everything.

After the meeting, Dr. Tom Stevens, LPQC State Representative, invited nine attendees to join him at Cafe Mocha for coffee and continuing political discussions. In attendance was Alden Link, the LPNY Candidate for Lt. Governor; Carl Person, the LPNY Candidate for Attorney General; Sam Sloan, MLP State Representative; and Dallwyn Merck, LPQC Secretary. A poll was taken regarding who everyone thought won the debate. The result was unanimous. Wayne Allyn Root was declared the winner. Dr. Tom Stevens said he “fully expects Wayne Allyn Root to be elected National LP Chair” and “for the Libertarian Party to enter into a new era of growth and opportunity under Root’s inspired leadership”.

98 thoughts on “Ernie Hancock & Wayne Allyn Root Face-Off – LP Chair’s Race

  1. Brian Holtz

    I’m skeptical of Stevens’ report that Hancock “refused to support Ron Paul for the Republican Presidential Nomination”. The R3volution was built around Paul’s bid for the GOP nomination, and I don’t hold it against Hancock for getting involved in another party’s nominating process.

    Hancock has indeed been involved in many battles within/against the LPUS, but he’s no slouch at promoting “The Power of the Individual Activist”. Here is an example of an individual activist that Hancock has repeatedly embraced:

  2. Border Collie

    Wait a minute.

    An activist talks about one issue on Hancock’s show but is a butt-hole in other areas?

    How does that reflect on Hancock?

  3. Robert Capozzi

    Has Hancock recruited Anderson to be his running mate as Vice Chair?

    Does Hancock have a position on “aborting” Barack Obama?

    If elected Chair, will the LNC meet wearing Guy Fawkes costumes?

    And is it just me, or does Pastor Anderson look like he was separated at birth from Matthew Fox, “Jack” on LOST?

  4. Brian Holtz

    Hancock closed his fawning interview with Anderson by saying: “I wanted to give you a little bit of the background of the type of person who would take on The Man, because he answers to The Real Man.”

    People can decide for themselves whether Hancock was endorsing Anderson’s personal character, and whether to worry that Chair Hancock would have the LP embrace Anderson as a poster child for the Fourth Amendment.

    Bob, I’m not worried that Hancock endorses any of the crazy things Anderson says in the video, or that Hancock would recruit Anderson as an LP officer. I just don’t want to see Anderson embraced on LP.org the way Hancock embraces him on his own web site and radio show.

  5. Robert Capozzi

    Maybe Pastor Anderson should serve as the LNC’s Sgt at Arms 😉 Notice how he tells an audience member to leave his church for daring to disagree.

  6. I'll let the people decide...

    …if Mr. Holtz is cherry-picking facts to suit his agenda.

  7. Brian Holtz

    My agenda is protecting the LP’s reputation. Which affects the LP’s reputation more — the most noble things its Chair says and does, or the most embarrassing?

    Every Chair candidate should have his closet examined for skeletons. If one of them happens to have a walk-in closet full of skeletons, I will indeed cherry-pick every single one of them I find in there.

  8. I'll let the people decide...

    …why Brian Holtz is only presenting cherry-picked facts about Ernest Hancock and not Wayne Allyn Root, George Phillies, Mark Hinkle and/or John Jay Myers.

  9. Steven R Linnabary

    I really DO want to be able to support Root. But his comments such as this:

    “I get on TV and radio again and again. And I get asked back every week by hosts all across the country. Last I checked thats a great achievement…and a very positive step for GOP.”

    and his refusal to mention Libertarianism or the Libertarian Party during his recent “TEA Party Express” (where he shared the stage with Sarah Palin) as well as his embarrassing performance(s) on Faux News makes this rather hard.

    And one can hardly go to ANY LP convention and not hear at least one “conspiracy theory”, but that doesn’t mean that libertarians talk about them in a public arena or make them the subject of a political campaign. Conspiracies DO exist, but most of us know better than to make them a central part of what we want voters to see and hear of the Libertarian Party.

    Thankfully, there are three other highly qualified candidates seeking the Chairs’ position.

    PEACE

  10. Brian Holtz

    Just a few days ago I posted to IPR Tom Knapp’s survey of the alleged skeletons in Wayne Root’s closet. I don’t know of any dirty Root laundry — like the “GOP” typo mentioned above — that hasn’t already been repeatedly aired on IPR.

    I’ve highlighted several times the major skeleton in Phillies’ closet: calling Ron Paul “a homophobic bigot”, and calling for mass expulsions from the LNC of the members who approved the use of the LP’s Ballot Base software by the Paul campaign. (I wish that George would just say he overstated his case, and that he no longer thinks Wes Benedict engaged in fraud against the LP when as an LNC member he took part in that approval. But we Libertarians are a stubborn lot.)

    I criticized Hinkle for being a Restore04 signer, but that’s not exactly a skeleton.

    I don’t know of any skeletons haunting Myers, but I did criticize Myers for mis-stating how much of federal military spending he would eliminate, and for saying that entitlement programs aren’t part of our fiscal problems because they have their own special taxes.

  11. I'll let the people decide...

    …why BH continues beating the drums against Hancock, but only briefly shines a light on other LP Chair candidates.

    Does Holtz have an anti-Hancock agenda? Is Holts pro-WAR? You decide!

  12. David F. Nolan

    I consider Enest Hancock a friend and ally — perhaps the most effective pro-liberty activist alive. I admire Wayne’s energy and enthusiasm, but distrust his motives and worry about his lingering sympathies for the GOP. However, as events unfold, I see that electing either of these men as LNC Chair would further divide and polarize the LP. Thus, if we want to keep the party united, we must choose Hinkle, Myers or Phillies as the next Chair. I have not yet endorsed any of them, but expect to do so before we vote on Sunday 5/30.

  13. Brian Holtz

    I can only shine a light on skeletons that actually exist. Feel free to identify any Chair candidate skeletons that have been overlooked on IPR.

    The troll Lake is delusional. I’ve opposed the wars for years. I voted for someone other than Root in the LPCA primary, in the LPCA straw poll, on the first presidential ballot in Denver, and on every vice-presidential ballot. I’m not endorsing Root (or anybody else) for Chair, as several candidates are acceptable to me. I have been a vocal critic of Israel’s occupations for even longer than my decade in the LP. I won’t vouch for my own honesty; those who care will have to figure that one out for themselves.

  14. Oh come on .......... Lake

    Bruce Cohen’s fascist Zionist buddy Brian Holtz: “I won’t vouch for my own honesty; those who care will have to figure that one out for themselves.”

    [a] I do care

    [b] I did

    [c] and I am a Californian but not an LPer. I had to find out about Kubby and Edward Tessiler and Richard Rider personally and by myself. Brian Holtz and Bruce Cohen are legend!

  15. LP Pramatist

    Mr Linnabary, I suggest you call Mr. Root and discuss the issue. If you don’t have his cell phone number, how about asking people that DO have his number.

  16. Thane Eichenauer

    I see concerns expressed as far as gotcha situations are concerned. Ernie has always said that FreedomsPhoenix.com is about providing information to the public and allowing the public to decide how valid or invalid that information is.

    As far as freedom is concerned I have admired the fact that Pastor Anderson was unwilling to be ordered around by the government.

  17. Brian Holtz

    Although Hancock is publisher of FreedomsPhoenix, it is indeed an open collaboration and he can’t be blamed for content that others post to his site. All my Hancock gotchas have been about people and stories that Hancock has specifically chosen to promote in his own shows and in the DVDs he hands out.

    Also, I don’t have time to wade through all the material on his site: 276 articles on the New World Order, 236 articles on 9/11, 59 articles on the Trilateral Commission, 80 articles on the Bilderberg Group, 90 articles on mind control, etc.

  18. Robert Capozzi

    te, it’s not just FreedomsPhoenix. It’s handing out videos and public speeches, too.

    If Hinkle or Myers started handing out literature from a white separatist group and then he said, “I’m not endorsing this material, I’m just a conduit. You decide.” What would you think was his agenda? Would you want him to be Chair?

    Again, for all I know, Conspiracy Theory X is correct. That’s not the question. The question is whether someone who promotes X should be LP Chair? Hancock is on record as saying that as Chair he’ll continue to raise the 9/11 Truth issue.

    If that’s what the party in convention wants, then I can think of no better Chair candidate than Hancock. I’m sure many Ls do NOT want that, but some may find (as I do) Ernie to be a compelling figure in his own way, and they may be swayed by his personality. Some of us are raising the caution flag on this candidacy.

  19. Brian Holtz

    My biggest problem with using conspiracy theories in libertarian outreach is not that they’re flimsy.

    No, my biggest problem with them is that they make it too easy, too convenient to argue against the welfare/warfare state. They’re a crutch.

    I want a Chair who can make the case against the welfare/warfare state even if you grant that the stated intentions of the nanny-staters and warfare-staters are genuine.

    Anyone who can’t do that just isn’t ready for the big-league task of convincing America’s grownups to dismantle the welfare/warfare state.

  20. Robert Capozzi

    bh, agreed. If we can make the straight-up case to roll back the State in a compelling way, that will attract the numbers necessary to influence the direction of things.

    If, along the way, a conspiracy theorist can prove his/her allegations, all the better. Expecting a breakthrough in public opinion based on validation of a conspiracy theory seems a stretch, at best. After all, Watergate WAS a conspiracy that was unearthed and proven. It toppled Nixon. But the State continued to creep along, getting only larger.

    So, if the Truthers are correct, what’s it buy us? Aside from Cheney in jail getting his stints replaced on the taxpayers’ dime, I’d say, not a whole heckuva lot.

    Or if Obama is actually the CIA’s Manchurian Candidate or some such, we get Joe Biden? Hardly seems worth the effort (and aggravation) to this hombre.

  21. Read between the lines

    In reading between the lines of what Hancock is saying. He is saying I will do nothing just as the party has been doing in the last 39 years, Nothing.. LOL LOL ROLF

  22. Gene Berkman

    Wayne Root says as Chair he will be a “rainmaker” for Libertarian candidates across the country.

    Well, why wait, Wayne? Show your stuff now, and convince us you can raise money for LP candidates by raising some now.

    In the major parties, you get ahead by doing things like raising money for candidates – before you run for a leadership position. It is time we have performance standards by which we judge candidates for party office.

  23. Robert Capozzi

    gb, a Chair has a portfolio for fundraising that others don’t. Root’s obvious focus since the election has been on his book and getting media.

    Personally, I’d love to see Ls stage nationwide Lincoln/Douglas-type debates, and I’d pay to see them. I vote for Blanton/Holtz…worth the price of admission!

  24. Gene Berkman

    Robert – I know the Republican National Committeeman from California, and he got his position because long before he held such a position, he raised lots of money for Republican candidates.

    Wayne sounds like he thinks he can raise much more money than the current Chair of the LNC. He is making a claim about his own abilities, not the ability of a party chair to raise money. I think if he makes that claim, it should be judged on whether he can back it up.

  25. Robert Capozzi

    gb, the ability of a R or an L to raise money are different kettles of fish, as I see it. Whether Root has the ability to raise significant funds for the LP is a legitimate question, surely. So far, he’s demonstrated the ability to get on TV and get his books published.

    Making rain? We’ll see, if he’s elected.

  26. Robert Milnes

    Later 9 attendees(cherrypicked?) voted unanomously Root the winner. Root will win convention vote for chair. non sequitor? There are other candidates. Which cup is the pea under you slight of hand huckster Dr. Tom Stevens, GOP lackey?

  27. Robert Milnes

    This seems like some sort of rightist/think tank/government/GOP set up to me. Root wouldn’t attend if he didn’t have assurances the fix was in. He doesn’t comment in IPR, does he?

  28. Andrew

    Declare Your Independence With Ernest Hancock Afternoon May 3rd 2010

    Former AZ US Senator Karen Johnson talks about the immigration law

    http://www.freedomsphoenix.com/Article/068635-2010-05-10-declare-your-independence-with-ernest-hancock-afternoon-may-3rd-2010.htm

    Freedom’s Phoenix Workshop Tour
    http://ernesthancock.org/?page_id=25

    A Little QnA with Ernest Hancock
    These are questions submitted by Libertarians of Northeast Kansas for the forum between Wayne Root and Ernie Hancock at the LPKS State Convention, April 24, 2010. They are published here exactly as submitted, and may or may not reflect the wording of the questions submitted to the candidates at the forum.

    Question:
    I’d like them to discuss how they feel about the ongoing ‘tug of war’, between those who want to hold to our party’s principles, and those who are willing to ‘bend’ the principles to gain popularity and win more votes.

    Ernest Hancock:
    For 22 years I have advocated, worked for and demonstrated that Hard Core No-Compromise libertarian activism and advocacy in support of fundamental libertarianism has produced the popularity/support desired. Abandonment of the Libertarian Party at the National level has not been due to our being perceived as too principled,… it has been because we were not being principled enough.

    Question:
    Which do you believe is more important: to remain true to our principles or to get candidates elected to office?

    Ernest Hancock:
    Principles first. Support in the form of money, effort and votes are a side effect of filling a very desirable need for the promotion of individual liberty. A Libertarian Party that offers another form of Social and Economic Engineering of Americans can offer very little to a liberty starve populace searching for a way out of their enslavement.

    Question:
    How do you intend to increase the size of the LP and get candidates elected to office?

    Ernest Hancock:
    By being relevant to the lives of individuals.

    Increased membership, available resources, financial support, number of quality candidates and votes are a side effect of being perceived as a champion for the liberty of every individual.

    Question:
    Should the primary emphasis of the Libertarian Party be to win elections, or to present an ideologically pure Libertarian option to the voters? “Both” is not an acceptable answer.

    Ernest Hancock:
    Presenting an ideologically pure libertarian message… the rest will follow.

    Question:
    As party chair, what will you do to win over moderate Libertarians–individuals who believe generally in freedom in both the social and economic spheres, but who do not endorse the party’s full agenda–to the party?

    Ernest Hancock:
    Be consistent. The government is making more libertarians every day in many ways.

    Question:
    Would you continue to invest LP resources to obtain ballot access in states such as Oklahoma and West Virginia or use these resources to help candidates in competitive races?

    Ernest Hancock:
    I’m one vote on the LNC. My vote will be to support a mechanism that allows individuals to direct their money to various projects presented to them by the LNC. I’m sure that ‘Ballot Status’, individual candidates, purchased media, affiliate promotion, issue advocacy, overhead etc. will be presented to the membership for support. The idea that a very small minority would spend other people’s money with very little input from them on a regular basis has proven to me to be a very unproductive method of allocating resources.

    Question:
    What is the first thing you would as Chair for the national LP and why?

    Ernest Hancock:
    Make absolutely certain that the entire Washington, D.C. Beltway area knows that we are there. “Liberty…. She’s Baaaack”.

    Question:
    What do you see as the best direction to take the national party to further our growth? Here are two distinct choices.
    Keep firm to Libertarian principles and demonstrate to the public that those principles are the founding principles of our nation. Point out that neither big party follows those principles and to vote for the lesser evil of those two gives us an evil and out of control government.
    Moderate our support of those principles to attract conservative voters from the Republican Party.

    Ernest Hancock:
    “Keep firm to Libertarian principles”.

    Question:
    How about what to really do about health care? What should be cut from the budget? Should taxes be raised?

    Ernest Hancock:
    Deregulate Healthcare. End the War on Drugs. The United States budget repealed back to at least its Constitutional limits of what the Federal Government is authorized to do. Eliminate the Income Tax as a start.

    Question:
    There is a perception that LP is only representing the white male baby boomer. We know that not to be the case, as evidenced by our gen Xers in ExComm. What do these gentlemen plan to do to promote that this is not the only demographic represented and to promote more diverse involvement?

    Ernest Hancock:
    Represent the smallest minority,… the individual. Then all of the other categories just fade away. YES, they just fade away!

    Question:
    What qualities do you possess over the other candidates that would make you the best choice?

    Ernest Hancock:
    A fundamental understanding that it is up to each individual to take responsibility for their own advocacy of liberty in whatever way they are best suited. The LPUS will be a very effective and ready tool for all of us to make use of in the fulfillment of that responsibility.

    Question:
    What is your stance on the government’s role in marriage, and how would that effect ‘gay marriage’?

    Ernest Hancock:
    At most, Government’s involvement in marriage should not extend further than being a disinterested 3rd party in the enforcement of a private contract.

    Question:
    If you are elected, what are the first three things you will do, and when will you do them?

    Ernest Hancock:
    I am making every effort to make my election to LNC Chair a very clear choice for relevance in American politics and culture by being very open and public with our advocacy for individual liberty. This can be inspired by the LNC Chair initiating a “campaign” in Washington, D.C. to make it very clear who we are, what we want and how much effort we are willing to devote to demonstrate to the whole planet of our sincerity and devotion to Human Freedom via peaceful means with LOVE. (Lots of signs and hand materials to start… the rest will follow – I’ve done this many times before

    Question:
    At the end of your term, what criteria will you use to judge your time as chairman as a success or failure? And, are any of those criteria objective measurable that you will strive to achieve?

    Ernest Hancock:
    Campaigns, Vote totals, Money raised, Membership increases etc. are all a side effect of effectively communicating to the planet our message in a clear and unwavering presentation. We are not afraid, we are confident and we are determined to spread the libertarian message to as many minds as possible. The r3VOLution was not my first effort to accomplish this, nor will it be my last.

    Question:
    What is the greatest barrier to electing Libertarians nationwide? How do you propose we overcome that barrier?

    Ernest Hancock:
    Trillions (with a “T”) have been spent over generations via the Government Education System (Government Schools, Government Public Service Announcements, Government Licensed Media, Government Programs and Projects) to convince as many individuals as possible that solutions to any imaginable problem is to be found when first you look to government.

    I have watched this programming be replaced with individual minds being able to communicate with millions of others without borders or boundaries or filters. Promotion of reality/truth and libertarianism will create a welcome environment for those looking for exactly what we offer.

    Question:
    The only way for a political party to win elections is to appeal to the voters in the “middle” (wherever that is). How do you propose positioning the LP to appeal to this voting bloc?

    Ernest Hancock:
    If try to appeal to ‘the middle’,… how will we ever attract ‘the middle’ to libertarianism?

    Government is our best recruiter. Being libertarian is our most appealing trait as the world learns what we offer.

    Question:
    What support and training do you believe the National LP should provide to train candidates running for office?

    Ernest Hancock:
    Central Planning for candidate training at a national level has never been effective in my experience. At a local level there is more success, but each candidate is very different. Being able to provide legal requirements for running and access to many sources of information is useful, but a ‘one size fits all Candidate Packet/Presentation’ put together by committee for a State legislative candidate in Montana and a US Senate candidate in Arkansas is likely worse than useless. Every presentation I have attended never takes into account the personality of the candidate. And instead of allowing the candidate to learn how best to make the most use of their abilities and talents, the candidate is blamed for not being enough… whatever.

    I advocate sharing as much truth as possible with as many people as possible, while making friends whenever possible and choosing ‘non-friends’ very carefully (often you learn as much about someone, and their intentions, by who their ‘non-friends’ are). My goal is to help as many people as possible free the minds of as many people as possible. More often than not this is accomplished by being of service to them instead of trying to make them serve the collective as best determined by a committee around a table.

    Question:
    Explain to us how your previous background and experience positions you to represent and lead the LP in a superior manner.

    Ernest Hancock:
    Lead libertarians???

    The most effective method I know of to inspire libertarian activism is to be an example and inspiration. This has had “superior” results so far.

    Question:
    What is your vision for the LP 5-years and 10-years from today? If elected, what specific steps will you implement to bring us closer to that vision?

    Ernest Hancock:
    My preferred vision would be for the Libertarian Party to be unnecessary so we could all go about our business enjoying freedom. But I suspect that the Libertarian Party of the United States (I’m making no predictions about the many other levels of autonomous Libertarian Party’s),… I suspect that the LPUS will either be the touchstone of all political discourse on this globe within 2 years, or it will be irrelevant. Libertarianism can not be negotiated away for a place at the political table and think that we’ll be of any use to a liberty starved populace.

    Freedom is popular. It is why it has survived in spite of the enormous efforts to eradicate it. The advocacy of liberty loud, clear and pure will position the LPUS so that it can serve the interests of the many that will seek to help us free more minds.

    Question:
    If you became the Chair of the Libertarian Party what would you do to get the Party out there and recognized by more people (networking with liberty groups, getting in the news whether MSM; local; or internet, etc.)?

    Ernest Hancock:
    The same thing I’ve been doing for 22 years, get on the street. This is how individuals and groups learn of you, trust you and come to rely on you. While the freedom movement is getting much stronger, it is not so large that I haven’t been able to meet most of the most effective freedom advocates in America. The moment the freedom movement perceives the LPUS to be on the front lines with them, Challenging the Cult of the Omnipotent State, we will immediately experience our highest levels of influence in American politics.

    Question:
    Does the national LP office have BRCA/McCain-Feingold election finance compliance information and/or accounting support available for candidates? If not, would you direct the LP national office to create/fund that support?

    Ernest Hancock:
    No.

    I would encourage our challenging this unpopular and unconstitutional law and seek to understand how we might structure ourselves to be free of its requirements.

    Question:
    Would you support Ron Paul “reentering” the Libertarian Party as our candidate for U.S.President? Your reasons?

    Ernest Hancock:
    I don’t have any reason to oppose his “reentering” the LP. But why would he want to? He was already seen as the most libertarian presidential candidate of 2008 running as a Republican. A Hard Core, No-Compromise libertarian LPUS would attract many great libertarian candidates,… watch.

    Question:
    Would you support Sarah Palin entering the Libertarian Party as our candidate for U.S.President? Your reasons?

    Ernest Hancock:
    Sarah Palin is welcome to try. My hope is that the libertarians in the Libertarian Party will look to have libertarians represent them. If they do not… then we need to know that. St. Louis in 2010 will help provide the freedom movement with a great deal of information that we need in this regard.

    Question:
    With polls showing that over 40% of Americans willing to support/vote for non-R or D candidates for Congress, what are the top three specific actions you would have the party take to capture those potential voters this election cycle?

    Ernest Hancock:
    Tell the truth, Show No-Fear, Offer to help others find the information they need to survive what is going to happen to our economy.

    Question:
    What is the approximate combined net present value deficit of the U.S.A., including all outstanding Treasury debt and unfunded liabilities under our nation’s retirement and health care system (social security, Medicare, and Medicaid). ?

    Ernest Hancock:
    More than any of us, our children our grand children or great grand children are ever going to be able to pay back. Without another revolution of some sort (I’m working on a LOV3olution) we will continue to be tax slaves to The State for the rest of the foreseeable future.

    Question:
    How many sets of books does the Federal government keep? Can you describe the differences between these various books?

    Ernest Hancock:
    The government keeps books? And if they showed me the books, am I suppose to believe them? They have books that they use to convince you that they always need more money, they have books that convince others to invest in our debts, they have books that list investments for things like government retirement programs.

    In the mid 90’s I obtained Arizona’s CAFR (Comprehensive Annual Financial Report) as a project with a fellow libertarian. The money invested in the stock market (and ready to be skimmed off, over and over) comes in large part from government pension plans (and other ‘they ripped us off’ methods of transferring our wealth from us to “them”). In time I suspect that we’ll find that these very large sums of money are now gone, to… ?

    Like the previous question I suspect that you are looking for validation of something that you already know, or think you know. Whenever I am asked about a ‘number’, I know that there is someone else to tell me the number is wrong and that the number doesn’t mean what I said it meant anyway. So I respond with principle. While entitlements and debts and other obligations can be estimated at as much as $100 Trillion dollars, there are lobbyist in Washington right now trying to determine who will be left without a chair when the music stops on $600 Trillion in derivatives with no assets to back them up while they still plague the balance sheets of our economy.

    If we focus on the proper role of government (defense of individual rights), the rest of this stuff is easily answered without the need for a potential voter to bring a calculator to a political debate.

    Question:
    The “headline deficit number” under the unified federal budget for the current fiscal year is a deficit of approximately $1.3 trillion. But this does not come close to reflecting the additional liabilities we as a nation incur for persons retiring this year and expecting lifetime benefits from the government. What is the deficit if the net present value of all promises to federal employees and military personnel are added to this figure? What is the approximate federal deficit if the NPV of unfunded promises incurred this year are added to the figure?

    Ernest Hancock:
    More numbers?

    More than can ever be paid back. The United States Government has two options; Repudiation or Massive increases in the supply of US Dollars. Take your pick.

    The rest of the world was convinced that the American people could be harvested without limit to our tolerances. But what was not counted on was the market forces that limit an individual’s desire to slave away for little benefit and no perceived guarantee that they would even have a claim to the meager benefits that they did derive from the system, even their justly acquired property.

    Question:
    Will you take a pledge to put the federal government and its promises under social security, Medicare, and Medicaid on the same financial accounting standards that we expect from any fully funded and solvent insurance program extending retirement and health care promises to its clients, as such accounting is required by FASB (the Financial Accounting Standards Board) ?

    Ernest Hancock:
    I wouldn’t waste a moment saying anything about these programs other than to advocate for their elimination.

  29. Andrew

    Should his conscience be your guide? (Review of Wayne Allyn Root’s book by Mary Ruwart)

    http://www.freedomsphoenix.com/Article/068379-2010-05-04-should-his-conscience-be-your-guide.htm
    Article originally posted at
    LibertyForAll.net

    (Link to Judge John Buttrick’s Video Review of the book is at the bottom of this page)

    The Conscience of a Libertarian: Empowering the Citizen Revolution with God, Guns, Gambling, and Tax Cuts by Wayne Allyn Root. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2009.

    Book Review by
    Libertarian National Committee Member
    Mary Ruwart

    This book might be more honestly titled “Conscience of a Conservative II” or even “Conscience of a Constitutionalist.” Chapter 2, “The Libertarian Model,” opens with Ronald Reagan’s quote “Libertarianism is the very heart and soul of conservatism.” The author then describes the history of the New York State Conservative Party which his parents supported; he tells us that he wants to reintroduce the principles espoused by Republican conservative Barry Goldwater. No mention is made of any libertarian economist or Libertarian Party (LP) member. The uninformed reader cannot help but come away with the impression that “libertarian” is another name for “conservative.”
    On page 24, Mr. Root goes on to say “As a Libertarian, I believe that social and personal freedom issues are quite simply States’ Rights’ issues. … Voters should decide these issues on the state and local level.” Root’s position is that of a Constitutionalist, not a Libertarian. Libertarians believe that social and personal freedom issues are individual rights. However, since Mr. Root never refers to the non-aggression principle anywhere in his book, naïve readers are unlikely to learn of this distinction.

    Liberals will almost certainly come away with the impression that they are unwelcome in the Libertarian Party. While the author criticizes both Democrats and Republicans, he has nothing but praise for conservatives and offensive comments, almost to the level of “hate speech,” for liberals.

    Indeed, Root chokes on the popular slogan “Libertarians are fiscally conservative and socially liberal.” He insists on saying that libertarians are “socially tolerant” instead. Since Conscience was originally conceived as a campaign book, why would the author, the LP’s 2008 Libertarian VP nominee, insist on alienating liberals, who constitute almost half of the voting populace, especially when the LP has the solutions to poverty, pollution, and health care that they seek?

    The answer to this question may lie in how the author apparently sees himself: as a conservative first, and Libertarian second. He usually styles himself as a “Libertarian conservative” (page 60), even though libertarianism is generally considered “beyond right and left.” Mr. Root apparently wants to redefine what it means to be a libertarian.

    Indeed, Mr. Root can’t seem to get the words out when stating standard LP positions, like ending the Drug War. He tells us that we must “reposition” the war on drugs instead (page 225).

    Similarly, although telling readers he wants smaller government, the author’s proposed solutions often do just the opposite. He wants to increase the number of Congressional representatives from 435 members to almost 3,000 (pages 201-203). Mr. Root also wants to pay this gargantuan Congress CEO-level salaries ($500,000-$1,000,000 per year) “so they do not feel desperate to sell out their constituents in order to support their families” (page 202). Will paying more to those who steal our liberties and our money really stop them—or encourage them?

    Why not simply make it illegal for Congress to pass laws favoring one group over another, like taking from Peter to give to Paul? That would be the Libertarian solution, but our former VP candidate shows little awareness of it.

    Mr. Root continues: “The people who make our laws are very important people. We should try to pay them enough to attract the best and brightest (page 202).” Since virtually every law Congress passes violates our individual rights—and will continue to do so unless we place some truly libertarian restrictions on them—do we really want them to do it smarter and better?

    The author is undaunted by those who point out that the LP hasn’t yet elected anyone to major national office. Mr. Root counters that the LP has a great message, “but the missing ingredient up until now has been heart. I am Stella Root’s son. I am relentless. I have a bigger heart than a thousand candidates. More heart than all the others that came before me—combined… We have had plenty of intellect, plenty of brainpower, plenty of good ideas, but up until now, not enough heart” (page 347, emphasis in original).

    Judging from my three decades of observation, I would say that the LP has heart far beyond what any single person can bring to it. The Natural Law Party, with better funding and more political connections than the LP, threw in the towel years ago. The Reform Party, with taxpayer money and a more mainstream message, has self-destructed. Recently, when National Chair Bill Redpath approached the Constitution and the Green Parties for ballot access help, he learned that both of these groups could barely keep their doors open.

    Unlike the Greens, we receive no special interest funding. Unlike the Reform Party, we’ve never accepted matching funds. Unlike the Natural Law Party, we don’t have donors with deep pockets. Unlike the Constitution Party, we didn’t get Ron Paul’s endorsement. How is it that the LP, with the most radical message of all, is the only third party that is a recognized threat to the establishment, standing tall when other Parties are on their way to oblivion?

    The dedication of thousands of LP members make up the Party’s heart, which beats more powerfully than that of any individual. Many of our seasoned activists forgo the high pay they could get in the private sector to volunteer their time to gather ballot access signatures, run full-time campaigns, staff our state and national organizations, or spread the good news of liberty through their writing. Others donate their hard-earned money to help support the national office or their state parties. Many of our members have given, not just for a single year or two like the author has, but for decades, in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. The dedication and relentlessness of thousands of LP supporters have created the pulpit on which Mr. Root now stands; he abuses it when he belittles their contributions with grandiose and unsupported self-aggrandizement.

    Mr. Root’s dismissal of his LP predecessors is apparent in statements like “I’m the only politician in history who wants to make my office less important” (page xxviii). Every LP presidential ticket has vowed to shrink the power of their offices, but the author appears oblivious. He also claims to be “… the first candidate to run for president who has the same worries of a typical U.S. voter and taxpayer” (page 99), a patently false statement given his LP predecessors. On page 64, the author claims that he and Barr “attracted a record number of new LP members,” when that honor belongs to two-time presidential nominee, Harry Browne.

    Truth may not be that important to Root, though. On p. 249, he states “I understand that in the end, all that matters is winning. All the principles in the world gain you nothing, if you’re not in power to institute them. So winning really is everything…” We’ve heard this argument from the mouth of tyrants everywhere: the ends justify the means.

    Is this the conscience of a libertarian?

    Dr. Mary Ruwart currently serves as an At-large Representative of the Libertarian National Committee. You can contact Dr. Ruwart at mary@ruwart.com.

  30. Michael H. Wilson

    RC @ 28 write; ”

    gb, the ability of a R or an L to raise money are different kettles of fish, as I see it. Whether Root has the ability to raise significant funds for the LP is a legitimate question, surely. So far, he’s demonstrated the ability to get on TV and get his books published.”

    Robert it should be obvious given Root business skills that all the LP has to do is to let him place the bucks in the Treasury on his gambling picks. We be rollin’ in the bucks after that.

  31. Andy

    “Unlike the Constitution Party, we didn’t get Ron Paul’s endorsement.”

    The LP probably would have gotten Ron Paul’s endorsement if the LP’s candidate had been somebody better than Bob Barr.

  32. Gene Berkman

    Robert @ 28 says “Making rain? We’ll see, if he’s elected.”

    Isn’t that like Nancy Pelosi saying “let’s pass the healthcare bill, then we will find out what’s in it.”?

  33. Alexander S. Peak

    It seems like the…the non-mainstream media is gearing up to present this election as being between Hancock, who all of the radicals are “supposed” to support, and Root, who all of the reformers are “supposed” to support. I’m not going to say that anyone is intentionally putting this formula before us, but it does seem to be the formula emerging.

    It’s a rather poor formula.

    (“Formula” isn’t the right word, but I don’t know what is.)

    This formula is greatly flawed. Plenty of radicals, myself included, are not backing Hancock. And plenty of reformers likewise recognise problems with Root.

    I really do not like Root describing himself as the big-tent candidate. One, there are other candidates besides these two men—better candidates, I’d say—who are more big-tent-oriented than I believe Root is. Two, his positioning of libertarianism as right-of-centre rather than at centre will only decrease the size of the potential tent.

    Will heroin scare people aware? The problem is not the principle that heroin should not be regulated, but rather with the presentation of the principle. We should not run from the position that heroin should not be regulated. But we should present the matter within the context of the impact the war on drugs has on society and crime. The war on drugs greatly increases the rate of violent crime, while corrupting the police; therefore, we should end the war on drugs. If a libertarian candidate discusses heroin, it should be for one reason and one reason only: to point out that we didn’t have a heroin epidemic when heroin was unregulated, but rather the epidemic is the result of the war on drugs.

    Mr. Nolan writes, “as events unfold, I see that electing either of these men as LNC Chair would further divide and polarize the LP. Thus, if we want to keep the party united, we must choose Hinkle, Myers or Phillies as the next Chair.”

    I agree full-heartedly.

    For the record, I fully believe Holtz when he says he’s not endorsing Root. While I suspect Holtz would prefer Root over Hancock, I think he recognises, as many of us do, that Root has lingering flaws.

    Mr. Capozzi makes an excellent point in #21.

    Mr. Holtz makes a very interesting point in #22.

    Mr. Capozzi writes, “Or if Obama is actually the CIA’s Manchurian Candidate or some such, we get Joe Biden? Hardly seems worth the effort (and aggravation) to this hombre.”

    This was the same argument made by wishy-washy “liberals” against impeaching Bush. It never swayed me. I supported impeachment of Bush, and regardless of Obama’s birth-related status or “Manchurian”-related status, I support his impeachment as well. Would impeachment of Obama yield a Biden presidency. Most likely (unless Biden resigns or something). But would Cheney or Biden continue business as usual if Bush or Obama were impeached? Not likely, since they would fear also being impeached.

    To the person posting as “Read between the lines,” I’ve already explained to “Sara” and to “Gen Y in the LP” why it is incorrect to claim that the LP has achieved nothing in 39 years. Do you want me to explain to you, too, that we have had an impact on public policy, that we have had an impact on tax law; that we are the third largest party in America, that we have more party members elected to public office than all other third parties combined; that we are responsible for the shifting public opinion away from support for the drug war; and that whenever one of the two establishment parties are out of power (e.g., the Democrats in the mid-’00s and the Republicans now), they always adopt rhetoric that libertarian rhetoric (Democrats on the war, e.g., and Republicans on taxing and government spending)? Oppose Hancock all you like, but stop trying to claim the LP had done nothing and is a worthless institution. More importantly than anything else, the LP serves as the door for people entering the libertarian movement. I’ll bet you money there is a higher percentage of libertarians in America today than there were 39 years ago. Care to take such a bet?

    Sincerely,
    Alex Peak

  34. Brian Holtz

    Except for IPR articles, it’s likely that the LNC Chair race won’t be getting any actual media coverage at all (as measured by the Google News search index). Also, I would guess that the coverage here and elsewhere in the blogosphere will be noticed directly by at most about 10% of the St. Louis delegates. All we’re really doing here is initializing the buzz and word-of-mouth for when the convention weekend starts.

    I thought it goes without saying that I would prefer any of the other four candidates over Hancock. I think Hancock’s formidable strengths as an activist would do more for the movement through his existing activities than if he became LNC Chair.

  35. Thomas M. Sipos

    I can be happy with ABC — Anybody But Root.

    But if I were to vote at this moment, I’d pick Myers.

    I didn’t know about Myers a month or so ago. But since then I’ve heard that Myers wants to make antiwar the LP’s flagship issue — the issue that would distinguish the LP from the Rs and Ds. I like that.

  36. Thomas M. Sipos

    Or ABR. Whatever.

    But I don’t know why everyone assumes all radicals support Hancock. I think most radicals would be happy with anybody but Root.

    I predict the final ballot will be Root vs. the last non-Root standing.

    Rob Power has advised that it not be Hancock, because Hancock is unacceptable to too many non-radicals. I think Power is right.

    Radicals would be wise to unite early around someone other than Hancock, because either Hinkle, Myers, or Phillies would have an easier chance of beating Root.

    I think Myers may well surprise delegates, like Badnarik did in ’04.

  37. Robert Capozzi

    ap: This was the same argument made by wishy-washy “liberals” against impeaching Bush. It never swayed me. I supported impeachment of Bush, and regardless of Obama’s birth-related status or “Manchurian”-related status, I support his impeachment as well.

    me: It’s not so much a question of “support” as it is a question of “worth the effort.” Quixotic efforts may have their place, but I prefer to pick the low-hanging fruit first — for practice.

  38. JT

    Alex: “Do you want me to explain to you, too, that we have had an impact on public policy, that we have had an impact on tax law; that we are the third largest party in America, that we have more party members elected to public office than all other third parties combined; that we are responsible for the shifting public opinion away from support for the drug war; and that whenever one of the two establishment parties are out of power (e.g., the Democrats in the mid-’00s and the Republicans now), they always adopt rhetoric that libertarian rhetoric (Democrats on the war, e.g., and Republicans on taxing and government spending)?”

    Wow. I’ve supported the LP since the late 90s. But I’d like you to prove how the LP has had an impact on policies and rhetoric like that when the party always garners less than one percent of the vote in presidential elections and has never elected anyone to Congress. Perhaps this thread isn’t the place to do that. But I think crediting the LP with any of those things is a huge leap and not based on credible evidence.

  39. Sean Scallon

    As a part-Libertarian office holder I’ll throw in my opinion and let it stands as that.

    If the LP chooses Hancock, they’re basically choosing oblivion. As one poster asked it about 9-11 Truth “What is the Truth?” If one really believes the government colluded with the terrorists to attack the U.S., you’re giving the Feds way too much credit for an institution we all know bumbles and stumbles more often than not. There’s nothing wrong about asking questions about what happened on 9-11, but to believe the nefarious, not to mention the fantastic, is truly a waste of time. An LP already identified with radicalism would truly marginalize itself with Hancock as chair.

    On the other hand, Wayne Allyn Root is not the answer either. On paper he seems the ideal candidate fro an ideal state but all his telegenic skills and marketing ability has hardly brought the LP any more votes in 2008 then it had Bednarik or Brown. Not to mention the fact that his views on whether he sees the LP as a stand alone from the GOP is unclear. (The LP can stand alone to use the GOP but it cannot be a part of it without reducing itself to peonage). And if he believes that the U.S. should still have an interventionist foreign policy with a military industrial complex to back it up, he might as well be the chair of the Republican Liberty Caucus instead of the LNC.

    To me, George Phillies has the most sensible and workable plan for rebuilding the Libertarian Party on the national level and I urge Libertarian Party members to support his candidacy for LNC Chair.

  40. LP Pragmatist

    we need an article or poll that allows for us to figure out what candidate for LNC chair gets blown out in the first round. That would be fun.
    Assuming there will be more than one round of voting.

  41. Gene Berkman

    Sean Scallon says of Wayne Root “if he believes that the U.S. should still have an interventionist foreign policy with a military industrial complex to back it up, he might as well be the chair of the Republican Liberty Caucus …”

    Actually. most people I know in RLC are anti-interventionist and oppose the military-industrial complex. Eric Dondero should not be seen as representative of RLC activists.

  42. paulie

    Has Hancock recruited Anderson to be his running mate as Vice Chair?

    Oh, come on. That’s a little silly, even for a leading question, no?

    If elected Chair, will the LNC meet wearing Guy Fawkes costumes?

    It might make the meetings a little less boring?

  43. paulie

    Does Holtz have an anti-Hancock agenda?

    He openly says he opposes Hancock’s nomination.

    Is Holts (sic) pro-WAR?

    I’ve not seen any indication that he supports Root over, say, Phillies or Hinkle. And he has denied doing so.

  44. paulie

    I consider Enest Hancock a friend and ally — perhaps the most effective pro-liberty activist alive. I admire Wayne’s energy and enthusiasm, but distrust his motives and worry about his lingering sympathies for the GOP. However, as events unfold, I see that electing either of these men as LNC Chair would further divide and polarize the LP. Thus, if we want to keep the party united, we must choose Hinkle, Myers or Phillies as the next Chair.

    Mostly agreed – except I hardly envision a Phillies chairmanship as being unifying.

  45. paulie

    Mr Linnabary, I suggest you call Mr. Root and discuss the issue. If you don’t have his cell phone number, how about asking people that DO have his number.

    I have his number. I don’t call him much though, I figure he has better things to do than talk to me constantly.

  46. RWL

    If the only choice ever was Root or Hancock then someone should shoot the LP in the head and put it out of its misery. One is a con man and the other is literally insane with incredible conspiracy theories about everything. At one recent Hancock conference a speaker warned the audience of the secret UN plot to take over America by having China nuke the country. Then the newly militarized UN would station foreign soldiers in the US “to protect the US” but really to take it over. The solution was for libertarians to create armed fortress in the hills and prepare for the coming war.

    This is almost as bad as the crazy article Hancock published on his site about a Jewish plot to take over the world.

    That the LP is finding itself listening to debates between a Right-wing republican, and a Right-wing militia type, is disgusting.

  47. paulie

    we need an article or poll that allows for us to figure out what candidate for LNC chair gets blown out in the first round. That would be fun.
    Assuming there will be more than one round of voting.

    Look back in the archives around the time of the Austin meeting – end of February, beginning of March.

  48. paulie

    If one really believes the government colluded with the terrorists to attack the U.S., you’re giving the Feds way too much credit for an institution we all know bumbles and stumbles more often than not.

    Without getting into whether 9/11 was an inside job, I think it’s a mistake to dismiss it out of hand due to government incompetence. They have pulled off many complicated operations – for example, the Manhattan project – and even managed to maintain secrecy.

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

  49. Andy

    “If one really believes the government colluded with the terrorists to attack the U.S., you’re giving the Feds way too much credit for an institution we all know bumbles and stumbles more often than not.”

    This is a MAJOR fallacy. Anyone who believes this is naive and does not understand the true nature of government.

    The people who run government are NOT stupid, they are evil. If they were stupid they would not be able to control and brainwash so much of the population.

  50. paulie

    Radicals would be wise to unite early around someone other than Hancock, because either Hinkle, Myers, or Phillies would have an easier chance of beating Root.

    I don’t see any such unification happening, and the above is not borne out by the Austin results – do you think the group was unrepresentative, or that a lot has changed since then?

    I think Myers may well surprise delegates, like Badnarik did in ‘04.

    I’ve been having the same thought myself.

  51. Steven R Linnabary

    The people who run government are NOT stupid, they are evil.

    They are also our neighbors and our relatives. Our friends and relatives in government are no more “evil” than anyone else.

    There are numerous reasons for working in government, from generous benefits or job security to actual true believers (they’re doing it “for the children”).

    There are also a good number of Libertarians and others that understand economics working in government. They may understand the futility of their vocation, but do not come back to meetings (or give us money) when they hear us talking about how “evil” they are.

    Making such brash statements makes us look “fringie”, to borrow a Palinesque term.

    Sorry to hijack this thread, but this has been sticking in my craw for a while.

    PEACE

  52. paulie

    Mr. Hancock also mentioned how he came up with the “rEVOLution” logo

    I’ve heard that he got it from the Western Libertarian Alliance. Anyone have more on that?

  53. paulie

    @33: Anyone know if we posted that interview as an article yet? I’m digging through a bunch of stuff and don’t want to double post.

  54. JT

    Paulie: “I don’t. Sometimes small percentages can account for far more than what they indicate – see the Socialist Party circa 1890s-1930s and the impact that socialist ideas had on public policy changes during that era (and since). People can be impacted by libertarian ideas because the LP is out there, as well as all the non-LP organization it acts as a feeder organization for — even if they don’t vote LP, especially for President. As you know, we tend to get higher percentages in lower level races.

    Everything Alex says here sounds accurate to me. Some of the effects are direct, others less so.”

    Okay, prove it. Or at least offer some kind of credible evidence to support your belief that the Libertarian Party per se is responsible for affecting government policy. I don’t know of any that justifies that inference. Can the LP expose other people to libertarian ideas and bring new people into the broader libertarian movement? Yes. Does that mean the LP is responsible for affecting policy? No.

    In the early 20th century, the Socialist Party elected not one but TWO U.S. House members (Victor L. Berger and Meyer London). It also elected numerous state legislators and mayors. When it started winning these elections is when the major parties really started paying attention and courting those voters. Not surprising at all.

  55. paulie

    Okay, prove it. Or at least offer some kind of credible evidence to support your belief that the Libertarian Party per se is responsible for affecting government policy.

    Well, lists of specific policy issues we affected – defeating stadium taxes, bond measures, etc, through lobbying campaigns – used to be a fairly regular feature of LP.org, LP News, etc. And, don’t forget we have several hundred local elected and appointed office holders who actually vote on that kind of stuff, too.

    For larger policy effects, I’m not sure that the proof can even in theory be that easily provided. I’m talking about a ripple effect that is comprised of secondary, tertiary, etc effects of what we do by way of exposing people to our arguments in a variety of ways. And not just the LP per se, but the many movement organizations that sprang from it and its current and former members, and for which the LP acts as a feeder organization, and the effects they have as well.

    People who say we haven’t had any impact can’t know what could have happened if we did not exist. I think we’d have been worse off.

  56. JT

    Paulie: “Well, lists of specific policy issues we affected – defeating stadium taxes, bond measures, etc, through lobbying campaigns – used to be a fairly regular feature of LP.org, LP News, etc. And, don’t forget we have several hundred local elected and appointed office holders who actually vote on that kind of stuff, too. ”

    On the local level, many LP chapters do oppose such things with fellow travelers. Libertarians could have had a demonstrable impact there. I was thinking of state and national policies. Those are mostly what concern me, especially the national ones. Federal Income Tax, Social Security, Drug War, Afghanistan/Iraq War, Federal Reserve, Patriot Act, Corporate Bailouts, No Child Left Behind, Medicare, etc. Local ones, not as much.

    Paulie: “And, don’t forget we have several hundred local elected and appointed office holders who actually vote on that kind of stuff, too. ”

    I don’t think so. The LP has hundreds of Libertarians in local elected and appointed offices, yes. But many of them can’t vote on taxes, subsidies, ordinances, etc. Those things are decided by city councils/mayors or county commissions. If the LP has anyone in those positions right now, it’s a MUCH smaller number, closer to zero than to a few hundred.

  57. paulie

    JT – the LP has had, and perhaps still does have, people on city council, mayors, county commissioners, and in the past some state legislators.

    The LP members who serve on various boards also have some policymaking powers as well.

    I remember not too long ago that we had a story on Libertarian(s) on a soil and water commission or something like that saving Florida taxpayers a lot of money, and I’ve seen other stories like that in the past.

    Do we have an impact on larger national policies? Like I said, that’s more a matter of intangibles. Have all the debates we have been in, all the outreach we have done over the years in various formats, all the organizations that our past and present members helped create and the work they have done for decades, and so on, had an impact on those? I believe so, but it’s a lot harder to prove, because we are talking about multiple-order ripple effects.

    I do know that many of our ideas on policy – whether it’s drug policy or privatization or what have you – are a lot more acceptable now than in the past, and that some incremental changes have been made here and there.

    So, I’m still with Alex on this one.

    Not all impacts are direct ones. Often times, it’s what you can’t readily identify that makes the biggest difference.

  58. JT

    Paulie: “JT – the LP has had, and perhaps still does have, people on city council, mayors, county commissioners, and in the past some state legislators.”

    Yes, it had some at one time or another. That’s not news to me. All of them combined were a tiny number, Paulie. And the three or fours state legislators you cite were elected Republicans. They didn’t win as just Libertarians.

    Paulie: “The LP members who serve on various boards also have some policymaking powers as well.”

    That wasn’t what I responded to, Paulie. You said several hundred elected and appointed Libertarians vote on the “kind of stuff” like stadium taxes and bond measures. That’s just not true. Read what you actually wrote @ 66.

    Paulie: “I remember not too long ago that we had a story on Libertarian(s) on a soil and water commission or something like that saving Florida taxpayers a lot of money, and I’ve seen other stories like that in the past.”

    That’s not a bad thing. I’m sure many of them are good people, too. But I don’t care about soil and water commissions. I don’t think they save “a lot of money” for an individual taxpayer, certainly not relative to the state tax burden.

    Want most non-Libertarians to laugh at the LP? Proudly point out how some soil and water commissions have Libertarians on them. It’s a good way to pad the number of “elected” LP members, I suppose, but many times no one else even wants those positions. It’s just an empty seat that can be filled by anyone willing.

    Paulie: “Do we have an impact on larger national policies? Like I said, that’s more a matter of intangibles.”

    No, it’s not. In what policy area has the power of the federal government been seriously reduced in recent years?

    Paulie: “So, I’m still with Alex on this one.”

    That’s okay; you can be with anyone. I haven’t seen anything from either of you that changes my mind on this though. I do think both of you strongly want to believe what you’re saying.

    Paulie: “Not all impacts are direct ones. Often times, it’s what you can’t readily identify that makes the biggest difference.”

    Profound. There still needs to be some logical connection between a premise and a conclusion based on objective, identifiable evidence. If there isn’t, don’t make a positive claim. Easy 😉

  59. Alexander S. Peak

    Dear JT,

    While the LP has never elected anyone to Congress, it does gain enough votes to sway Congressional elections from one establishment candidate to the other. Whether the establishmentarians wish to admit it or not, they realise that we are a threat, despite our current difficulty in getting elected to Congress.

    Further, while we have not elected anyone to Congress, we have elected a large number of people to lower seats—more than all other third parties combined. We can justly call ourselves the third largest political party in these united states.

    Further, while we have not elected anyone to Congress, the party has contributed to law suits on everything from gun laws to ballot access.

    Further, while we have not elected anyone to Congress, libertarian arguments nevertheless are entering the public consciousness; and while a majority of people still support the drug war, the degree of support is declining, especially with regards to marijuana laws. This is the most important contribution I think we’ve made. We’re ever-so-slowly changing the debate. Twice within the past few years I’ve overheard the local news ask, “Should we end the war on drugs in order to fight crime?” or something to that effect.

    Further, here’s a piece from LP.org from 2005 on how the LP helped save taxpayers money:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20050525110343/www.lp.org/article_89.shtml

    Further, I remember reading once on LP.org that one of the elected Libertarians actually succeeded in getting his government position eliminated within a few months.

    If someone wishes to argue that the LP hasn’t had a very large impact, or especially not a very large direct impact, well, okay. But I find it problematic when one claims that it has had absolutely zero impact. Even if nothing else, it exposes people to libertarianism who might not otherwise ever hear about it, thereby bringing people into the broader libertarian movement. I wouldn’t be a libertarian today, most likely, if it weren’t for the LP. So, in the very, very, very least, everyone ought to admit that the LP has achieved at least that.

    Respectfully yours,
    Alex Peak

  60. paulie

    “the LP has had, and perhaps still does have, people on city council, mayors, county commissioners, and in the past some state legislators.”

    Yes, it had some at one time or another. That’s not news to me. All of them combined were a tiny number, Paulie. And the three or fours state legislators you cite were elected Republicans. They didn’t win as just Libertarians.

    IIRC it was about a dozen state legislators, in several different states at different times, and they were not all elected as Republicans. And while I realize some of this is not news to you, I’m posting it as a public comment because people with different levels of knowledge and interest may be reading.

    “The LP members who serve on various boards also have some policymaking powers as well.”

    That wasn’t what I responded to, Paulie. You said several hundred elected and appointed Libertarians vote on the “kind of stuff” like stadium taxes and bond measures. That’s just not true. Read what you actually wrote @ 66.

    Well, perhaps you read it too narrowly. Stadium taxes and bond measures were just examples of policy making powers. The thousands of past and present LP members elected to appointed to office have had numerous opportunities to help set (or stop) various fees, regulations, taxes, etc, etc. It’s true that some of the offices are purely ceremonial, but many others do have some types of policy making powers, even if they are not “sexy” or glamorous.

    “I remember not too long ago that we had a story on Libertarian(s) on a soil and water commission or something like that saving Florida taxpayers a lot of money, and I’ve seen other stories like that in the past.”

    That’s not a bad thing. I’m sure many of them are good people, too. But I don’t care about soil and water commissions. I don’t think they save “a lot of money” for an individual taxpayer, certainly not relative to the state tax burden.

    Want most non-Libertarians to laugh at the LP? Proudly point out how some soil and water commissions have Libertarians on them. It’s a good way to pad the number of “elected” LP members, I suppose, but many times no one else even wants those positions. It’s just an empty seat that can be filled by anyone willing.

    Nevertheless, they have policy making powers, and all those little taxes, fees, etc., add up.

    For example, see here: http://joecobb.com/2007/03/26/libertarians-take-board-eliminate-government-agency/

    “Do we have an impact on larger national policies? Like I said, that’s more a matter of intangibles.”

    No, it’s not. In what policy area has the power of the federal government been seriously reduced in recent years?

    Not all impacts are in absolute terms. Some are also in relative terms. In other words, something could have gotten worse, but it could have been worse still if not for our efforts over the years. And, some things are moving our way: medical marijuana comes to mind. On other issues, even if we have not yet gotten to the point of winning, we are closer to the point where winning is plausible. I don’t mean to keep using marijuana as the only example, but it comes to mind: on legalizing recreational use, we’re not there yet, but in the 40%+ and growing range in actual votes in the leading edge states, with support growing all the time. Not all the progress has been on social issues, either: for example, we no longer have a government mandated telephone monopoly, and as a result telecommunications options which were held back and stunted for many years have exploded.

    “So, I’m still with Alex on this one.”

    That’s okay; you can be with anyone. I haven’t seen anything from either of you that changes my mind on this though. I do think both of you strongly want to believe what you’re saying.

    I don’t expect to be able to change all that many minds all that often, but what I am saying is not just because I want it to be true.

    It is just as true of all the other political movements which I wish were not having an impact, and yet, by virtue of their continued efforts, they are.

    “Not all impacts are direct ones. Often times, it’s what you can’t readily identify that makes the biggest difference.”

    Profound. There still needs to be some logical connection between a premise and a conclusion based on objective, identifiable evidence. If there isn’t, don’t make a positive claim.

    I’m stating an opinion. If you want to discount that and say that, as a rule, indirect impacts are less important just because they are harder to quantify, measure or identify than direct impacts, I don’t agree with you.

  61. paulie

    I see a further source of possible confusion. In 66 I wrote:

    “defeating stadium taxes, bond measures, etc, through lobbying campaigns – used to be a fairly regular feature of LP.org, LP News, etc. And, don’t forget we have several hundred local elected and appointed office holders who actually vote on that kind of stuff, too.”

    Note that I did say most of these victories we have had were by virtue of lobbying (or I & R where we have it). The “kind of stuff,” as noted in my last comment, was meant to be read somewhat more broadly than JT apparently did, judging by #70 above.

  62. JT

    I don’t want to keep going with this discussion forever. But I’ll just respond to a few points and then let anyone else have the last word.

    Alex: “While the LP has never elected anyone to Congress, it does gain enough votes to sway Congressional elections from one establishment candidate to the other.”

    This is a specious argument. There’s no evidence that the vast majority of people who vote Libertarian would otherwise vote Republican or Democrat. In fact, from what I’ve heard, the vast majority of Libertarian voters would otherwise vote for another third party or not at all. If that’s true, then the most of the votes a Libertarian candidate receives do NOT come at the expense of the old parties and don’t change the results of certain elections.

    Alex: “Further, while we have not elected anyone to Congress, we have elected a large number of people to lower seats—more than all other third parties combined. We can justly call ourselves the third largest political party in these united states.”

    Absolutely true. And almost every other third party is totally pathetic. Saying we’re much better than the Natural Law Party, the Working Families Party, the Prohibition Party, the Communist Party, the Nazi Party, the Modern Whig Party, the Rainbows and Ponies Party, etc. combined isn’t that impressive. The only other parties that run a relatively large amount of candidates are the Green Party and the Constitution Party. Even then I don’t consider beating the Greens and Constitutionalists to be something to boast about too much.

    Alex: “Even if nothing else, it exposes people to libertarianism who might not otherwise ever hear about it, thereby bringing people into the broader libertarian movement. I wouldn’t be a libertarian today, most likely, if it weren’t for the LP. So, in the very, very, very least, everyone ought to admit that the LP has achieved at least that.”

    I’ve already acknowledged that, Alex. In fact, I think the LP presidential nominee can bring in more people than almost anyone else in the entire Libertarian movement (CAN, not always DOES). When that has happened, it has made the movement and party a little bigger relative to the old parties. That doesn’t affect policy.

    Paulie: “IIRC it was about a dozen state legislators, in several different states at different times, and they were not all elected as Republicans.”

    A bunch of state legislators who were members of the LP were elected as Libertarians? Well, that IS news to me. Who are these people?

    I must say, however, that even a dozen state legislators across the U.S. in almost 40 years isn’t something I’d get excited about.

    Paulie: “Well, perhaps you read it too narrowly. Stadium taxes and bond measures were just examples of policy making powers. The thousands of past and present LP members elected or appointed to office have had numerous opportunities to help set (or stop) various fees, regulations, taxes, etc, etc. It’s true that some of the offices are purely ceremonial, but many others do have some types of policy making powers, even if they are not “sexy” or glamorous.”

    Taxes aren’ t decided by any level below city council/county commission. I don’t believe the LP has had “thousands” of people elected to these offices. I’m not sure where you’re getting that from, but if you point me to it I’d appreciate that.

    Paulie: “it could have been worse still if not for our efforts over the years.”

    “It could have been worse” isn’t evidence of anything. I could say “it could have been worse” if I didn’t have political conversations with my best friends in which I discussed libertarian ideas. Realistically, I don’t think those discussions affected government policy.

    Paulie: “If you want to discount that and say that, as a rule, indirect impacts are less important just because they are harder to quantify, measure or identify than direct impacts, I don’t agree with you.”

    I understand, and we can agree to disagree. Indirect impacts–meaning assumptions that are unmeasurable and unidentifiable–aren’t meaningful to me. A party that has existed for almost 40 years should have its sights set much higher than that, IMO.

    As I’ve said before, I’ve supported the LP for years. I think it’s worth having an LP if only to clearly speak with one voice about freedom and the results of government interference in an electoral context.

    But I want the party to clearly affect U.S. government policy by getting a few Libertarians elected to Congress and getting millions of votes for the Libertarian presidential nominee. That would probably scare the majority Republicans/Democrats into slashing spending and seriously reducing the intrusiveness of the federal government in some major policy areas.

    I know that’s quite difficult to do given the rigged electoral system, but that’s when I’d be very proud of the party’s achievements.

  63. paulie

    “While the LP has never elected anyone to Congress, it does gain enough votes to sway Congressional elections from one establishment candidate to the other.”

    This is a specious argument. There’s no evidence that the vast majority of people who vote Libertarian would otherwise vote Republican or Democrat. In fact, from what I’ve heard, the vast majority of Libertarian voters would otherwise vote for another third party or not at all. If that’s true, then the most of the votes a Libertarian candidate receives do NOT come at the expense of the old parties and don’t change the results of certain elections.

    Where did you hear this? I’d be curious to see that.

    Even if true, however, it’s still not a specious argument, because the perceived power to swing close elections – as well as oppose otherwise unopposed candidates – is a big part of what gives an alternative party some degree of power in the US system.

  64. paulie

    it has made the movement and party a little bigger relative to the old parties. That doesn’t affect policy.

    I disagree. To take one concrete example, we did kill the Know Your Customer banking regulations in the 1990s, even though they came back and passed as part of the “war on terror” later.

    We are gaining ground for an audit of the federal reserve, which has a lot to do with Ron Paul’s work over the years. An important step in building Ron Paul’s lists that allowed him to stay in congress and become nationally prominent was his LP race in 1988.

    A bill to get the federal government out of enforcing federal laws against medical marijuana clinics in states where they are legal under state law is gaining more sponsors every term; one of the original co-sponsors is a former LP member.

    Granted, my inference about other greater influences on issues such as privatization is much harder (or even impossible) to prove, but I stand by it. Our arguments do reach a lot of people who don’t, for the most part, actually vote for us. Some are persuaded on some issues, and some take action on those beliefs. If anything is specious, it’s to say that this never makes a policy difference.

  65. paulie

    A bunch of state legislators who were members of the LP were elected as Libertarians? Well, that IS news to me. Who are these people?

    Can’t remember them all, but there was Dick Randolph, Ken Fanning and Andre Marrou in Alaska, some more listed at http://www.lp.org/our-history

  66. paulie

    Taxes aren’ t decided by any level below city council/county commission.

    Various taxes and fees are in fact set by elected and appointed boards, as well.

    I don’t believe the LP has had “thousands” of people elected to these offices. I’m not sure where you’re getting that from, but if you point me to it I’d appreciate that.

    We’ve had several hundred at a time for quite a long time, so adding it up over the years – assuming they are not always the same people, which I think is reasonable – that leads me to conclude it is probably in the thousands cumulatively.

  67. paulie

    “It could have been worse” isn’t evidence of anything. I could say “it could have been worse” if I didn’t have political conversations with my best friends in which I discussed libertarian ideas. Realistically, I don’t think those discussions affected government policy.

    I’m proposing that the cumulative total of all such discussions had by all libertarians over the years, libertarians in debates, libertarian books and articles and speeches and letters to the editor and so on, does persuade enough people to change some policies. Granted, that’s not an easily quantifiable thing, and may be impossible to prove, but I stand by it.

  68. paulie

    Indirect impacts–meaning assumptions that are unmeasurable and unidentifiable–aren’t meaningful to me.

    They should be. Take your health, for example. One particular decision on one of various factors may have no effect or negligible effect, but in combination with others it can add up to life or death. The same is true of factors that affect other complex systems such as the environment or the economy. Public policy is no different.

    A party that has existed for almost 40 years should have its sights set much higher than that, IMO.

    I agree we should set our sights higher, what I don’t agree with is that the intangibles are inconsequential just because they are difficult or impossible to measure.

    I want the party to clearly affect U.S. government policy by getting a few Libertarians elected to Congress and getting millions of votes for the Libertarian presidential nominee. That would probably scare the majority Republicans/Democrats into slashing spending and seriously reducing the intrusiveness of the federal government in some major policy areas.

    Here and elsewhere, I have made various proposals on how I believe we can make steps in that direction.

  69. JT

    Ugh. Last round.

    Paulie: “Even if true, however, it’s still not a specious argument, because the perceived power to swing close elections – as well as oppose otherwise unopposed candidates – is a big part of what gives an alternative party some degree of power in the US system.”

    Alex’s statement was that the LP DOES gain enough votes to swing (few) congressional elections, not that its PERCEIVED to do so. I’m sorry I can’t point to a specific study, but I do know the LP itself said within the last decade or so that on the limited surveying it had done, most LP voters would either vote for another third party or none. The rest were nearly split between Rs and Ds, with the edge to Rs.

    But regardless of that, having the LP even perceived as siphoning votes away from the GOP reinforces to the public that the LP is just a radical offshoot of the GOP. Not good, IMO.

    Paulie: “Various taxes and fees are in fact set by elected and appointed boards, as well.”

    I don’t know of other boards that can levy and set taxes on their own. I know ones that go to city councils and county commissions for passage of such things. Can you tell me which specific boards do that?

    Paulie: “We’ve had several hundred at a time for quite a long time, so adding it up over the years – assuming they are not always the same people, which I think is reasonable – that leads me to conclude it is probably in the thousands cumulatively.”

    The LP has had several hundred elected city councilors and county commissioners in office at one time? Because those were the offices I specifically referred to in my comment. Not school board members, or soil and water commissioners, or coroners, or dog catchers, etc. Do you have a list of the hundreds of elected city council and county commission officials the LP currently has or can you point me to where you saw it? I don’t think that’s true.

    Paulie: “I’m proposing that the cumulative total of all such discussions had by all libertarians over the years, libertarians in debates, libertarian books and articles and speeches and letters to the editor and so on, does persuade enough people to change some policies.”

    First, I wasn’t referring to the entire libertarian movement; I was referring to the Libertarian Party itself. Second, if national policies haven’t seriously reduced the intrusion of the U.S. government in major policy areas, that means the LP hasn’t been effective at trying to change them. And as I said earlier, those are the policies that concern me the most.

    Paulie: “I agree we should set our sights higher, what I don’t agree with is that the intangibles are inconsequential just because they are difficult or impossible to measure.”

    These “intangibles” may be inconsequential or may not be. You don’t have proof that they are, and I can’t prove a negative. What can be proved is that the centralized authority of the federal government is growing at an alarming rate, the national debt is skyrocketing, and the burgeoning welfare/warfare state is crushing us.

    What’s meaningful to me as far as the LP goes is actually reversing that dire situation by electing Libertarians to Congress and garnering many millions of votes for president, thereby forcing elected Ds and Rs to enact some serious libertarian policies. Not just speculating about possible but unknowable cumulative effects the LP may have had on shifting the opinion of some people slightly on issue X or Y.

    That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it 😉

  70. paulie

    Alex’s statement was that the LP DOES gain enough votes to swing (few) congressional elections, not that its PERCEIVED to do so.

    I’m sorry I can’t point to a specific study, but I do know the LP itself said within the last decade or so that on the limited surveying it had done, most LP voters would either vote for another third party or none. The rest were nearly split between Rs and Ds, with the edge to Rs.

    Your first part is correct – I read Alex’s second sentence more carefully than his first. I’d still like to see the study or studies you are referring to if anyone reading has a link. Until then, it’s possible that Alex is correct.

    But regardless of that, having the LP even perceived as siphoning votes away from the GOP reinforces to the public that the LP is just a radical offshoot of the GOP. Not good, IMO.

    I agree. The race-swinging effects are better when the LP’s sword is understood to be able to cut in both directions. Thus, I’d recommend rebranding the LP to put more emphasis on peace and civil liberties issues and in explaining our economic positions in more left-friendly terms, and emphasizing activism and youth recruitment.

    I don’t know of other boards that can levy and set taxes on their own. I know ones that go to city councils and county commissions for passage of such things. Can you tell me which specific boards do that?

    I already provided one link about that earlier. Did you read it?

    The LP has had several hundred elected city councilors and county commissioners in office at one time? Because those were the offices I specifically referred to in my comment. Not school board members, or soil and water commissioners, or coroners, or dog catchers, etc. Do you have a list of the hundreds of elected city council and county commission officials the LP currently has or can you point me to where you saw it? I don’t think that’s true.

    I was referring to all policy making officials, including school board members and soil and water commissioners.

    Despite popular misconceptions, there are no elected dog catchers anywhere in the country.

    Sorry for the miscommunication. I never meant to say or imply we have had that many city and county commissioners.

    First, I wasn’t referring to the entire libertarian movement; I was referring to the Libertarian Party itself.

    My analysis of the role of the party includes its role in spawning other movement organizations and acting as a feeder organization for the movement.

    Second, if national policies haven’t seriously reduced the intrusion of the U.S. government in major policy areas, that means the LP hasn’t been effective at trying to change them. And as I said earlier, those are the policies that concern me the most.

    It means it’s not as effective as it should be, but the baseline isn’t zero. To say that the LP has had no effect (direct or indirect) on national policies is to claim to know what they would have been had the LP never existed. And, I did note some examples of national policies that are moving our way.

    Also, just because many other policies have not moved our way yet does not mean they won’t in the future. Granted 40 years is a frustratingly long time, but it may be that we are just now on the verge of a breakthrough – or that we will be in 10 or 20 or however many years.

    These “intangibles” may be inconsequential or may not be. You don’t have proof that they are, and I can’t prove a negative.

    I can’t prove it in the same way that direct relationships can be proven, but I have good reasons for my inference.

    What can be proved is that the centralized authority of the federal government is growing at an alarming rate, the national debt is skyrocketing, and the burgeoning welfare/warfare state is crushing us.

    On the other hand, some social policies are getting better, and the movement as a whole is gaining ground in the battlefield of ideas.

    What’s meaningful to me as far as the LP goes is actually reversing that dire situation by electing Libertarians to Congress and garnering many millions of votes for president, thereby forcing elected Ds and Rs to enact some serious libertarian policies. Not just speculating about possible but unknowable cumulative effects the LP may have had on shifting the opinion of some people slightly on issue X or Y.

    The LP can’t hope to garner those kinds of results until it moves public opinion enough to have that many supporters first. On the other hand, branding and organizational nuts and bolts has a lot to do with that, and I do my best to advance such suggestions as I have on those topics.

  71. Alexander S. Peak

    I wrote, “Even if nothing else, it exposes people to libertarianism who might not otherwise ever hear about it, thereby bringing people into the broader libertarian movement. I wouldn’t be a libertarian today, most likely, if it weren’t for the LP. So, in the very, very, very least, everyone ought to admit that the LP has achieved at least that.”

    JT responded, “I’ve already acknowledged that, Alex. In fact, I think the LP presidential nominee can bring in more people than almost anyone else in the entire Libertarian movement (CAN, not always DOES). When that has happened, it has made the movement and party a little bigger relative to the old parties. That doesn’t affect policy.”

    Well, it doesn’t affect policy directly. Indirectly, it does.

    But, that’s irrelevant. I’m not only talking about policy. I’m talking about overall impact.

    The person posting as “Read between the lines” (#24) wrote, “In reading between the lines of what [name removed] is saying. He is saying I will do nothing just as the party has been doing in the last 39 years, Nothing.. LOL LOL ROLF”

    Well, this is clearly false. My comment illustrates that the LP has done stuff.

    Should it do more? Absolutely. My reason in posting these comments isn’t to say the LP shouldn’t do more, but that it is wrong for someone like “Read between the lines” to pretend the LP is worthless.

    Sincerely yours,
    Alex Peak

  72. JT

    Paulie: “I’d still like to see the study or studies you are referring to if anyone reading has a link. Until then, it’s possible that Alex is correct.”

    I wish I had those survey results now also. I don’t blame you for not taking my word for it. But I know what was reported by the national LP about a decade ago because I remember it.

    Paulie: “I was referring to all policy making officials, including school board members and soil and water commissioners.”

    I knew that.

    Paulie: “Despite popular misconceptions, there are not elected dog catchers anywhere in the country.”

    I knew that also.

    Paulie: “And, I did note some examples of national policies that are moving our way.”

    No, you didn’t. You mentioned a couple of issues where public opinion is more in our direction than it was years ago. That doesn’t equal policies moving our way. I’m not sure I can think of one major government policy on the national level that has greatly moved our way for many years.

    Paulie: “I can’t prove it in the same way that direct relationships can be proven, but I have good reasons for my inference.”

    So do I.

    Paulie: “The LP can’t hope to garner those kinds of results until it moves public opinion enough to have that many supporters first.”

    I agree. In 40 years, that groundwork should have been laid for significant electoral success on the state level and national level. Zero LP state legislators or U.S. Congress members currently doesn’t meet that standard, IMO.

    Alex: “My reason in posting these comments isn’t to say the LP shouldn’t do more, but that it is wrong for someone like “Read between the lines” to pretend the LP is worthless.”

    I didn’t say it’s “worthless”; I said the LP has some value regardless. If I thought it were worthless I wouldn’t support it at all. But I also said claiming the LP itself has had a real effect on major government policies is unrealistic in my view.

    In sports, you can talk about “intangibles” all you want. The bottom line, the one everyone cares most about, is whether a particular team actually wins or loses. Nobody wants to hear much about possible unmeasurable results.

    Many people view politics the same way. They won’t join the LP even if they agree with us on most issues because they (correctly) say the LP never wins any elections for major partisan offices. Those elections are the ones they care most about. Hard to argue with them on that.

  73. Gene Berkman

    Conservatives & Libertarians tend to overstate the influence of The Socialist Party on the growth of American government. Partly this is because we on the Right tend to call all expansion of government “socialistic” and therefore credit socialists as the inspiration.

    Socialists did influence the New Deal, but not those in the Socialist Party, who dismissed the New Deal as a form of corporatism. Some intellectuals and trade union leaders who left the Socialist Party to back Roosevelt may have influenced him, or at least supported his own tendencies to back government expansion.

    In reality, government expands because politicians want more power. If they get more power by borrowing ideas from socialists, they do; if they get more power by attacking socialists, they do that also.

    The limited influence of The Socialist Party on the New Deal can be seen where The Socialist Party opposed government power – The SP was against the draft, against rearmament, and opposed American entry into World War II. In those cases, the New Deal regime went ahead and expanded government, imposed a draft, rearmed, and went to war.

  74. paulie

    Conservatives & Libertarians tend to overstate the influence of The Socialist Party on the growth of American government. Partly this is because we on the Right tend to call all expansion of government “socialistic” and therefore credit socialists as the inspiration.

    Socialists did influence the New Deal, but not those in the Socialist Party, who dismissed the New Deal as a form of corporatism. Some intellectuals and trade union leaders who left the Socialist Party to back Roosevelt may have influenced him, or at least supported his own tendencies to back government expansion.

    In reality, government expands because politicians want more power. If they get more power by borrowing ideas from socialists, they do; if they get more power by attacking socialists, they do that also.

    The limited influence of The Socialist Party on the New Deal can be seen where The Socialist Party opposed government power – The SP was against the draft, against rearmament, and opposed American entry into World War II. In those cases, the New Deal regime went ahead and expanded government, imposed a draft, rearmed, and went to war.

    The point was that the work of the SP circa 1890s-1930s pushed their agenda into consideration by many people who did not necessarily vote socialist, and ended up influencing policy. Not that every thing socialists supported was passed.

  75. paulie

    “I’d still like to see the study or studies you are referring to if anyone reading has a link. Until then, it’s possible that Alex is correct.”

    I wish I had those survey results now also. I don’t blame you for not taking my word for it. But I know what was reported by the national LP about a decade ago because I remember it.

    I’m just interested if anyone reading has a link.

    “I was referring to all policy making officials, including school board members and soil and water commissioners.”

    I knew that.

    Your last response on this point did not seem to indicate you did, but I’m glad we are on the same page on that now.

    “Despite popular misconceptions, there are not elected dog catchers anywhere in the country.”

    I knew that also.

    I suspected you did.

    “And, I did note some examples of national policies that are moving our way.”

    No, you didn’t. You mentioned a couple of issues where public opinion is more in our direction than it was years ago. That doesn’t equal policies moving our way. I’m not sure I can think of one major government policy on the national level that has greatly moved our way for many years.

    A lot of social issues are moving in our direction, and I gave other examples of actual policy changes above.

    “My reason in posting these comments isn’t to say the LP shouldn’t do more, but that it is wrong for someone like “Read between the lines” to pretend the LP is worthless.”

    I didn’t say it’s “worthless”; I said the LP has some value regardless. If I thought it were worthless I wouldn’t support it at all. But I also said claiming the LP itself has had a real effect on major government policies is unrealistic in my view.

    You didn’t say it. The person Alex was originally replying to, however, did in fact say just that. Alex replied, and you replied to Alex. That is how we got to have this discussion.

    In sports, you can talk about “intangibles” all you want. The bottom line, the one everyone cares most about, is whether a particular team actually wins or loses. Nobody wants to hear much about possible unmeasurable results.

    Many people view politics the same way. They won’t join the LP even if they agree with us on most issues because they (correctly) say the LP never wins any elections for major partisan offices. Those elections are the ones they care most about. Hard to argue with them on that.

    Well, yes. But I still think the groundwork is being laid. I’ve noticed a perceptible increase in name recognition and approval among the general public in the last few years. There are still major organizational hurdles, but the environment is more receptive. I think that has to do with our work over the years, and that it will start paying off – whether directly or indirectly.

  76. JT

    Paulie: “I gave other examples of actual policy changes above.”

    Are you referring to post 76? If so, you’re right about the Know Your Customer regs. Of course, that was over a decade ago. And as you said, they still passed later.

    As for the other national policy proposals you mentioned, they haven’t even happened yet, even if you were to conclude the LP is responsible for them. Gaining co-sponsors isn’t the same as actually changing government policy. Both of those things could go nowhere, as many bills do, and neither one in itself seriously reduces the welfare/warfare state bankrupting the country.

    Paulie: “You didn’t say it. The person Alex was originally replying to, however, did in fact say just that.”

    I just wanted to distance myself from that view and make a larger point about politics.

    Also, I didn’t respond to this before, but I think saying Ron Paul’s Libertarian presidential run in 1988 aided in his election to the U.S. House is also an unfounded claim. Paul had already represented that district before the LP for many years. He ran for his old House seat years after the 1988 election.

    Even he doesn’t credit the LP with helping him win his old House seat; I recall him (politely) saying on TV that he thought that campaign was basically a waste of time and energy. Don’t ask me the show or when it aired.

  77. Andy

    “Also, I didn’t respond to this before, but I think saying Ron Paul’s Libertarian presidential run in 1988 aided in his election to the U.S. House is also an unfounded claim. Paul had already represented that district before the LP for many years. He ran for his old House seat years after the 1988 election.”

    Running for President in 1988 as the Libertarian Party’s Presidential candidate helped Ron Paul build his national fundraising list, and this helped him get (re)elected to Congress in 1996.

  78. JT

    Andy: “Running for President in 1988 as the Libertarian Party’s Presidential candidate helped Ron Paul build his national fundraising list, and this helped him get (re)elected to Congress in 1996.”

    Maybe you should tell him that.

  79. paulie

    It unquestionably helped him build his FR list. Not only did it help him in surviving several tough re-elections, but it formed the base of his initial presidential fundraising in 2007 as well.

  80. paulie

    Paulie: “I gave other examples of actual policy changes above.”

    JT: Are you referring to post 76? If so, you’re right about the Know Your Customer regs. Of course, that was over a decade ago. And as you said, they still passed later.

    As for the other national policy proposals you mentioned, they haven’t even happened yet, even if you were to conclude the LP is responsible for them. Gaining co-sponsors isn’t the same as actually changing government policy. Both of those things could go nowhere, as many bills do, and neither one in itself seriously reduces the welfare/warfare state bankrupting the country.

    p2: I mentioned other policies in several different comments above. I would also disagree about the fed’s or the drug war’s role in the welfare/warfare state. Both are key building blocks.

    JT, I’m not sure I can think of one major government policy on the national level that has greatly moved our way for many years.

    p: Quite a few are mentioned in Root’s response quoted by Brian on the Reagan thread (near the beginning of the thread). There’s also been good movement in a positive direction on some social issues, such as for example gay rights; not that the LP had much to do with that, but saying no policies of any kind have gotten better in the last 40 years seems unnecessarily one sided to me.

  81. JT

    Paulie: “….saying no policies of any kind have gotten better in the last 40 years seems unnecessarily one sided to me.”

    I didn’t say that. I said I can’t think of a national government policy that has greatly moved our way in many years. That isn’t the same as saying no policies of any kind have gotten better at all in the last 40 years.

  82. JT

    Paulie: “Did you read Brian’s links?”

    Yes, did you? None of it contradicts what I just said in terms of specific national policies for years. Do you want to continue arguing this?

  83. paulie

    Yes – I did read them, and they talked about some national policies that have gotten better.

    No – I don’t particularly want to keep arguing this. Honestly I wanted to stop a few rounds ago and lastworditis got the better of me.

    Apparently you have lastworditis too, it’s not just me 🙂

  84. Pingback: Video: Ernest Hancock vs Wayne Allyn Root NYC May 10th 2010 | Independent Political Report

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