Thomas Sipos: ‘Libertarian candidates must earn votes from libertarians’

Thomas Sipos writes at Libertarian Peacenik (excerpt):

The socialist Peace and Freedom Party candidate, Richard Castaldo, advocates the following positions on his home page:

1. Defund all wars of imperialism, including Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

2. Single-payer not-for-profit healthcare.

3. Abolish corporate “personhood.” Rights belong to human beings, not corporations.

4. Terminate the Patriot Act and restore the Bill of Rights.

5. End corporate bailouts and create green jobs.

Castaldo’s positions 1 and 4 are entirely libertarian. Many libertarians would agree with position 3. Position 5 is at least half libertarian. Only position 2 is clearly anti-libertarian.

Two out of five of Castaldo’s positions (1 and 4) directly, aggressively, and unapologeticly address the core issues of our expanding wars and increasing loss of freedoms.

Why is the socialist Peace and Freedom Party more vocally libertarian on these key issues than the so-called Libertarian Party?

Do you see why I’m no longer a registered Libertarian? Why I’ve registered non-partisan and ignore party labels?

I’m not saying who I’ll be voting for this November. But antiwar voters should educate themselves about every candidate, in every state and district. Then vote based on the issues that the candidates advocate (vocally and aggressively, not buried in some fine print). Don’t waste your vote on something as meaningless as party labels.

Libertarian candidates must earn votes from libertarians, not be given votes simply because candidates have an L before their names.

34 thoughts on “Thomas Sipos: ‘Libertarian candidates must earn votes from libertarians’

  1. Adrian Galysh

    Not sure what you are driving at, most, if not all Libertarians I know are very vocal about ending the wars, repealing the Patriot act, and ending corporate bailouts.

  2. Robert Capozzi

    Sipos uses language in an odd way. How “Defund all wars of imperialism…” is “directly, aggressively, and unapologeticly” addressing “core” issues escapes me. How about “End” rather than “Defund”, for starters?

    Mounting the modern-day soapbox, i.e., putting up a campaign website, is not especially consequential. This P&F candidate’s checks can’t be cashed.

    Sipos may require a certain amount of stridency on the issues he considers core, and that’s his business and his right, as is his party affiliation. It’s interesting that he seems to see sufficient stridency from a non-L candidate’s tepid (IMO) call for mere “defunding.”

    Whatever.

  3. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    Castaldo is running for Congress.

    Even if elected, he would little or no power to “end” any wars. The executive branch’s claim to broad military powers are illicit and unconstitutional, but they’ve withstood all challenges for 150 years now.

    As a congressman, however, Castaldo would have a vote on what Congress does control — the purse strings.

  4. Robert Capozzi

    tk, I’m unaware of an instance where Congress challenged the power of the executive to wage war. I’m also unaware of an instance where Congress defunded a war effort when the Executive branch objected. Has there ever been an actual challenge?

    If a war were ended through defunding, that ends the war. Why make such a procedural point in a campaign? MNR might call that “namby pamby.” Seems like Brother Sipos wants the banner held high “vocally and aggressively, not buried in some fine print.” “End” should be the headline; “defund” in the fine print.

    In addition, corporations are incorporated at the state level, not federally, last I checked, so if Castaldo is being careful with jurisdictions and delegation of powers, he might want to check into that one, too.

  5. Ted Brown

    In the same district, CD30 (incumbent Henry Waxman), there is a Libertarian candidate. He is Erich Miller, who is certain a hard core libertarian. I don’t see why Mr. Sipos has a problem with the Libertarians running this time.

  6. Tom Blanton

    Libertarian candidates must earn votes from libertarians, not be given votes simply because candidates have an L before their names.

    You would think that goes without saying. But, if you did think that, you’d be wrong.

    It seems a great number of libertarian candidates forget to mention America’s imperial foreign policy along with a number of other important issues – as if the conservatives they think they are targeting will ever vote for anyone other than a Republican.

    LP candidates that don’t advocate strong libertarian positions do the LP and the wider libertarian movement a disservice. In fact, they are worthless. They know they have little to no chance of winning an election. If they aren’t using their campaign to educate the general public, they may as well stay home and engage in self-gratification while viewing Sarah Palin or Wayne Root pin-up photos.

  7. AroundtheblockAFT

    While some libertarians may have a beef with the existence of limited liability corporations, I’m not aware that most are in favor of doing away with contracts that limit damages.

  8. Robert Capozzi

    tb7, yes, you could establish Blanton & Assoc., a political strategy firm, in which you can school your clients on what “strong” means.

    Or you can accept that different L candidates are going to frame their campaign issues as they deem appropriate. And, yes, of course, individual Ls will vote as they deem appropriate.

  9. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    You write:

    “I’m unaware of an instance where Congress challenged the power of the executive to wage war.”

    Depends on what you mean by “Congress” and “challenge.”

    Individual congresscritters and groups of them have sued versus presidential war powers (and lost).

    Some accounts of the Late Unpleasantness of 1861-65 suggest that Lincoln connived to get the Union under arms and on the march before Congress could get back to Washington and put him on a leash.

    “I’m also unaware of an instance where Congress defunded a war effort when the Executive branch objected.”

    So am I. It has, however, been proposed at least once (by Dick Gephardt — I noticed because I was halfway around the world, wearing desert camouflage and, like most of the people around me, not favorably disposed toward the proposal). Presumably this guy would be one more vote in Congress for such proposals.

    “If a war were ended through defunding, that ends the war. Why make such a procedural point in a campaign?”

    Maybe he thinks the specific proposal will resonate with his prospective constituents?

    “MNR might call that ‘namby pamby.'”

    Only if someone’s figured out how to resurrect the dead.

    “In addition, corporations are incorporated at the state level, not federally, last I checked, so if Castaldo is being careful with jurisdictions and delegation of powers, he might want to check into that one, too.”

    Castaldo is not addressing corporations per se, he’s addressing their alleged “personhood,” which was established as law at the federal level (in Dartmouth College v. Woodward and Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad).

    FYI, I’m not arguing in favor of Castaldo versus some other candidate. I’m just not seeing much basis for your critique.

  10. Robert Capozzi

    tk: Depends on what you mean by “Congress” and “challenge.”

    me: Welcome to the wonderful world of subjectivism! In this case, “Congress” means legislation.

    If “personhood” involves federal court cases vs. legislation, figuring out a remedy might involve Congress, might not.

  11. Gene Berkman

    John Yoo in his defense of Executive Power, contends that the President has the right to take America into war without Congressional authorization. He suggests that if Congress opposes the war, they can cut off funding.

    In fact, after America gets into a war, even antiwar Senators and Congressman rarely vote against war funding. They don’t want to be accused of leaving Americans in harm’s way, without the means to defend themselves.

    Actually opposing war in the first place is the only way to stop war.

  12. Libertarian Voter

    I agree with the writer’s concept. You shouldn’t blindly vote for somebody because of their party label. But, what the writer does not realize is that the Libertarian Party is the only political party that will truly defend our freedoms and our Constitutional values. He is misinformed about the LP.

  13. Thomas L. Knapp

    “Libertarian Voter,”

    While you (or, for that matter, I) might disagree with Mr. Sipos on matters regarding the Libertarian Party, it would be a mistake to think him “misinformed” on it. He has an extensive background in the LP, among other things being the former newsletter editor for the nation’s largest state LP.

  14. Thomas M. Sipos

    “the Libertarian Party is the only political party that will truly defend our freedoms and our Constitutional values. “

    I have been watching the LP for over 30 years, since my high school days. My first vote was for Ed Clark in 1980. I’ve held a bunch of LP titles over the years, and attended as a delegate to several regional, county, state and national LP conventions.

    I am well aware of the LP’s many chest-beating claims of being “the only party to truly defend blah, blah, blah…”

    My assessment of the LP, from decades of insider observation, is that it contains some fine, intelligent, principled people. But the LP is also crippled by opportunists, cowards, vote getters, rightists, and “party cultists” (my term for people who think the party is an end in itself).

    After 9/11, the LP should have taken a leading role in antiwar efforts. The ideas in Harry Brown’s post-9/11 article, and Ron Paul’s 2008 debate statement, should have been the LP’s primary talking points throughout the last decade.

    But instead, the LP was crippled by fear of being called “unpatriotic” if it opposed the wars, crippled by fear of “losing votes” and beltway respectability, and crippled by internal dissension from people who said that current U.S. foreign policy was an issue “on which libertarians of good faith could disagree.”

    Antiwar should be the flagship issue of the LP and of its candidates. War and empire not only harm the economy, they inflict the worst loss of liberty on its victims. I’d rather waste money on Obamacare than on war and empire. Obamacare is bad, war and empire are worse.

    There should be peace symbols and bold antiwar statements on all LP party sites. Instead, at best many LP sites and candidates have a few decent statements buried in the fine print.

    At worst, some candidates and party leaders are silent, or even hint that they’re pro-war by using buzz words “supports a strong national defense” without qualifying that within an antiwar statement.

    The LP’s only value is as an educational institution. I don’t care what an LP candidate secretly believes, or “would do if elected” (since that’s not gonna happen) — I only care about how effectively and extensively that candidate educates the public about peace.

  15. Robert Capozzi

    ts: I only care about how effectively and extensively that candidate educates the public about peace.

    me: Yes, I’m sure that’s true on some level. And I would agree. The MOST effective and extensive educational effort would be to win. That would be the largest canvas on which to paint the peace sign.

    The P&F candidate — and most L candidates — may from time to time satisfy your taste for “strong” statements that you personally agree with and believe are appropriate in a campaign.

    Where I challenge you is your apparent denial that “principle” can be calibrated, and that in fact even abolitionist (or “radical”) Ls calibrate their positions. For ex., I would think the “principled” position from the abolitionist perspective would be to end the US empire including: shutting all embassies. At minimum, all Marines guarding US embassies are part of the problem. And then there’s the “illegitimate” CIA and its operatives working out of embassies. Close ’em all!

    Abolitionist Ls generally don’t say that, but many of them BELIEVE that. That is calibration. That is opportunism. That is crafting a message designed for the audience.

    And that, Thomas, is a good idea! Because politics (and really even “education”) is not about coming down from the principled mountain of pure theory and telling the unwashed the irrefutable Truth. Politics is the art of the possible. The most effective politician is one who gives a sense of his or her values, asks others to share his or her values, and proposes near-term solutions to what ails us. The effective and extensive (meaning, one whose campaign actually reaches voters) calibrates what is possible, what the voters consider relevant and what not, and how “bold” his or her message should be to win people over to his or her side.

    “Phoning it in” — taking the “boldest” position on a website — strikes me as neither effective or extensive. That’s the work of a poseur.

    And, no, I simply disagree with your premise that Ls cannot get elected. In fact, Ls ARE elected, generally to state or local offices. Bernie Sanders, a socialist not in the R or D party, has been getting elected and re-elected regularly, so non-mainstream candidates CAN win.

    So, while I agree that the Iraq War was and is contra-indicated, and I happen to agree that defunding or exiting it IS indicated, I would also say that that view has less traction than it did 5 years ago. The US seems to be on a glide path toward exiting, and the war is not as central on the public’s radar screen as it was. It’s winding down. ObamaCare is winding up, flowing away from peace and toward tyranny. So, it’s perfectly appropriate for an L to calibrate his or her messaging on the more relevant issue of the day.

    (Yes, I agree, though, in isolation, “war” is the larger obstacle to peace than domestic socialization. Politics, however, is not done in isolation.)

    IMO.

  16. Robert Capozzi

    gb12, yes, I’m aware of the constitutional arguments that some make. I’m also aware that there are institutional reasons why Congress is loathe to exercise the power of the purse when it comes to ongoing military engagements. Yes, best to vote no to begin with. But, once the mistake is made, I’d like to see Congress display some courage and do what it should be reverse a dysfunctional decision.

  17. paulie Post author

    @16 Saw this last night. I won’t say where or who said it as they have some restrictions on that, but the author can identify himself here if he wants:


    I have had an opportunity in the last few weeks to listen to and talk with a number of successful political activists.

    Most of whom are in what is called the progressive movement or are members of labor.

    Virtually everyone of them has said the same thing.

    Always ask for more than you expect to get and build your internal cadre.

    Train them in your principles because if you don’t then you cannot expect them to stay true to your ideals when and if they are elected.

    They all have emphasized that their efforts are a built around a number of approaches. Recruiting and training candidates, legislative action, working with groups whose goals are similar.

    These are all things that have been mentioned in the LP over the years but all too often ignored.

    But there is one thing they have mentioned more than once that I have heard condemned in the LP.

    Set your priorities. What can we achieve this year and what will it take five years to achieve?

    Even though there is something we might like to get done tomorrow don’t waste time on it if there is little or no chance to succeed on the issue.

    That doesn’t mean we ignore it. Just be realistic. Hold it up as for all to see but know your limitations.

  18. Eric Sundwall

    Can’t wait to get 50K votes and actually have this problem on a regular basis . . .

  19. Robert Capozzi

    pc, yes, Eastwood got it right: A man’s gotta know his limitations. Grandiosity is a setup for failure.

    Sure, ask for more and widen out your timeframe if you are a challenger looking to expand the box.

    And cadre (not my favorite word) can of course be useful in advancing a cause.

    But Sipos and some abolitionist Ls go further: They attack fellow travelers for not expanding the timeframe enough, for not holding high the banner as perhaps they think the banner should be held. That, IMO, is just not cool.

  20. Tom Blanton

    Ahh, but in the biggest tent, the planet earth, we are all fellow travelers. Thus, it would be wrong to have any political disagreement with any other human – no matter how destructive their agenda may be. That would be so very cool.

    Should not the model of coolness be to embrace charlatans and liars?

    So, let us all embrace warmongers and statists and envelope them with our love and our coolness. Let us never raise our voices against their evil ideas that dehumanize us all.

    Above all, never mention that a LP candidate with 1% of the funding of his opponent is unlikely to win an election. That wouldn’t be cool.

  21. Tom Blanton

    Always ask for more than you expect to get

    This just flies in the face of accepted strategy in the LP. Just look at the remarkable success that asking for much less than you want has been for the LP.

    For example, look how many LP candidates have been elected by advocating the revenue neutral Fair Tax instead of the elimination of taxes.

    It’s just like how successful retailers always ask for less money than they hope to get for the items they sell.

    Always asking for more than you expect to get is just crazy. The LP would never do that.

  22. Robert Capozzi

    tb: Should not the model of coolness be to embrace charlatans and liars?

    me: Yes. It might go something like “love the sinner, hate the sin,” for what you might perceive to be a “charlatan.” As for “liars,” that word describes every human I’ve ever known, you?

    One can embrace others, yet still disagree with them. For ex., MNR wrote a manifesto in which he emphatically stated that fetuses are parasites and that it should be legal to sell babies. I’m not sure how someone who wants to convince others of his view could make such statements…perhaps he was having a bad day when he wrote those apparently insane — perhaps even “charlatanistic” — words. I embrace MNR as an important figure in the LM, but I strongly disagree with these views.

    tb: Let us never raise our voices against their evil ideas that dehumanize us all.

    me: Evil is like beauty, it’s in the eye of the beholder…psychological projection 101, actually. Stating that we are all former “parasites” (since we are all former fetuses) could be viewed as “dehumanizing us all,” or it could be viewed as a very lost soul making outrageous statements.

    Know that you cannot be “dehumanized,” Brother Blanton, by anyone other than yourself!

    IMO.

  23. Robert Capozzi

    tb: This just flies in the face of accepted strategy in the LP. Just look at the remarkable success that asking for much less than you want has been for the LP.

    me: Accepted by whom? The LP’s platform for many years essentially endorsed the idea that there is a right to any kind of weapon, no matter how inherently dangerous. There remain any number of very dramatic changes to the social order in the platform to this day. We ask for A LOT.

    Yes, some Ls suggest that the FAIR Tax would be a less injurious form of taxation. Other Ls claim that taxation is theft. Since the LP’s founding, a number of approaches to rolling the State have been tried; to date, none of them have worked. No news there.

    Rome wasn’t built in a day. Don’t beat yourself up about our inability to change the nation’s course.

  24. Tom Blanton

    Libertarian minarchists want much less taxation, statist Republicans want a little less taxation, but people for the revenue neutral Fair Tax want the current level of taxation and then try to claim it is a 23% tax, when it is a 30% tax – without explaining they mean it is all-inclusive unless confronted about it.

    LP candidates that claim to be “true conservatives” and advocate the Fair Tax, foreign wars, etc. shouldn’t waste time wondering why libertarians aren’t supporting them. They also shouldn’t waste their time wondering why Republicans aren’t voting for them either when actual GOP candidates have a long history of winning elections.

    RC – Perhaps you should try to convince those people whose ancestors were chattel slaves that their ancestors were not dehumanized, but rather allowed themselves to be dehumanized. For that matter, there are a number of people in prison or other circumstances that might also beg to differ with your deep insights into what constitutes dehumanization.

    Victims of torture by American police, soldiers, spies, or contractors might enjoy knowing that evil is in the eye of the beholder.

    RC, sometimes it seems to me that you believe anything goes in the LP – except strong libertarian beliefs.

  25. Tom Blanton

    Mr. Sipos sums it all up quite well:

    The LP’s only value is as an educational institution. I don’t care what an LP candidate secretly believes, or “would do if elected” (since that’s not gonna happen) — I only care about how effectively and extensively that candidate educates the public about peace.

    While peace, or foreign policy, may be the most important issue in these imperialistic times, I would also add economic issues and civil liberty issues to the things that libertarian candidates should educate the public about.

  26. NewFederalist

    How many angels can dance on the head of a tax collector? What would Murray say? Blah blah blah… just how marginalized and irrelevant should the Libertarian Party be anyway? This whole BS makes PLAS look good!

  27. Robert Capozzi

    tb, actually, I don’t think it’s a “deep insight” to call reality reality. A slave is enslaved; a prisoner is imprisoned. “Dehumanized,” however, is the interpretation of the individual. A person may feel “dehumanized” when another says or does something to slight him or her, too, but that status is a matter of personal interpretation. I certainly don’t mean to excuse deeply dysfunctional behavior like enslaving or unjustly imprisoning…of course I do not. One’s humanity, however, is not controllable by another, only one’s outward condition.

    For a lot of reasons, I don’t support a FAIR Tax. A L who does may make the argument that increased tax visibility will create conditions in which taxpayer solidarity would increase, leading to a strong, sustainable environment for reducing the tax burden. That perspective has merit, IMO, but I prefer other means to lower taxes (and spending). I’d probably vote for a FAIR Tax advocate, just as I’ve voted for a pro-life advocate, even though I don’t believe either position is indicated.

  28. Richard Castaldo

    Hi, thanks someone sent this to me on facebook.
    I’m the guy this is about, no I’m not a libertarian but i do agree with them more often than i agree with either so called “major” parties. “Majorly” suck, i’d say…

    if you want more info please visit my website or the party website, http://www.peaceandfreedom.org

  29. C. T. Weber

    Just a little reminder. In the mid 1800s the Libertarians were socialist. The libertarian socialist were the anarchists and democratic socialists. What some of you don’t understand is that socialism does not necessaryly mean big government and high taxes. Socialism is an economic system. It means the people in a society own, manage, and control the basic means of production and distribution. There are many types of socialists just as there are several types of capitalists. If you want to know what a socialist is ask a socialist not a capitalist.

  30. JT

    C.T.: “It means the people in a society own, manage, and control the basic means of production and distribution.”

    Who owns, manages, and controls the means of production and distribution in non-socialist free-market society? Martians? No. The people who actually invest in productive enterprises, as directed by other people’s value preferences.

  31. paulie Post author

    As an actual candidate? I didn’t know that. I know the Rothbardians were in the Peace and Freedom Party briefly, then lost a convention vote in, I believe, ’73.

    A shame, as Peace and Freedom is a great name for a party.

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