Former Wyoming Libertarian Chair, LNC member Don Wills resigns from party

Email from Don Wills forwarded by George Phillies:

Hello LP leaders,

A new chairman of the Wyoming LP was elected in convention today, I have resigned from the Wyoming Libertarian Party, and I am hereby resigning as Region 4 alternate rep to the LNC and from the LP.

I have come to the conclusion that I am wasting my time promoting the Libertarian Party. My reasoning in coming to this conclusion is as follows:

The non-initiation of force principle, the most fundamental principle of the LP, is the problem. Until leadership and membership can agree on the true meaning of that principle, or until the principle is altered or discarded, the LP will continue to languish. The reason that the principle is the problem can be reduced to this question: Is all taxation theft? If so, then the existence of any government whatsoever is contrary to the fundamental principle of the LP, and the Constitution is an immoral document which violates that principle.

I do not believe that all taxation is theft. I believe in the Constitution. It’s not a perfect document by any means, and it most surely has been ignored for many decades. But I believe it is our best hope for restoring liberty in our land.

My belief system is very similar to Ron Paul’s. And like Ron Paul, I have decided that the LP, while useful as an educational tool, is not a viable electoral vehicle to try to move our country back to the principles written in our Constitution.

Sincerely,
Don Wills
Wyoming

PS. The way many of you treat Wayne Root is disgusting. Shame on you.

PPS. Wes – please remove me from the LNC discussion list, the LSLA discussion list and any other lists or on which my name appears.

64 thoughts on “Former Wyoming Libertarian Chair, LNC member Don Wills resigns from party

  1. I am not surprised

    Nope this is not good, and there will be more to come. I have seen this coming several years ago. This does not surprise me. So now the payoff begins.

  2. Thomas L. Knapp

    While I do not agree with Mr. Wills that the non-aggression principle is the problem (or even a problem) with the LP, it’s nice to see someone who thinks it is doing the right thing about that perception.

    Like it or not, the NAP is woven into the LP’s architecture in a way that makes it damn near impossible to untangle — 2/3rds vote to get rid of it in the membership pledge, 7/8ths to remove it from the statement of principle, both votes to be cast largely by people who have signed that pledge, presumably a reasonable portion of whom understand to some degree, and approve of, what it means.

    Non-NAP libertarians who want a “big tent” party should consider forming one instead of trying to re-make the LP into one. The LP was intentionally structured to resist such re-making attempts and has successfully done so for at least 17 years (repeal of the pledge requirement was voted on, getting a majority but not the 2/3 supermajority required, in 1993).

    Insofar as the Constitution is concerned I agree with William Lloyd Garrison, although I probably don’t attach the same religious overtones to the statement that he did: It is a covenant with death and an agreement with hell.

  3. Don Wills

    Thomas Knapp misunderstands my statement about the non-initiation of force principle (ie. NAP). My statement wasn’t that the NAP itself is right or wrong, or good or bad. Rather, my statement was that LP leaders and members don’t agree on what it actually means, and it is the disagreement itself that diminishes the effectiveness of the LP. When you’ve got a team that isn’t reading from the same playbook, you can’t expect to win.

    Stated more directly with an example – many LP members believe that some taxation is OK and is not in conflict with the NAP. Others believe that all taxation is in conflict with the NAP. Which is it?

    The question is this: “What does the NAP mean”? The problem isn’t the answer itself, the problem is that Libertarians don’t agree on the answer.

    A prime example of a problem that this disagreement creates is the groundswell movement to boot Wayne Root out of the LP. Real political parties don’t shoot one of their best messengers.

    I agree with Knapp that it’s time for the LP to split into two parties – 1) the anarchists and, 2) the small government folks. By leaving the LP, I’m implicitly giving up on the LP – the anarchists can have it as far as I’m concerned.

    It’s time for more non-anarchist Libertarians to see the light and do the same I’m doing, building an alternative to the LP along the philosophical lines of Ron and Rand Paul. Watch IPR in the next few weeks for more information about what a few of us ex-Libertarian Wyoming freedom fighters are up to.

  4. Thomas M. Sipos

    Don Wills: “I agree with Knapp that it’s time for the LP to split into two parties”

    Two Reform Caucus members suggested to me, at the 2006 national LP convention, that the radicals should form their own party.

    I countered that BOTH reform and radical types OWN the party. We’re in a marriage. A divorce may be the right thing to do — but who gets the house? (The party name, goodwill, property, and ballot status?)

    If there was a way to split 50/50 (each side gets ballot access in half the states, and starts from scratch in the other half), that’d be fine with me.

    Trouble is, I suspect both spouses want to keep the house, and just have the other spouse leave with nothing.

  5. paulie Post author

    @5 This apparently presumes that all, or most, LP members fit into either the radical and “reform” (although I’m not sure that’s the correct word anymore) boxes. I don’t think that’s true. Some people don’t fit into either box and some people fit into both boxes – Chuck Moulton comes to mind.

    As long as the LP has existed there have been people trying to take it over for one faction or another and/or leaving in a huff to start their own party, join the Republicans, become anti-voting anarchists, etc. None of this is new.

    I don’t think minarchists, anarchists, or quasi-minarchists will unanimously leave the LP. Some of each will, though. Others of each will join. For that matter, there are libertarian anarchists in the Republican Party, as strange as that may be. Granted, they are not exactly a big presence there.

  6. Andy

    “If there was a way to split 50/50 (each side gets ballot access in half the states, and starts from scratch in the other half), that’d be fine with me.”

    Getting ballot access in all of those states is a really difficult thing.

    I consider myself to be a whatever-we-can-get-archist. In other words, I’m an anarchist at heart in that I don’t really support any coercive government, however, I also recognize that eliminating all coercive government may be something that never happens, so in the interim I support limiting government as much as we can. The Constitution is not perfect but if it were actually followed I think we’d all be better off.

    I have no problem working with people in both camps. I think that splitting the party up over this would be strategically foolish. Those in both camps have more in common with eachother than with those in any other party.

    This reminds me of, “United we stand and divided we fall.” and “We shall all hang together, or surely we will hang seperately.”

    I think that it is quite foolish to waste time on the anarchy vs. minarchy debate when we are so far from having either.

  7. paulie Post author

    I consider myself to be a whatever-we-can-get-archist. In other words, I’m an anarchist at heart in that I don’t really support any coercive government, however, I also recognize that eliminating all coercive government may be something that never happens, so in the interim I support limiting government as much as we can. The Constitution is not perfect but if it were actually followed I think we’d all be better off.

    I would say most Libertarians would agree.

  8. Eric Sundwall

    “. . . you can’t expect to win.”

    Just leave it at that and a whole lotta angst goes away. If you wanna win on a regular and consistent basis you have to play/join the Dems-Repubs. Starting a new or different third party isn’t the solution if winning is your thing.

    No miracle ideological cure (LP factions be damned) exists for the single plurality district.

  9. Thomas M. Sipos

    Paulie is right @6.

    While I wouldn’t mind an LP split, I’ve also long predicted that it won’t happen, partially because no faction wants to give up the family house.

    Andy: “I think that it is quite foolish to waste time on the anarchy vs. minarchy debate”

    The real debate is anarcho-minarchists vs. Statist Lite/liberventionists.

    9/11 revealed a deep fissure within the LP on foreign policy and the military. Anarcho-minarchists (anarchists and “true” minarchists) are antiwar, anti-imperialist.

    “Liberventionists” are Statist Lites, because you can’t support imperial interventions and be a minarchist. Imperialism is expensive and requires Big Govt.

    Another term for liberventionists might be Big Government Libertarians. In theory, an oxymoron, but such people do exist within the LP.

    Prior to 9/11, libertarians had petty factional feuds, but nothing like the serious fissures post-9/11. At least, that’s my impression.

  10. Gene Berkman

    Don Wills certainly has the right to quit The Libertarian Party and attempt to promote freedom in some other manner. But it might be hasty to generalize from whatever experience he has had in local divisiveness.

    Each local Libertarian group reflects whoever is in it, and people who don’t agree on everything often work together to promote freedom.

    The real problem is that The Libertarian Party is too small to achieve notable results. More successful political factions are held together by short term successes as well as common ideas.

  11. langa

    I believe that the major problem with the LP is the obsession with “electoral success”, whatever that’s supposed to mean. You don’t change the public’s mind by getting people elected, you get people elected by changing the public’s mind. Yet many people in the LP seem to assume that if we could somehow “trick” people into electing a few libertarians, libertopia would follow.

    I often hear the same confused logic from the mainstream sports media (which is almost as bad as the mainstream political media). They talk about teams building “momentum”, as if the mere act of winning magically causes a team to start playing better, when in reality the reverse is true. The team must start playing better, and then they’ll start winning.

    In short, the LP doesn’t lose elections because we spend too much time debating philosophical issues. We lose elections because the vast majority of the public is either unaware of our message, doesn’t understand our message, or simply disagrees with our message. Until we change that, winning elections is nothing more than a pipe dream.

  12. Pingback: Prominent Wyoming Libertarians Found County Party | Independent Political Report

  13. Robert Capozzi

    Langa13: You don’t change the public’s mind by getting people elected, you get people elected by changing the public’s mind.

    Me: I’m not sure this totally captures the process. A person’s mind is changed over time. An election cycle is generally short, so there’s not a lot of time to change a person’s mind to vote for a candidate, in this case, a L. For the LP to become a force in changing public opinion, I’d say the first thing to determine where large numbers of people agree that liberty is preferable. Then I’d say we need to build on those areas of agreement. Candidates can do that by striking a chord with voters, and contrasting a L approach with the R and D approach.

    Getting elected would create a larger teachable moment. Rather than just a campaign of rhetoric, a L could demonstrate a track record. A L track record might change MORE minds, as the sales process of overcoming objections is strengthened with tangible results. The bigger the stage, the larger the audience. Until 2008, Ron Paul was a fairly obscure MC. When he ran for prez in 88, he was not considered credible by most. As a sitting congressman, when he ran in 08, he was taken more seriously. Now, he has a pretty big megaphone. There’s a progression there.

    L: Yet many people in the LP seem to assume that if we could somehow “trick” people into electing a few libertarians, libertopia would follow.

    Me: Name one person who believes this.

    L: They talk about teams building “momentum”, as if the mere act of winning magically causes a team to start playing better, when in reality the reverse is true. The team must start playing better, and then they’ll start winning.

    Me: The idea of momentum is that there is progression. Sometimes, a team is playing below its potential. They sometimes change their attitude, catch a break, bench someone, add a new play, etc., and they start to play better. As their confidence builds over time, they start to play even better in each successive game. They take it to another level, as they say.

    L: We lose elections because the vast majority of the public is either unaware of our message, doesn’t understand our message, or simply disagrees with our message.

    Me: Yes, I agree those are reasons. And there are reasons behind the reasons, including ballot access laws, biased media, the “2 party” system myth, loyalty, and inertia. Purges over philosophical differences seem likely to make a difficult task of changing public opinion and public policy nearly impossible, though. When infighting gets THAT vicious, I cannot imagine that that would lead to effective marketing of L ideas.

  14. paulie Post author

    Don Wills certainly has the right to quit The Libertarian Party and attempt to promote freedom in some other manner. But it might be hasty to generalize from whatever experience he has had in local divisiveness.

    I don’t believe he is generalizing from the local. He has been on the LNC and heavily involved at the national level. I think he knows what he is talking about.

    He thinks his point of view can be electorally successful if it is not confused with radical libertarianism – migration freedom, drug legalization, ending all coercive taxation – in the minds of tea party conservative types that he wants to market to.

    He may or may not be right about that. But, it’s a hypothesis with some validity that makes sense in a national context, not just a local one.

  15. paulie Post author

    He had me until the postscript. Screw Wayne Root.

    Actually, I think the postscript is the best part.

    Ideologically, I’m one of the very people Wills feels is holding him back from electoral success (we shall see), but I have to agree that people have been overly negative towards Wayne.

    Wayne’s energy and relentlessness is exactly what is most lacking among those on “my side” of libertarianism. I wish more of us were making friends with him and learning marketing from him, while discussing our differences as friends rather than as foes.

  16. Eric Dondero

    Don, the belief that all taxation is theft and maintaining some sort of government, is not necessarily inconsistent.

    There are voluntary forms of taxation. Public pressure could be brought to bare on others to help fund a small government safety net for the truly needy and military defenses.

    It would be difficult, but not impossible.

  17. Eric Dondero

    I’ve long advocated that there should be check-off box on tax forms for individuals who do not wish to support military defenses of the United States. Of course, these individuals should be shamed in public, and humiliated, and their names should absolutely be made available to anyone who asks. But, still, they should have the right not to support say specific wars, or even the military in general.

  18. Robert Capozzi

    P, agree. Wills seems to be a big-picture guy to me, too, who is focusing first on his home state. WY is a low-pop state, so the “Country Party” might prove to be an interesting experiment. Scanning their website, they seem to invest a lot in 10A.

    I have some ambivalence about the name of their party. I think Country music first. And 10A arguments often lead to confederate conclusions.

    Yet, I suspect it’s meant to be used more in the “my country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty” sense. Their tagline is “Taking back our country one state at a time.”

    They seem to be focusing on state legislatures first, which is an interesting approach.

    I will be interested to see if this leads to there being no functioning LP in WY. If that happens, and if the Country-ites gain traction, I wonder if other state LPs might follow suit.

    This is a very different approach than the BTP, which was a cyber-national effort from the outset.

    The Country Party seems to be a Ron Paul-ish sort of party. While they cite drugs, immigration, and tax abolition as too “radical,” I do wonder where they will settle on those and other contentious issues. It appears they may avoid foreign policy at first, since they are focusing on state races.

  19. paulie Post author

    I have some ambivalence about the name of their party. I think Country music first.

    Yes, but the question is which kind of country music? If it’s Toby Keith’s Angry American, well, there’s definitely a market for that, but as Montgomery Gentry put it (in the chorus, anyway)…you do your thing, I’ll do mine.

    On the other hand, if it’s this kind of country music, I’m all in:

  20. NewFederalist

    As I re-read Mr. Wills’email I wonder if his new party plans to reach out to CPers in Wyoming? It appears to me his viewpoint is somewhere between the LP and the CP. Perhaps in WY that coalition could be successful.

  21. Robert Capozzi

    ed18: There are voluntary forms of taxation. Public pressure could be brought to bare on others to help fund a small government safety net for the truly needy and military defenses. It would be difficult, but not impossible.

    me: I guess I agree that there “are” voluntary taxes, but I’ve seen no evidence that they amount to a significant amount. You probably mean there COULD BE voluntary taxes. People like Gates and Buffet advocate for higher tax rates, yet, near as I can tell, they don’t pay the higher rates voluntarily. I’ve never seen them called on it, either. Instead, they give to charity, which I applaud.

  22. AroundtheblockAFT

    John Stossel’s column, show and media appearances do more to educate the public than any slew of LP candidates for Water and Soil Conservation District Commission (or even congress or president) ever can because his remarks are more widely heard and his ideas have the time and print space to be developed beyond the mere slogans and cliches afforded LP candidates in most media during a campaign.
    I’m a broken record on this: The LP has to be visible, active and heard every week in every county in every state – get a column in your local paper, become a mini-Wayne Root in lining up media appearances, show up at meetings and ask the kind of questions of officials that will get covered in the newspaper,
    work with groups with some kindred issues- such as Tea Parties – to bring in libertarian speakers.

  23. Robert Capozzi

    Reading a bit more on the Country-ites, they don’t as yet have a by-laws and platform. They “will meet in its founding convention in late March or early April to adopt bylaws, elect officers and chart the course of events for 2011.”

    They also ask those in other states to affiliate.

    This could get interesting, and somewhat complicated. When BTP did this, it was structured as a kind of shadow to the LP, with many being members of both.

    It appears Wills at least isn’t doing so; he resigned. I will be interested to see whether they can structure the Country Party in ways that avoids the legalistic gotchas that the LP’s foundational documents have. Hopefully, the Country Partiers will share their initial thoughts on how they will build their foundation. IPR seems like a good place to do so.

  24. Robert Capozzi

    es9: No miracle ideological cure (LP factions be damned) exists for the single plurality district.

    me: Wyoming is a great state to test your hypothesis, Eric. It is an almost entirely R state. Could the Country Party supplant the Ds as the 2nd major party? As the least populated state in the nation, it makes an interesting petri dish. It’s also a feminism-in-action state, having been way ahead of the suffrage curve and electing the first female guv.

    Without the LP’s theory-laden baggage, perhaps the Countryistas could vault to the front of the freedom train….

  25. Thomas L. Knapp

    Good luck to Mr. Wills with his new party. It looks like a soundly designed experiment in pushing non-NAP lessarchism (I’m not inclined to argue, at the moment, about whether or not non-NAP lessarchism is or is not “libertarian”) as an alternative to the status quo.

  26. paulie Post author

    Wyoming is a great state to test your hypothesis, Eric. It is an almost entirely R state. Could the Country Party supplant the Ds as the 2nd major party?

    Entirely possible. For example, the Greens have already arguably supplanted the Republicans as the second party in some strongly Democratic cities such as DC and Portland.

    However, being the second party is not the same thing as being an equal or near-equal competitor.

    For example, when I was collecting signatures for Constitution Party ballot access in the southernmost congressional district of Alabama at Tea Parties last year, even after repeatedly explaining to people that the Democrats were sitting the race out and therefore that there was zero chance of a Constitution Party candidate being on the ballot swinging the race to the Democrats, and that the Republican incumbent was a pro-bailout “RINO”, I had numerous people that still would not sign to even allow them to be on the ballot. And bear in mind that these were Alabama Tea Partiers, who lined up pretty strongly with the Constitution Party ideologically.

    Some grudgingly signed given the special circumstances of not having a Democrat in the race, but made sure to let me know that if I was lying to them and the Democrats had a candidate that they would track me down and do bad things to me because there was no way in hell that they would allow a third party to “split” their votes and elect a Democrat. Never mind that a Democrat has about as much chance in that district as a snowball in hell.

    The CP did end up getting enough signatures in that race, and the candidate went on to get 17% of the vote.

    I don’t think that was because he was too much of a religious zealot for that area, which is heavily religious conservative. And I don’t think it is because a lot of people there know what the Constitution Party is; my on the ground experience is that most had no idea.

  27. Robert Capozzi

    p 31, yes, great point. I doubt Wills & Co. are not aware of the institutional challenges in front of them. They seem interested in taking their best shot at having a reasonable chance of creating a real political party. No one says that is easy.

    I like the demographics of WY for this experiment, but I wonder whether it’s a tough ballot access state.

  28. paulie Post author

    I believe that the major problem with the LP is the obsession with “electoral success”, whatever that’s supposed to mean. You don’t change the public’s mind by getting people elected, you get people elected by changing the public’s mind. Yet many people in the LP seem to assume that if we could somehow “trick” people into electing a few libertarians, libertopia would follow.

    Well, it’s kind of a chicken and egg thing. People are less inclined to take anything a party that does not get elected have to say seriously. Still, participating in some debates and electing some people, even at a low level, cause some people to pay attention that otherwise wouldn’t.
    There are many incremental degrees of success, each of which make the ideas more palatable, and the ideas becoming increasingly palatable to larger amounts of people makes for more electoral success.

    I often hear the same confused logic from the mainstream sports media (which is almost as bad as the mainstream political media). They talk about teams building “momentum”, as if the mere act of winning magically causes a team to start playing better, when in reality the reverse is true. The team must start playing better, and then they’ll start winning.

    The sports psychology of winning is not completely wrong. A positive attitude does not make up for lack of strength training, practice drills and intelligent play calling, but either a positive or negative attitude can be self-reinforcing. Momentum is indeed a major factor.

    In short, the LP doesn’t lose elections because we spend too much time debating philosophical issues. We lose elections because the vast majority of the public is either unaware of our message, doesn’t understand our message, or simply disagrees with our message.

    If we spend too much time debating among ourselves, who’s going to have time to talk to the general public? And if the answer is “hardly anybody ever” then how will they be aware of it and understand it, much less agree with it?

  29. paulie Post author

    A person’s mind is changed over time. An election cycle is generally short, so there’s not a lot of time to change a person’s mind to vote for a candidate, in this case, a L. For the LP to become a force in changing public opinion, I’d say the first thing to determine where large numbers of people agree that liberty is preferable. Then I’d say we need to build on those areas of agreement. Candidates can do that by striking a chord with voters, and contrasting a L approach with the R and D approach.

    Getting elected would create a larger teachable moment. Rather than just a campaign of rhetoric, a L could demonstrate a track record. A L track record might change MORE minds, as the sales process of overcoming objections is strengthened with tangible results. The bigger the stage, the larger the audience. Until 2008, Ron Paul was a fairly obscure MC. When he ran for prez in 88, he was not considered credible by most. As a sitting congressman, when he ran in 08, he was taken more seriously. Now, he has a pretty big megaphone. There’s a progression there.

    Correct.

    L: Yet many people in the LP seem to assume that if we could somehow “trick” people into electing a few libertarians, libertopia would follow.

    R: Name one person who believes this.

    P: Off the top of my head, Jake Witmer.

    The idea of momentum is that there is progression. Sometimes, a team is playing below its potential. They sometimes change their attitude, catch a break, bench someone, add a new play, etc., and they start to play better. As their confidence builds over time, they start to play even better in each successive game. They take it to another level, as they say.

    Exactly.

    L: We lose elections because the vast majority of the public is either unaware of our message, doesn’t understand our message, or simply disagrees with our message.

    R: Yes, I agree those are reasons. And there are reasons behind the reasons, including ballot access laws, biased media, the “2 party” system myth, loyalty, and inertia. Purges over philosophical differences seem likely to make a difficult task of changing public opinion and public policy nearly impossible, though. When infighting gets THAT vicious, I cannot imagine that that would lead to effective marketing of L ideas.

    P: You are both correct here.

  30. paulie Post author

    I wonder whether it’s a tough ballot access state.

    http://www.ballot-access.org/2010/12/28/december-2010-ballot-access-news-print-edition/#11

    3,740 valid signatures. I seem to recall that there is a county distribution requirement, but I don’t remember that for a fact at the moment.

    Not necessarily easy in a state with a relatively small and very geographically spread out population, but not insurmountable.

    The retention requirements must be fairly reasonable, since the LP has not had to petition there in a long time.

  31. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob@30,

    You write:

    “tk, or, more properly, non-NAP-absolutist lessarchism….”

    Nope. The Boston Tea Party tested that niche. To the extent that the Country Party already has a line, it’s a non-NAP “states rights” line, not a non-NAP-absolutist line.

  32. paulie Post author

    The Boston Tea Party tested that niche.

    BTP tested that niche in theory, but its actual marketing, such as it has been, has been mostly aimed at radical libertarians.

    Also, there are different mechanics involved. BTP is internet-centric and bars its national committee from raising and spending money. The Country Party is looking to do on the ground organizing among Tea Party types, which the BTP could have done in theory but never did to any real extent.

    If a party with the same platform as the BTP was started by moderate/conservative libertarians who were unhappy with the LP becoming too radical and/or left-leaning rather than the other way around, maybe it would have been done.

    However, a party like the Country Party may also want to have an exception or two to the BTP platform….for example, on immigration barriers.

  33. Robert Capozzi

    tk, what Paulie said. Plus, I suspect that many of the “Country Party” founders understand and use the notion of non-aggression as a kind of True North, as I do. They might use the notion of “states rights” as a step along to path toward a freer society. (This one I’ll be monitoring, as I’m skeptical.)

    If they are going to attempt real politics, however, they are unlikely to take the idea of non-aggression as applicable in the here and now.

    I can share that in the early days of the Reform Caucus, Milsted was toying with this sort of thing. My take at the time (05-06) was that we should wait, as the LP had assets worth leveraging. (The LRC was not associated with Root-ism in those days as much as his detractors like to make it seem. )

    It appears Wills has grown tired of the wait. I can’t say I blame him.

  34. longtime reader x-time alias

    re 3:

    [The Constitution] is a covenant with death and an agreement with hell.

    If this is a sincere belief, you have no place in American electoral politics. You should be torching the Capitol or shooting Border Patrol agents.

  35. paulie Post author

    If this is a sincere belief, you have no place in American electoral politics.

    Knapp has in fact now renounced electoral politics. So did the original author, abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison.

    You should be torching the Capitol or shooting Border Patrol agents.

    As tempting as that sounds, what would it accomplish? Getting killed or imprisoned and serving as an excuse for the regime apparatus to crack down even more does not sound like a good operational plan.

    Convincing a sufficient percentage of the population that we are correct would have to come before any kind of revolutionary action – and, hopefully, if and when we convince enough people we are correct, violence will not be needed to alter our form of government.

  36. langa

    Robert #15 and Paulie #34: I’d say the Ron Paul example proves my point. He has been in Congress for the better part of the last 30 years and has consistently had a very libertarian “track record” on the vast majority of issues, yet no one really paid attention to him until the ’08 election. Most people (with the exception of political junkies like ourselves) don’t pay much attention to what happens between elections.

    L: “Yet many people in the LP seem to assume that if we could somehow “trick” people into electing a few libertarians, libertopia would follow.”

    RC: “Name one person who believes this.”

    Well, a lot of people on the Daily Paul seemed to believe that Rand Paul was just acting like a mainstream conservative until he got elected, at which time he could begin to show his true libertarian colors. Most of them seemed to approve of this strategy, as apparently do many people in the LP who love to talk about “getting out of the philosophical sandbox” and “winning some races” as if those things would magically induce libertopia.

    As for the idea of “momentum”, I hear a lot about it, but I’ve been an avid sports fan for over 20 years and I’ve never seen any real evidence of it. When a bad team suddenly pulls off a big win (or even a couple of big wins) they occasionally go on to do good things, but that doesn’t prove that the big win caused the improvement, rather than the other way around. And most of the time, the big win turns out to be a fluke, and they go right back to losing. Also, as far as confidence, almost all professional athletes (even the “bad” ones) already have that in abundance.

    RC: “Purges over philosophical differences seem likely to make a difficult task of changing public opinion and public policy nearly impossible…”

    I always hear all this talk about “purges”, but the only ones that I ever see are when people like Mr. Wills voluntarily “purge” themselves. Is that what you’re referring to?

    P: “If we spend too much time debating among ourselves, who’s going to have time to talk to the general public?”

    That’s a good point, but obviously, the message that we have put out there in the past has not been good enough. How can we improve that message if we never discuss its shortcomings?

  37. Andy

    “On the other hand, if it’s this kind of country music, I’m all in: ”

    I’ve always liked Charlie Daniels music, but unfortunately, his political views are pretty in line with the views of Toby Keith.

  38. paulie Post author

    How can we improve that message if we never discuss its shortcomings?

    I’m all for discussing it. Good times to do so may include over a table while stuffing envelopes, or in the van on the way to canvass a precinct and knock on some doors, etc.

    When it comes to the LP, discussing the message shortcoming seems too often to be the main course, not the side dish.

  39. Andy

    Country Party is not a very good name in my opinion. I’d try to come up with something better than that if I was part of your organization.

  40. Robert Capozzi

    l43: I always hear all this talk about “purges”, but the only ones that I ever see are when people like Mr. Wills voluntarily “purge” themselves. Is that what you’re referring to?

    me: The FL LP excomm recently released a resolution to have Root removed from the NatCon and LNCC. Thus far, they have not purged Root, but they desire that.

    I’d say the 07 Giants displayed momentum. They started the season 0-2, but then won 6 straight games. They seemed out of sync early, but their game started clicking.

    They struggled a bit after that, and they lost their last game to NE, who were 16-0 that year. Yet, they only lost by 3. Momentum came back in the playoffs, as the “lowly” wild card Jints regained their momentum and won the Super Bowl.

    Of course, momentum is a subjective thing. Sometimes my jumper isn’t working, but then I’ll go on a streak of nothing but net. I couldn’t tell you why, but sometimes we go unconscious out there…everything is working. That’s momentum.

  41. Whom votes most

    If the non-radical outvotes the radicals, then they should get the party. If the Radicals outvotes the non-radicals than visa versa. This should be interesting.

    And this should not be a show-up vote either. Some people who cannot make it to the actual convention should still be intitled to vote regardless. The question is, to make it a true and fair vote period. The vote is done by one person only and match up the paying members throughout the 50 states. Make sure your log is up to date.

  42. langa

    Robert, I remember that ’07 season well. If you recall, during the regular season game, the Giants (like everybody else that year) had no answer for the Patriots’ record-setting offense, giving up 38 points. In the Super Bowl, however, it was a different story, as the Giants consistently got pressure on Tom Brady and the Patriots struggled, managing only 14 points.

    So what changed in the 6 weeks between the two games? The conventional wisdom was that the Giants’ pass rush suddenly got a lot better, but I would argue that it was actually the Patriots’ offense that got a lot worse. Specifically, Brady suffered an ankle injury late in the AFC Championship Game, and there was some question whether he would be able to play in the Super Bowl.

    Of course, he did play, and at that point, everyone seemed to forget about the injury. But I noticed throughout the game that his movement in the pocket was not nearly as good as it usually was, which could explain why he was unable to avoid the same pass rush that he had handled so easily in the first game between the two teams.

    For what it’s worth, the Giants had earlier in the playoffs shut down two other teams (the Cowboys and the Packers) that they had struggled against during the regular season. However, there were problems with both these teams’ quarterbacks as well. Tony Romo, like Brady, was bothered by an injury, while the aging Brett Favre had clearly worn down over the course of the season. So I would argue that the Giants actually caught some major breaks during that postseason.

    Of course, that’s not to say that the Giants didn’t deserve to win the Super Bowl. Age and injuries are part of the game, and the Giants still had to take advantage of the breaks they caught. But all the same, I still found the story of how the Giants’ defense suddenly became so much better in the playoffs than they had been in the regular season to be more of a media-created myth than anything else.

  43. Mattocracy

    “Until leadership and membership can agree on the true meaning of that principle, or until the principle is altered or discarded, the LP will continue to languish. ”

    Right, that’s what’s holding us back. What a trivial thing to get hung up on. The fact that there are LPers who argue over this crap is a symptom of the real problem.

    Too many people nit pick about things that don’t really matter. Most Libertarians realize utopia isn’t gonna happen, they just want it as close as we can get with the other two parties pushing back. People who argue over this trivial stuff should be ignored and not engaged in debate.

  44. paulie Post author

    Most Libertarians realize utopia isn’t gonna happen, they just want it as close as we can get with the other two parties pushing back.

    Hopefully, you are correct.

  45. Tom Blanton

    The LP will start winning elections, regardless of whatever positions it floats, when it starts raising and spending millions of dollars – many millions of dollars.

    Assuming a lack of free media, the LP not being a part of the media’s obsession with getting BOTH sides of an issue, the LP would probably have to outspend the major parties to achieve the same amount of air time.

    Billions are spent in America on advertising because it works. People will buy anything if bombarded with it enough.

    The system is designed to accommodate 2 parties – Republicans and Democrats. They made the rules. They are funded by special interests that they reward with legislation that benefits the special interests.

    The notion that debates over the “true meaning” of NAP is preventing the LP from winning elections is beyond absurd. If every LP member donated every cent they owned and spent 40 hours per week at libertarian activism, it still wouldn’t be enough to win even a few elections at the national level.

  46. Thomas M. Sipos

    “Too many people nit pick about things that don’t really matter. “

    I agree. Give me an unabashedly antiwar candidate, loud and vocal and persistent on the issue, and I’ll forgive much.

    Sadly, Wayne Allyn “de facto face of the LP” Root falls short of even those modest requirements.

  47. Robert Capozzi

    gp: I believe it is clear that the name is provisional.

    me: Possible inadvertent double entrendre, Professor? Yes, Country is provisional.

    Or you could be asserting another name: the Provisional Party. If Wills & Co. don’t take that, I may have to start my own party with that name. It fits my TAAAList worldview. This is the Provisional party until we don’t need to do politics anymore!

  48. Robert Capozzi

    tb59: Billions are spent in America on advertising because it works. People will buy anything if bombarded with it enough.

    me: Yes, although note that the Provisional Country party is targeting state legislature in a low pop state. My guess is that state legislature races are not where the big bucks are spent in aggregate nationally. It’s also close to a one-party state.

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