This topic was previously discussed in the comments at LNC In Action, but not yet in an IPR post itself. Although this is always true, since this is a contentious topic, I would like to remind our readers that all opinions expressed are those of the author, in this case Thomas Sipos, not editorial statements by myself (paulie) or Independent Political Report. I am posting this for the purpose of discussion.
Thomas Sipos at Libertarian Peacenik blog:
At a recent Libertarian National Committee meeting, Libertarian Party chairman Mark Hinkle proposed increasing the LP’s outreach to Muslims. LNC member Wayne Allyn Root objected.
Here are more details, are reported by Gold America Group:
Mark Hinkle announced he was going to present our party before the American Muslim Alliance, where he had been invited to speak….
Dan Karlan notes that Muslims are the one group that is persecuted [in the U.S.] “It makes sense for an outlying political organization to go after (seek common cause with) groups of similarly-trashed people,” Karlan rationally argued.
Wayne Allyn Root went on at great length as to why the LNC should not be doing this. We believe an accurate quote of his message is:
“So with atheist Libertarians harshly criticizing Christians, do those same anti-religious Libertarians choose to equally criticize Muslims? Do they support Mark going to Muslim religious events?
“Because right now we risk looking anti-Semitic as a political party. Where is our outreach to Jewish groups? Or Christian groups? Seems one-sided and biased for our party to outreach to only Muslims.
“I’m sure it offends most mainstream American voters.
“I wonder if the views of this Muslim organization have been vetted in detail? I would not attend any religious event for any religious group without checking on what they stand for.
“The problem is that many Muslim groups do not agree to Israel’s right to exist. Many do not denounce suicide bombers as murderers. Several seemingly innocuous Muslim groups in the USA have been indicted for raising money for terrorist groups….
“If the LP sends a rep to Muslim events we MUST send reps to Jewish and Christian events too. I volunteer to outreach to Jewish and Christian organizations. Atheists can outreach to whomever they want. We, as a group that should not show bias or prejudice, should be outreaching to every possible group of faith.”
Mark Hinkle tried to restore sense with a question: “Wayne, in the United States, which religious group is more hated, more reviled, more persecuted: Jews or Muslims“?
Probably not expecting the responder, “Jews,” from Scott Lieberman.
Outreach is generally aimed at under-represented groups (as per their percentage of the U.S. population). It appears to me, based on my decades of following the LP, that:
* Jews, atheists, pagans, and Christians are well represented. Yes, the LP has a minor reputation of being unwelcoming to Christians, but I’ve not found this to be so.
* Women and youth are under-represented.
* Muslims and people of color are heavily under-represented.
It’s nice that the LP has so many older, white men of Jewish, atheist, and Christian background. But Libertarians have long griped about the lack of women, youth, and people of color in the LP. So what are they doing about it? How about increasing outreach to under-represented groups?
It’s telling that I’ve not heard complaints about the lack of Muslims in the LP, but it make sense to increase outreach to them as well.
Imagine if a member of the Lily White Country Club suggested outreach to blacks? And someone said: “No, that looks anti-white! It’s racist to outreach only to blacks! We shouldn’t do outreach to blacks unless we do equal outreach to whites!”
That’s Root’s logic.
The flaw in Root’s logic is that the LP’s door is obviously open to Jews and atheists, Christians and pagans. It’s not obviously open to Muslims (or to blacks, or Mexicans…).
As for Root’s worry that Jews or Christians may be “offended” by the LP’s “biased” outreach to Muslims, well, I suppose that in the 1950s some Lily White Country Club members were offended by outreach to blacks (and Jews, and Catholics, and Latinos).
But so what?
If LP members (or American voters) are offended by outreach to Americans of Muslim heritage … let them be offended.
(I can’t speak for other faiths, but I’ve done the research, and I know that good Catholics won’t take offense at Muslim outreach.)
Thomas L. Knapp makes a good observation at Independent Political Report. “Left libertarians” have long griped about Root appearing on far-right, pro-war, and even homophobic shows (e.g., radio’s Mike Savage). Knapp observes:
Root objects to the chair accepting the Muslim group’s invitation, characterizing the chair’s acceptance as an LNC activity that amounts to “the LNC sending a rep” … Three guesses what [Root’s] likely response would be if anyone on the LNC tried to tell him what shows/events he could or could not appear at/on.
Yup. Root demands the right to represent the LP anywhere he wishes (no matter how it reflects on the LP), yet he conversely wants to veto others in representing the LP in ways he disapproves of.