Libertarian Party: America should stop interfering in Egypt

WASHINGTON – Libertarian Party Chair Mark Hinkle released the following statement today:

"Media reports tell us that the Obama administration is heavily involved in the current crisis in Egypt. It shouldn’t be.

"Personally, my sympathies are with the Egyptian protesters. Our very own Declaration of Independence said that government exists to secure people’s rights, and ‘whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.’

"However, it would be wrong for me to force all Americans to adopt my point of view and support my choice in this crisis. But that’s exactly what the Obama administration is doing, by interfering in the crisis and inevitably taking sides.

"The instances of U.S. foreign meddling over the last hundred years are too numerous to list here. But in almost every case, U.S. intervention has made American taxpayers poorer, and it has usually served to entrench corrupt authoritarian rulers. In the worst cases, like Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, military intervention has caused the deaths of many Americans and far more foreigners.

"This includes all types of intervention: military intervention, foreign aid, and ‘behind-the-scenes’ intervention using diplomacy and espionage.

"Libertarians call for the U.S. government to stop interfering in the Egyptian crisis, and to end foreign aid to all nations, including Egypt.

"American interventionism also gives foreign governments an excuse to copy us. Instead of respecting their neighbors’ sovereignty and independence, foreign governments often interfere with each other, and they often use examples of American intervention as a justification.

"Unfortunately, powerful politicians in Washington can’t seem to resist the temptation to meddle in foreign countries’ affairs. This tendency is made worse by self-serving bureaucracies like the CIA, which rely on foreign meddling to keep their workers employed.

"Our government should leave other nations alone. The future of Egypt is for the Egyptian people to decide, not Washington politicians."

The Libertarian Party platform plank on international affairs states:

"American foreign policy should seek an America at peace with the world. Our foreign policy should emphasize defense against attack from abroad and enhance the likelihood of peace by avoiding foreign entanglements. We would end the current U.S. government policy of foreign intervention, including military and economic aid. We recognize the right of all people to resist tyranny and defend themselves and their rights. We condemn the use of force, and especially the use of terrorism, against the innocent, regardless of whether such acts are committed by governments or by political or revolutionary groups."

For more information, or to arrange an interview, call LP Executive Director Wes Benedict at 202-333-0008 ext. 222.

The LP is America’s third-largest political party, founded in 1971. The Libertarian Party stands for free markets, civil liberties, and peace. You can find more information on the Libertarian Party at our website.

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65 thoughts on “Libertarian Party: America should stop interfering in Egypt

  1. paulie Post author

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/GrassrootsLibertarians/message/1489

    Ernie Hancock:

    http://www.freedomsphoenix.com/Article/083231-2011-02-04-libertarian-party-of-the-united-states-on-egypt-and-the.htm

    I’m pulling my HAIR OUT!!!!!

    I publish the LPUS’ Press Release on Egypt and call the Nat. office to get someone on the air today to promote the LP’s position on Egypt and USA. Wes is not there, the front desk knows nothing about the issue nor do they have anyone lined up to speak about the REVOLUTION. WTF?!

    What better opportunity or the LPUS to be front and center in the mind of the WORLD?

    What better timing? Do I have to send out a mass Press Release being the “LOVEolution guy” that says “Fill in the Blank”? Isn’t this suppose to be the fuction of the LPUS? What the fuck are these guys for? Are we suppose to let W.A.R. represent the LPUS by default?

    I suspect that after today the opportunity for the LPUS to have an important and influential voice on the issue will have passed and other voices will be front and center on the issue of freedom for the people of the Middle East. And what other issue or function is of more importance right now inside the LPUS when a popular ‘libertarian’ uprising is under way in direct opposition to USA Foreign Policy and interference around the world?

    WTF!

    Ernie


    From: David Terry:

    If you had polled the German people in 1938, the overwhelming majority supported Hitler!

    W.A.R. has GOT to go!

    David Terry

    —– Original Message —–

    Subject: [lpradicals] Libertarians for Duvalier-Mubarak 2012?

    Libertarians for Duvalier-Mubarak 2012?

    Some smart ass is pushing the idea in the comment section of Wayne Root’s latest article

    Wayne Root: How The Media Blew It Again- The Lessons We Should be Learning From Egyptian Crisis http://bit.ly/dG9FSm

    As well as in the comments at Reason magazine hit and run blog…

    http://reason.com/blog/2011/02/03/former-libertarian-party-vp-wa#commentcontainer

    (“Former Libertarian Party VP Candidate Wayne Root: Decent Egyptians Love Mubarak” by Brian Doherty).

    Meanwhile, at LewRockwell.com blog…

    “Head LP Official Defends Mubarak
    Posted by Anthony Gregory on February 3, 2011 12:58 PM

    First he came out against the Ground Zero mosque. Now former Libertarian Party vice presidential candidate and current high official in the party Wayne Root, writing on the LP blog, defends the poor, misunderstood Mubarak against the Egyptian dissidents, whom he characterizes as “anarchists, communists, and Islamic extremists.” This from a man who calls himself “one of America’s leading Libertarian thinkers.”

    Well, we can say one thing: The notion that people with influence in the LP only shill for the American state is unfair. U.S. client states, no matter how authoritarian, are also worth defending.

    Thanks to Angela Keaton for the link. “

  2. Darryl W. Perry

    Ernie,

    If you need someone on your show today, I’m available. Though I’d be representing the BTP instead of the LP, however, the position would be similar.

  3. Joe Keg

    Maybe they should list it on their press releases, or have a system to forward calls like that to Wes’s cell phone.

  4. paulie Post author

    Stewart Flood was proposing something like that at the last LNC meeting. It would ring Wes’s phone, Hinkle’s phone, etc., in some sort of designated order. The person on the other end would not know if they are talking to someone in the office or someone on their cell or home phone or what. They would also be able to offer the same to state parties that want it.

    I don’t know if they will implement this, or when.

  5. Steven R Linnabary

    I like the above release. Short and to the point. AND it adheres to that thin called the LP Platform!

    And I’d give Wes a bit of a break. It has to be hard to follow some LNC officials around picking up the hot steaming piles they leave for the rest of us to step in.

    PEACE

  6. paulie Post author

    I like the above release. Short and to the point. AND it adheres to that thin called the LP Platform!

    And I’d give Wes a bit of a break.

    Agreed.

  7. Mark B.

    I quite agree that isolationism, especially militarily, serves us best and is generally the right thing to do.

    Let Obama just stop sending bullets-and-tear-gas-money! We’ve spent enough money on foolish wars supposedly for the rights of the people there and for democracy. We can’t stop giving money to a dictator killing his own people as they revolt though? I hold that hypocrisy to be self-evident.

    Ceasing to meddle in Egypt would mean ceasing to yell at Mubarak from the White House, yes, but also ceasing to fund Mubarak’s thugs. It would, in other words, be a boon to the uprising for democracy. I sure hope the people there can overcome their regime and our government!

  8. Joe Keg

    “I quite agree that isolationism, especially militarily, serves us best and is generally the right thing to do.”

    Non-interventionism is not isolationism. We favor free trade and unrestricted immigration.
    For isolationism look to the so called Constitution Party.

    “Let Obama just stop sending bullets-and-tear-gas-money! We’ve spent enough money on foolish wars supposedly for the rights of the people there and for democracy. We can’t stop giving money to a dictator killing his own people as they revolt though? I hold that hypocrisy to be self-evident.

    Ceasing to meddle in Egypt would mean ceasing to yell at Mubarak from the White House, yes, but also ceasing to fund Mubarak’s thugs. It would, in other words, be a boon to the uprising for democracy. I sure hope the people there can overcome their regime and our government!”

    I agree.

  9. Mark B.

    Joe Keg:

    I didn’t mean any tight definition of isolationism, rather something like the idea popular for some twenty years after The First World War that America should stay out of foreign military ventures and eschew non-defensive alliances.

    That could I suppose be called non-interventionism. You’re right to point out that isolationism is broad enough to endorse economic protectionism and immigration quotas. I suppose I was overly broad in my phrasing; I didn’t mean nationalism of any sort.

  10. Kimberly Wilder

    I can’t decide if I agree with everything in Mr. Hinkle’s statement, or the Libertarian platform quoted.

    Though, it sure has some jewels of wisdom in it.

    And, it so much better than the nasty drivel that Wayne Root posted.

    So, I am glad to see the Libertarians have a statement to be proud of. And, a leader who has wisdom, diplomacy, and good manners.

  11. paulie Post author

    I can’t decide if I agree with everything in Mr. Hinkle’s statement, or the Libertarian platform quoted.

    Though, it sure has some jewels of wisdom in it.

    What parts do you agree with, and why?

    What parts are you not sure about, and why not?

  12. paulie Post author

    the idea popular for some twenty years after The First World War that America should stay out of foreign military ventures and eschew non-defensive alliances.

    That idea was also prevalent throughout most of early US history.

  13. Jill Pyeatt

    I am very pleased with the press release issued by Hinkle who is, in fact, the Chairman of the Libertarian Party.

  14. Libertarians for Duvalier-Mubarak 2012

    Duvalier-Mubarak 2012 promise that, if elected as President and Vice President of the US on the Libertarian ticket, they will stay completely out of Egypt. As well as Haiti.

  15. Alan Pyeatt

    If you can’t believe Baby Doc Duvalier and Hosni Mubarak, who CAN you believe? 🙂

  16. Libertarians for Duvalier-Mubarak 2012

    When Duvalier and Mubarak are elected as President and Vice President of these United States, all enemies of the Libertarian Party, big and small, will be dealt with swiftly and severely.

  17. George Whitfield

    I like Mark Hinkle’s statement. It was very well done and clear and principled. And it stayed on point. Although the news media sensationalizes events, they are not the big problem. Our government’s foreign policy of interventionism is the major threat to our peace and prosperity.

  18. paulie Post author

    I’d have to say that Wes and his crew is doing the best job I’ve seen in ten or more years. Great work!

    and

    I like Mark Hinkle’s statement. It was very well done and clear and principled. And it stayed on point. Although the news media sensationalizes events, they are not the big problem. Our government’s foreign policy of interventionism is the major threat to our peace and prosperity.

    Agreed, and agreed.

  19. Robert Capozzi

    mh: However, it would be wrong for me to force all Americans to adopt my point of view and support my choice in this crisis.

    me: It may well be “wrong,” but Hinkle’s statement avoids the fact that the French and Germans DID intervene in the American Revolution that he points to. I support the notion of unwinding US meddling around the world, but it’s unpersuasive to obviously cherry pick from historical precedent.

    Countering myths with more myths doesn’t work.

  20. Robert Capozzi

    p28, the myth is inferential, or perhaps a misdirection. MH uses the language of the Declaration to justify revolution. Yet, that very revolution for independence succeeded in part because of foreign intervention.

    He then bridges to say it would be “wrong” to support his side of the situation in Egypt.

    The notion of self-determination is a virtuous one. Using the American Revolution as part of his case, however, avoids a most salient fact: That the Germans and French people were forced to support the American Revolution.

    Self determination sometimes involves force and very often foreign intervention. Moralistic words can sometimes inspire action, and military action is often conflicted. The (relative) blessings of liberty were secured in part by the actions of monarchies imposing their will on their subjects.

    We don’t know what would have happened had the French and Germans not intervened in the American Revolution, that’s true, but we do know that they did. It seems to me at minimum a form of cloaked hypocrisy to cite the American Revolution in making the case for US non-intervention now, since the Revolution involved intervention that the Americans asked for.

    And, as we know, if you try sometimes, you get what you need. 😉

  21. paulie Post author

    @ 29 A press release needs to be short and to the point. If it was a longer essay or book chapter, it would make more sense to treat that as a significant omission.

    A spokesman for a political party has a dual role. One is speaking as an individual, another is to represent what the party would do if it were in office (that is the primary role IMO).

    The statement you object to should be seen in
    that light; i.e. it would be wrong for the US government to take sides in the conflict, not for us as private individuals to do so. It would be wrong for us to force all Americans to take our side in the conflict, just as the release says.

    The language in the Declaration remains true, no matter how hypocritical the people who wrote it were (related discussion on Chuck Baldwin’s latest article: https://independentpoliticalreport.com/2011/02/chuck-baldwin-state-owned-churches-are-killing-america/ ) .

  22. Joe Keg

    From The Onion, posted in another thread:

    CAIRO—In an effort to provide monetary compensation to the Egyptian president for three decades of faithful service, U.S. officials opened negotiations with Hosni Mubarak Tuesday, offering him a severance package worth $20 million upon termination of his employment. “We are all thankful for the hard work and long hours President Mubarak put in over the years, and hope our discussions continue smoothly,” said senior U.S. negotiator Frank Wisner, who admitted that the final settlement would have to be considerable, as Mubarak’s contract with the U.S. was being terminated 15 years early. “Unfortunately, he no longer reflects our needs in the region at this time, but we would like to end our relationship on the right foot. He deserves to retire in comfort.” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has also reportedly offered to write Mubarak a letter of recommendation in case he wishes to apply for any dictatorship jobs with U.S. allies in the future.

  23. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    You write:

    “We don’t know what would have happened had the French and Germans not intervened in the American Revolution, that’s true, but we do know that they did.”

    Considering that Germany didn’t even come into existence until 1871, it seems highly unlikely that the German government intervened in the American Revolution.

  24. paulie Post author

    Actually, the Hessians fought on he British side, and were conscripted. A few Germans did aid the rebels, but no German principality or state that I have been able to find with a quick search.

    It’s true that the French helped the American insurrectionists, but probably mostly due to their long standing hostility with England.

  25. Michael

    Hinkle’s essay is very good. Next time, please get it out before Root opens his mouth and embarrasses the LP and libertarians with his contradictions: “foreign aid is bad, but let’s keep Mubarak in power because one of my friends in Egypt thinks he is a good opponent of the communists and anarchists”. Root’s shallow analysis makes the LP look foolish.

  26. Gains

    M @40:

    Personally I feel that I would be a sorry SOB if I defined my political successes on someone else’s faux pas or if my activism and networking skills were so lacking that a I could be so easily embarrassed.

  27. Robert Capozzi

    P30: …dual role. One is speaking as an individual, another is to represent what the party would do if it were in office (that is the primary role IMO).The statement you object to should be seen in that light; i.e. it would be wrong for the US government to take sides in the conflict, not for us as private individuals to do so. It would be wrong for us to force all Americans to take our side in the conflict, just as the release says.

    Me: I’m not sure if the Chair of the LNC should serve in a dual role, but OTOH, it seems that the Chair does do that. That’s human nature, as we are all biased. MH’s statement is not awful IMO, and there’s some good stuff in there, from my perspective. My (hopefully) constructive critique is just some Ls talking over how to frame and position L ideas in a complex, fast-moving world. There is no “right” way to address these sorts of things, IMO.

    It may be “wrong” to force all Americans to take a side in the conflict, but I would suggest the US has already taken deeply conflicted sides in Egypt. US taxpayers have been paying Mubarak for decades. In that context, anything the US does or undoes or doesn’t do is subject to second guessing. Even if SOMEHOW the US could exit gracefully, the Egyptian regime already has resources that we taxpayers bought and paid for. I’d suggest there’s no getting around that.

    My approach might have been different were it my statement. It might have roughly gone something like this:

    The Obama Administration appears to be making the same sort of mistake in the unfolding situation in Egypt that they are making in Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama doesn’t seem to you can’t put out a fire with gasoline. He’s making a bad situation worse.

    While as a candidate, Obama positioned himself as the peace candidate, he has extended the US military’s stay in Iraq and “doubled down” in Afghanistan. They are compounding the mistakes the Bush Administration made. Bi-partisanship – when both the Rs and Ds are wedded to failed policies – is no justification.

    The US government has been meddling in the affairs of Egypt for decades, backing the Mubarak regime for 30 years with US taxpayer dollars. Libertarians have long noted that this sort of intervention is counter-productive on many levels. It is arrogant for US policymakers to use our money to pick and choose which dictators we buy influence with. It creates hostility toward the US in foreign nations for those who are subject to US-backed dictatorships.

    In these trying economic times, we Ls think that a new approach is especially ripe. Rather than attempt to manipulate foreign nations with US tax dollars, we should go back to first principles. Key among them is the idea of self-determination. After all, the US itself was largely born as an experiment in self-determination. Our own Declaration of Independence says “…it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government….” We Ls have the audacity to say that those words apply to the people of Egypt as they did and do for Americans and all the peoples of the world.

    A bull in the china ship might think it’s doing no harm, but in fact the best thing the bull can do is to exit as gracefully as possible from the china shop. The US should exit Egypt, too. To ease the transition, US blank-check foreign aid should be converted to direct, in-kind aid, in the form of food and medicine.

    The US should of course maintain friendly, peaceful relations with the nation of Egypt and the Egyptian people. Etc. etc.

    Or something…

  28. Joe Keg

    @ 42. That makes sense.

    You bring up a good point, that damage has already been done. The thing is, your analogy of a bull in a china shop is a good one. The more the bull stays involved, the greater the damage. The chances that the bull can make things better by staying are very, very low – non-existent for practical purposes. And a graceful exit is not always possible; sometimes the bull can’t help but do some additional damage on the way out.

    In that case, the best we can hope for is that the bull gets out as quickly as possible.

  29. LibertarianGirl

    I generally like Waynes articles , at least more than most people , but the one on Egypt , I did not care for.

    He demonized the word “anarchist” 3 times , and says foreign aid to Egypt is a waste of tax payer money , but says we should support Israael , that they have a better median income and are freer etc , .

    Then why do they get more foreign aid than any other country , It would appear they do just fine.

    the other thing i didnt like it where he says the majority of people dont support the uprising.
    to which i would say –the majority didnt support the American Revolution either

  30. Joe Keg

    Wayne is Wayne.

    It’s a good thing on balance, I think, that he is out there doing his thing and talking to his audience.

    I’m glad there are other libertarian voices out there than are different from Wayne on issues such as this one.

    I’m glad they are speaking up and being heard.

    And I wish they would so more often, and get better coverage.

  31. Robert Capozzi

    jk43, yes, graceful exits are not always possible. The conversation I’m having with absolutist Ls is whether a PRECIPITOUS exit does more damage than a more measured, slower one.

    The attempt to make all political decisions to be a question of “morality” — stop all force NOW — is not IMO the only salient question. If the bull turns around and runs out of the china shop, odds are high that even more damage will be done. If OTOH the bull backs out of the china shop step-by-step, leaving some food for the Egyptians, even if the food was paid for by forceful taxes.

    Process matters.

  32. Robert Capozzi

    Reflecting on the situation in Egypt, it occurs to me that the way absolutist Ls look at the situation is an entirely different paradigm than non-absolutists Ls and non-Ls. Absolutists look at Egypt and US involvement there with a deontological moralism that is foreign to most. Absolutists often contend that the State is a “gang” that steals our money and then wastes it overseas, in this case propping up a despot. What motivates this propping up in part is the desire to protect another “gang” nation-state — Israel — and to ensure oil flows from the ME. I trust that’s a reasonably fair summary.

    Non-absolutists Ls and non-Ls don’t view the State as a “gang,” we view it as an agent. Despite all the counter-productive things States do, we don’t favor a stateless society because we believe that, all things considered, a stateless society is either unsustainable, unachievable, or possibly more unjust.

    The “unjust” part is interesting to me. If there were a world of Acme WMD and Meter Maids, it may do unjust things to us as individuals that the State does. While Acme may not be a monopolist, it may use the revenues it derives from us to hurt others unjustly, too.

    The US government as agent has a function of defending US territories, including using treaties to do so. A treaty with Egypt, then, could be viewed as an extension of the USG’s role as agent.

    So, it’s interesting to me that someone like Chris Matthews feels shame when he sees Obama turn his back on Mubarak by calling for the Egyptian president to leave now. Matthews and some on the right seem to believe that Mubarak has served as an effective agent for our agents, I guess. Obama seems to feel perfectly justified, OTOH, to fire Mubarak as a sub-contractor, and to do so publicly, arguably cruelly.

    In my case, as a non-absolutist L, I think hiring sub-agents is a bad idea on a lot of levels. Egypt is just one of many sub-agency deals that’s gone south. Extricating US involvement (agent-hiring) in a place like Egypt is not “wrong” per se, but it is generally inadvisable, based on the poor track record of ceding authority from principal to agent. The track record is arguably least peaceful when an agent subcontracts other nation’s agents to serve as, in effect, double agents. It leads to corruption, and apparently Mubarak is a textbook example of this.

    This is why rhetoric such as MH’s statement: “However, it would be wrong for me to force all Americans to adopt my point of view and support my choice in this crisis. But that’s exactly what the Obama administration is doing, by interfering in the crisis and inevitably taking sides,” is unpersuasive. Aside from absolutist Ls, these words have little meaning. Most accept that some force on all Americans is necessary to keep the peace. And at this time most expect that the performance of agent/allies like Egypt needs to be monitored. Some want the US to cut Mubarak loose because he’s no longer an effective agent. Others want to support him as perhaps better than the alternative. Foreign interventionism is for most an amoral calculation, with neutrality not being considered as an option.

    In my case, I believe neutrality SHOULD be an option, and what animates the decisions of our agents. Paradoxically perhaps, I would say that neutrality is in the principal’s interest, too, although transitioning to a neutral stance from an interventionist one is challenging from a tactical perspective. Think Explosive Ordnance Disposal.

  33. Porn Again Christian

    Reflecting on the situation in Egypt, it occurs to me that the way absolutist Ls look at the situation is an entirely different paradigm than non-absolutists Ls and non-Ls. Absolutists look at Egypt and US involvement there with a deontological moralism that is foreign to most. Absolutists often contend that the State is a “gang” that steals our money and then wastes it overseas, in this case propping up a despot. What motivates this propping up in part is the desire to protect another “gang” nation-state — Israel — and to ensure oil flows from the ME. I trust that’s a reasonably fair summary.

    Regardless of whether or not you characterize nation-states as gangs, this seems to be pretty much true.

    Also, a lot of people besides libertarians – absolutist or otherwise – agree that foreign aid is a big waste of money and as or more likely to do harm (in the form of various kinds of blowback) as good. Libertarians are the only ones to apply that same principle consistently in foreign and domestic policy and on both social and economic issues. However, in any given policy area or question, such as in this case foreign aid, we find numerous other people who agree, yet don’t apply the same principle to other issues.

  34. Porn Again Christian

    The “unjust” part is interesting to me. If there were a world of Acme WMD and Meter Maids, it may do unjust things to us as individuals that the State does. While Acme may not be a monopolist, it may use the revenues it derives from us to hurt others unjustly, too.

    Have you read

    http://www.amconmag.com/blog/libertarian-left/

    ?

    If so, any thoughts?

  35. Porn Again Christian

    The US government as agent has a function of defending US territories, including using treaties to do so. A treaty with Egypt, then, could be viewed as an extension of the USG’s role as agent.

    So, it’s interesting to me that someone like Chris Matthews feels shame when he sees Obama turn his back on Mubarak by calling for the Egyptian president to leave now. Matthews and some on the right seem to believe that Mubarak has served as an effective agent for our agents, I guess. Obama seems to feel perfectly justified, OTOH, to fire Mubarak as a sub-contractor, and to do so publicly, arguably cruelly.

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/us-negotiating-mubaraks-severance-package,19037/

    “CAIRO—In an effort to provide monetary compensation to the Egyptian president for three decades of faithful service, U.S. officials opened negotiations with Hosni Mubarak Tuesday, offering him a severance package worth $20 million upon termination of his employment. “We are all thankful for the hard work and long hours President Mubarak put in over the years, and hope our discussions continue smoothly,” said senior U.S. negotiator Frank Wisner, who admitted that the final settlement would have to be considerable, as Mubarak’s contract with the U.S. was being terminated 15 years early. “Unfortunately, he no longer reflects our needs in the region at this time, but we would like to end our relationship on the right foot. He deserves to retire in comfort.” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has also reportedly offered to write Mubarak a letter of recommendation in case he wishes to apply for any dictatorship jobs with U.S. allies in the future.”

  36. Robert Capozzi

    porn48: Libertarians are the only ones to apply that same principle consistently in foreign and domestic policy and on both social and economic issues.

    me: Yes, I agree. My contention is that absolutist Ls apply the principle foolishly consistently, to paraphrase Emerson. All political calculation comes down to a literal and rigid application of the NAP moral construct. My contention is that doesn’t work, as the world is more complex than that, and, equally important, most have not bought into the NAP thought system, so when it’s applied in this manner, absolutists sound like fringe players, unwilling to engage people where they are.

    As for Carson and Long, I see them as tweaking the absolutist construct that Rothbard codified. I like the sentiment behind some of the tweaks, but I do question the utility of deontologically derived constructs.

  37. Fun K. Chicken

    I think the paragraphs following the one you object to make a good case which supports it, and that many Americans can agree with the following, including people who are not libertarian at all – much less absolutist libertarian – on other issues:


    “The instances of U.S. foreign meddling over the last hundred years are too numerous to list here. But in almost every case, U.S. intervention has made American taxpayers poorer, and it has usually served to entrench corrupt authoritarian rulers. In the worst cases, like Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, military intervention has caused the deaths of many Americans and far more foreigners.

    “This includes all types of intervention: military intervention, foreign aid, and ‘behind-the-scenes’ intervention using diplomacy and espionage.

    “Libertarians call for the U.S. government to stop interfering in the Egyptian crisis, and to end foreign aid to all nations, including Egypt.

    “American interventionism also gives foreign governments an excuse to copy us. Instead of respecting their neighbors’ sovereignty and independence, foreign governments often interfere with each other, and they often use examples of American intervention as a justification.

    “Unfortunately, powerful politicians in Washington can’t seem to resist the temptation to meddle in foreign countries’ affairs. This tendency is made worse by self-serving bureaucracies like the CIA, which rely on foreign meddling to keep their workers employed.

    “Our government should leave other nations alone. The future of Egypt is for the Egyptian people to decide, not Washington politicians.”

    The Libertarian Party platform plank on international affairs states:

    “American foreign policy should seek an America at peace with the world. Our foreign policy should emphasize defense against attack from abroad and enhance the likelihood of peace by avoiding foreign entanglements. We would end the current U.S. government policy of foreign intervention, including military and economic aid. We recognize the right of all people to resist tyranny and defend themselves and their rights. We condemn the use of force, and especially the use of terrorism, against the innocent, regardless of whether such acts are committed by governments or by political or revolutionary groups.”

    Sounds like good common sense to me. I don’t see what is so absolutist or out of touch about it at all.

  38. Robert Capozzi

    fun52: Sounds like good common sense to me. I don’t see what is so absolutist or out of touch about it at all.

    me: Have I suggested otherwise? My point is a broader one about the absolutism that undergirds much of the thinking of some in the LP, including MH’s two sentence I cited @47.

    Sides have already been taken. This exercise is different. What’s the best way to UNtake sides in this circumstance? And how can this be done while advancing the bigger cause of liberty, L-ism and the LP? Introducing the NAP, even in a cloaked form, hasn’t worked for decades and likely will not work ever, IMO, especially if the NAP is used as a deontological, absolutist construct here in Relativia.

  39. paulie Post author

    Wayne is Wayne.

    It’s a good thing on balance, I think, that he is out there doing his thing and talking to his audience.

    I’m glad there are other libertarian voices out there than are different from Wayne on issues such as this one.

    I’m glad they are speaking up and being heard.

    And I wish they would so more often, and get better coverage.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.

    http://newslink.org

    Learn it, use it, love it.

    I heard that something like an LP speakers bureau and maybe professional media booking for those speakers might be under consideration to be revived by the LP. In the meantime, there’s certainly room for concerned libertarians to pool their ideas, time and money and make it happen on their own, too.

  40. paulie Post author

    @ 49 If so, any thoughts?

    Here are some I posted earlier on the Grassroots Libertarians and LP Radicals yahoo groups…not actually directly on topic in this thread, but we can move this to another one if anyone wants to discuss further:


    Sheldon Richman brings up some very interesting points here…

    http://www.amconmag.com/blog/libertarian-left/

    I hope everyone takes a few minutes to read it.

    If anyone wants to delve into discussing any of the ideological issues I can suggest a number of comment threads on Independent Political Report where that would be on topic.

    However, the one thing that I think may be relevant to discuss on this list:

    “Left-libertarians tend to eschew electoral politics, having little confidence in strategies that work through the government. They prefer to develop alternative institutions and methods of working around the state. The Alliance of the Libertarian Left encourages the formation of local activist and mutual-aid organizations…”

    I think that abandoning electoral politics altogether is a strategic error. I’m seeing many people who agree with the ideological perspective Richman explores in that article abandon electoral politics, and many/most actively oppose any of us having any involvement with it.

    Yet, the Libertarian Party, whether we like it or not, has a lot to do with the brand identity of the term libertarian, and what people think it means.

    Electoral politics also provides an excuse to talk to people, a way to get the attention of people who only pay attention to ideas in the context of electoral politics and don’t read alternative perspectives on philosophy, economy and
    history, particularly ones they aren’t likely to have heard of.

    It’s a reason to knock on people’s doors or approach them in public and have a halfway reasonable chance of being listened to; sometimes, a way to get in public debates that a lot of people watch.

    Unfortunately, many libertarians have a natural distaste for that sort of activity, and our largely passive recruiting methods tend to disproportionately attract people who don’t have knowledge and willingness in the areas of
    practical political activity.

    Within the party (especially lately), there’s not much effort made to advance the kinds of ideas Richman discusses in his article, since most people that hold them have abandoned the LP.

    And while some believe the brand problem can be solved by using other words – mutualist, voluntaryist, and so on – far fewer people have heard those words, and the methods by which they are being spread are not reaching mass audiences in many of the ways that participation in electoral politics might, even if only as theater.

    Paradoxically, within electoral politics, these kinds of ideas are becoming more popular outside the LP. Recently, Ron Paul and Ralph Nader have been talking about organizing unified opposition to war and corporatism (the interlocking system of big business and big government). The Campaign for Liberty unified Ron Paul with Nader, the Greens Party’s Cynthia McKinney, the Constitution Party’s
    Chuck Baldwin, and would have included Barr if he did not fancy himself above appearing with “people like Cynthia McKinney” around opposition to war, debt, the federal reserve and infringements of privacy/civil liberties.

    The idea of developing alternative institutions around the state and the formation of local activist and mutual-aid organizations is a good one. Libertarians should most definitely get involved with things like Food Not Bombs, community gardens, and many other community-based alternatives to monopoly government. Where such alternatives don’t exist, Libertarians can work to create them. There is no reason we have to be *only* an electoral party; other parties, such as the Black Panthers, provided community based alternative institutions.

    At the same time, for reasons discussed above I don’t think we should abandon the electoral strategy, and within that strategy, for reasons of brand identity protection/identification, I don’t think we should abandon the LP.

    Is there any hope for keeping some of the people that take the ideas that Richman discusses in that article seriously involved in the LP, and of getting others in the LP to take such ideas seriously? If so, what concrete steps can we take in the near term to be more viable within the party?

    Paulie
    415 690 6352 (cell)
    Anti-TSA, Pro-WikiLeaks

  41. paulie Post author

    Think Explosive Ordnance Disposal.

    I’m thinking monkeys with power tools doing surgery. The first step is to get the power tools away from them.

  42. paulie Post author

    As for Carson and Long, I see them as tweaking the absolutist construct that Rothbard codified. I like the sentiment behind some of the tweaks, but I do question the utility of deontologically derived constructs.

    We should probably move this tangent to a more conducive thread, but any more specific criticisms of Richman’s article, and did you read the whole thing?

  43. MarcMontoni

    Libertarian Girl said:

    [Root] … says foreign aid to Egypt is a waste of tax payer money , but says we should support Israael … Then why do they get more foreign aid than any other country

    Actually, if you count whole dollars dumped into the economy of a nation, whether or not it is called “aid”, Iraq has been by far the single largest recipient of American treasure beginning, oh, a few weeks after US soldiers reached the heart of Baghdad. Afghanistan isn’t far behind. Israel is now far down the list.

    Vast sums of American wealth — including military aid — has been given to various Middle East nations. For example, well over $1 trillion has been directly transferred into the Iraqi economy since the invasion, for example. The US government has given Pakistan over $18 billion since 2001. It is beyond insane to keep propping up with American treasure racist, corrupt, and murderous regimes around the world, just to maintain the military “ring of fire” bases that currently hem in Russia and China. Anyone who thinks the US government is meddling over there “to protect Israel” such as by bribing Egypt and Jordan to *not* attack Israel, is naive. Don’t focus on the distraction; focus on the real neocon aim: hamstringing the commies. Afghanistan & Iraq weren’t about oil — they were military warnings pointed at China and Russia. The dual invasions were intended to demonstrate 1) that the US military could beat any army and topple any regime it wanted in a matter of weeks, if not days; and 2) to establish bases to complete the encirclement of Russia & China.

    All US aid should be ended, regardless of who is getting it. All US interventions, military occupations, police actions, and peacekeeping duties should be ended, without regard to who they are supporting or where they are.

  44. paulie Post author

    One of the responses I received to #56 elsewhere – I thought it made a lot of sense and got permission to share it:

    — In lpradicals@yahoogroups.com, “t2_rx7” wrote:
    >
    > I tend to like the word voluntaryist/voluntarist, but like you said, most
    people have no idea what it means… which is actually fantastic. If someone
    doesn’t know what it means, it gives me the chance to explain it. When I’m with
    like minded folks, I don’t hesitate to throw around “anarchy”… it just has to
    fall on ears that don’t connect the term with bomb throwing chaos-ticians.
    >
    > That being said, I’m a left libertarian that enjoys the political cycle. It
    provides the best chance to spread the message of true liberty and absolute
    freedom… and doing so, I work with semi-statists and minarchists when the
    opportunity arrives.
    >
    > In order for these ideas (to return?) into the LP, the divisiveness has to
    end. You have to able to shake the hand of fellow activists and see the good
    that they are doing. I try my best to never denigrate the activism of another…
    unless it goes straight in the face of individual liberty.
    >
    > Unfortunately, some vocal members of the LP do just that… a “big tent”
    policy doesn’t just mean allowing Rs and Ds… perhaps it should be focused on
    Statists/Anti-statists? Is that possible?
    >
    > At some levels, I believe it is… but it all depends on each person’s view of
    the NAP/NAA. Maybe the party should focus on areas that statists and
    anti-statists overlap. But, being a party… there is no way that it can ever be
    an anti-statist party… it is just impossible for an anti-political party to be
    a political party.
    >
    > Peace,
    > Nick

  45. Robert Capozzi

    p58: We should probably move this tangent to a more conducive thread, but any more specific criticisms of Richman’s article, and did you read the whole thing?

    me: Some, with some skimming. It seemed offpoint to me, too, but since you asked, I don’t buy this bit from Carson:

    “Capitalism, arising as a new class society directly from the old class society of the Middle Ages, was founded on an act of robbery as massive as the earlier feudal conquest of the land. It has been sustained to the present by continual state intervention to protect its system of privilege without which its survival is unimaginable.”

    I probably haven’t given mutualism its due, but I have given Georgism its. Georgism asks an elemental question about the nature of property and property rights, and its answer is interesting. Who owns the natural resources before they are harvested/used, and should anyone (or everyone) be compensated for the initial exploitation? Is getting there first a sufficient standard? Why should we respect the initial exploiters claim?

    In truth, I don’t know. These are excellent questions. How a construct is framed has implications down the line.

    How a rule of law evolves is a curious thing. I find it silly, bluntly, to become all passionate about an absolute right to property, as in a state of nature, no such right exists. Contrivances like these may make for an economy, but let’s not kid ourselves, they ARE contrivances!

  46. paulie Post author

    I’ll try to make it a separate post. Might need someone else’s help with that since it includes my own editorial.

  47. Carol Moore

    Thank you Mark. Now how about taking away Wayne Root’s posting privileges on the blog? Can any NatCom member just post any nutty quasi-libertarian thing they want? Once they’ve proved they will do just that, their privileges have to be revoked – or at least their entries have to be approved by the Chair. It’s ridiculous.

  48. paulie Post author

    The rule is in fact that any LNC member can post to LP blog.

    Rather than taking blogging privileges away, I would recommend that those who would like to see more differing perspectives at LP blog to write the LNC members that they find more in touch with their views and encourage them to blog there more frequently.

    One reasonable change might be to include author names in the titles of posts by LNC members, so fewer casual readers take them to be official pronouncements by the national office staff or the entire LNC.

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