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Thomas Hill: The libertarian message is peace – be it and live it

by Thomas Hill

BURNET, Texas (Feb. 23) – Since I signed on as the campaign manager of the Lee Wrights for President Exploratory Committee I’ve taken some heat from some of my radical and anarchist friends in the libertarian movement, people I love and respect, for getting involved in electoral politics. Some of them have even called me a statist, which is very hurtful.

Now I understand libertarians may have disagreements about tactics, and I understand that some in the movement refuse to participate in electoral politics because it’s based on force and violence. I understand and I agree with many of these views. But a true libertarian attitude is to respect each other’s choices, not condemn them.

I’ve chosen to become involved in the electoral process because I’m driven to do it. I’m driven to do it first because I love and respect R. Lee Wrights and what he stands for, and second because it’s a way to use the networking infrastructure of electoral politics to educate the mainstream about radical libertarianism, the heart and soul of libertarianism.

That’s why I think it’s the right thing to do and I’ll continue to do it. I have no problem with disagreements and arguments over tactics. But disagreement is no reason for good people in the movement to be mean to one another. As Lee has said, libertarianism is a way of life. I’m a libertarian because of what I do, not what I say. If we in the libertarian movement can’t respect the right of each of us to make our own decisions, what kind of message does that send to people outside the movement? What ammunition does that give to our real opponents?

All of us in the libertarian movement are on different parts of the journey. I came from a conservative, classical liberal background and I evolved. We all evolve over time. Some will take a little longer to get to that point where we are not afraid to think about a society without the state. We are all afraid because we have been conditioned to be afraid by the state, by government schools, by our society.

From the classical liberal to the anarchist, no matter where you are on that journey towards freedom I’ll work with you because you are my friend, you are a friend of liberty. I’ll never call you a statist because you participate in electoral politics. I’ll work with anyone wanting to maximize freedom and minimize coercion.

Lee Wrights has earned a well-deserved reputation as a radical, passionate warrior for freedom and liberty. He’s devoted his life to working within the Libertarian Party, one small part of the libertarian movement, in order to secure a freer tomorrow.

Lee chose to participate in electoral politics and the Libertarian Party because he believes Americans can’t vote for liberty and freedom unless there are Libertarian candidates on the ballot. That’s also why he’s made sure ballot access drives were a key component of Libertarian Party activities, including running successful ballot access drives in his home state of North Carolina.

He believes, as I do, that the Libertarian Party should promote a message that represents the views of all libertarians — radicals, reformers, minarchists, anarchists – whatever label you want to apply to yourself. We are all on the same team, we just play different positions. This campaign is focused on representing and celebrating libertarianism in the Libertarian Party.

The message of this campaign is a message all libertarians can and should embrace – stop all war. But before we make peace with the world, we must stop all war within ourselves, and within the libertarian movement.

All of us in the Wrights 2012 campaign agree with Lee that Stop All War is the message the Libertarian Party must champion in 2012. If we don’t, nobody else will. To spread that message across the country, we will need the help of anyone who desires to be free and who opposes tyranny in any form.

All libertarians should join us to stop all war.


Thomas Hill is chair of the Lee Wrights for President Exploratory Committee. He is also executive director of Stop All War and regional coordinator for the Campaign for Liberty. In 2008, he served as aide de camp for the Dr. Mary Ruwart for President campaign. Hill is a past chair of the Libertarian Party of North Carolina and a charter member of the Cabarrus County LP, where he has served as chair, treasurer and membership secretary. He was a candidate for Cabarrus County Commission in 2002 and 2004, the Cabarrus County Board of Education in 2006 and 2008, the N.C. Senate in 2008 and the U.S. House 2010. The North Carolina native now lives in Illinois.

Brian Irving
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  1. Jerry S. Jerry S. February 25, 2011

    A good message indeed.

    I thought that many were leaving electoral politics because they didn’t like the way things were going in the Party. Barr/Root and all!

    It has to be tough when you put so much into a campaign and then when you lose the nomination it just has to be the pits. Tough to join hands and sing quembala(?sic) with the winner.

    I for one am pleased to see Mr. Wrights take this step and know he will be “ALL IN” and will remove the exploratory part soon. The LP always need POTUS candidates seeking the nomination who are close to the tiptop (100/100) of the Nolan chart. We know that there (are) will be more candidates who are in other locations on the chart soon enough. A “minor” Party needs to increase numbers if they are ever to reach any of their goals. The LP POTUS candidates should be building the numbers with new people. Fresh blood is needed, and the more libertarian they are the better, is how I feel!

    I also like having several POTUS candidates. With more out there campaigning there are more people hearing the message and perhaps joining up. Of course these candiates do need to be somewhere in the correct quad of the Nolan Chart. In ’08, to be frank with you, there were some flatout KOOKS running. Claimed millionaires who were “straitjacket” material IMO.

    After the fight is over in Vegas, hopefully all can join hands and go forward strongly working for the LP ticket and Party whoever the ticket may be. The LP doesn’t need to end up like the Socialist/Communist and splinter into a dozen smaller unit on the ballot in fewer states than can mathimaticly win a POTUS race.

    Yes STOP ALL WAR! In the world and the LP is truly a good thing…

  2. paulie paulie February 25, 2011

    It’s all good.


    I’ll just try my best to accentuate the positive, cut my fellows in the movement a break, and hope everyone else does more of the same.

    When I screw up, I’ll do my best to forgive myself, apologize where need be, and try again.

    As for pointing out differences, in a friendly way – constructive criticism is a good thing, if it does not become too overbearing or too much of a focus.

    Anyway…I reserve the right to change my mind, but I think I’ve said my piece here for the time being.

  3. Robert Capozzi Robert Capozzi February 25, 2011

    gee, P, I think I’m being fair. I’m praising Hill’s message, but I’m noting some concern about Wrights’s messaging, which seems IMO to go a bit too far.

    My critique is measured. At least I’d like to think so. While I’m personally pro-peace first, I also believe that Ls hamstring themselves with absolutist POVs. “All” is an example of an underlying propensity to overstate, and I challenge that propensity in the name of peace.

    There’s nothing that I can see that is personal, vindictive or counter-productive in my critique. Is there?

    Just because I’m a peacenik doesn’t mean I should say “Amen” when I largely agree with someone. This is especially so when I see the most potentially potent force for peace time and again self-marginalize itself.

    You see?

    Kingism =/= bliss ninny-ism.

  4. paulie paulie February 25, 2011

    the best way to promote intra-party relations is to BE the change you want to see. [..] Sometimes a good place to begin is with a small gesture ,an olive branch if you will


  5. paulie paulie February 25, 2011

    I vaguely remember something like that. I was pretty exhausted and couldn’t sit through most of the meeting anyway…

    It’s pretty bad when you can even sit next to someone in your own party. The enemy is not in the room.

  6. LibertarianGirl LibertarianGirl February 25, 2011

    the best way to promote intra-party relations is to BE the change you want to see.

    Me and Paulie witnessed a sad exchange after Nat Con at the LNC meeting . He may not remember but I do , it was kind of poignant , and both silly and sad .

    It was a crowded room , literally no chairs left . Me and P we’re in the front row behind us was I believe Lee Wrights , somebody else and the open seat.

    In walks Aaron Starr who looks around and decides to stand. Me and P , both realizing that Aaron wasnt going to sit next to Lee and Lee wasnt going to offer him the chair , both sighed , got up , gave my chair to Aaron and moved the one behind us up for me.

    Sometimes a good place to begin is with a small gesture ,an olive branch if you will

    If this happens again , Aaron should sit down and shake Lee’s hand , and Lee should offer him the chair.

  7. paulie paulie February 25, 2011


    I continue to be surprised that, on an article whose main point is articulating what you have been saying for a long time and founded a caucus to promote, you choose to focus on a side issue (to this particular piece).

    Why not focus on the positive points of agreement?

    As for your point about revolutions: even revolutions can be peaceful, and sometimes are.
    Not always. But we can always hope that as many as possible will be as peaceful as can be.

    Stoping all war is a goal, not a statement that this can be achieved easily or soon, or even that it will ever be achieved completely – although we can hope, and we can’t rule out the possibility.

  8. Robert Capozzi Robert Capozzi February 25, 2011

    P and LW, yes, increasing peace is an action. Stopping war is an action, too. Stopping ALL war is, I’d say, something more than that. It might capture intra-L war, for ex….a war of words, in that case. It might capture ending US warring in Afghanistan and Iraq. But it also might be a call for an end to the Libyan uprising, for ex.

    Stopping ALL war has a grandiose feel to it, and is a cause I can’t sign up for.

  9. paulie paulie February 25, 2011

    Just remember, it was the pro-peace crowd of Geroge Bush that brought us the Iraqi war. That’s right, it was sold to the American public as a war for peace!

    Just like WW1 was the “war to end all wars.” A preference for stating what you are for, rather than what you are against, or vice versa, does not solve that particular problem.

    Stopping the war is an action. It is doing something, not just saying something phrased comfortablly.

    Supporting increasing the peace is also an action. It’s the same action, just phrased differently.

    I prefer the positive approach, although I don’t always use it. It is difficult to be mindful of that.

  10. It has all been ‘done’ B4! The author of the Declaration of Independence, crying for freedom as he owned human beings.

    Lincoln was so despised B4 and during the ‘silver war’ that he ran on the non GOP ‘Union Party’ in 1864.

    Invading others to convert them to Christianity. Oh, like Christian Cuba, and Christian PR, and Christian Guam, and Christian Philippines, and Christian Hawaii.

    Tojo, Hitler, and Mussolini knew the truth about lies. Tell a whopper, and then do it over and over again. Eventually, ‘street cred’!

    Oh, Tom Knapp and George Phillies claim, as early as 2008, that the LP is the one and only American Peace Party / Anti War Party.

  11. R. Lee Wrights R. Lee Wrights February 25, 2011

    Just remember, it was the pro-peace crowd of Geroge Bush that brought us the Iraqi war. That’s right, it was sold to the American public as a war for peace! Stopping the war is an action. It is doing something, not just saying something phrased comfortablly.

  12. Robert Capozzi Robert Capozzi February 25, 2011

    p, thank you. Correct, that’s what I meant.

  13. paulie paulie February 25, 2011

    I agree. Capozzi means expressing something in positive terms IE pro-peace rather than anti-war, pro-freedom rather than anti-tyranny, etc.

  14. R. Lee Wrights R. Lee Wrights February 25, 2011

    There is nothing more positive than stopping war. It IS a positive message for all Americans.

  15. paulie paulie February 25, 2011

    Perhaps I’m mis-associating the two messages.

    Seems that way from here. It seems Hill was mainly responding to some of our fellow anarcho-libertarians that criticize his involvement in the LP in impolite terms, and extrapolated to the movement as a whole, with geopolitical issues serving only as a background.

    Personally, I’m more of a “pro peace” guy…I prefer positive messaging.

    Same here. Increase the peace.

  16. Robert Capozzi Robert Capozzi February 25, 2011

    p, yes, Hill’s message is certainly for intra-L civility, and I wholeheartedly endorse this sentiment. I hope more Ls adopt this Kingly attitude.

    Whether other Wrights supporters, Root supporters, and player-to-be-named-later supporters adopt the Way of Rodney, we shall see.

    Wrights’s FB postings have a “No War” logo in recent months, and it was more being used — near as I can tell — as a geopolitical statement. It even has a logo.

    Perhaps I’m mis-associating the two messages.

    Personally, I’m more of a “pro peace” guy…I prefer positive messaging.

  17. paulie paulie February 25, 2011

    I read Hill’s article as precisely a call for intra-libertarian civility. “Stop All War” in the larger geopolitical arena is not his main point here; he takes that idea as an underlying theme, and then applies it internally. We are discussing the overall larger world/geopolitical point on a previous thread, and I still mean to make some responses there…maybe I’ll post them here instead, if I get to them.

    It seems rather odd to me that you would take from Hill’s essay, which is a call for turning down the noise/heat directed internally within the movement, as nothing more than a springboard for discussing the geopolitical situation of nation-states and their wars, whereas the latter is only mentioned by way of analogy.

    Unless, of course, you think they really mean “Stop (All) W.A.R.” ?

  18. Robert Capozzi Robert Capozzi February 25, 2011

    dwp9: Please explain what you mean when you say “but some of them continue to make war against people like Root and Starr.“

    me: Is this a serious question, or are you being oblique? You obviously read IPR, and you no doubt see the persistent attacks on Root and Starr. You surely must have seen that two states LP excomms want to purge Root.

    I assume that many of these attacks come from people inclined to support Wrights. Perhaps that is an incorrect assumption. Do you think it’s an incorrect or poor assumption?

  19. Robert Capozzi Robert Capozzi February 25, 2011

    p, as an internal slogan, it’s diggable. As a campaign slogan, I like the sentiment, but it feels like a pacifist message to me. I’m personally in a pacifist direction, but near as I can tell, most people are more hawkish than me. Many Ls and most L-leaners are more hawkish than I am.

    I do believe the LP should be strongly against continuing the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. But stopping ALL wars? Dunno. As opposed to what? The war in Libya sounds like it’s necessary, for ex., as part of a liberation movement.

    In Hollywood, scripts are rejected when the dialog is too “on the nose.” In politics, “on the nose” doesn’t work, either.

    On the nose defined: “When a character states exactly what he wants it’s called on-the-nose dialogue. The character is speaking the subtext; there is no hidden meaning behind the words, no secret want, because everything is spelled out. But most interesting people, and certainly most interesting characters, don’t do this.”

    Ls often like to play the “bad boy or girl,” breaking all the rules. I do that myself at times. Yet politics is marketing, and on the nose marketing doesn’t work very well.

    Were I advising Wrights, I’d suggest a slogan like: “Come Home, America.”

    Not on the nose. Provocative, but not shocking. More subtext than specific. Better politics, IMO.

    It would be up to candidate Wrights to build a narrative on the theme of “coming home.” Exit Iraq and Afghanistan. Exit Germany, Japan, and SK. Save $xxB. End the Drug War, send the prisoners home. Save $xxB. End the bailouts, save $xxB. Send the savings back home, to families and individuals, struggling to pay the rent, which is 2 damn high!

  20. paulie paulie February 24, 2011

    Yeah…still surprised Capozzi didn’t dig it.

  21. Porn Again Christian Porn Again Christian February 24, 2011

    Too much war and killing…increase the peace.

  22. Darryl W. Perry Darryl W. Perry February 24, 2011

    Please explain what you mean when you say “but some of them continue to make war against people like Root and Starr.

  23. paulie paulie February 24, 2011

    I do wonder whether Wrights and his supporters REALLY want to stop ALL wars, including wars of words

    I would say that was the point of this essay.

  24. Robert Capozzi Robert Capozzi February 24, 2011

    p, I’d like to see all war to stop, including wars of words. I advocate peace in all things. But that’s just me. Some people THIRST for conflict. They love us vs. them-ism, to hold high their banners, to tell others “I am RIGHT, you are WRONG.”

    That’s where they are. My message of peace doesn’t resonate with haters. Sometimes, to reach others with a message of peace, we need to reach them with different rhetoric.

    I do wonder whether Wrights and his supporters REALLY want to stop ALL wars, including wars of words. Perhaps they do, but some of them continue to make war against people like Root and Starr. I’d like to see them make peace.

    Am I making peace right now? Dunno. I am doing my best….

  25. paulie paulie February 24, 2011

    Really? I thought this one would be right up your alley. I was thinking of you when I read it, actually. Definitely has the Kingster tone.

  26. REference: Bruce ‘Israel First’ Cohen, W. A. R. ——– well you can get the idea.

    But of course LP is a peace party, and Thomas Knapp and George Phillies have informed me that *big lie* the LP is the one and only American anti war party.

  27. Jill Pyeatt Jill Pyeatt February 23, 2011

    This is a very good, straightforward message.

    Stop all war is a great slogan, and there is no better theme to carry us through 2012!

  28. paulie paulie February 23, 2011

    Very well said, Mr. Hill.

Comments are closed.